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UA / Psychology / PSYCH 372 / What is the difference between psychology and common sense?

What is the difference between psychology and common sense?

What is the difference between psychology and common sense?


School: University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa
Department: Psychology
Course: Social Psychology
Professor: William hart
Term: Fall 2016
Tags: research methods, socialcognition, #Attitude, behavior, and #Self
Cost: 50
Name: Exam 1 Study Guide
Description: Contains lecture material from chapter 1-6. If you have any questions or if there are any issues with the study guide, feel free to email me!
Uploaded: 09/18/2016
12 Pages 21 Views 15 Unlocks

Exam 1 Study Guide

What is the difference between psychology and common sense?

1) Random sampling (connection to external validity): drawing a sample so that each  individual in the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample − Used to ensure external validity: the extent to which results from a study can  generalized to the population of interest

− Important for descriptive research

2) Random assignment (connection to internal validity): Process of assigning participants to  the experimental conditions (levels of the independent variable), such that each participant  has the same chance of being in a given condition

− Random assignment and random sampling are not the same. RA helps infer cause and  effect; RS helps us generalize to a population

What is the tendency to be impressed by general feedback is called?

− Another big difference is that RS is used to obtain a sample, RA is placing the  participants from a sample into experimental groups  

− Allows for high internal validity: the extent to which you are able to say that no other  variables except the one you're studying caused the result

− A key feature in experimental research

3) Psychology vs. common sense

− Psychology isn’t simply common sense because it’s an actual science

− Problems with the idea of common sense

˗common sense can be misleading

˗“common sense” can be subjective; what one person believes is common sense  may be the opposite of what another person believes is common sense

What is lewin equation?

If you want to learn more check out When is the earth created?

˗People tend to accept all information received from other people as true and  without careful inspection

˗Information stated more generally is typically considered to be insightful  whether the info is actually explaining anything

˗ Example: “women are more emotional”

˗Barnum effect: the tendency to be impressed by general feedback

˗ Motivation obscures reality, so people often choose to believe or disbelieve  based on what they want to  

˗common sense ideas can sometimes be outright wrong

4) Understand the definitions for the terms we used in connection to research methods  − Theory: a statement that describes, predicts or explains behavior

˗The book defines a theory as: an integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events

˗Ex: Venting frustration makes one feel better

− Hypothesis: is a scientific, testable and disconfirmable statement about the behavior  we want to study/theory being tested If you want to learn more check out What are the seven dimensions of religion?
If you want to learn more check out The interpretation or explanation of the observations is called what?

˗Ex: punching a pillow, after a frustrating event, will result in a positive mood

− Construct: the conceptual representation of behaviors; the phenomenon around which  research is based; broad ideas of a theory

˗Theories relate constructs together

˗In the example above, “venting frustration” and “feeling better” are constructs − Construct validity: The extent to which the measured variables in research  successfully represent the constructs of theoretical interest  

˗In the examples above, construct validity would assess whether the study  measures or is able to measure the positive mood if punching a pillow is actually  “venting”

− Operationalization: is the process taking constructs and making them concrete or  measurable; basically, describing how the constructs are to be measured Don't forget about the age old question of What are the scientific methods?

˗In the example above, punching the pillow and experiencing positive mood  describes operationalization

− Control: group in a study that does not receive the experimental manipulation ˗The control group allows for comparison with the experimental condition ˗ Allows researcher to see if iv had any effect on the dv

˗ A key feature of experimental research

− Demand characteristics: Cues in the experiment that tell the participant what  behavior is expected

˗can obviously cause problems with results of a study

− dv: the variable that is measured in an experiment and is expected to change as a result  of the experimental manipulation

˗a key feature of experimental research

− iv: the variable that is manipulated in the experiments  

˗a key feature of experimental research

5) Goals of science (be able to distinguish examples of research designated to describe, predict,  and understand) as well as the methods that may be used in service of these goals (e.g.,  naturalistic observation). We also discuss several other topics like What is a sea urchin?

− To describe behavior use descriptive research

˗ Methods that can be used

˗ Self-report (e.g., a survey)

˗ Observational methods (e.g., naturalistic observation)

˗ Physiological methods (e.g., skin conductance)

− To predict behavior use correlational research

˗Is used to determine whether and how much two pre-existing variables are  related

− To explain behavior use experimental research

˗ Used to explain behavior by manipulating one or more variables while  

controlling others

˗ Only method that can be used to understand cause and effect relationships

6) What can we learn from a correlation?

