CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
- What is Social psychology? The scientific study of the way in which peoples thoughts,
feelings and behaviours are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other
people. Social psychologists are interested how, and why the social environment shapes
the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of the individual.
- It involves studying methods of persuasion: bullying, advertising campaigns, election
campaigns, when our friends get us to do something that we dont want to do, etc.
- Social influence looks at the attempts of one person to change another persons
behaviour. It extends beyond our behaviours to look at thoughts and feelings,
- We are often influenced by other people , even if they are not physically present .
THE POWER OF SOCIAL INTERPELLATION
- Social psychology is not concerned about objective social situations but rather how
people are influenced by their interpretation or construal of their social environment.
- Construal- the way in which people perceive, comprehend and interpret the social
- Construal refers to how the world is interpreted by the individual.
THE ROLE OF CONSTRUAL IN CONFLICT NEGOTIATION
- Lee Ross calls a certain type of construal naive realism the conviction all of us have
that perceive things as they really are. We assume that all reasonable people see things
the same way that we do.
- Israelis and Palestinians understand intellectually that the other side perceives issues
differently , both sides resist compromise fearing that their biased opponent will
benefit more than they
- ROSS took peace proposals created by Israeli negotiators and labeled them as
Palestinian proposals and asked the Israeli people to judge them.
- They liked the Palestinian proposals more than the Israeli proposals towards the
Palestinians, so if they dont even like their own proposals, how will the Palestinians like
SOME ALTERNATIVE WAYS OF UNDERSTANDING SOCIAL INFLUENCE
- Social psychologists develop different approaches to understanding social influence that
philosophers, journalists, or the layperson.
- Social psychologists develop explanations of social influence through experiments in
which the variables being studied are carefully controlled. - FOLK WISDOM: journalists, social critics, and novelists have many interesting things to
say about certain situations. Such commentary is referred to as folk wisdom or common
- There are a few problems with relying on such sources, that being that they disagree
with one another, and there is no easy way of determining which person is correct
SOLAR TEMPLE TRAGEDY: when cult members kill themselves for events such as the Solar of
their leader , explanations range from the view that their leader must have employed
hypnotism and drugs to weaken the resistance of their followers , to the suspicion that
people attracted to the cult must have been disturbed to begin with all of these theories
are false seeing that they underestimate the power of the situation,
- Members of the solar temple cult tended to be highly functioning and respectable
members of society.
- Folk wisdom tells us much about how we get influenced when we like other people.
- In 1978, nearly 800 members of a California based religious group died in Jonestown
Guyana, when they drank a deadly mixture of Kool-Aid and Cyanide in response to a
command from their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones.
- Leaders of the Ugandan movement for the restoration of the Ten Commandments of
God persuaded parents that handing over their children to die was the only way to
prevent them from falling into the hands of Satan. On March 17, 2000 hundreds of
people many of whom were children were led into a sealed chapel that was set on fire.
- 800-1000 people perished , placing the cult on the same horrific scale as the California
based Jonestown cult.
- In April 2008, more than 400 children were seized by Child protective service Authorities
in Texas. There were allegations that some young girls and boys as well, were beaten,
starved and forced to have sex were much older men. Their parents were a follower of
Warren Jeffs the leader of the yearning for Zion Mormon sect.
- It is difficult for most people to grasp how powerful a cult can be in affecting the hearts
and the minds of relatively normal people. The general population is always trying to
find someone to blame.
- Throughout history philosophy has been a major source of insight about human nature.
Psychologists look to philosophers for insights into the nature of consciousness and how
people form beliefs about the social world
- In 1663 Benedict Spinoza offered a highly original insight, he proposed that if we love
someone whom we formerly hated, the love will be stronger than the hate that
preceded it, but How can be sure that it holds up?- One of the tasks of the social psychologist is to make educated guesses hypotheses ,
about the specific situations in which one outcome or the other would occur. Social
psychologists perform experiments about the nature of the social world.
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY COMPARED WITH SOCIOLOGY
- A fundamental way in which the two disciplines vary is in their level of analysis. Social
psychology is rooted in the study of the individuals internal psychological processes;
the level of analysis for social psychology is the individual in the context of the social
- For example to understand why people hurt one another the social psychologist focuses
on the specific psychological processes that trigger aggression in specific situations.
- Sociologists focus their analysis on groupings of people organized in social categories
such as family, race, religion and economic class. Sociologists aim to study larger social
processes such as historical and political changes or how larger social structures ( race,
gender, class, sexual orientation) shape an individuals life chances, the orientation of
the social psychologist is on the internal processes that take place within the individuals
- Sociology looks at society as a whole, sociologists are