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Social Psychology Test 1: Chapters 1, 2, & 3

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What is social influence?
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The effect that the words, actions, or mere presence of other people have on our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behavior
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What is social psychology?
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scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people
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Social psychology versus philosophy
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addresses many of the same questions, but psychology explores them more scientifically
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social psychology versus common sense
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common sense = folk wisdom
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social psychologists predict behavior by…
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forming hypotheses and testing them scientifically
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social psychology versus personality psychology
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personality psychology focuses on individual differences – aspects of people’s personalities that make them different from others, but it ignores the powerful role played by social influence while social psychologists study the individual in the context of the social situation
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personality psychologists study…
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qualities of the individual that might make a person shy, conventional, rebellious, and willing to wear a turquoise wig in public or a yellow shirt in a sea of blue.
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social psychologists study…
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the powerful role of social influence on how all of us behave.
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other social sciences vs psychology
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other social sciences: concerned with how broad social, economic, political, and historical factors influence events in a given society social psychology: the level of analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation
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sociology vs social psychology
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sociology: focuses on society at large social psychology: focus on the individual in the context of a social situation. Sociologists study the group or institution; social psychologists study the influence of those groups and institutions on individual behavior.
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what is the goal of social psychology
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Identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or culture
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goal of sociology:
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Identify why a particular society or group within a society produces behavior (e.g., aggression) in its members – Sociology looks toward society at large rather than the individual
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What is a fundamental attribution error (FAE)
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The tendency to explain our own and other people’s behavior entirely in terms of personality traits Underestimating the power of social influence
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Problems with a FAE and underestimating the power of social influence
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Increases personal vulnerability to possibly destructive social influence Lulls us into lowering our guard
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By failing to fully appreciate the power of the situation, we tend to:
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Oversimplify complex situations Decrease our understanding of the true causes Blame the victim when people are overpowered by social forces ex: people think Jones town people were mentally ill and blame them rather than social situation that they were in
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What is the importance of interpretation?
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How humans will behave in a given situation is not determined by the objective conditions of a situation but rather how they perceive it (construal).
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Behaviorism:
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an objective world view that chooses to not deal with cognition, thinking, feeling – they think these concepts are too vague for scientific research it also ignores construals of the situation and is inadequate for the social world
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Behaviorism Definition:
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A school of psychology maintaining that to understand human behavior, one need consider only reinforcing effects of environment
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Gestalt Psychology Definition:
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A school of psychology stressing the importance of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in people’s minds (the gestalt or “whole”) rather than the objective, physical attributes of the object
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Gestalt Pscyhology
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Founded in Germany Formulated by German psychologists in the early 20th century Late 1930’s, several of these psychologists emigrated to the U.S. to escape Nazi regime
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Kurt Lewin (1890-1947)
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Founding father of modern experimental social psychology Applied Gestalt principles to social perception Stressed the importance of taking perspective of the people in any social situation to see how they construe social environment
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Construals are shaped by two basic human motives and these two motives may tug in opposite directions
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1. The need to be accepted 2. The need to feel good about ourselves EX: Edward Snowden: Traitor or Patriot
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Construal shaped by self esteem motive:
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People will often distort the world in order to feel good about themselves instead of representing the world accurately
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Self esteem definition:
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People’s evaluations of their own self-worth; the extent to which they view themselves as good, competent, and decent
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Suffering and Self-Justification
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The more unpleasant the procedure the participants underwent to get into a group, the better they liked the group. example: hazing
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Why do people self justify?
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Human beings are motivated to maintain a positive picture of themselves, in part by justifying their past behavior – this leads them to do things that at first glance might seem surprising or paradoxical – for example, they might prefer people and things for whom they have suffered to people and things they associate with ease and pleasure
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Hazing, although dangerous, can …
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build cohesiveness
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Construal shaped by social cognition motive:
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Takes into account how people think about the world We try to gain accurate understandings so we can make effective judgments and decisions But we typically act on the basis of incompletely and inaccurately interpreted information
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Social Cognition Definition:
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How people think about themselves and the social world; how people select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make judgments and decisions
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Self-fulfilling prophecy experiment:
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Rosenthal & Jacobson (1968/2003) found that a teacher who expects certain students to do well may cause those students to do better
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Why study social influence? (2 reasons)
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1. We are curious. 2. Some social psychologists contribute to the solution of social problems.
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TV watching and aggression
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Correlated NOT Caused
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When recommending interventions, it is imperative to act on the basis of scientifically grounded theories
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When recommending interventions, it is imperative to act on the basis of scientifically grounded theories
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Why do the results of some experiments seem obvious
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familiarity with the subject matter (social influence, social behavior) hindsight bias
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Hindsight Bias Definition
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Tendency to exaggerate prediction of an outcome after knowing that it occurred
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How do we formulate Hypotheses and theories in social psychology?
