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Chapter 1-12

Social Psychology Test Notes (Chapters 1-12)

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PSYC 2120
Kerry Kawakami

Chapter 118102011 112300What is Social PsychologySocial PsychologyThe scientific study of the way in which peoples thoughts feelings and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other peopleEveryone is influenced by others social influenceBroader than simply persuasionattempts by one individual to change another persons behavior direct social influenceBeyond behavior also includes our thoughts and feelings as well as our overt actsOften influenced merely by the presence of othersOften influenced even when not in the physical presence of other people ie carry our parents teachers friends etc around with usImportance of Affect Behavior and CognitionsSocial InterpretationConstrualthe way in which people perceive comprehend and interpret the social worldSocial psychology not concerned so much with social situations rather with how people are influenced by their interpretation construal of their social environmentMore important to understand how people perceive comprehend and interpret the social world rather than understand the objective properties of itExperimentally based science that tests its assumptions guesses and ideas about human behavior empirically and systematicallyFolk wisdomcommon senseoHowever relying on this causes problemsthey disagree with one anotheroExample birds of a feather flock togetherlike people who share similar backgrounds and interests but opposites attractwere attracted to people with backgrounds and interests that differEducated guestshypothesesSocial psychologist performs experiments to test hypotheses about the nature of the social worldSocial Psychology vs SociologySocial psychology is a branch of psychology and is thus rooted in an interest in individual human beings with an emphasis on the psychological processes going on in their hearts and mindsSociology is more concerned with broad societal factors that influence events in a given society focus on social class social structure and social institutionsSociology focuses on society at large where social psychology focuses on the psychology of the individualThe goal of social psychology is to identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence regardless of social class or cultureSociology examines groups in society social psychology examines the individualSocial psychology shares with sociology an interest in situational and societal influences on behavior but focuses more on the psychological makeup of individuals that renders them susceptible to social influenceSocial Psychology vs Personality PsychologyWhen trying to find explanations of social behavior personality psychology focuses generally on individual differences the aspects of peoples personalities that make them different from other peopleSocial psychologists are convinced that explaining behavior primarily in terms of personality factors ignores a powerful role played by social influencePersonality psychology examines individuals and their differences social psychology examines people in generalSocial psychology shares with personality psychology an emphasis on the psychology of the individual but rather than focusing on what makes people different from one another it emphasizes the psychological processes shared by most people that make them susceptible to social influenceCognitive Psychology examines nonsocietal aspects social psychology is socialClinical Psychology examines nonnormal populations social psychology focuses on normal populationsThe Power of Social InfluenceWhen trying to convince people that their behavior is influenced greatly by the social environment they come across a barrier known as fundamental attribution error the tendency to overestimate the extent to which peoples behavior stems from internal dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of situational factorstendency to explain peoples behavior in terms of personality traits thereby underestimating the power of social influenceUnderestimating the Power of Social InfluenceBy failing to appreciate fully the power of the situation we tend to oversimplify complex situations oversimplification decreases our understanding of the causes of a great deal of human behavior and can lead us to blame the victim in situations where the individual was overpowered by social forces too difficult for most of us to resistThe Subjectivity of the Social SituationBehaviorismoA school of psychology maintaining that to understand human behavior one need only consider the reinforcing properties of the environment how positive and negative events I the environment are associated with specific behaviorsoWatson and Skinner suggested that all behavior could be understood by examining the rewards and punishments in the organisms environment and that there was no need to study such subjective states as thinking and feelingBehaviorists chose not to deal with issues such as cognition thinking and feeling because they considered these concepts too vague and mentalistic and not sufficiently anchored to observable behaviorGestalt PsychologyoSchool of psychology stressing the importance of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in peoples minds the gestalt or whole rather than the objective physical attributes of the object
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