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Canada (162,366)
Psychology (9,699)
PSYB10H3 (611)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1

5 Pages

Course Code
Elizabeth Page- Gould

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Chapter 1 – Intro to Social Psychology What is Social Psychology? - main factor on studying this is that it is derived from social influence - Social influence extends beyond behaviour o it includes our thoughts, feelings o may take on many forms – not just attempts at persuasion - Social Psychologists – understand and predict human behaviour – mainly interested in studying how and why human behaviour are shaped by the entire social environment The Power of Social Interpretation - social psychology is distinct because it is PRIMARILY concerned with how people are influenced by their interpretations – or CONSTRUAL of their social environment o it is more important to understand how they perceive, comprehend, and interpret their social world o how does it do this? – mainly through experiments – Social Psychology is an experimentally based science that tests empirically and systematically Some Alternate Ways of Understanding Social Influence Fold Wisdom - also called as common sense o includes journalists, social critics, and novelists commentaries o PROBLEM: there are different fold wisdoms and there is no easy way of determining which one is correct – called speculations o Speculations – underestimate the power of the situation  since the so called common sense frequently turns out to be wrong or oversimplified, people tend not to learn from previous incidents  e.g. Solar Temple tragedy  involved Canadians in 1978 – 800 people died in Jonestown, Guyana after a cult leader convinced his followers to drink Koolaid and cyanide – Reverend Jim Jones o Doomsday cults capitalize on people’s fears about the end of the world  e.g. Ugandan Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God  cult persuaded parents to hand over their children for them to die – rationale is that it is the only way to save them from the hands of Satan  on March 17, 2000 – hundreds of children died in a sealed chapel – most of whom where children  e.g. Yearning for Zion Movement  lead by Warren Jeffs – child abuse – convinced young girls to marry older men – “spiritual marriages” o These events lead to people often blaming the victims of being careless and having a mental illness o Difficult to grasp on how much a cult influence people o fixing blame only makes us feel better by resolving our confusion but it can never be a substitute for understanding the circumstances behind these events o The goal of social psychology is to identify the universal properties that human nature has that make everyone susceptible to social influence regardless of class or culture. Social Psychology Compared to Sociology - Focus on social behaviour is shared but there is a differences in the level of analysis o Social Psych – is rooted in an interest in individual human beings WITH emphasis on psychological processes o goal is to identify universal properties of human nature that makes everyone susceptible to social influences regardless of social class or culture o the level on analysis is the individual in the context of social situation - Sociology is more concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a society o tend towards a more macro focus – major difference Social Psychology Compared with Personality Psychology - Personality Psych is focused on INDIVIDUAL difference – aspects of his/her personality that make him/her different from other individuals - Social Psychologists argue that explaining behaviour primarily in terms of personality factors IGNORES a critical part of the powerful role played by social influence Sociology Social Psychology Personality Psychology Provides GENERAL laws and - Studies the psychological Studies the characteristics that theories about SOCIETIES, NOT processes people have in make individuals unique and individuals common with one different from one another another that makes them susceptible to social influence - It shares an interest with Sociology - in situational and societal influences on behaviour BUT focuses more on the psychological make-up of individuals that renders them susceptible to social influence - it shares an interest with Personality Psych – in which both put an emphasis on the psychology of the individual. However, rather than focusing on what makes people different, it looks at what psychological process are SHARED that make them susceptible to social influence. The Power of Social Influence - There is a big barrier for Social Psych  the inclination that we all have to explain people’s behaviour in terms of their persnolity o This is the fundamental attribution error – or the tendency to explain people’s behaviour in terms of personality traits which then underestimated the power of social influence. Understanding the Power of Social Influence - we experience false security when we underestimate the power of social influence o How? – we tend to oversimplify complex situations which decreases our understanding and leads us to blame the victim
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