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CH2 Textbook Notes

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University of Toronto St. George
Jennifer Fortune

CHAPTER 2 THE METHODS OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The Scientific Method - social comparison experiment conducted by Lockwood and Kunda (1997) - hypothesized that exposure to information about a successful person would make participants feel negatively about themselves - also predicted other participants would feel better about themselves - critical factor is whether people think they themselves have the potential to be very successful Theories and Hypotheses - theories=explanations, hypotheses=predictions - theory is a scientists explanation of why an event or outcome occurs, identifies underlying causes of something the scientist observed - typically focus on psychological processes to explain events - hypotheses are specific predictions about what should occur if a theory is valid, provide a means for testing the theory - most theories build on period scientific work, involve applying a conceptprinciple from one field, rely on scientists intuitive analyses of problems - Melvin Lerner (1977, 1980) just world theory: humans need to believe that the world is a fair and just place - we are all motivated to believe that people receive what they deserve, hard work & honesty brings rewards, laziness & dishonesty dont pay - if we didnt believe in a fair world, we would fear our own efforts might not pay off - possibility is anxiety-provoking so we protect our belief in a just world - as a theory, explains why people want to believe in a just world - provides basis for hypotheses e.g. people will blame victims whose suffering is expected to continue Translating Theoretical Ideas into Testable Questions: Operational Definitions - conceptual terms: abstract ideas or concepts that cant be observed directly - researchers must translate abstract ideas into concrete, objective measures - operational definition of a concept is a specific, observable response that will be used to measure the concept -measures most common in social psychology: self-report measure, behavioural measures Self-Report Measures - easiest strategy is to ask people directly - makes sense so long as a concept is something that people are able and willing to report - researchers must be careful to express questions clearly - subtle changes in phrasingwording can affect responses www.notesolution.com
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