Log in to StudySoup
Get Full Access to Penn State - Psych 221 - Study Guide - Midterm
Join StudySoup for FREE
Get Full Access to Penn State - Psych 221 - Study Guide - Midterm

Already have an account? Login here
Reset your password

PENN STATE / Psychology / PSYC 221 / What is gestalt psychology?

What is gestalt psychology?

What is gestalt psychology?


School: Pennsylvania State University
Department: Psychology
Course: Introduction to Social Psychology
Professor: Michelle yarwood
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: methodology, SocialPsychology, and socialcognition
Cost: 50
Name: Psych 221 Exam 1 Study Guide
Description: This covers the material from in-class lectures and readings from the assigned book.
Uploaded: 09/08/2017
22 Pages 51 Views 3 Unlocks


What is the gestalt psychology?


 The scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts,  feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or  imagined presence of other people.


 The effect that actions, words or even the presence of others have on our own thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behavior.  BEHAVIORISM:

 A school of psych maintaining that to understand human  behavior, one need to consider only reinforcing effects of  environment.  

 It ignores any contruals of a situation.

 Life is thought of as a series of positive and negative events  that teach us how to behave.


 Inadequate for understanding the social world

How do social psychologist do their research?

 Look at the situation from the viewpoint of the people in it,  to see how they construe the world around them.

 Not so simple as positive and negative reinforcement  (rewards and punishments)


 An approach to perception

 Emphasis on the subjective way in which an object appears  in people’s mind.  

 Takes a very objective worldview  

 Chooses not to deal with cognition, thinking and feeling o Thinks these concepts are too vague

 Emphasis on construal, the way people interpret the social  situation  

o How do I understand the situation?

o A school of psych stressing the importance of studying the  subjective way in which an object appears in people’s mind  rather than the objective, physical aspects of the object.

What happen when we underestimate the power os social influence?

Don't forget about the age old question of What are the types of buying power?

 Founded in Germany early 20th century by Kurt Koffka,  Wolfgang Kohler, Max Wertheimer, and colleagues.  o Late 1930s, several of these psychologists  

emigrated to the US to escape Nazi regime.

 Look at the whole picture

 How can people be so bad?


o When the mind is actively involved in interpreting  perceptual input rather than passively recording it.  o Your construal of the situation If you want to learn more check out Why is the fossil record incomplete?

o Your active input/ what is going on in your mind helps  you to interpret information.


 Your understanding of what something means or what it  appears to be.

 Shaped by your basic motives


 Founding father of modern experimental social psychology   Applied Gestalt’s principles to social perception  Stressed the importance of taking perspective of the people  

in any social situation to see how they construe social  environment.  

 Birth of surveys/ one participant at a time and how they are  perceiving the social situation.  


 The tendency to explain our own and other people’s  behavior entirely in terms of personality traits.  

Underestimating the power of social influence.


 When we underestimate the power of social influence, we  gain a feeling of false security.  

 Increase personal vulnerability to possibly destructive social  influence  

 Tricks us into lowering our guard

 Social situation majorly impacts our behavior.

 By failing to fully appreciate the power of the situation we  are in, we tend to:

o Oversimplify complex situations Don't forget about the age old question of What does a bacterium have?

o Decreases our understanding of the true causes  Aspects of the social situation that may seem minor can  have powerful effects  

o Can overwhelm personality difference


1) The need to be accepted by others.

2) The need to feel good about ourselves

3) The desire to accurately understand the world around us.  


 People’s evaluation of their own self-worth; the extent to  which they view themselves as good, competent, and  decent. Their confidence in themselves.  

 Most people have a strong need to maintain a reasonably  high self-esteem.

 In order to feel good about themselves, people sometimes  distort the world around them.

 Human beings are motivated to maintain a positive picture  of themselves in part of justifying their past behaviors.  Under certain conditions, this leads them to do things that at first might seem surprising or paradoxical.

 Voluntarily undergoing a painful or embarrassing event  (hazing) If you want to learn more check out What is the function of critical thinking?

o May result in justifying the behavior by inflating the  rewards associated with the event.


 How people think about themselves and the social world;  how people select, interpret, remember, and use social  information to make judgments and decisions.

 Social Cognition Approach  

o 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.  


 Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) found that a teacher who  expects certain students to do well cause those students to  do better.

o Bloomers performed better than non-Bloomers.  How does the self-fulfilling prophecy come about? o Teachers expecting specific students to perform better  will often:

 Pay more attention to them

 Listen to them with more respect  

 Call on them more frequently  

 Encourage them  

 Try to teach them more challenging material


 The desire to feel good about ourselves


 The desire to be accurate about the social world.  Both self-esteem maintenance and social cognition approach can be applied at the same time.  If you want to learn more check out What are byproducts?
Don't forget about the age old question of Intentionalism is the idea that a literary work should be what?

