Social Psych Study Notes:
• What is social psychology?
o The scientific study of the way in which peoples thoughts, feelings and
behaviours are influenced by real, or imagined presence of others.
o Social influence: we are all influenced by other people
This extends beyond bahaviour, it includes thoughts, feelings and
• Construal: the way in which people perceive and interpret the social world
o Largely shaped by 2 basic human motives
The need to be accurate
The need to feel good about ourselves (see later)
• Social psychology interested in individuals, emphasis on what’s going on in
their hearts and minds.
o Level of analysis: the individual within a social situation.
o Goal of SP: identify universal properties of human nature that make
everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or
o explanations of social influence through carefully controlled experiments
• Social interpretation: to understand social influence, we need to understand how
people perceive and interpret the social world, not understand the world
• Individual differences contribute significantly to how people will react (social
behavior) to certain situations.
o Individual behaviour is powerfully influenced by the social environment
• Social psychologists look at; personality traits and social influence
• Fundamental attribution error: explaining bahaviour in terms of personality traits,
but underestimating the power of social influence
o When we underestimate the power of social influence, there is a feeling of