− Direction and strength of the relationship between 2 variables

˗Both are quantified by a correlation coefficient (r)

˗ It ranges from -1 to +1

˗Strength is indicated by the absolute value of r If you want to learn more check out What are the roles of economists?

˗ The closer to 1, the stronger the relationship

˗ Directionality is indicated by the positivity/negativity of r

˗ A negative relationship means that as one variable increases in value, the  other decreases in value

˗ A positive relationship means either that as one variable increases in  value, the other increases in value or as one variable decreases in value,  the other also decreases in value

7) Benefits and disadvantages of experimental, correlational, and descriptive research − Benefits of experimental research

˗Can conclude about cause and effect

− Disadvantages of experimental research

˗Experiments are not like the real world

˗ Generalizability (external validity) can be a problem

˗There are sometimes practical and ethical issues associated with manipulating  variables

− Benefits of correlational research

˗ You can study things that you cannot manipulate (gender) AND should not  manipulate (no contact in infancy; brain injury)

˗Can predict important outcomes, such as school/work performance or violence  and recidivism

− Disadvantages of correlational research

˗Can’t determine if a variable causes another

˗ Ex: The number of violent crimes committed in New York increases as ice cream sales increase

˗ Does this mean that ice-cream sales are causing violent crimes in NY  

to increase—obviously not

− Benefits of descriptive research

˗ Helps us generate hypotheses

˗ Helps inform policy decisions

− Disadvantages of descriptive research

˗Can’t make causal conclusions

8) Fundamental attribution error and the actor-observer bias

− Fundamental attribution error: tendency for you to underestimate situational  (external) influences and overestimate dispositional (internal) influences

− Why does fundamental attribution error occur?

˗We often fail to take other’s perspective and fail to recognize their situation or  environment

− Actor-observer bias: Tendency to explain others’ behavior as due to dispositions and  our own behavior as due to the situation

9) Heuristics

− Heuristics” mental shortcuts that often produce good decisions

− Heuristics enable quick, efficient judgements

− Availability heuristic: a cognitive rule that judges the likelihood of things in terms of  their availability in our memory

˗ Deciding if an event occurs frequently or infrequently based on how easily that  event comes to mind

− Representativeness heuristic: the tendency to presume that some or something  belongs to a particular group if resembling (representing) a typical member ˗Things are placed into categories based on their resemblance to typical category  members

˗Works well quite often but sometimes leads us astray

˗Ex: Linda is 31, single, outspoken, and very bright. She majored in philosophy in  college. As a student, she was deeply concerned with discrimination and other  social issues, and participated in anti-nuclear demonstrations. Which statement is  more likely?

˗ a. Linda is a bank teller.  

˗ b. Linda is a bank teller and active in the feminist movement.

˗ Most people think b is more likely, partly because Linda better represents  their image of feminists

˗ But, is there really a better chance that Linda is both a bank teller and  

feminist than that she’s just a bank teller?

10) Errors and Biases in social cognition

− Hindsight bias: the tendency to exaggerate, AFTER learning an outcome, one’s  ability to have foreseen how something turned out

˗a.k.a.: the “I knew it all along” phenomenon

− Confirmation bias: tendency to search for information that confirms our ideas and  neglect information that disconfirms them

− Base rate fallacy: tendency to ignore statistical summaries for personal accounts ˗People will focus more on personal examples rather than actual stats

˗Ex: Telling a person that smoking increases their chances of lung cancer and  they counter with “I know someone who smoked for 50 years and was fine” − Regression-to-the-mean: misunderstanding the tendency for extreme behavior to  return towards one’s average

˗Extreme scores or extreme behavior will return to one’s average

˗Ex: your performance in some task is amazing (unusual from your normal  performance), the next time you complete that task you will do at your normal  level

− Self-handicapping: Protecting one’s self-image by creating a handy excuse for failure ˗Ex: partying the night before a test so if you fail you can use being tired and  hungover as an excuse

˗What’s important to remember here is that the behavior is purposely done to  excuse negative results rather than just blaming it on situational factors

− Illusory correlation: seeing a relationship when no relationship actually exists ˗Ex: “in plane crashes, 90% of survivors paid attention to the safety instructions;  only 10% of survivors didn’t pay attention”

˗ Does this mean that everyone who paid attention survived? No

˗ You can’t assume an association between the safety association and  


˗ How many of the people who didn’t survive did actually pay attention  

to safety instructions?