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previous theories and research – Dissatisfaction with behaviorism (Festinger) personal observation – Kitty Genovese (Latane and Darley)
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3 Types of Research Methods
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Observational, Correlational, and Experimental
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Observational Method
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Description – What is the nature of the phenomenon? Researcher observes people and systematically records behavior and is used to describe behavior
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Correlational Method
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Prediction – From knowing X, can we predict Y? – Two or more variables are systematically measured and the relation between them is assessed.
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Experimental Method
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Causality – Is variable X a cause variable of Y? Researcher randomly assigns participants to different conditions, conditions are identical except for the independent variable (the one thought to have a causal effect on people’s responses). Used to answer causal questions.
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Limits of the observational method
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1. Certain behaviors difficult to observe – occur rarely, in private 2. Archival analysis – original may not have all information researchers need 3. Does not allow prediction and explanation – limited to description
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Interjudge reliability definition
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The level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data Accuracy of the observer is assessed
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Correlation Coefficient
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A statistical technique that assesses how well you can predict one variable from another
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Positive Correlation
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Increases in the value of one variable are associated with increases in the value of the other variable examples: height and weight, children aggression and TV, and Aggression and violent media
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Negative Correlation
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Increases in the value of one variable are associated with decreases in the value of the other variable example: vaccination rate correlates negatively with disease rate
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Correlation Coefficient
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Correlation coefficients range from -1.00 to +1.00 +1.00 perfectly correlated in a positive direction 0 means that two variables are not correlated -1.00 perfectly correlated in a negative direction
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Surveys
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Representative sample of people asked about attitudes or behavior Correlations computed using responses to questions
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Random Selection
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A way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population by giving everyone in the population an equal chance of being selected for the sample
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Failure to use random selection =
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Misleading results example: Literary digest posted their prediction of the next president and was significantly misguided
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Surveys
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Advantages: Investigate relations between variables difficult to observe Disadvantages: Accuracy of responses – People may not know the answer, but they think they do!
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Limits of the correlational method
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Correlation does not equal causation! Correlational method tells us only that two variables are related, not that they are caused by each other which is the goal of social psychology – to identify causes of social behavior
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In the correlation of aggressive sexual acts and pornography, there are 3 possible causal relations:
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1. Pornography causes viewers to become sexually agressive 2. People who are sexually aggressive are more interested in pornography 3. Correlation is caused by something else (examples: upbringing, or subculture)
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Independent Variable (IV):
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The IV is what researchers manipulate to see if it has a causal effect
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Dependent Variable (DV):
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The DV is what researchers measure to see if it is affected
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In the experiment of children’s aggression and violent behavior which would be the IV and the DV
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measure children’s aggression (DV) after they watch television (IV) that is either violent on nonviolent
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In Latane and Darley (1970) in research of the Bystander Effect which is the IV and the DV
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IV: number of bystanders DV: helping behavior
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Internal Validity:
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Making sure that nothing besides the independent variable can affect the dependent variable
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How can we increase internal validity
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1. control extraneous variables 2. randomly assign people to experimental conditions 3. Ensure all participants have equal chance of being in any experimental condition (ensures that differences in participants’ personalities or backgrounds are distributed evenly across conditions) – this technique is the most important part of the experimental method
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Probability Level (P-Value):
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A number calculated with statistical techniques Indicates likelihood results of experiment occurred by chance instead of the IV(s)
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When does science consider results significant as far as the probability level is concerned?
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Probability is less than 5 in 100 that the results might be due to chance factors and not the IV p< .05
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Limits of experimental method
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the experimental situation can be artificial, distant from real life this is the tradeoff with increasing control over the situation to make it similar for all participants
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External Validity
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The extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and to other people
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What are the two kinds of external validity
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1. Situations: the extent to which we can generalize from the experimental situation to real-life situations 2. People: the extent to which we can generalize from the people who participated in the experiment to people in general
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Psychological Realism
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Psychological processes triggered by experiments are similar to psychological processes in real life
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Cover Story
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A description of the purpose of a study, given to participants, that is different from its true purpose, used to maintain psychological realism
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Random selection of participants is…
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Impractical and expensive for most social psychology experiments, thus we address this by studying basic, fundamental psychological processes that may be universal
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How can we improve external validity:
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Field experiments
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field experiments:
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Experiments conducted in natural settings rather than in the laboratory
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Advantages of field experiments:
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Participants unaware that they are in an experiment Participants more diverse than typical college sample
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Internal Validity vs External Validity:
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Internal validity: randomly assign to conditions and control for extraneous variables External validity: generalize to everyday life
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What is the “Basic dilemma of the social psychologist” (Aronson & Carlsmith, 1968)
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If there is too much control in the experiment, is it generalizable? – How do we know it will work in real life considering the participants knew they were being researched upon, while If it is too much like real life, we cannot control all extraneous variables therefore people may act differently based on various unknown and unrelated causes
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How do we solve the “Basic dilemma of the social psychologist” (Aronson & Carlsmith, 1968)
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not to try to do everything in a single experiment Research studies can have 2 or even 6 various experiments to prove both internal validity and external validity
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The ultimate test of external validity
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Repeating a study, often with different subject populations or in different settings
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Test of internal validity
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Meta-analysis
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Meta Analysis:
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A statistical technique that averages the results of two or more studies to see if the effect of an independent variable is reliable
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Basic research vs applied research
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Basic – Designed to find the best answer to why people behave as they do Conducted purely for reasons of intellectual curiosity Applied – Designed to solve a particular social problem
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Meaning of – “There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” (Lewin, 1951)
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To solve social problems, one must understand underlying psychological dynamics
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Cross-cultural research
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Conducted with different cultures, to see if psychological processes are present in both cultures or specific to the culture in which people were raised.