WHAT MAKES SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY UNIQUE?  Focus on how individuals are influenced by their construal of  social situations

 Construals are determined by basic motives

o Self-esteem maintenance (feel good about oneself) o Social cognition (need to be accurate)


 The purpose of conducting research is to gain knowledge  o How does one gain that knowledge?  

o How to share that knowledge?

o What to do with that knowledge?

o Consistency is key.  


 Ideas can be tested scientifically


 Well known human tendency is which people tend to over  exaggerate, after knowing that something occurred, and  they exaggerate how much they actually were able to  predict.  

FORMULATING HYPOTHESISES AND THEORIES  Research begins with a prediction, a hunch, or a hypothesis  that they want to test out.  

 Many studies result from a scientist’s dissatisfaction with an  existing theory or explanation.  

 Leon Festinger was dissatisfied with the ability of a major  theory of behaviorism, to explain why people change  attitudes.  

o He formulated the cognitive dissonance theory, which  made specific predictions about when and how people  change their attitudes.  


 A theory is developed; hypothesis is made from theory and  then tested; based on the results and observations made  the theory is revised and new hypotheses are made.


 From… Personal experiences

 From…Observations of others

 From… Something we read  

 From… Some social issue that’s important to us   From…Previous research


 Social Psychology is cumulative  

 First you need to cannibalize previous theories and studies.  Researchers in social psychology use their personal  experiences to generate ideas


OBSERVATIONAL METHOD (Question answered Description)  The technique where a researcher observes people and  records measurements or impressions of their behaviors.   If the goal is to describe what a particular or type of  behavior is like, the observational method is helpful.   May take different forms depending on what the  researcher is looking for, how detached or attached to the  people they are observing, and how much they want to  quantify what they are observing.

 ETHNOGRAPHY: the method by which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it from  inside, without imposing any predisposed notions they  might have.

o Researcher observes a group from within  

o Tries not to influence the behavior of the group

o Goal= to understand the richness and complexity of  a group

o Chief method for studying human societies and  cultures.

o Avoid imposing your preconceived notions onto the  group being studied.

 Trained Observers  

o Unobtrusively watch subjects "from outside"  

o Use a coding scheme to record behavior  

 Archival Analysis  

o Examine accumulated documents of a culture

 The observational method is not limited to observations of real-life behavior.  

 The researcher can examine the accumulated documents,  or archives, of a culture, a technique known as an archival analysis.

o ARCHIVAL ANALYSIS: a form of observational method  in which the researcher examines the accumulated  documents, or archives, of a culture (ex.  


o One study analyzed millions of Twitter messages sent in 84 countries to examine daily rhythms in people’s  moods appear to peak at two different times of the  day.  

 The Pluses and Minuses of the Method

o Pluses : Often the easiest and cheapest way to gather  information (just sit there, watch, and record)

o Minuses : Some behaviors are hard to observe, the  observer can’t be always be popping in, consistency in  the coding is hard to get. Social psychologists don’t just want to describe behaviors, they want to predict and  explain it too.  

CORRELATION METHOD (Questions Answered: Prediction)  The technique whereby two or more variables are  systematically measured and the relationship between them  (i.e. how much one can be predicted from the other) is  assessed.

 Researchers look at relationships by calculating the  correlation coefficient.  

o CORRELATION COEFFICIENT: a statistical technique that assesses how well you can predict one variable from  another. Ex: how well you can predict people’s weight  from their height.  

o A positive correlation means that increases in the value  of one variable are associated with increases in the  value of the other variable.  

 Height and weight are positively correlated; the  taller the individual, the more they tend to weigh.

 This method systematically measuring the relationship  between two or more variables.

o A negative correlation means that increases in the  value of one variable are associated with decreases in  the value of the other.  

 If height and weight were negatively correlated;  the taller the person, the skinnier they were.

o It is also possible, of course for two variables to be  completely unrelated, so that a researcher cannot  predict one variable from the other.

 The correlation method is often used in surveys.

 SURVEYS: research in which a representative sample of  people are asked (often anonymously) questions about their  attitudes or behavior.  

 Psychologists often use surveys to help understand social  behavior and attitudes, for example, by seeing whether the  amount of porn men say they read is correlated with their  attitudes toward women.  

 Surveys have a number of advantages, one of which is  allowing researchers to judge the relationship between  variables that are difficult to observe, such as how often  people engage in safer sex.  

 Another advantage of surveys is the capability of sampling  representative segments of the population.  

 Answers to a survey ae useful only if they reflect the  responses of people in general- not just people actually  tested, which is called a sample.

o Survey researchers go to great lengths to ensure that  the people they test are typical.  

o They select samples that are representative of the  population on a number of characteristics important to  a given research question (e.g. age, educational  background, religion, and gender).  

o They also make sure to use a random selection of  people from the population at large.

o RANDOM SELECTION: 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.  

o As long as the sample is selected randomly, we can  assume that the responses are a reasonable match to  those of the population as a whole.

