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Psychology (4,929)
Chapter 1

Chapter 1

4 Pages

Course Code
Psychology 2720A/B
Richard Sorrentino

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Psych 2720A Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology What is Social Psychology? • social = involving other people The Science of Social Behaviour • social psychology = science of social behaviour • According to Gordon Allport, social psychology is the scientific study of how individualsʼ thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by people • the definition has 4 key aspects: • influenced by other people • thoughts, feelings, and behaviours • individualsʼ perspective • scientific study • Influenced by other people • study of how other people affect us • ie. research on aggression, altruism, intergroup relations, and interpersonal attraction • other people can influence us without having to be physically present • Thoughts, feelings, and behaviours • social psychologists study on how we store and use information, and examine peopleʼs feelings and emotions such as prejudice against certain groups • ultimate goal is to understand as to why various kinds of actions toward other people occur o do not occur (conformity, aggression, helping, and discrimination) • Individualʼs Perspective • whatever one believes to be the other personʼs motive will determine on how one behaves • social psychologists are interested on the subjective perspective of things • a terms that is often used to refer to individualsʼ perceptions of a situation is social constructs - how individuals personally interpret or perceive a social situation • even when studying groups, social psychologists still focus on the individual members of that group • Scientific Study • various methodologies that social psychologists use to test theories and predictions How Other People Affect Us • the decisions we make as individuals are still directly or indirectly influenced by others • how we interpret events, how we feel about ourselves, and how we behave are all socially influenced • Other People Affect How We Interpret Events • the analysis of a situation or an event that requires immediate attention is influenced by the people around us • most of the time, individuals fail to intervene because they rely on other people to interpret the situation • ie. a man lying on the ground who looks sick - people are passing by and no one is stopping to help the man - rationale is that since no one is helping this man, then this does not seem like an emergency situation • Other People Affect How We Feel About Ourselves • when other people or ourselves make judgements about ourselves, this is all based on comparisons with other people • social comparison: the process of comparing ourselves to other people to make judgments about the self • ie. attractive men and women in the media affect the way we feel about our appearance • Other People Affect How We Behave • just by even the presence of certain people can affect the way you behave • ie. mob aggression •one explanation for this focuses on the feelings of anonymity •deindividuation: feeling that people are unaccountable for their actions when in a large group Beware! • Social Psychology is Not Just Common Sense • some of social psychology is true and consistent with folk wisdom • Chinese proverb - group settings tend to dilute feelings of personal responsibility • Spanish proverb - flattery makes friends, whereas truth makes enemies • social psychology teaches that sometimes, the absence of a reward produces the greatest change in attitude and behaviour • if rewards are used too much, they can reduce a personʼs inte
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