11) Methods used to protect self-esteem

− (Comparative) Optimistic bias: tendency to believe that we are less likely than  others to experience negative events and more likely than others to experience positive  events

− Bracing for the worst: tendency to get pessimistic right before learning about the  outcome of an event

˗ Major exception to optimistic tendency

˗Ex: You believed you did really well at an interview, but right before you learn if  you got the job or not, you might say “I didn’t really want the job anyway” to  protect yourself from the possibility of a negative outcome

− False consensus effect: tendency to overestimate the commonality of one’s  undesirable traits or unsuccessful behaviors

˗ Usually done in order to justify those traits/behaviors

˗Ex: “everyone gets a little out of control sometimes

− False uniqueness effect: tendency to underestimate the commonality of one’s  desirable traits of successful behaviors

˗Ex: “nobody can do this job as well as I can”

− Self-serving bias: tendency to attribute success to internal factors (skills) while  attributing failure to external factors (bad luck)

˗Ex: You do really well on an exam because you’re just naturally smart or you  studied really well but if failed it’s because the exam was extremely hard or the  professor didn’t give you good notes

12)Illusion of transparency: the illusion that our concealed emotions leak other can be read by  others

− We assume other people can easily tell how we’re feeling

13) Spotlight effect: the belief that others are paying more attention to our appearance and  behavior than they really are

− Ex: when you trip you assume everyone saw you and is making fun of you, when in  reality only a few people noticed and will soon forget it

14) Theories of purpose for Self-esteem

− Terror Management Theory: people don’t really strive for self-esteem, humans  know they’re going to die and

˗ Humans strive for self-esteem to leave a legacy

˗Self-esteem striving is just a by-product of desire to feel impermanent

˗Culture isn’t going anywhere, but you can contribute to it and achieve “symbolic  immortality”

˗Reduces fear of death

− Self-esteem is an inherent human goal

˗To gain social acceptance and avoid rejection

˗Life is easier when we’re part of a group

− Sociometer Theory: people are really just striving to show their value and prevent  others form rejecting/kicking them out of the group

˗People don’t actually strive for self-esteem, it’s a measure of how well we’re  fitting in

˗Self-esteem also serves an evolutionary purpose, it protects people from isolation  and strengthens survival

− Self-Affirmation Theory: self-esteem is a buffer against stress (e.g. negative  feedback) and keeps us progressing towards goals

˗People do thrive for self-esteem

˗Self-esteem is a resource that allows us to progress

15) Lewin’s equation

− B=f(P,E)

− behavior is a function of a person (personality, disposition, traits) and their  environment

16) Rosenthal’s study of expectancy effects (self-fulfilling prophecy)

− Experimenters asked individuals to judge the success of people in various photographs − The experimenters read the same instructions to all their participants and showed them  the same photos

− Experimenters who expected their participants to see the people in the pictures as  being more successful obtained higher ratings than did those who expected their  participants to see the people as failures

17) Kelley’s attribution theory

− To explain behavior, we use three factors

˗ Consistency: how often does the behavior occur across time in this exact  situation

˗ Distinctiveness: refers to how unique the behavior is to the particular situation ˗ Consensus: multiple people behave the same way in the same situation

˗ High consensus is attributed to the stimulus, while low consensus is  

attributed to the person

18) Self-presentation: The act of expressing oneself and behaving in ways designed to create a  favorable impression or an impression that corresponds to one’s ideals

− our wanting to present a desired image both to an external audience (other people) and  to an internal audience (ourselves)

− controlling, regulating, and monitoring information about the self

− One kind of impression management

− Audience may be external, imaginary, or self

19) Self-monitoring: Being attuned to the way one presents oneself in social situations and  adjusting one’s performance to create the desired impression

20) Self-reference effect: Phenomenon in which information is better recalled when it is related  to the self

21) Self-fulfilling prophecy: a belief that leads to its own fulfillment

22) Counterfactual thinking: imagining alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have  happened, but didn’t

− The more significant and unlikely the event, the more intense the counterfactual  thinking

− Thinking about the possible alternatives can lead to either disappointment or joy 23) Learned helplessness: Hopelessness and resignation resulting from lack of control over bad  events

24) Planning fallacy: underestimating how much time and resources are required to complete  something

25) Langer and Rodin’s famous nursing home study

− Tested the importance of personal control by treating elderly patients in a highly rated  Connecticut nursing home. With one group, the caregivers treated the patients as they  normally would and allowed them to assume a passive care-receiving role

− Three weeks later, most of these patients were rated by themselves, by interviewers,  and by nurses as further debilitated.

