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Chapter 1

Social Psychology (Cdn Ed) Sanderson & Safdar Chapter 1

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY220H1
Professor
Ashley Waggoner Denton
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Psychology Social Psychology: The scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviour are influenced by factors in the social world. -study how people explain their own and others' behaviour: attribution, how people influence others: persuasion, how people connect with each other: attraction -Gordon W. Allport (1954)'s classic definition: an attempt to understand and explain how the thought, feelings and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human beings -uses Scientific inquiry which includes: • commitment to objectivity and collecting data that are free of bias • commitment to verifying information empirically (based on observation) -follow the Scientific Method: a technique for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, and/or correcting previous knowledge -Hypothesis: a testable prediction about the conditions under which an event will occur What Social Psychologists Address: -Self-Perception: how we think about ourselves -Self-Presentation: how people work to convey certain images of themselves to others -Social Perception: how people form impressions and make inferences about other people and events in the social world (e.g. we decide why our face hockey team won the game, etc.) -Social Cognition: type of social perception; how we think about the social world, and in particular how we select, interpret, and use information to make judgments about the world (e.g. a heuristic is that expensive restaurants serve better food than cheap ones) -Social Influence: the impact of other people's attitudes and behaviours on or thoughts, feelings and behaviour; also, people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviour are influenced by what they imagine other people think or do Health Connection -intentions to use condom do not always translate into actual condom use -study by MacDonald and Hynie (2008): high proportion of young Canadians are aware of possible negative effects of having unprotected sex (pregnancy, HIV, STI); but in 2003, 21.5-43.6% of 15-24 y/o in Canada did not use condom the last time they had sex -found connection b/w ambivalence about sexual activity and failure to use condom -among those asked who had intercourse and intended to use condoms, actual use decreased as ambivalence toward sex increased -ambivalence was negatively associated with accuracy in planning sex, and unplanned sex was less likely to be protected -another study (2006) found that anticipated shame at having not used a condom was relevant in the decision to practise unsafe sex; self esteem and mood, and alcohol use are also factors -strategies such as reminder cues can increase effectiveness of health intervention programs (e.g. condom use higher among study participants that received friendship band than those w/o or those who didn't watch video about HIV); bracelet remained effective even when participants were under alcohol influence -Self-fulfilling Prophecy: the process by which people's expectations about a person lead them to elicit behaviour that confirms these expectations (people's expectations about someone influence how they act toward that person - in turn, these actions elicit the behaviour that is expected) Evolution of Social Psychology -Floyd Allport (1942) created the first textbook in social psychology; early work influenced by behaviourism, Gestalt psychology and historical events Behaviourism -in early 20th century, psychologists believed that psychology should only focus on measurable phenomena, not thoughts and feelings -behaviourism is a theory of learning that describes ppl's behaviour as acquired through conditioning (Skinner) -too simplistic b/c it ignores thoughts, feelings and attitudes (giving a child a reward for reading a book is bad b/c it will reduce his interest in reading) Gestalt Psychology --sub-discipline emerged from Germany; means "whole" form -emphasizes the importance of looking at the whole object and how it appeared in people's minds, as opposed to looking at specific objective parts of the object (e.g. dog picture); objects are viewed holistically -examine the influence of people's perceptions of objects focused on how ppl interpret their surroundings and the cognitive processing that was involved in ppl's interpretations (we sometimes experience more than what is supplied by our sensory perception) e.g. we organize our perceptual experience, diagrams and sensory experience -Kurt Lewin, founder of modern social psychology was trained in Gestalt approach: German-Jewish professor in the 30s Historical Events -Muzafer Sherif outspoken opposition to Nazi movement during WWII led to his imprisonment; when released, it led him to carry out studies on group influence, and how introducing cooperation tasks reduces intergroup conflict -Stanley Milgrim was also affected by Nazi events: Milgram wondered whether Germs were the ones to actually blame for the atrocities than the situation -positive psychology: recent branch of psychology that studies individuals' strengths and virtues -rooted in humanistic psychology (which focuses on individual potential and fulfillment -Martin Seligman, Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi Not Common Sense -the hindsight bias: "I knew it all along" phenomenon; the tendency to see a given outcome as inevitable once the actual outcome is given, belie that the outcome was obvious -this leads ppl to see social psych as common sense b/c once they heard something, they see it as obvious but they would've thought the other statement is obvious too -there is a double standard that condemns premarital sexuality for women but not for men; although survey participants rejected double standard personally, most reported that it exists -female undergraduate students reported more social pressure to remain virgin than men -women report that they were likely to stay virgins for a longer time than men -study shows that adolescents who frequently had dinner with families reported lower levels of smoking, drinking, drug use, and depressive thoughts, and better grades (media than urged parents to have dinner w/ kids) - but doesn't show causation Connection to other Fields Links to Sub Disciplines in Psychology Personality Psychology: focus on the role of the individual differences, aspects of people's personality that make them different from other ppl, in explaining how ppl feel and behave in diff ways -social psychologists emphasize the role of the situation -people from individualistic cultures give more emphasis to personality as an explanation for behavior, people from collectivistic backgrounds give greater weight to situational explanations -interaction aspects of personality include self esteem, need for cognition, pro-social orientation -connection between stress and coping is an example of social and personality psychology working together -studies show that social support is important in helping ppl cope with stress: researchers used Daily Process Method where ppl completed structured diaries about stress and coping twice daily to monitor coping strategies -found that both personality factors and social factors influence coping, but also that the effect of personality is variable across differe
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