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Why do we do cross cultural research
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Some basic psychological processes are universal, whereas others are shaped by the culture in which we live. Cross-cultural research is challenging but necessary for exploring how culture influences the basic ways in which people think about and interact with others.
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Issues in cross cultural research:
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Researchers must: Guard against imposing their own cultural viewpoints onto an unfamiliar culture, and Ensure that IV & DV are understood in the same way in different cultures
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Evolutionary Psychology:
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Attempts to explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that have evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection. Social behaviors prevalent today are due, in part, to adaptations to past environments Impossible to test with experimental method
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Social Nueroscience:
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Examines the connection between biological processes and social behavior
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Technologies used in social nueroscience:
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Electroencephalography (EEG): electrodes are placed on the scalp to measure electrical activity in the brain Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI): in which people are placed in scanners that measure changes in blood flow in their brains
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Ethical dilemma:
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two goals in conflict 1. Create experiments that resemble the real world and are well controlled 2. Avoid causing participants stress, discomfort, or unpleasantness
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Informed Consent:
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Agreement to participate in an experiment Full nature of the experiment explained in advance – sometimes this is NOT feasible and thus deception is used
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Deception:
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Misleading participants about the true purpose of a study or the events that will actually transpire People do not object to mild discomfort and deception Not all research in social psychology involves deception!
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Debriefing:
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Explaining to participants, at the end of an experiment, the true purpose of the study and exactly what transpired
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For ethical research, you MUST submit to the Institutional Review Board who:
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– Ensures the safety and dignity of research participants – Must include at least one scientist, one non scientist, and one person who is not affiliated with the institution – Reviews all research proposals – Approves studies before research conducted – Procedures judged to be overly stressful or upsetting must be changed or deleted before the study can be conducted
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What is social cognition
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How people think about themselves and the social world and How people select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make judgments and decisions
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2 Kinds of Social Cognition:
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1. Automatic thinking Quick, No conscious deliberation of thoughts, perceptions, assumptions 2. Controlled thinking Effortful and deliberate, Thinking about self and environment, Carefully selecting the right course of action
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Automatic Thinking
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Thinking that is nonconscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless – We often size up a new situation very quickly and these conclusions are often correct
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How does automatic thinking occur
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Relate new situations to past experiences Use Schemas: Mental structures that organize our knowledge of the social world Influences the information people notice, think about, and remember
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The term schema encompasses our knowledge and impression of:
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Other people, ourselves, social roles (ex: what a librarian or engineer is like), specific events (what usually happens when people eat a meal in a restaurant)
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When applied to members of a social group such as a fraternity, gender, or race, schemas are commonly referred to as:
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stereotypes which can be applied rapidly and automatically when we encounter other people.
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Function of schemas:
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organize what we know and interpret new situations
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Korsakov’s syndrome:
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nuerological disorder where memories cannot be formed and each situation is new – they have absolutely no schema for any object, subject, person, or situation
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Schemas can affect our perception. With ambiguous information, we use our schemas to fill in the blanks
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Schemas can affect our perception. With ambiguous information, we use our schemas to fill in the blanks
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Accessibility:
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The extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of people’s minds and are therefore likely to be used when we are making judgments about the social world
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Priming:
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The process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept – good example of automatic thinking because it occurs quickly, unintentionally, and unconsciously
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3 reasons something can be accessible in our schema to form opinions:
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chronically accessible due to past experiences, accessible because it is related to a current goal, and temporarily accessible because of our recent experience
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The self-fulfilling prophecy:
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have an expectation about what another person is like, which -> influences how they act toward that person, which -> causes that person to behave consistently with people’s original expectations, making the expectations come true
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Research has found that people’s goals can be activated unconsciously by
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their recent experiences. For example, someone who walks by a church might have the “Golden Rule” activated without knowing it, making him or her more likely to give money to a homeless person.
