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Chapter 1

PSYC 231 Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Double Negative, Response Bias, Social Desirability Bias

Course Code
PSYC 231
Carrie Kobelsky

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social psychology: the scientific study of how people think about, influence,
& relate to one another
(1) social thinking — how we perceive ourselves & others, what we
believe, the judgements we make, & our attitudes
out need to explain & attribute a cause to our behaviour
how we construct our own reality
our social intuitions shape our fears, impressions, & relationships,
but also makes our world quite small
(2) social influences — our culture & biology, pressure to conform,
persuasion, & groups of people
how our social context & influences shape our behaviour
how our own personal attitudes & personality dispositions also
shape behaviour
(3) social relations — helping one another, aggression, attraction &
intimacy, prejudice
how our physical bodies affect how we think & react
how the order that events get processes influence how we react
how social behaviour is also biological behaviour
-social neuroscience: an integration of biological & social
perspectives that explore the neural & psychological bases of
social & emotional behaviours
relating to others is a basic need that shapes all our social actions
-applying social psychology — the principle of social psychology are
applicable to everyday life
-social psychology vs. sociology — social psychology focuses more on
individuals with more experimental methods
-social psych vs. personality psych — social psychology focuses less on
differences among people, & more on how individuals, in general, view &
affect one another
-social psychology studies our thinking by asking questions that deal with
how people view & affect one another
(i) how much of our social world is just in our heads?
social behaviour varies according to the objective situation, but
also how we construe it in our minds
(ii) would you be cruel if ordered?
(iii) to help others, or to help yourself?
-values affect social psychology in:
(a) obvious ways:
our choice of research topics
the type of people attracted to various disciplines
advancements in technology
what perspective we take when studying social psychology
(b) not-so-obvious ways:
the subjective aspects of research & how we interpret data
social representations: socially shared beliefs, ideas,
values & assumptions which influence how we look at &
interpret our world
psychological concepts that contain hidden values — the way
we talk as though we are stating facts, when really they are
value judgments
-labelling: how we refer to something, depending on
our view (ex. whether we call it “welfare” or “aid”,
depending on our political views)
-naturalistic fallacy: the error of defining what is
good in terms of what is observable (ex. what is
“typical” is “normal” or what is “normal” is “good”)
-hindsight bias: the tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome,
one’s ability to have foreseen it
what leads us to believe that social psychology is just common sense,
because it is only after we learn the results that it seems like common
sense all along — we easily deceive ourselves into thinking that we
know & knew more than we do & did
social psychology is not just common sense because everything
depends on the situation, who is involved, etc.
-we have to look at all different perspectives
research methods — how we study social psychology:
-the process of research:
(i) select research topic based upon a theory
(ii) search relevant research literature
(iii) formulate a hypothesis
(iv) select research method
(v) collect the data
(vi) analyze the date
(vii) report the results — repeat!
-facts: agreed upon statements that we observe
-theory: integrated set of principles that explain & predict observed events
ideas that summarize & explain facts
imply testable predictions called hypotheses
a good theory:
(a) effectively summarizes many observations
(b) makes clear predictions that we can use to:
(i) confirm or modify the theory
(ii) generate new exploration
(iii) suggest practical applications
-hypothesis: a testable proposition that describe the relationship that
may exist between events
allow for us to test the theory which upon they are based
help give direction & new ideas to research
their predictive features of good theories can make them practical
(ex. they can provide possible treatment, warning signs, etc.)
operationalization: translating all the variables that are described
at a theoretical level into the specific variables that are to be observed
-must be valid — does it measure what it is suppose to
-must be reliable — do we get the same measurements each time!
types of research — what we use depends on what we’re trying to accomplish:
-laboratory research: research done in a controlled setting
-field research: research done in natural, real-life settings outside the lab
-correlational research: the study of naturally occurring relationships
among variables
asks whether 2 or more factors are naturally associated
correlation does not mean causation
study correlation in order to predict the effect 1 variable on another
3 possible explanations:
(i) x effects y (ii) y effects x (iii) z effects y & x
correlations can range from -1.00 to +1.00 — 0 = no correlation
(+) often uses real-world settings
(-) causation is often ambiguous
-experimental research: research that manipulates some factor to see
what effects it has on another
employs 4 key features:
-independent variable: the experimental factor that the
experimenter manipulates
-dependent variable: the variable being measured
-random assignment: assigning participants to the conditions
of an experiment such that all participants have the same chance
of being in any given condition
allows to infer cause-&-effect, whereas random sampling
allows for us to generalize the results to the population
-control group: participants who don’t experience any condition
(+) can explore cause & effect
(-) some important variables cannot be studied with experiments
ethical concerns include:
-mundane realism: the degree to which an experiment is similar
to everyday situations — if the behaviour is not something you
would do in your everyday life, it has mundane realism
do not want to have
-experimental realism: the degree to which an experiment
absorbs & involves its participants
do want to have so participants are not aware of their acts
requires deceiving people with a plausible cover story
-only use deception if it is essential & justified
-demand characteristics: cues in an experiment that tell the
participant what behaviour is expected
avoid by using a “blind procedure”
-informed consent: requires that the participant is told enough
so that they can decide whether they want to partake
-protect participants from any harm & discomfort
-treat each participant’s information with confidentiality
-debrief participants & fully explain the experiment afterwards
PSYC 231: Chapter 1 - Introducing Social Psychology
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