− The other treatment promoted personal control. These patients were given small  decisions to make and responsibilities to fulfill. Over the ensuing three weeks, 93% of  this group showed improved alertness, activity, and happiness.

26) Upward and downward social comparison

− Upward: comparisons with others who are better

˗ Upward social comparison can be motivating if a goal is obtainable, but  depressing if it isn’t

− Downward: comparison with someone worse

˗Can lead to a positive mood, but also complacency

27) Four qualities of automaticity

− Unintentional: behavior or thinking process isn’t intentional

− Controllable: inability to stop or alter it once it’s started

− Lack of awareness: you don’t know it’s happening

− Efficiency: you don’t have to think consciously do it

28) Theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen)

− there are 3 main predictors of behavior

˗Personal attitudes toward the behavior  

˗Subjective norms and wanting to make a good impression

˗Both of these result in people making a behavioral intention to do or not to do  something

˗ Your behavioral intention is the best predictor of behavior

29) When will an attitude predict behavior and, conversely, when will a behavior cause an  attitude?

− Attitudes predict behavior

˗When we assess a “true” attitude rather than social desirability

˗When attention is focused on the attitude

˗ Make attitude salient

˗ Make people privately reflective

˗When the attitude is formed by active experience

˗When the attitude is personally relevant

˗When the cognitive and affective components of attitude match

˗When appropriate measures are used

˗ Attitudes and behaviors are measured at the same specificity (of action,  target, context)

− Behaviors cause attitudes when

˗The foot-in-the-door effect: tendency for people who have complied with a  small request to be more willing to comply with a larger request later

˗ Ex: “Ugly Sign” study

˗ When asked to put an ugly sign about driving safely in their yard,  

only 7% of them agreed

˗ But when researcher first asked people if they would put a small sign  

in their window, and then asked later on if they would put the ugly  

sign in their yard, 67% agreed

˗Low ball technique: tendency to comply with a large, unexpected request after  having committed to an earlier request

˗ You feel like your prior commitment prevents you from saying no

˗ Similar to foot-in-the-door effect, but you’re dealing with same request

˗ ex: you ask your dad for $10 and he complies. You then ask him instead for  $20 and he still complies.

30) Cognitive dissonance (Festinger): people have a need to avoid inconsistency in their  thoughts, feelings, and behavior

− People like structure, and dissonance challenges that and implies unpredictability − Dissonance is uncomfortable and unsettling

− People are motivated to relieve their dissonance

˗In order to relieve the tension, we have to either change our attitude or our  behavior

− Ex: people who smoke tobacco have to cope with the dissonance of 3 cognitions ˗Smoking is unhealthy

˗I want to be healthy

˗I smoke

˗ May change cognitions to  

˗ Smoking is unhealthy… but so are other things people consume  


˗ I want to be healthy… but a cigarette every now and then isn’t terrible

˗ I smoke… but I also run every day, so it reduces the damage

− Ways to reduce dissonance:

˗ Change your cognitions.

˗ Add new cognitions.

˗ Change the importance of relevant cognitions

− Post-decisional dissonance: A state of psychological dissonance that often occurs  after making an important decision

− When does post-decisional dissonance occur?

˗Important decisions arouse more dissonance than unimportant ones

˗The more equal the attractiveness of the alternatives, the more difficult the  decision

˗The less similar the alternatives, the more dissonance will be aroused

˗ Alleviate dissonance by convincing yourself that the decision you made was  actually a good one and inherently better than the alternative

31) Self-Presentation Theory (Bem): the need to maintain a desired self-image − We want to appear consistent to others in our attitudes and behaviors

− We don’t want to appear hypocritical, uncertain, or untrustworthy

32) Self-Affirmation Theory: the need to assert our own self- adequacy

− Because inconsistency makes us feel foolish, we seek consistency

˗Theory states that people don’t really have a need for consistency, but restoring  self-image eliminates need to change attitude

− Different from dissonance theory because dissonance states that we are inherently  disturbed by inconsistency and must go and resolve it. Self-affirmation is about what  inconsistency implies

− Difference between self-affirmation and self-presentation is that self-affirmation is  more about internal feelings about yourself, and self-presentation is about how you’re  presenting to others and how others see you

33) Low ball technique: tendency to comply with a large, unexpected request after having  committed to an earlier request

˗ You feel like you already committed to the request  

− Similar to foot-in-the-door effect, but you’re dealing with same request − Ex: you ask your dad for $10 and he complies. You then tell him you actually need $20 and he still complies.

