Introduction to Social Psychology

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Lecture 1

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What is Social Psychology? The branch of psychology dedicated to the study of how people think about, influence and relate to each other.
How attitudes are formed - Zajo,n 1968 Mere exposure effect - the tendency to like things simply because we are exposed to them often. Works with advertising.
Hindsight bias The distorted perception that a person "knew it all along" after the event has taken placed, proving to alter memory. Findings are harder to predict when you don't already know the outcome
The four branches of social psychology
Individuals, Groups and Society Some social psychologists study processes occurring with the individual e.g., the self, attitudes Some focus on groups e.g., social influence, group processes Some focus on social issues and specific contexts e.g., aggression, conflict, organisational psychology
Scientific aspect of Social Psychology devising and testing theories empirically putting theories to the test testing “universals” of human nature
David Hume and Adam Smith British scholars from the 1700's that wrote about emotions and how people are influenced by their interactions with people
Kant and Wilhelm von Humboldt, August Comte wrote about issues such as the self, society and the relationship between language and thought
German Scholars and the "Collective Mind" groups of people tend to think in the same way “Völkerpsychologie” – folk psychology/psychology of the people Wilhelm Wundt argued that individual consciousness was influenced by social customs and morals
Behaviorism impact of rewards and punishments Behaviours followed by rewards continue; but not when they are followed by punishment attitudes and behaviour can be reinforced Key to social development
Gestalt Psycholgy Whole psychology - important to look at the whole picture The whole is other than the sum of the parts We create a view that becomes independent
Historical influences in social psychology Conformity and Social influence Social Loafing and Bystander effect
Personality Psychology The study of how people come to be who they are. Tightly interwoven with social psychology in psychological explanations of human behavior
Elements of qualitative research methods in psychology Generally involve the collection of information in naturalistic settings thematic analysis conversational analysis narrative analysis discourse analysis Interpretative phenomenological analysis
Elements of Quantitative Research Quantitative Involve the collection of data – information, quantifiable observations, measurements or responses – for scientific analysis and interpretation Control features of the empirical setting surveys and questionnaires experiment field experiment archival study observations (both) case study (both)
Possible issues in social psychology research Participants - How are they sampled. Bias?Randomly selected? Reliability and validity - Consistent, accurate results? Statistical significance
Basic v. Applied Research Basic research- focuses on fundamental questions about people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours; where does someone’s personality come from? Applied research - applies basic research to problems or issues, often with the aim to enhance the quality of everyday life usually focused in areas such as health, business, law, the environment, education, politics
Cultural issues in Social Psychology Not all findings can be applied and replicated throughtout all cultures Some are individualistic - see themselves as characterized by their independence; distinct Some are collectivistic - see themselves as social beings who are linked to others
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