Psychology 2070A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Hindsight Bias, Deindividuation, Construals

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21 Nov 2011
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Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology
The Science of Social Behaviour
- field dedicated to understanding the causes and consequences of social interactions between
individuals or groups
-Social psychology: scientific study of how individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are
influenced by other people - 4 aspects of definition explained below
- (1) Influenced by other people
ostudy of how other people affect us
ocommon experiences show that other people can influence us without having to be physically
present (e.g. preparing for date or interview)
oas long as someone is being affected in any way by other people (even imagined presence or
actions), situation is relevant to social psychology!
- (2) Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviours
ointerested in how other people affect every aspect of individual lives
othoughts = cognitions, feelings = affect, and behaviours
oUltimate goal of science: understand why various kinds of actions toward other people occur
or do not occur (conformity, aggression, discrimination, etc…)
- (3) Individuals’ Perspective
otake perspective of individuals in social setting (rather than looking at objective features of
situation)
onecessary to look at world through actor’s eyes and their perceptions of situation rather than
objective features
osocial construals: individuals’ perception of a situation ; how they construe (perceive) the
situation
- (4) Scientific Study
ocollect data to test predictions
How Other People Affect Us
- key element of social psych: investigating how individuals are influenced by other people
- Other people affect how we interpret events
oOne main reason individuals fail to intervene is b/c they rely on other people to interpret event
- Other people affect how we feel about ourselves
oSocial comparison: process of comparing ourselves to other people to make judgements
about self
oSeeing very attractive people made participants feel worse about themselves (helps us
understand media exposure to physically attractive models)
- Other people affect how we behave
oLook at bystander intervention studies
oPresence of other people can elicit very diff. beh. than would have occurred individually
oReason for mob aggression: feelings of anonymity – feel unidentifiable when immersed in
large group
Deindividuation – feeling that people are unaccountable for their actions when in
large group
oAs lynchers became more numerous relative to victims, viciousness increased (breakdown of
normal inhibitory self control)
Beware!
- Social psychology is not just common sense
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