SOCIAL PSYCH EXAM1 Essay

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Social Psychology Exam 1 Review Guide
(Chapters 1-4)
Chapter 1: What is Social Psychology?
What is Social Psychology?
Social Psychology (the scientific study of how individuals think, feel, and behave in a social context)
“The scientific study”: observations, descriptions, and measurements of the study of the human condition; applies the scientific method
“Of how individuals think, feel, and behave”: focuses on the individual
“In a social context”: focus on human behavior that concerns others or is influenced by others; non-social behavior is also studied
Versus…
Sociology: focuses on group (social psych on individual)
Clinical Psych: focuses on disorders (social psych on typical behavior)
Personality Psych: internal, stable emotions (social psych on external environment, how social factors affect the individual)
Cognitive Psych: mental processes (social psych: how these mental processes work with respect to social info)
A Brief History of Social Psychology
~1880-1935 (Birth, Infancy, Gathering Forces)
Founder of social psychology
Normal Triplett (first research article & experiment: bicyclists race faster in the presence of other racers)
Max Ringelmann (published later; individuals perform worse on simple tasks in presence of others)
These two individuals asked social psychologists two questions:
Is individual performance enhanced by presence of others?
Is individual performance impaired by presence of others?
Establishment of social psych as a distinct field of study, first textbooks
William McDougall
Edward Ross
Floyd Allport
~1930-1950 (A Call to Action, Great Leap Forward)
Adolf Hitler (strongest influence on social psych)
Gordon Allport (formed Society of Psychological Study of Social Issues)
Muzafer Sherif (studied social influence & conformity)
Kurt Lewin (social psych theorist)
Interactionist Perspective (field theory; behavior is a function of the interaction between both the individual and the environment)
Social Psych Application (WWII - conserving materials and protecting soldiers, other practical applications)
Soloman Asch (people will conform to an obviously wrong majority)
Leon Festinger
People learn about themselves by comparing themselves with others
People’s attitudes can be changed by their own behavior
~1950-1960 (Classical Period)
Prosperous; increased government funding; high public regard
Systematic programs of research
“Golden Age”, both economically and intellectually
~1960-1975 (Confidence & Crisis)
Period of expansion and enthusiasm
Stanley Milgram (vulnerability to destructive commands of authority; most famous social psych research ever)
Dominant research method: laboratory experiments
Too controlled, placebo effect
Sample size too small, unethical, biased
Theories were historically and culturally limited
Social psych research was split (experimental vs. observational)
~1970 to Present
Uniform, rigorous ethical standards for research, guard against bias
Pluralistic approach: different topics require different kinds of investigations; no method is perfect (surveys, naturalistic observation, case studies, etc.)
“Hot” perspective: emotion & motivation determine behavior (50s-60s)
“Cold” perspective: cognition determines behavior (70s-80s) (NOW=BOTH)
Social Psychology in a New Century
Social Cognition:
The study of how we perceive, remember, and interpret info about ourselves and others
More integration between hot and cold perspectives; ex. How people’s motivations influence unconscious cognitive processes
Social Neuroscience (study of the relationship between neural and social processes; how the social world affects the brain)
Behavioral Genetics (effect of genes on behavior; inherited traits)
Evolutionary Psychology (uses principles of evolution to understand behavior; natural selection, ex. Evolution of jealousy)
A culture is a system of enduring meanings, beliefs, values, assumptions, institutions, and practices…