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Physical sensations can prime
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metaphors – Scent of cleanliness increases the degree to which people trust strangers and help others (Helzer & Pizarro, 2011; Meier, Schnall, Schwarz, & Bargh, 2012) Cleanliness associated with morality; dirtiness with immorality
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Metaphors can influence
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decisions for example: holding hot coffee or iced coffee when meeting a stranger – hot coffee “warm and friendly” metaphor, stranger rated as friendly – iced coffee “unfriendly people are cold”, rate stranger as unfriendly
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Mental shortcuts are
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efficient, don’t usually have time to fully search all options, usually lead to good decisions quickly
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schemas are shortcuts people use, but we DON’T have a ready-made schema for every judgement or decision
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schemas are shortcuts people use, but we DON’T have a ready-made schema for every judgement or decision
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Judgmental Heuristics
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Mental shortcuts people use to make judgments quickly and efficiently
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Availability Hueristic
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A mental rule of thumb whereby people base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind
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The trouble with the availability heuristic:
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sometimes what is easiest to remember is not typical of the overall picture, leading to faulty conclusions
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Physician’s diagnoses are influenced by how easily they can bring different diseases to mind. This is an example of the
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availability heuristic
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Representativeness heuristic:
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A mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case
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Base rate information
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Information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population
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Barnum Effect
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We tend to perceive personality tests as uncannily accurate Caused by Representative heuristic—statements are so vague that everyone can find a past behavior similar to the feedback
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cultural schemas
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schemas are culturally universal – all people have schemas, but the content of schemas is different in different cultures
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Analytic thinking style
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focus on objects without considering surrounding context associated with Western cultures
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Holistic thinking style
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focus on the overall context, relation between objects associated with Eastern cultures
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Analytical and Holistic thinking and Eastern and Western cultures
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equally capable of using both styles environment in which people live “primes” one style over the other
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controlled thinking
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Thinking that is conscious, intentional, voluntary, and effortful
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Association between conscious thought and behavior creates perception of
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free will. But, forces outside of awareness may influence behavior and conscious thoughts May overestimate or underestimate amount of control
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Counterfactual Reasoning
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Mentally changing some aspect of the past in imagining what might have been “If only I had answered that one question differently, I would have passed the test.”
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Counterfactual Reasoning Can have a big influence on our _________ __________ to events
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emotional reactions
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The easier it is to mentally undo an outcome, the ________ the emotional reaction to it
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stronger
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Among people who had suffered the loss of a spouse or child – Imagining more ways to avert tragedy was associated with greater distress. This is an example of
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Counterfactual Reasoning
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Positive consequences of counterfactual reasoning
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Motivation to improve in future
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Negative consequences of counterfactual reasoning
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If it leads to rumination—repetitive focus on negative things – Associated with depression
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Social psychology is ________, while philosophy is not.
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empirical
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Fritz Heider
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we tend to try to guess how other people are interpreting the situations that they are in and that these guesses are often incorrect.
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naiive realism
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human tendency to assume that we perceive the world accurately and, by extension, people who disagree with our views are incorrect or biased. Term coined by Lee Ross – His research shows that naĂŻve realism may play a role in peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians because each side will tend to automatically reject ideas that they perceive as coming from the other side regardless of the actual merit of those ideas.
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Leon Festinger
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when these two motives (the need to feel good about ourselves and the need to be accurate) pull us in opposite directions that we can learn the most about psychological processes.
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Schemas are especially helpful when information is…
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ambiguous
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Ethnography
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a type of observational method in which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it from the inside, without imposing any preconceived notions they might have. This often involves participant observation, a form of the observational method whereby the observer interacts with the people being observed, but tries not to change the situation in any way.
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Archival Analysis
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Archival analysis is a form of the observational method whereby the researcher observes social behavior by examining accumulated documents of a culture (e.g., diaries, novels, magazines, and newspapers). Archival analysis can tell us a great deal about a society’s values and beliefs. For example, researchers analyzed credit card records of subscriptions to pornography websites and found no differences between red states and blue states
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Lee Ross
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created the idea of naive realism/common sense realism/direct realism which states that people perceive the world and how they perceive it is correct, despite the fact that everyone perceives the world differently.
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“The whole is larger than the sum of its parts” is the main contribution of what type of Psychology?
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Gestalt Psychology
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Social cognition assumes which of the two human motives?
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To view the world as accurately as possible, NOT to distort reality in order to view themselves favorably