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Anna Nagy

PSYB10H3 Chapter 1 Introduction to Social Psychology What is Social Psychology?  social psychology – the scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people The Power of Social Interpretation  concerned with how people are influenced by their interpretations, or construal, of their social environment o believe it is more important to understand how people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world than it is to understand the objective properties of the social world itself  social psychology is a an experimentally based science that tests its assumptions, guesses and ideas about human social behavior empirically and systematically Some Alternative Ways of Understanding Social Influence Folk Wisdom  aka common sense  includes journalists, social critics, and novelists o more often than not however, they disagree with one another and there is no easy way to determine which of them is correct  ex. “birds of a feather flock together” or “opposites attract”  usually turns out to be wrong or oversimplified Social Psychology Compared with Sociology  social psychology focuses on individual human beings with an emphasis on the psychological processes going on  sociology is more concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a given society  the goal of social psychology is to identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or not Social Psychology Compared with Personality Psychology  personality psychologists generally focus their attention on individual differences – the aspect of an individual’s personality that makes him or her different from other individuals The Power of Social Influence  fundamental attribution error – the tendency to explain people’s behavior in terms of personality traits, thereby underestimating the power of social influence The Subjectivity of the Social Situation  behaviourism – a school of psychology maintaining that to understand human behavior one need only to consider the reinforcing properties – how positive and negative events in the environment are associated with specific behaviours  Gestalt psychology – says that we should study the subjective way in which an object appears in people’s minds, rather than the way in which the objective physical attributes of the object combine o one must focus on the phenomenology of the perceiver – how an object appears to people - instead of the individual elements of the objective stimulus o Gestalt psychology emphasizes on construal – they way people interpret the social situation Where Construals Come From: Basic Human Motives  we as humans have primary importance to: o the need to be accurate o the need to feel good about ourselves  Leon Festinger; stated that when these two motives tug an individual in opposite directions, we can gain our most valuable insights into the workings of the human heart and mind The Self-Esteem Approach: The need to Feel Good about Ourselves  the reason why people view the world the way they do can often be traced to this underlying need to maintain a favorable image of themselves  people do this in two ways: o justify past behavior o suffering and self-justification – ex. hazing  the people are good people; why go through all that for a bunch of jerks? The Social Cognition Approach: The Need to Be Accurate  social cognition – the way human beings think about the world o begins with the assumption that human beings try to view the world as accurately as possible o our expectations of the social world can change our perception of it – ex. self-fulfilling prophecy; students and tests  the need to maintain a positive view of ourselves (self-esteem approach)  the need to view the world accurately (social-cognition approach) Ensuring Our Survival  evolutionary psychology – theoretical branch of psychology that attempts to explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection Terror Management Theory  terror management theory – the realization that we are mortal human beings = fear Chapter 2 Social Psychology: An Empirical Science  hindsight bias – when people exaggerate how much they could have predicted an outcome after knowing that it occurred  social psychology has 3 types of methods used to answer questions about social behavior: o observational method o correlational method o experimental method Formulating Hypotheses and Theories  theory – organized set of principles that can be used to explain observed phenomena  hypothesis – a testable statement or idea about the relationship between two or more variables  diffusion of responsibility – the idea that others have already done what is need to be done – ex. murder of Genovese – 38 neighbors; assumed that one would have called the police The Observational Method  observational method – where a researcher observes people and systematically records measurements of their behavior  operational definition – refers to the precise specification of how variables are measured or manipulated – ex. bullying in an office – would look at the status of the individuals working  ethnography – the method by which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it from the inside imposing any preconceived notions they might have  interjudge reliability – the level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data  by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the same observations, it is ensure the data is not bias Archival Analysis  archival analysis – where the researcher examines the accumulated documents or archives of a culture – ex. diaries, novels, suicide notes, music, movies The Correlational Method  corraltional method – the technique whereby two variables are systematically measured and the relation between them – how much you can predict one from the other - is assessed  ex. violent television and TV  correlation coefficient – a statistic that assesses how well you can predict one variable based on another Surveys  the corrleational method is often used in surveys  surveys allow researchers to judge the relationship between variables that are often difficult to observe  surveys also allow representative segments of the population to be sampled  population must be randomly selected!  the way a question is asked; ex. is it a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question, or the way it is worded can affect results  correlation does not imply causation! The Experimental Method: Answering Causal Questions  experimental method – the method in which the researcher randomly assigns participants to  different conditions and ensures that these conditions are identical except for the independent variable Independent and Dependent Variables  independent variable – the variable a researcher changes or varies to see if it has an effect on some other variable  dependent variable – the variable a researcher measures to see it is influenced by the independent variable Internal Validity  internal validity – keeping everything the same but the independent variable; ensuring that nothing other than the independent variable can affect the dependent variable; this includes randomly assigning people  random assignment to condition – the process whereby all participants have an equal change of taking part in any condition of an experiment  probability level – a number, calculated with statistical techniques that tells researchers how likely it is that the results of their experiment occurred by chance and not because of the independent variable External Validity  the extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and other people o the extent to which we can generalize from the situation constructed by an experimenter to real-life situations (generalizability across situations) o the extent to which we can generalize from the people who participated in the experiment to the people in general (generalizability across people) Generalizability across Situations  mundane realism – the extent to which an experiment is similar