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Chapter 1

Chapter 1 Introduction to Social Psychology.pdf

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter 1: Introduction to Social Psychology January-14-14 1:40 PM What is Social Psychology? - Phenomenon of social influence SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY:The scientific study of the way in which people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people The Powerof Social Interpretation CONSTRUAL:The way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world The Role of Construal in Conflict Negotiations - "Naïve realism" — the conviction all of us have that we perceive things "as they really are" - Social psychology is an experimentally-based science - Social psychology is not: → Folk Wisdom → Philosophy → Sociology Social PsychologyComparedwith Sociology - For the social psychologist, the level of analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation - Sociology is more concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a society - The goal of social psychology is to identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or culture - Personality psychologists generally focus their attention onindividual differences INDIVIDUALDIFFERENCES:The aspects of people's personalities that make them different from other people The Power of Social Influence FUNDAMENTALATTRIBUTIONERROR: The tendency to overestimate the extent to which people's behavior stems from internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of situational factors Underestimatingthe Powerof Social Influence The Fundamental Attribution Error:When We Blame the Victims of Violence  STUDY:  Research has shown that people justify blaming victims of violence by assuming that the person must have done something to provoke the attack  Participants were asked to read one of two scenarios; one regular version or one provocation version  In this study, participants who received the provocation information assigned more blame to the victim than those who did not receive this information  STUDY:  What influences how cooperative people will be — their personalities or the nature of the social situation?  In this situation, the student's personality made no measurable difference in the student's behavior. The students who were labelled "competitive" (by the resident assistants in their dormitories) were no more likely to adopt the competitive strategy than those labelled "cooperative". However, the name of the game — whether it was called the Wall Street Game or the Community Game — did make a tremendous difference. Such seemingly minor aspects of the social situation can have powerful effects on people's behavior, overwhelming the differences in their personalities. The Subjectivityof the Social Situation - Look at the situation from the viewpoint of the people in it, to see how the construe the world around them - This emphasis on construal roots itself in Gestalt psychology GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY:A school of psychology stressing the importance of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in people's minds, rather than the objective physical attributes of the object - Kurt Lewin, is generally
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