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CH1 Textbook Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Jennifer Fortune

CHAPTER ONE Introducing Social Psychology What Is Social Psychology? The Science of Social Behaviour - field dedicated to understanding the causes and consequences of social interactions between individuals or groups - social psychology is the scientific study of how individuals thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by other people (Gordon Allport 1985) - so long as someone is being affected in any way by other people, including their imagined presence or actions, the situation is relevant to social psychology - social psychologists are interested in how other people affect every aspect of individuals lives, including thoughts (cognitions), feelings (affect) and behaviours - ultimate goal: understand why various kinds of actions toward other people occur or dont occur e.g. conformity, aggression, helping, discrimination - it is necessary to look at the world through the actors eyes - whatever you believe to be the other persons motive will determine how you behave - social construals: individuals perceptions of a situation, how they construe (perceive, interpret) the situation - like any other science, social psychology involves collecting data to test predictions How Other People Affect Us - most individuals dont recognize just how much they are affected by others - researchers have conducted experiments in which they constructed fake emergencies and observed how people responded who didnt know that the situation was staged - known as bystander intervention - one important reason individuals fail to intervene is because they rely on other people to interpret the event - in ambiguous situations, a source of information people might use is how other people in the situation are responding - people may misinterpret the situation as a non-emergency based on the inaction of other individuals - we also rely on other people to make judgements about ourselves - social comparison: the process of comparing ourselves to other people to make judgements about the self - social psychologists are interested in how individuals can be transformed in group settings, including the tendency for some large groups to exhibit aggressive behaviour - deindividuation: feeling that people are unaccountable for their actions when in a large group - study by Brian Mullen (1968) on lynchings hypothesis that people in large mobs feel relatively anonymous leading to a breakdown of normal inhibitory self-control www.notesolution.com
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