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Week 1: Introduction to Social Psychology

Week 1: Introduction to Social Psychology

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Week 1: Introduction to Social Psychology

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  1. Week 1: Introduction to Social Psychology • Course outline and requirements • What is social psychology? • Examples of social psychological phenomena • Definitions; Key features • Compared to other scientific disciplines •  Important themes •  Goals for the course • Doing social psychology • Hypotheses and variables • Methods for testing hypotheses • Correlational research •  Experimental research • Social Psychology pre-test • Did you know it all along? • The common sense criticism • Problems with this criticism

  2. Companion Web Site • www.pearsoned.ca/baron4_ca • Contains: • Chapter objectives • Essay questions • Multiple choice questions • Destinations (links)

  3. Examples of Social Psychological Phenomena 1. Kitty Genovese murder • the bystander effect 2. Assigning responsibility for joint projects • the egocentric bias 3. Closing the sale • compliance strategies used by professionals

  4. Textbook Definitions of Social Psychology • 1. The scientific study of social behavior • 2. The attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others (Allport, 1935). • 3. Focuses on the ways in which individuals are affected by the persons around them, and the basic cognitive processes that determine people’s social behavior and feelings. • 4. The scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior and thought in social situations......seeks to understand how we think about and interact with others (Baron, Byrne, & Watson, 2000).

  5. Key Features of Definitions • 1. Social behavior and thought • 2. Identifying causes • 3. Role of cognitive processes • 4. Scientific method **The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.**

  6. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: COURSE OUTLINE • Introduction to Social Psychology • 1. Introduction • Social Thinking • 2. Attitudes and behavior • 3. Social perception; attribution • 4. Social cognition • 5. The self and identity

  7. Social Influence • 6. Group processes • 7. Conformity and obedience • 8. Compliance • Social Relations • 9. Prejudice: disliking others • 10. Aggression: hurting others • 11. Prosocial behavior: helping others • 12. Relationships: liking and lovingothers

  8. Social Psychology in the Context of Other Disciplines • 1. Sociology • 2. Personality psychology • 3. Levels of analysis

  9. Important Themes in Social Psychology • 1. The power of the situation • 2. The subjective “construction” of reality • the impact of a situation depends upon personal and subjective meaning • 3. Interplay of motivational and cognitive factors • motivational – wishes, desires, hopes • cognitive – the way our minds work • 4. Applicable to important social issues

  10. Goals of the course • 1. Introduction to a knowledge base • 2. Introduction to a perspective • a way of thinking about social behavior • 3. Social behavior can be explored in a systematic, scientific manner • 4. Reasons for study: • practical implications • personal interest

  11. Hypotheses and variables • Hypothesis: • Statement about how two or more variables are thought to relate to one another • In a causal hypothesis, a statement about how one variable is expected to affect a second variable • E.g., Increases in exposure to media violence leads to increases in aggression • Independent Variable: • The presumed cause (in a causal hypothesis) • Dependent Variable: • The presumed effect (in a causal hypothesis)

  12. Experimental vs. Correlational Studies ExperimentalCorrelational Independent Variable: Manipulated Measured Dependent Variable: Measured Measured

  13. Correlational Research • can reveal whether changes on one variable co-occur with changes on a second variable • e.g., correlational study relating class attendance to G.P.A. • Strength of relationship indexed by the Pearson correlation coefficient (r = -1.0 to r = 1.0)

  14. limitation: Can’t reveal whether changes on one variable cause changes on the second variable

  15. Correlations and Cause • The three possible causal interpretations: • 1. Causation X  Y • 2. Reverse Causation Y  X • 3. Third Variable Y Z X

  16. Experimental Research • can reveal whether changes on one variable (the IV) lead to changes changes on a second variable (the DV) • can identify cause and effect • 2 key features: 1. Manipulation of IV 2. Random assignment to conditions

  17. Social Psychology and Common Sense • The “common sense” criticism • e.g., “day after day social scientists go into the world and discover that people’s behavior is pretty much what you’d expect” • e.g., Historians’ criticisms of social scientists’ studies of WWII soldiers.

  18. Problems with the common-sense criticism: • 1. Common wisdom is unclear, ambiguous, contradictory • 2. Common wisdom is often inaccurate • 3. Hindsight bias (I-knew-it-all-along effect)

  19. Experiment Demonstrating the Hindsight Effect (Fischhoff, 1975) • Participants were presented with factual questions such as: Which magazine had the highest circulation in 1970? Time ____ Playboy ____ • Condition 1 – before told answer, estimate the likelihood that you have answered the question correctly • Condition 2 – after told answer, estimate the likelihood that you would have answered correctly if you had not been told the answer.