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Chapter 1
Introducing Social Psychology
1
 Introducing Social Psychology
 What’s the point about Cinder Ella?
 Does her self-perception matter?
 A sub-discipline of psychology
 What is psychology?
 What are some other sub-disciplines?

2
 The classic definition given by Gordon Allport for social psychology is that it is
 “the attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of
individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied situations/ presence of
other human beings”.
 The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one
another.
 Social thinking
 Social influence
 Social relations
4
 “Social thinking” or thinking socially refers to a process we all go through in
our mind as we try to make sense of our own and others’ thoughts, feelings,
and intentions in context, whether we are co-existing, actively interacting, or
figuring out what is happening from a distance.
 Social influence comprises the ways in which individuals change their behavior to meet the
demands of a social environment. It takes many forms and can be seen in conformity,
socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.
 Social behavior is defined as interactions among individuals, normally within
the same species, that are usually beneficial to one or more of the individuals.
It is believed that social behavior evolved because it was beneficial to those
who engaged in it, which means that these individuals were more likely to
survive and reproduce.
 Social psychology studies our thinking, influence, and relationships by asking
questions that have intrigued us all.
 Here are some examples
 How Much of Our Social World Is Just in Our Heads?
 Would People Be Cruel If Ordered?
 To Help? Or to Help Oneself?
A common thread runs through these questions: They all
deal with how people view and affect one another. And
that is what social psychology is all about. Social
psychologists study attitudes and beliefs, conformity and
independence, love and hate.
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS . . .
9
 What are social psychology’s big lessons—its overarching themes? In many
academic fields, the results of tens of thousands of studies, the conclusions of
thousands of investigators, and the insights of hundreds of theorists can be boiled
down to a few central ideas.
11
 We Construct Our Social Reality
 We react differently because we think differently
 1951 Princeton-Dartmouth football game demonstration
 Objective reality
 Beliefs about others
 Beliefs about ourselves
 Our Social Intuitions Are Often Powerful but Sometimes Perilous
 Dual processing (Kahneman “Thinking fast & slow”)
 Conscious and deliberate – system II
 Unconscious and automatic – system I
12
 Social Influences Shape Our Behavior
 Locality – give an example
 Educational level -give an example
 Subscribed media give an example
 Culture –
 Ethnicity
 Personal Attitudes and Dispositions
 Internal forces
 Inner attitudes about specific situations
 Personality dispositions (individual differences)
 Different people may react differently while facing the same situation B = f (p*e)
13
 Social Behavior Is Biologically Rooted
 Evolutionary psychology
 Natural selection predisposes our actions and reactions
 Prejudice happens early at the brain level
 We prefer the familiar things – why?
 Hint: evolution
 Social neuroscience
 We are bio-psycho-social organisms
14
 Social Psychology’s Principles Are Applicable in Everyday Life
 How to know ourselves better
 Implications for human health
 Implications for judicial procedures
 Influencing behaviors
15
 principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life
 Social psychologists’ values penetrate their work in ways both obvious and subtle.
What are such ways?
 Social psychology is less a collection of findings than a set of strategies for
answering questions. In science, as in courts of law, personal opinions are
inadmissible. When ideas are put on trial, evidence determines the verdict. But
are social psychologists really that objective? Because they are human beings,
don’t their values —their personal convictions about what is desirable and how
people ought to behave—seep into their work? If so, can social psychology really be
scientific?
 Its not about Good or bad value but how that values enters the psychology or
human mind.
 In psychology Value refers to the relative importance that an individual places on
an item, idea, person, etc. that is part of their life. These feelings are unique to the
individual.
 Values are mental processes that are both cognitive and emotional. They combine
cognitive representations such as concepts, goals, and beliefs with emotional
attitudes that have positive or negative valence.
 Obvious value effects the society similarly and Not-so-Obvious Values are
different for different people.
