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15 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
What Is Social Psychology?
Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people.

Social Psychology, like any science, involves:

Description: Careful and reliable observation.

Explanation: Development of theories that connect and organize observation.
The Sociocultural Perspective
What drives social behavior?

Forces in larger social groups such as:

norms within cultural groups
social class differences

Social norms: rules and expectations for appropriate social behavior.

Culture: the beliefs, customs, habits, and language shared by the people living in a particular time and place.
The Evolutionary Perspective
What drives social behavior?

Genetic predispositions inherited from our ancestors.
(such as)

tendency to automatically recognize an angry face
tendency for mothers to feel protective of their children
Natural selection: The assumption that animals that have characteristics that help them survive and reproduce will pass those characteristics on to their offspring.

Adaptations: Characteristics that are well designed for survival and reproduction in a particular environment.
The Social Learning Perspective
What drives social behavior?

Classically conditioned preferences
(such as)

feeling of fear at sight of person who hit you
Habits rewarded by other people
(such as)

boy who fights frequently after father praised him for winning fight with neighborhood bully.
Imitating the rewarded behavior of others
(such as)

buying a gun after seeing a movie in which the hero wins true love after shooting half the people in his girlfriend’s neighborhood.
The Social Cognitive Perspective
What drives social behavior?

What we pay attention to

How we interpret and judge social situations

What we retrieve from memory
(such as)

People notice the behaviors of group members who are in a minority, and exaggerate the significance of the things those noticeable individuals do.
Social Behavior Is Goal Oriented
At the surface level, we have many day-to-day goals.

Go shopping
Study for a test
Get a date for Saturday night.
At the broadest level, we can categorize social goals into fundamental motives-

To establish social ties
To understand ourselves and others
To gain and maintain status
To defend ourselves and those we value
To attract and retain mates
Motives, Goals, and Social Behavior
On the continuum from immediate surface-level goals to fundamental social motives:

people are often consciously aware of the moment-to-moment surface-level goals (to get a date for Saturday night)
they are sometimes, but not always, aware of broader underlying goals (to develop a romantic relationship)
but they are rarely conscious of the fundamental motives that underlie their social behavior(to attract and retain a mate)
The links between motives and social behaviors are sometimes quite complex.

aggression may serve the goal of protection
but winning a fight might also help a teenage boy achieve status or get information about himself
Basic Principles of Social Behavior

The Interaction between the Person and the Situation
By person psychologists mean the features or characteristics that individuals carry into social situations.

By situation psychologists mean the environmental events or circumstances outside the person.

Persons and situations influence one another in a number of ways.

Different people respond differently to the same situation
(e.g., a party to a shy vs. outgoing person)

Situations choose the persons that can enter them
(e.g., an athletic team picks only some people)

Persons choose the situations they enter
(e.g., some people go out of their way to find a loud party, others avoid it)

Different situations activate different facets of the person
(e.g., strangers may bring out your shy side)

Persons can change their situations
(e.g., an extravert can turn a study session into a party)

Situations change persons
(e.g., a traumatic relationship may make a person avoidant in the future)
How Psychologists Study Social Behavior

Descriptive Methods
Descriptive Methods involve attempts to measure or record behaviors, thoughts or feelings in their natural state.

Social psychologists use five major types of descriptive methods.

Naturalistic observation involves observing behavior as it unfolds in its natural setting.
Case studies involve intensive examination of a single person or group.
Researchers can also examine archives, or public records of social behaviors.
The survey method involves asking people questions about their beliefs and behaviors.
Psychological tests involve attempts to assess an individual's abilities, cognitions, motivations, or behaviors.
How Psychologists Study Social Behavior

Correlation and Causation
The descriptive methods are useful in determining correlation.

Correlation- the extent to which two or more more variables are associated with one another.

Correlation coefficient- a mathematical expression of the relationship between two variables
How Psychologists Study Social Behavior

Experimental Methods
An experiment is a research method in which the researcher sets out to systematically manipulate one source of influence while holding others constant.

The independent variable is the variable manipulated by the experimenter.

The dependent variable is the variable measured by the experimenter.

Social psychologists use two major types of experimental methods.

Laboratory experiments involve the direct manipulation of (independent) variables and the observation of their effects on the behavior of other (dependent) variables.
Field experiments involve the manipulation of independent variables using unknowing participants in natural settings
How Psychologists Study Social Behavior

Why Social Psychologists Combine Different Methods
Descriptive methods can uncover correlations but do not pin down causes.

Correlation and Causation Presentation
Watch a presentation explaining this concept.

Experimental methods allow conclusions about cause and effect but are more artificial than many descriptive methods.

Naturalistic Observation
Watch a movie about Naturalistic Observation
How Psychologists Study Social Behavior

Ethical Issues
Ethical issues for researchers include:

invasion of privacy
(examples: asking people about family conflicts or sexual history)
potential harm to subjects
(examples: false feedback on an intelligence test may threaten a participant's self-esteem; a threat of electric shock will cause anxiety)
These potential dangers must be weighed against possibly useful knowledge.

Professional guidelines and institutional review boards help keep this balance.
How Does Social Psychology Fit
into the Network of Knowledge?

Social Psychology and Other Areas of Psychology
Social psychology is closely connected to other subdisciplines of psychology, including developmental, personality, clinical, cognitive and physiological psychology.

Connections with other areas of psychology
Click here to see some examples of questions connecting social psychology with other areas of psychology.
How Does Social Psychology Fit
into the Network of Knowledge?

Social Psychology and Other Disciplines
Social psychology also connects to other disciplines, including:

basic research sciences such as biology and sociology, as well as

applied fields such as organizational behavior and education.
Connections with other disciplines
Click here to see some examples of questions connecting social psychology with other disciplines.