34) Foot-in-the-door effect: tendency for people who have complied with a small request to be  more willing to comply with a larger request later

− Ex: “Ugly Sign” study

˗When asked to put an ugly sign about driving safely in their yard, only 7% of  them agreed

˗But when researcher first asked people if they would put a small sign in their  window, and then asked later on if they would put the ugly sign in their yard,  67% agreed

35) Door-in-the-face technique: after a person turns down a large request, people are more  likely to comply when the requester offers a more reasonable request

− Ex: blood donor study

˗People were asked if they would commit long term to donating blood regularly  for a year (everyone said no)

˗Participants were then asked to just donate a single unit of blood tomorrow ˗ 50% agreed

˗ When only asked to donate blood tomorrow, only 32% agreed to

36) ABC’s of attitudes

− Affect: feelings

− Behavior: multidirectional; attitude influences behavior and behavior determines  attitude

− Cognition (thoughts): beliefs about an entity that can form your attitude 37) Asch’s conformity research

− https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qA-gbpt7Ts8 

− In Asch’s study, a single participant was put in a room with 6 confederates − The group was then asked which 3 comparison lines matched the standard line  (answer is pretty obvious)

− However, in some trials the confederates would give a wrong answer

− When answering alone, participants were correct 99% of the time

− However, when in a group, 37% of responses were confirming

38) Sherif’s work on establishing group norms

− In Sherif’s study, participants were placed in a dark room and asked to guess how far a  dot of light moved

− In reality, the dot never moved—the autokinetic phenomenon: the apparent  movement of a stationary point of light in the dark

− When brought together with other participants, people would change their estimations  until they all agreed on the distance the dot moved

˗This is how a group norm emerged

39) When will people conform?

− When part of a group (greater group size usually produces more conformity) − When the rest of the group’s decision is unanimous

− Cohesion or strongly identifying with a group increases conformity

− Status-people conform more to what powerful people do

− Not having a prior commitment to a decision increases conformity

˗ After making a public commitment, people stick to it

− When responses are made publicly

˗Ex: voting publicly vs voting privately

− When insecure or unsure about our judgments

40) Reactance: A motive to protect or restore one’s sense of freedom

− Arises when someone threatens our freedom of action.

− “I want to do it because you’re preventing me from doing it”

− Labels of objectionable material on media have the opposite effect of making this  material more attractive (forbidden; Bushman & Cantor, 1983)

41) Distinguish between conformity, compliance, and obedience

− Conformity: a change in your behavior or beliefs to agree with others

˗ Not explicitly asked to change

− Compliance: yielding to a request for certain behaviors

˗Explicitly asked to change

− Obedience: a change in behavior or beliefs as a result of the commands or others in  authority

˗ Different from request; you have to change

− Examples

˗I Follow the speed limit of 50 mph on the McFarland

˗ This is obedience because it’s a rule you have to follow

˗I buy a similar style of shoes I see people on campus wear

˗ This is conformity because you’re changing or adopting a style to fit in ˗Someone asks you to donate to a charity

˗ This is compliance because you have a choosing to follow someone’s  request

42) Understand the Milgram studies on obedience

− https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOYLCy5PVgM 

− In Milgram’s study, the participant (the teacher) is told to administer shocks to the  learner (a confederate) if they give an incorrect answer

− With every incorrect answer, the voltage of the shocks increase by 15 volt increments − As the voltages increase, the learner expresses multiple times how painful the shocks  are becoming. After 330 volts the learner becomes silent. The teacher is then told that  nonresponses are considered wrong answers.

− To keep the participant going, he uses four verbal prods:

˗Prod 1: Please continue (or Please go on).  

˗Prod 2: The experiment requires that you continue.  

˗Prod 3: It is absolutely essential that you continue.

˗Prod 4: You have no other choice; you must go on.

− 65% participants proceeded all the way to 450 volts (the highest amount of voltage  available and believed by the participant to be deadly)

− Milgram’s study looked at obedience when demands are made by someone perceived  to be in authority

43) Zimbardo’s simulated prison experiment – what did this famous study suggest about  human behavior?

− That roles influence people’s behavior

˗The role of guard made those participants act aggressively towards the  “prisoners”

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