Obvious Values
 Real
 Direct
 Clear
 Easily Understood
 Certain
 Accurate
 Same for everyone
 genuine
Not so Obvious Values
 Not clear
 Un certain
 Unreal
 Non accurate
 Indirect
 Difficult to understand
 Ambiguous
 Different for everyone
 Obvious Ways Values Enter Psychology
 “personal convictions” give an example of one for a social psychologist…and how it can
influence her work.
 Research topics
 Types of people
 Do business students differ from Arts students?
 Object of social-psychological analysis
 How values form
 Why they change
 How they influence attitudes and actions
 Scientists and philosophers now agree: Science is not purely objective. Scientists do not
simply read the book of nature. Rather, they interpret nature, using their own mental
categories. In our daily lives, too, we view the world through the lens of our
preconceptions.
 Subjective aspects of Science
 Culture –which is better, competition or cooperation?
 The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and
transmitted from one generation to the next.
 Social representations – shared beliefs taken for granted
 widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Our social
representations help us make sense of our world.
 Are there any real group differences for race/gender?
 Can you see a Dalmatian sniffing the ground at the picture’s center? Without that
preconception, most people are blind to the Dalmatian. Once your mind grasps the
concept, it informs your interpretation of the picture—so much so that it becomes
difficult not to see the dog.
 Psychological concepts contain hidden values
 Defining the good life
22
 Professional advice
 Forming concepts
 How could high self-esteem be the same as “defensive”?
 Labeling – some examples
 “terrorist” or a “freedom fighter”
 “welfare” or “aid to the needy”
 nationalism v. patriotism.
 open marriage” or “adultery”
 Brainwashing”
 “Perversions”
 Can you think of others?
 Social psychologists’ values penetrate their work in obvious ways, such as their
choice of research topics and the types of people who are attracted to various fields
of study.
 They also do this in subtler ways, such as their hidden assumptions when forming
concepts, choosing labels, and giving advice.
 This penetration of values into science is not a reason to fault social psychology or
any other science. That human thinking is seldom dispassionate is precisely why
we need systematic observation and experimentation if we are to check our
cherished ideas against reality.

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Chapter 1 introducing social psychology

  • 2.  Introducing Social Psychology  What’s the point about Cinder Ella?  Does her self-perception matter?  A sub-discipline of psychology  What is psychology?  What are some other sub-disciplines?  2
  • 3.  The classic definition given by Gordon Allport for social psychology is that it is  “the attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied situations/ presence of other human beings”.
  • 4.  The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.  Social thinking  Social influence  Social relations 4
  • 5.  “Social thinking” or thinking socially refers to a process we all go through in our mind as we try to make sense of our own and others’ thoughts, feelings, and intentions in context, whether we are co-existing, actively interacting, or figuring out what is happening from a distance.
  • 6.  Social influence comprises the ways in which individuals change their behavior to meet the demands of a social environment. It takes many forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales, and marketing.
  • 7.  Social behavior is defined as interactions among individuals, normally within the same species, that are usually beneficial to one or more of the individuals. It is believed that social behavior evolved because it was beneficial to those who engaged in it, which means that these individuals were more likely to survive and reproduce.
  • 8.  Social psychology studies our thinking, influence, and relationships by asking questions that have intrigued us all.  Here are some examples  How Much of Our Social World Is Just in Our Heads?  Would People Be Cruel If Ordered?  To Help? Or to Help Oneself? A common thread runs through these questions: They all deal with how people view and affect one another. And that is what social psychology is all about. Social psychologists study attitudes and beliefs, conformity and independence, love and hate.
  • 10.  What are social psychology’s big lessons—its overarching themes? In many academic fields, the results of tens of thousands of studies, the conclusions of thousands of investigators, and the insights of hundreds of theorists can be boiled down to a few central ideas.
