Social Psychology PS1206. Dr. Jean Quigley Hilary term 2009 Tues 1-2 Arts 1008; Fri 1-2 Arts 2043. Course Outline. Social psychology as a discipline: 1. Defining Social Psychology 2. A short history of Social Psychology 3. Evidence: Methods of Enquiry Evaluating our social world:
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Social Psychology PS1206
Dr. Jean Quigley
Hilary term 2009
Tues 1-2 Arts 1008; Fri 1-2 Arts 2043
Social psychology as a discipline:
1. Defining Social Psychology
2. A short history of Social Psychology
3. Evidence: Methods of Enquiry
Evaluating our social world:
4. The concept of Attitude
5. Attitude Change
Social thinking - Perceiving people and events:
6. Constructing the Self
7. Social Perception and Attribution
8. Social Cognition
Social influence - Understanding our place within the group:
9. Social Influence
10. Social Interaction
11. Intergroup Relations - Group Processes
Interacting with others:
12. Aggression & Altruism
13. Interpersonal Attraction
14. Prejudice and Out-Group Perception
Broader perspectives in social psychology:
15. Language & Discourse in Social Psychology
16. Evolutionary Social Psychology
17. A Cross Cultural Perspective on Social Psychology
18. Using Social Psychology
For classical readings:
For detailed overviews of main topics:
Advanced/Critical Readings [Reference]:
Understand social behaviour in terms of
PSYCHOLOGY: social context is an additional variable that modifies individual psychology but is not itself formative
SOCIOLOGY: begins with the nature of social context – how does this construct the person? (George Herbert Mead, Lev Vygotsky)
Is social psychology what social psychologists do?
Core disagreements about nature of knowledge; understandings of the individual; the role of science (epistemology)
With few exceptions, social psychologists regard their discipline as an attempt to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behaviour of individuals is influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others.
The term “implied presence” refers to the many activities the individual carries out because of their position (role) in a complex social structure and because of their membership in a cultural group.
We live out our lives embedded within a socially constructed view of reality.
Muzar Sherif (1936) - the autokinetic effect, the tendency for a stationary point of light viewed in a dark room to appear to be moving.
The particular social situations we find ourselves in have a great impact on our behavior.
Three main lines of research:
i) Solomon Asch and others (e.g., Asch, 1956) line experiments.
ii) Stanley Milgram’s (1974) obedience research.
iii) The Stanford Prison Experiment (Haney, Banks & Zimbardo, 1973).
We are not only often in error when judging why others behave they way they do, but in judging the causes of our own behavior as well.
Although people can readily explain why they believe, feel, and do the things they do, their explanations are often wrong.
Important kinds of influences are overlooked when people try to understand their beliefs, feelings, & actions
Subtle situational factors in the environment exert a powerful influence on us without our conscious awareness
External cues bring particular thoughts and actions previously stored in our minds from past experience closer to consciousness, and by so doing, increase their effects on our beliefs, feelings, and actions (Schachter & Singer 1962)
Unconscious motivations are also highly influential
(e.g., work on cognitive dissonance, reactance, self-serving biases, goal automaticity, & terror management)
A large amount of what we believe, feel, and do is determined by our desires to sustain positive and meaningful views of ourselves, those individuals, groups, and concepts we care about, and the world around us.
These motives often cloud our thinking and bias our judgments, thereby reducing the accuracy of our views of ourselves and others and reducing the effectiveness of our actions.
Social psychology investigates why people allow their desires for positive and meaningful views of themselves and the world to bias them in various ways and thereby interfere with accurate perceptions and effective actions.
We live out our lives within a culturally constructed view of reality,
prone to influence by the prevailing social milieu,
with limited insight into why we think, feel, and behave the way we do;
we are heavily influenced by cues in our environment and motives of which we are often unaware,
and we are driven to defend our beliefs and strive for significance by unconscious fears of vulnerability and mortality.