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Chapter 1

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Heredity, Social Neuroscience, Visible Minority


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY220H1
Professor
Heather V.Fritzley
Chapter
1

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PSY220: Chapter 1 The Field of Social Psychology (Lecture 1)
Virtually everything we do, feel, or think is related in some way to the social side of life
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: A WORKING DEFINITION
Social Psychology: the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behaviour and thoughts
in social situations
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS SCIENTIFIC IN NATURE
Science does not refer to a special group of highly advanced fields but rather refers to
1) A set of values
2) Several methods that can be used to study a wide range of topics
Does this field adopt these values of methods? If it does, it is a science
All things that must be adopted for a field to be considered a science
1) Accuracy: A commitment to gathering and evaluating information about the world (including social behaviour and
thought) in as careful, precise and error-free as possible
2) Objectivity: A commitment to obtaining and evaluating such information in a manner free of bias (as humanly
possible)
3) Skepticism: Accept findings as accurate only to the extent that they have been verified repeatedly
4) Open-mindedness: Changing one’s views even views that are strongly held if existing evidence suggests that
they are inaccurate
Why adopt a scientific approach, if social psychology is ‘common sense’?
Relying on merely single individual experiences and intuition result in an inconsistent and unreliable guide
Humans are not perfect processing machines we are prone to errors
Planning fallacy: a strong tendency to believe that projects will take less time than they actually do, or, we can
accomplish more in a given period of time than actually possible
E.g. Buehler and Griffininvestigated the phenomenon in undergraduate students, it took them 10.7
days to finish an academic project compared to the 5 days they predicted it would take; they overestimated
their abilities and underestimated the time needed
Why are we prone to this error? Research shows that this is due to the tendency to think of the future
when estimating the time required for a project instead of thinking of the past
Social psychology focuses on the behaviour of individuals, but we do not exist in a vacuum
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY SEEKS TO UNDERSTAND THE CAUSES OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR AND SOCIAL THOUGHT
Social psychologists interested in understanding the many factors and conditions that shape social behaviour and social
thought of individuals
The Actions and Characteristics of Other Peopleother people’s behaviours often have a powerful impact on
us (and our behaviour)
Often affected by others’ appearances as well especially someone that seems attractive to you
Hassin and Trope we cannot ignore others’ appearances even when we consciously try
Cognitive Processesprevious memories and inferences will affect social behaviour and social thought
Environmental Variables: Impact of the Physical Worldphysical environment influences feelings, thoughts
and behaviours
Culturesocial behaviour does not occur in a cultural vaccum it is often strongly affected by cultural norms
(social rules concerning how people should behave in specific situations), membership in various groups, and
changing societal values
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