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Chapter 1

PSY220H1 Chapter 1: PSY220 Chapter Notes 1

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Dan Dolderman

PSY220 Chapter 1: Introduction SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - The scientific study of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of individuals in social situations. DISPOSITIONS - Internal factors such as beliefs, values, personality traits, or abilities that guide a person’s behavior. FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR - The failure to recognize the importance of situational influences on behavior, and the corresponding tendency to overemphasize the importance of dispositions or traits on behavior. CHANNEL FACTORS - Certain situational circumstances that appear unimportant on the surface but that can have great consequences for behavior, either facilitating or blocking it or guiding behavior in a particular direction. CONSTRUAL - People’s interpretation and inference about the stimuli or situations they confront. GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY - Based on the German word gestalt, meaning “form” or “figure,” this approach stresses the fact that people perceive objects not by means of some automatic registering device but by active, usually unconscious interpretation of what the object represents as a whole. PRISONER’S DILEMMA - A situation involving payoffs to two people, who must decide whether to “cooperate” or “defect.” In the end, trust and cooperation lead to higher joint payoffs than mistrust and defection. SCHEMA - A knowledge structure consisting of any organized body of stored information. NATURAL SELECTION - An evolutionary process that molds animals and plants so that traits that enhance the probability of survival and reproduction are passed on to subsequent generations. THEORY OF MIND - The understanding that other people have beliefs and desires. PARENTAL INVESTMENT - The evolutionary principle that costs and benefits are associated with reproduction and the nurturing of offspring. Because these costs and benefits are different for males and females, one sex will normally value and invest more in each child than will the other sex. NATURALISTIC FALLACY - The claim that the way things are is the way they should be. INDEPENDENT (INDIVIDUALISTIC) CULTURES - Cultures in which people tend to think of themselves as distinct social entities, tied to each other by voluntary bonds of affection and organizational memberships but essentially separate from other people and having attributes that exist in the absence of any connection to others. INTERDEPENDENT (COLLECTIVISTIC) CULTURES - Cultures in which people tend to define themselves as part of a collective, inextricably tied to others in their group and placing less importance on individual freedom or personal control over their lives. Characterizing Social Psychology  Social psychology is the scientific study of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of individuals in social situations. o Explaining Behavior: example of Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad o Zimbardo Study: 24 Stanford Students good kids but still prisoner, captive violence The Power of the Situation  Social psychology emphasizes the influence of situations on behavior. People often find it difficult to see the role that powerful situations can play in producing their own and others’ behavior, and so are inclined to overemphasize the importance of personal dispositions in producing behavior.  Arendt’s theory is that any one of us is capable of performing acts of brutality, also called the “banality of evil (evil act does not require evil people, it comes from normal people)”. Example of philosopher  Arendt explaining behavior of notorious architect: Adolf EchimannArendt said that this normality is far more worst than all atrocities  Kurt Lewin, lots of forces pulling your behavior  Milgram Experiment  Seminarians as Samaritans helping is more based on situation (church in hurry)  Fundamental Attribution Error: denying situational influences on behavior and emphasizing personal dispositions.  Disposition: internal factors such as beliefs and values, personality traits or abilities that guides a person behavior.  Channel Factors: situational cir
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