Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology
-Social psychology: is a science that studies the influences of our situations with
special attention to how we view and affect one another. It is the scientific study of
how people think about, influence and relate to one another.
- Social psychologists study attitudes and beliefs, conformity and independence,
love and hate.
Major themes in social psychology:
1. Social thinking: how we perceive others and ourselves; what we believe;
judgements we make; our attitudes.
- we construct our social reality; our social intuitions are powerful, sometimes
2. Social influence: culture and biology; pressures to conform; persuasion; groups of
- social influences shape behaviour; dispositions shape behaviour.
3. Social relations: helping; aggression; prejudice; attraction and intimacy.
- social behaviour is also biological behaviour; relating to others is a basic need.
-Dual processing: thinking, memory, and attitudes all operate on two levels- one
conscious and deliberate, the other unconscious and automatic. We know more than
we know we know.
- our inner attitudes and personality dispositions also affect our behaviour. Facing
the same situation, different people may react differently. Social behaviour is also
biological and socially rooted.
-Social neuroscience: an integration of biological and social perspectives that
explores the neural and psychological bases of social and emotional behaviours.
- we are bio-psycho-social organisms. To understand social behaviour, we must
consider both under the skin and between skin influences. Mind and body are one
grand system. - relating to others is a basic need. Our relationships with others form the basis of
-Culture: the enduring behaviours, ideas, attitudes, traditions, products, and
institutions, shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation
to the next.
The subjective aspects of science:
- Because scholars at work in any given area often share a common viewpoint or
comes from the same culture, their assumptions may go unchallenged. What we
take for granted-the shared beliefs that European social psychologists call our:
-Social representations: socially shared beliefs, widely held ideas and values,
including assumptions and cultural ideologies, our social representations help us
make sense of our world. These are our most important but often most unexamined
- Naturalistic fallacy: the error of defining what is good in terms of what is
observable. For example: whats typical is normal; whats normal is good.
- values lie hidden within our cultural definitions of mental health, our psychological
advice for living, our concepts, and our psychological labels.
-Hindsight bias: as called the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon is pervasive. It is the
tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, one’s ability to have foreseen
how something turned out.
- Theory: is an integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events.
Theories are a scientific shorthand. Theories are ideas that summarize and explain
facts. Theories not only summarize but they also imply testable predictions called,
-hypothesis: a testable proposition that described a relationship that may exist
1. Hypotheses allow us to test the theory on which they are based. By making
specific predictions, a theory puts its money where its mouth is.
2. Predictions give direction to research. Any scientific field will mature more
rapidly if its researchers have a sense of direction. Theoretical predictions suggest
new areas for research; they send investigators looking for things they might never
have thought of.
3. The predictive feature of good theories can also make them practical. -Operationalization: translating variables that are described at the theoretical level
into the specific variables that you are going to observe.
-Two important measures:
1. Reliability- consistency and observable.
2. Validity-sensitivity and consistency
- A good theory:
1. Effectively summarizes a wide range of observations
2. Makes clear predictions that we can use (a) confirm or modify the theory (b)
generate new exploration (c) suggest practical application.
- Research can occur in the lab or in the field:
- Field research: research done in natural, real-life settings outside the lab