to real-life situations  psychological realism – how similar the psychological processes triggered in an experiment are to psychological processes that occur in everyday life o psychological realism can he high even though mundane realism may be low  cover story – a false description of the study’s purpose Generalizability across People  the only way to ensure that the results of an experiment represent the behavior of a particular population is to ensure that participants are randomly selected from that population  many researchers study basic psychological processes that make people susceptible to social influence, assuming that these processes are so fundamental that they are universally shared Replication  replication – conducting the study over again, generally with different subject populations or in different settings  meta analysis – averages the results of two or more studies to see if the effect of an independent variable is reliable Cross-Cultural Research  cross-cultural research – research conducted with members of different cultures The Basic Dilemma of the Social Psychologist  one of the best way to increase external validity is by conducting field experiments Basic versus Applied Research  basic research – to find the best answer as to why people behave the way they do, purely for the reason of intellectual curiosity – researchers aren’t directly trying to solve a specific problem  applied research – to solve a particular social problem; building a theory usually follows Ethical Issues in Social Psychology  informed consent – the procedure whereby the researcher explains the nature of the experiment to participants before it begins and asks for their agreement to participate  deception – involves misleading participants about the true purpose of a study or the events that transpire Chapter 3 Social Cognition On Automatic Pilot: Low Effort Thinking  automatic thinking – thought that is nonconscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas  automatic thinking helps us understand new situations by relating them to our prior experiences  schemas – mental structures that organize our knowledge about the social world – influence the information we notice, think about, and remember o contains our basic knowledge and impression that we use to organize what we know about the social world and interpret new situations Schemas as Memory Guides  people are more likely to remember information that is consistent with their schemas  schemas become stronger and more resistant to change overtime Which Schemas are Applied? Accessibility and Priming  accessibility – the extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of our minds and therefore are likely to be used when we are making judgments about the social world  schemas can be accessible for three reasons: o some schemas are chronically available due to past experience  ex. man on bus; past experiences = alcoholism, then you think alcoholic; mental disorder, then you think that o schemas can become accessible because they are related to a current goal  mental disorder; are currently enrolled in Abnormal Psychology and are learning about such o schemas can become accessible due to our recent experiences  priming; ex. reading an advertisement for beer, then you think the man is an alcoholic  priming – the process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept, making it more likely that you will use this information to interpret a new event o thoughts have to be both accessible and applicable before they will act as primes The Persistence of Schemas after They are Discredited  perservance effect – people’s beliefs persisted even after the original evidence was discredited  ex. doing well on a “fake” test…continued to believe that they would do well on the next one Making Our Schemas Come True: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy  self-fulfilling prophecy – when we have an expectation about what another person is like that influences how we act toward that person, which in turn, causes that person to behave consistently with our expectations Cultural Determinants of Schemas  an important source of our schemas is the culture in which we grow up  things that are important to us = well-developed schemas Mental Strategies and Shortcuts: Heuristics  judgmental heuristics – mental shortcuts people use to make judgments quickly and efficiently How easily does it Come to Mind? The Availability Heuristic  availability heuristic – whereby people base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind How similar is A to B? The Representativeness Heuristic  representativeness heuristic – whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case  base rate information – information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population  people tend to use the representative heuristic more than the base rate information Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking  controlled thinking – thinking that is conscious, intentional, voluntary and effortful; can usually turn on or off this thinking Thinking about What Might have Been: Counterfactual Reasoning  counterfactual thinking – mentally changing some aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have been o we are more likely in engage in counterfactual thinking when we “just missed” avoiding a negative event  ex. missing your flight by 5 minutes  counterfactual thoughts have great impact on people’s emotional reactions to actual events o people generate more counterfactuals when asked to focus on self-improvement (what could be learned or improved), than when asked to focus on self-enhancement (what they could do to make themselves feel better in such situations Thought Suppression and Ironic Processing  thought suppression – the attempt to avoid thinking about something we would just as soon forget  the automatic part of the system; monitoring process, searches for evidence that the unwanted though is about to intrude on consciousness  the controlled part; operating process, the effortful attempt to distract oneself by finding something else to think about  when we are tired or preoccupied – under cognitive load – it is more likely that these thoughts will spill out unchecked Improving Human Thinking  overconfidence barrier – the barrier that results when people have too much confidence in the accuracy of their judgments; people’s judgments are usually not as correct as they think they are Chapter 5 The Nature of the Self  William James said o the self is composed of one’s thoughts and beliefs about oneself – the “known” or “me” o the self is also the active processor of information – the “knower” or “I”  self concept – the contents of the self; the knowledge about who we are  self-awareness – the act of thinking about ourselves  self concept clarity – the extent to which knowledge about the self is stable, and clearly and consistently defined Functions of the Self Organizational Function of the Self  self-schemas – mental structures that help us to organize our knowledge about ourselves; influence what we notice, think about, and remember o act as lenses through which people view others  self-reference effect – the tendency for people to remember information better if they relate it to themselves Self-Regulation: The Executive Function  the self also serves as an executive function, regulating people’s behavior, choices, and plans for the future  self-regulatory resource model – says that self-control is a limited resource – spending it on one task limits the amount that can be spent on another task Cultural Differences in Defining the Self  independent view of self – defining oneself in terms of one’s own internal thoughts, feelings, and actions, and not in terms of the thought, feelings, and actions of others; value independence and uniqueness  interdependent view of the self – defining oneself in terms of one’s relationships to other people and recognizing that one’s beha
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