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Chapter 1

Chapter One

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Louisiana State University
PSYC 2040

1Chapter OneThe Field of Social PsychologyHow We Think About and Interact with OthersSocial psychology the scientific study of the nature and causes of individual behavior and thought in social situationsPsychology is a scienceMost people think of it as a applied psychologya shrink laying down on a couch thinking about problemsThis is half of it but there is another field of basicresearch psychologyWe do research and use the same scientific method used in biology chemistry and physicsThe difference is that we are dealing with humans who have a mind of their own and can be unpredictableCore valuesAccuracy we want an accurate error free representation of our datawe want to measure and define things and specifically as possible and document our observationsObjectivity we have biases as humans that may influence our perceptionsObserver bias we are looking at the same thing but do we perceive it and interpret it the same way He gives SaintsCowboys example they interpreted the play differently because they wanted different teams to winYour biases are determined by past experiencesCheating boyfriend example theyre acting funny so you think theyre cheating but they could be planning you a surprise partySkepticism we as scientists are skepticalWe should not take things at face value without dataIf you perform an experiment and draw a conclusion is the conclusion rightWe hope soIf we went through the experimental process it should be correct but even if everything was correct there could be an incorrect interpretationThis is why we replicate our findingsretest our hypothesesScience is self correcting in that if I do an experiment and my conclusion is A and you do an experiment and your conclusion is B we dont know who is correct so we let someone else do the experiment againWe cannot prove anything in science we just find support or lack of support for itOpenmindedness just because you put 30 years into a theory and have a lot of data supporting it this does not mean your theory is correct or completeIf someone does an experiment that disproves part of your theory you modify your theory to include their informationsometimes things we think are common sense are not example you are getting raped do you want one person to watch or thirty you would think thirty but if one person sees they feel more responsiblethe thirty people suffer from diffusion of responsibilitybystander effect and think someone else will be calling the police so it is important to test even common viewsCommon Sense Statements dont need to study theseOut of sight out of mindBirds of a feather flock togetherLook before you leapNever too old to learnAbsence makes the heart grow fonderOpposites attractHe who hesitates is lostYou cant teach an old dog new tricksThese are contradictory the first four contradict the second four They all depend on what you observe to which one you use to explain your feelingsAggressionAre males or females more aggressiveMales are more hostile aggressive females are more relationship aggressive Aggression studied hostile aggression in crosscultural settingThere is something biologically different in males and females that causes them to be more aggressive testosteroneHowever the levels of aggression depends on culture the violence is higher in Nepal and progressively declines
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