  • 11. 11
  • 12.  We Construct Our Social Reality  We react differently because we think differently  1951 Princeton-Dartmouth football game demonstration  Objective reality  Beliefs about others  Beliefs about ourselves  Our Social Intuitions Are Often Powerful but Sometimes Perilous  Dual processing (Kahneman “Thinking fast & slow”)  Conscious and deliberate – system II  Unconscious and automatic – system I 12
  • 13.  Social Influences Shape Our Behavior  Locality – give an example  Educational level -give an example  Subscribed media give an example  Culture –  Ethnicity  Personal Attitudes and Dispositions  Internal forces  Inner attitudes about specific situations  Personality dispositions (individual differences)  Different people may react differently while facing the same situation B = f (p*e) 13
  • 14.  Social Behavior Is Biologically Rooted  Evolutionary psychology  Natural selection predisposes our actions and reactions  Prejudice happens early at the brain level  We prefer the familiar things – why?  Hint: evolution  Social neuroscience  We are bio-psycho-social organisms 14
  • 15.  Social Psychology’s Principles Are Applicable in Everyday Life  How to know ourselves better  Implications for human health  Implications for judicial procedures  Influencing behaviors 15
  • 16.  principles or standards of behaviour; one's judgement of what is important in life  Social psychologists’ values penetrate their work in ways both obvious and subtle. What are such ways?  Social psychology is less a collection of findings than a set of strategies for answering questions. In science, as in courts of law, personal opinions are inadmissible. When ideas are put on trial, evidence determines the verdict. But are social psychologists really that objective? Because they are human beings, don’t their values —their personal convictions about what is desirable and how people ought to behave—seep into their work? If so, can social psychology really be scientific?  Its not about Good or bad value but how that values enters the psychology or human mind.
  • 17.  In psychology Value refers to the relative importance that an individual places on an item, idea, person, etc. that is part of their life. These feelings are unique to the individual.  Values are mental processes that are both cognitive and emotional. They combine cognitive representations such as concepts, goals, and beliefs with emotional attitudes that have positive or negative valence.  Obvious value effects the society similarly and Not-so-Obvious Values are different for different people.
  • 18. Obvious Values  Real  Direct  Clear  Easily Understood  Certain  Accurate  Same for everyone  genuine Not so Obvious Values  Not clear  Un certain  Unreal  Non accurate  Indirect  Difficult to understand  Ambiguous  Different for everyone
  • 19.  Obvious Ways Values Enter Psychology  “personal convictions” give an example of one for a social psychologist…and how it can influence her work.  Research topics  Types of people  Do business students differ from Arts students?  Object of social-psychological analysis  How values form  Why they change  How they influence attitudes and actions
  • 20.  Scientists and philosophers now agree: Science is not purely objective. Scientists do not simply read the book of nature. Rather, they interpret nature, using their own mental categories. In our daily lives, too, we view the world through the lens of our preconceptions.  Subjective aspects of Science  Culture –which is better, competition or cooperation?  The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.  Social representations – shared beliefs taken for granted  widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Our social representations help us make sense of our world.  Are there any real group differences for race/gender?
  • 21.  Can you see a Dalmatian sniffing the ground at the picture’s center? Without that preconception, most people are blind to the Dalmatian. Once your mind grasps the concept, it informs your interpretation of the picture—so much so that it becomes difficult not to see the dog.
  • 22.  Psychological concepts contain hidden values  Defining the good life 22
  • 23.  Professional advice  Forming concepts  How could high self-esteem be the same as “defensive”?  Labeling – some examples  “terrorist” or a “freedom fighter”  “welfare” or “aid to the needy”  nationalism v. patriotism.  open marriage” or “adultery”  Brainwashing”  “Perversions”  Can you think of others?
  • 24.  Social psychologists’ values penetrate their work in obvious ways, such as their choice of research topics and the types of people who are attracted to various fields of study.  They also do this in subtler ways, such as their hidden assumptions when forming concepts, choosing labels, and giving advice.  This penetration of values into science is not a reason to fault social psychology or any other science. That human thinking is seldom dispassionate is precisely why we need systematic observation and experimentation if we are to check our cherished ideas against reality.