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Western University
Sociology 2233
Brendan Murphy

CH. 1 – Intro to Soc Psych What is Social Psychology? Definition: Scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people -Social influence, one person tries to change another person’s bhvr through persuasion -Ex. Election/advertising campaigns, particular brand of toothpaste -Peer pressure -Deliberate attempts -Mere presence (of family, friends) influences us  decisions that would make them proud of us Social psychologists interested in studying how and why our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are shaped by the entire social environment. Sociology: provides general laws and theories about societies, not individuals The Power of Social Interpretation Construal: way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world -Soc psych concerned w/ how ppl are influenced by this and their social world Ex. Final verdict depends on how each jury construes evidence presented (e.g., despite DNA evidence, O.J. Simpson not guilty vs Winnipeg murder: DNA evidence contaminated but guilty) Role of Construal in Conflict Negotiations Naïve realism: conviction all of us have that we perceive things ―as they really are‖ - Assume other reasonable people see things same way we do Some Alternative Ways of Understanding Social Influence Folk Wisdom: hypnotism, drugs as explanation -Tend to disagree with each other Ex. Birds of a feather flock together and opposites attract Philosophy: provides good foundation for scientific study Benedict Spinoza – Dutch philosopher -If we love someone we formerly hated, that love will be greater than I had had not preceded it Hypothesis: educated guess about specific situations under which one outcome or the other would occur Social Psychology Compared with Sociology -Rooted in study of individuals -Emphasis on processes in the heart and mind -Level of analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation Goal of social psychology: -To identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or culture -Laws governing relationship btwn two variables Soc psych: studies the psychological processes people have in common with one another that make them susceptible to social influence -Interested in situational and societal influences on behaviour with focus on the psychological makeup of individuals that renders them susceptible to social influence CH. 1 – Intro to Soc Psych Compared with Personality Psychology Individual differences: aspects of people’s personalities that make different from other people -Used when trying to explain social bhvr Personality psych: Studies the characteristics that make individuals unique and different from one another -Emphasis on the psychology of the individual but rather than focusing on what makes people diff from one another, emphasizes the psychological processes shared by most people that make them susceptible to social influence The Power of Social Influence Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE): tendency to overestimate extent to which people’s behaviour stems from internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate role of situational factors -Over judgmental tendency, we often underestimate the power of social influence Experiment: -Four conditions -Participants in cooperative and competitive category -Wall street game and community game Results: more ―competitive‖ people chose cooperative strategy in community game What this means… social influence is strong -Name of game conveyed strong social norms abt what kind of bhvr would be appropriate in this situation -Participants’ personality made no measurable differences Subjectivity of the Social Situation -Important to look at situations from viewpoint of the people in it to see how they construe the world around them Gestalt Psychology: stresses the importance of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in people’s minds (gestalt or whole), rather than the objective physical attributes of the object -Whole is different from the sum of it’s parts Kurt Lewin: founding father of modern experimental social psychology Gestalt psych applied to soc psych: -How ppl pe
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