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C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology. Welcome!. C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology. 2-hour lectures once per week in both semesters Wednesdays 9am-11am Biology A150 (here!) Semester 1: Social psychology Semester 2: Developmental psychology Handouts, glossaries

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c82sad social and developmental psychology2
C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology
  • 2-hour lectures once per week in both semesters
  • Wednesdays 9am-11am Biology A150 (here!)
  • Semester 1: Social psychology
  • Semester 2: Developmental psychology
  • Handouts, glossaries
  • Module resources can be found at www.martinhagger.com
social psychology semester 1
Social Psychology (Semester 1)
  • Course text

Hogg, M.A. & Vaughan, G.M. (2007). Social Psychology (5th Ed.).

Harlow: Prentice Hall

Important: Look at the chapter headings.

what is social psychology
What is Social Psychology?
  • Numerous definitions
    • Why? Different strands - based on methods, assumptions and questions raised
    • Concerned predominantly with:
      • Understanding how we interact/communicate
      • Understanding how our social environment shapes our cognitions and judgements/choices
      • Understanding human interaction
    • Different approaches to posing and answering questions that arise

What is Social Psychology?

“The scientific investigation of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others”

Allport (1935)

two strands of social psychology
Two strands of social psychology


c.f. Mr. Spock

c.f. Hercules Poirot


Social Psychology


Social Psychology


Social constructionist


Logical Empiricism


Social Cognition



Language and Culture


e.g. Discourse analysis



e.g. Experimental



Popper (1968)

Gergen (1973)

Shotter (1975)


social psychology
Social Psychology

Some Important Considerations and Assumptions

  • Social psychologists don’t study animals
social psychology8
Social Psychology

Some Important Considerations and Assumptions

  • People don’t behave in a social ‘vacuum’
  • The individual is the unit of analysis
  • Other people, social contexts, the groups we belong to all affect our decisions and behaviour in social contexts
  • Experimental psychologists use ingenious experiments to look at social phenomena
  • Social psychologists don’t study animals
social psychology9
Social Psychology

Some Important Considerations and Assumptions

  • Observable behavior
  • Non-observable phenomena: thoughts opinions, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, goals etc.
  • What makes social psychology social is that it deals with real or implied presence
social psychology10
Social Psychology

Some Important Considerations and Assumptions


We ‘think’ with ‘words’

Most of us don’t

drop litter

social psychology and questions
Social Psychology and Questions?
  • What are the questions that social psychology intends to answer?
    • Examples:
      • How do we make sense of our decisions and expectations in the social world?
      • How do the choices we make influence our behaviour?
      • What effects do our decisions have on others and how do others decisions effect us?
      • How does our membership of a group influence the way we behave?
topics of social psychology
Topics of Social Psychology

Conformity Discrimination

Persuasion Stereotyping

Power Crowd behaviour

Group norms Group identification

Social influence Social conflict/harmony

Obedience Social change

Prejudice Decision making

Intergroup relations Leadership

Communication Attitudes

Impression management Self-presentation

Social facilitation Attraction and friendship

social psychology13
Social Psychology

Methodological Issues

  • Scientific methods
  • Hypotheses formed on the basis of knowledge, assumptions and causal or systematic observation
  • E.g. hypothesize that a dancer performs better before an audience than alone
  • Experimental design
social psychology14
Social Psychology

Methodological Issues

  • Experimental methods in laboratory
  • Careful control of independent variables and its effect on a dependent variable
  • Example 1: Deci and Ryan’s (1985) experiments on intrinsic motivation
  • Aimed to examine effects of rewards on intrinsic motivation
social psychology15
Social Psychology

Methodological Issues

  • Dependent variables: Amount of time spent on puzzle in free choice paradigm and enjoyment
  • Uses one-way mirror room to observe participants
  • Deci and Ryan’s (1985) experiments on intrinsic motivation
  • Effects of rewards on puzzle solving
  • Independent variable: Reward, no-reward conditions
social psychology18
Social Psychology

Methodological Issues

  • Example 2: Bandura et al.’s (1961) Bobo Doll


  • Independent variable: Children exposed to two ‘models’ of behaviour =
    • aggressive ‘model’ (e.g. adults punched, kicked, hit doll, tossed it in the air, while saying “Hit him down”, “Sock him in the nose” etc.)
    • nonaggressive adult model (both verbal and physical)
  • Dependent variable: Amount of aggressive actions children performed when freely interacting with the Bobo Doll
bobo doll experiment
Bobo Doll Experiment


  • Bandura et al. (1961): Children watched an adult playing with ‘Bobo doll’ (5-foot inflated plastic doll).

Bobo Doll Experiment


Source: Bandura & Walter (1963)

social psychology21
Social Psychology

Methodological issues

  • Experimental methods in field
  • Naturalistic settings outside laboratory
  • Field experiments have high external validity
  • Less control over extraneous variables
  • More difficult to obtain subjective measures (usually relies on observed behaviour)
social psychology22
Social Psychology

Field Experiment

  • Dutton & Aron (1974) examined the mis-interpretation of arousal according to environmental feedback
  • Method: Male participants crossed either
      • a wobbly suspension bridge high over a canyon = high anxiety


      • or a solid bridge only 10 feet above a brook =low anxiety
  • As each participant crossed the bridge, an attractive female research assistant approached and
      • administered questionnaire about some ambiguous pictures of people
      • gave him her phone number in case he had questions about the study

Social Psychology

Field Experiment

  • Dutton & Aron (1974) Results: Participants on the suspension bridge found more sexual themes in pictures and were also much more likely to call the woman
  • Conclusion: The arousal that occurred on the wobbly suspension bridge was fear, but participants misattributed it to sexual arousal because of the presence of the attractive research assistant

Social Psychology

Methodological issues

  • Nonexperimental methods
  • Case studies
    • In-depth analysis of a single case
    • Interviews, questionnaires, behavior observation
    • Rich data but less generalizable to population
  • Survey research and field studies
    • Questionnaire studies and correlations between constructs
    • Large samples of respondents looks at group responses
    • Generalizable, but cannot infer causality because data is CORRELATIONAL
    • Doesn’t involve CHANGING variables/conditions of people

Social Psychology


  • Behaviourism
  • Neo-behaviourists (e.g., Bandura) need to evoke unobservable constructs to explain behaviour
  • E.g. Social Modelling imitation of behaviour and shaping by vicarious learning
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Representations and cognitive consistency, E.g. Lewin’s (1951) Field theory representations of social environment affect motivation
  • Aronson (1984), Festinger and Carlsmith – cognitive dissonance (arousal) evoked attitude change

Social Psychology


  • Evolutionary social psychology
  • Important behavioural tendencies evoked a survival benefit and therefore became part of human genetic makeup
  • More recently in the form of sexual selection e.g. fitness indicator theory, sensory bias theory
  • Personality
  • Stable, generalized, heritable traits that influence behaviour in a number of contexts
  • Little evidence for true heritable traits
  • Collectivist theories: people behave according to social context

Social Psychology


  • Social cognition
  • Information processing is central to the theory
  • Examines the effects of social information on decision making and behaviour
  • Assumes all individuals process information in the same manner