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Social Psychology. Chapter 1- Introduction to Social Psychology. A Brief History. Early Social Psychological Experiments Triplett (1897): Bicyclists and “nervous energy” Winding fishing reels- alone vs. side by side “Social Facilitation” Ringelmann (1880’s):

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social psychology

Social Psychology

Chapter 1-

Introduction to Social Psychology

a brief history
A Brief History
  • Early Social Psychological Experiments
    • Triplett (1897): Bicyclists and “nervous energy”
      • Winding fishing reels- alone vs. side by side
      • “Social Facilitation”
    • Ringelmann (1880’s):
      • Individual effort in “Tug of War” competitions- alone vs. part of a group
      • “Social Loafing”
a brief history continued
A Brief History (continued)
  • 1908- First books published with the title Social Psychology
    • Edward Ross (sociologist)
    • William McDougall (psychologist)
  • 1924- First Social Psychology textbook (Floyd Allport)
  • Early 20th Century Foundational Ideas
    • Attitudes as an essential concept (Gordon Allport)
    • Behavior = Person + Situation (Kurt Lewin)
a brief history continued4
A Brief History (continued)
  • World War II and its aftermath (1940s-50’s)
    • Attitudes & Persuasion (Carl Houvland)
    • Attitudes & Behavioral Consistency (Festinger)
  • 1960s
    • The Rise of the “Self”and Self-Esteem
    • The Situationist Challenge
  • Late 1970s
    • The cognitive revolution
    • Social Cognition movement
  • 1980s
    • Resurgence of research on group conflict
    • Race and Ethnicity, Prejudice and Stereotyping
what is social psychology
“Seinfeld Studies”

A story about “nothingness”

Emphasizes Normative Psychological Functioning

What is Social Psychology?
what is social psychology cont d
What is Social Psychology? (cont’d)
  • Formal Definitions
    • The study of how individuals thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others, either “real” or “imagined” (Gordon Allport)
    • The study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. (David Myers- your text author)

1. Social Thinking

2. Social Influence

3. Social Relations

perspectives on research in social psychology
Perspectives on Research in Social Psychology
  • Traditionally Divided into 3 Broad Topic Areas

1. Social Thinking (e.g., self & attribution processes, self-concept)

2. Social Influence (e.g., stereotyping & prejudice, conformity)

3. Social Relations (e.g., attraction & close relationships)

  • Distinguishing among the topic areas:
    • Emphasis on factors/processes internal to the individual or the broader social context
      • Internal Factors (The Person)
      • External Factors (The Situation)
    • Levels of Analysis
      • Intrapersonal Level (Social Thinking)
      • Intergroup Level (Social Influence)
      • Interpersonal Level (Social Relations)
perspectives on research in social psychology cont d
Perspectives on Research in Social Psychology (cont’d)
  • The A,B,C’s of Psychological Functioning:
    • Affect (emotions, moods, motives, attitudes, etc.)
    • Behavior (verbal & nonverbal physical actions)
    • Cognition (mental activities- e.g., thoughts, focus of attention and awareness, memory functioning)
a b c connections
A, B, C Connections


perspectives on research in social psychology cont d10
Perspectives on Research in Social Psychology (cont’d)
  • The A, B, C’s reflect parts of a dynamic system that are intimately linked with one another other.
  • Often looks at specific links in A,B,C relationships
    • Causal Influences (A  B)
    • Reciprocal Influences (A ↔ B)




perspectives on research in social psychology12
Perspectives on Research in Social Psychology
  • Intertwines 2 psychological perspectives
    • Personality
    • Social Psychology
  • Research Journals
    • Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

    • Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin
  • Organizations
    • Social Psychology Network***

    • The Society for Personality & Social Psychology

    • The Society of Experimental Social Psychology

what are social psychology s big lessons
We construct our social reality

Our social intuitions are often powerful but sometimes perilous

Social influences shape our behavior

Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape behavior

Social behavior is also biological behavior

Social psychology principles are applicable to everyday life and other disciplines

What Are Social Psychology’s Big Lessons?
is social psychology just common sense
Is Social Psychology Just “Common Sense”?
  • Hindsight bias
    • The tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, one’s ability to have foreseen it
    • the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon
two general categories of studies in social psychological research
Two General Categories of Studies in Social Psychological Research
  • Correlational
    • Detecting Natural Associations
    • Observational Studies
      • Naturalistic
      • Laboratory
    • Surveys
      • Questionnaires
      • Interviews
  • Concerns of Correlational designs
      • Question wording
      • Third variables
      • Social Desirability

© David Young-Wolff / PhotoEdit

understanding correlations
Understanding Correlations
  • Relays 2 vital pieces of information
    • The strength, size, or magnitude of association between two variables
      • Scores can range anywhere from 0 to ± 1
      • Zero Relationships (r = .00 or is ~ .00) indicate that the two variables are unrelated, random, or have a non-systematic relationship.
      • The higher the value of r (whether it is + or -) the stronger the relationship is.
    • The nature, type, direction of the relationship between two variables
      • Positive Correlations- Scores tend to both increase and decrease in harmony with one another (e.g., as values of X increase so to do Y values)
      • Negative Correlations- Scores tend to reflect opposite positions (e.g., as X values increase Y values decrease)
two general categories of studies in social psychological research20
Two General Categories of Studies in Social Psychological Research
  • Experimental Designs
    • To determine causation
        • Control
        • Random Assignment
    • Concerns:
        • Placebo Effects
        • Demand Characteristics
    • Solutions
        • Single and double-blind procedures
things to consider in social psychological research




Representative sample

Random sample

Random Assignment

Blind Procedures

Independent variable

Dependent variable


Placebo Effects

Third variables




Things to Consider in Social Psychological Research