 Another possible problem with data gathered by surveys is  the accuracy of the responses.  

o Straightforward questions are easy for people to answer (i.e. who people want to vote for)

o Asking participants of a survey to predict how they  would possibly behave in a made up but hypothetical  situation or why they had behaved in a certain way in  the past, opens one up to inaccuracy.  

 In 1977, Richard Nisbett and Tim Wilson demonstrated the  phenomenon known as the “telling more than you can know” in numerous studies in which participants often made  inaccurate reports of why they had responded in the way  that they did.  

o The reports of the participants were more based on  their theories and beliefs of what should have  

influenced them, instead of what actually influenced  them.  


o Even if variables A and B are perfectly correlated, we cannot  determine their causal relationship.  

o Three possibilities:  

o A causes B

o B causes A

o Third variable, C is causing both A and B

o The major setback of the correlational method is that it tells  us only that two variables are related, but the goal of the  social psychologist is to identify the causes of social  behavior.

o We want it to be so easy as one thing causes another  thing to happen, and not just that A is correlated with B.

o One must be careful to not jump to the conclusion that one  variable in responsible for another variable’s occurrence. In  other words, correlation does not prove causation.  

o Forgetting that is one of the most common  

methodological errors in the social sciences.  

EXPERIMENTAL METHOD (Question Answered: Causality)

 The method in which the researcher assigns participants  randomly to different conditions and ensures that these  conditions are the same except for the independent  variable, which is the one that is thought to have a causal  effect on their responses.  

 The prototypical "Lab Experiment"

 Experimenter alters one variable to see what affect it has  on another  

o One variable is "manipulated" to see how an  

observed variable is changed

 INDEPENDENT VARIABLE: this is the variable that can  be altered by the researcher in order to see if it has an  effect on another variable.  

 DEPENDENT VARIABLE: this is the variable that is  measured by researchers to see if it is influenced the  independent variable that may or may not have been  altered by the researchers. The researcher will test their  hypothesis that the dependent variable depends on the  independent one.  

 How Can We Tell If An I.V. Significantly Influences a  D.V.

o PROBABILITY LEVEL (P-VALUE): this is a number  calculated with the statistical technique that tells the researcher the level of likeliness that the results of  their experiment could occur by chance and not  because of the independent variable or variables in  the experiment. Results are considered to be  

trustworthy or significant if the level of probability is  less than 5 in 100 that the results could be due to  chance factors and not because of the independent  variables being studied.

o What is the probability that experimental results  would occur by chance if there was actually no  

relationship between the IV and the DV ?

o Probability Level < .05  

o The probability that the results obtained could  be observed by chance, and be wrong is less  

than 5 out of 100.  

o p < .05 is the standard cutoff of significance

 Inferential Statistics

o P-values are one example of inferential statistics.

o Inferential - meaning we infer some relationship (it’s our best guess of reality)

 INTERNAL VALIDITY: when a researcher makes sure that  nothing except for the independent variable can affect the  dependent variable, which is accomplished by controlling all  of the extraneous variables and by assigning participants  randomly to the different conditions in the experiment.  

 When the internal validity is high, then and only then can the researcher of the experiment be able to judge whether their  independent variable causes the dependent variable.

o This is the hallmark of the experimental method, and it  is what sets this method apart from the other methods.

o Keep all variables constant but change the independent variable (and only the Independent Variable) in a  predictable way to see how it influences the dependent  variable.

o Is the independent variable the cause of the dependent  and only the independent variable?

o Internal validity is accomplished by controlling all  irrelevant variables and/or by randomly assigning  participants to different experimental conditions.  

 INTERNAL VALIDITY (Terms you should know)  What do we mean by "experimental condition"?  o The different levels of an independent Variable  

o You will often hear something like, "This was a 2 X 3  between subjects design"  

o One IV has 2 levels (or conditions)  

o The other IV has 3 levels (or conditions

o This notation shows you how many variables there are  and how many levels there are to them.  

 Random Assignment to Condition : A way to ensure it’s not  something about your participants causing the results. This  gets you to where each participant has an equal chance of  being assigned to a particular condition  

o Control Group : Participants assigned to a condition  where the manipulation of the independent variable is  withheld.  


 How do we know we are conducting a good experiment?

o By asking ourselves the questions of validity  

 Did we manipulate only what we want to  


 Did we measure what we want to measure?  

 Did our results apply to a wide range of situations?

 EXTERNAL VALIDITY: the extent for which the results of an experiment can be generalized to other situations and other  individuals.

o It’s important to recognize that there are two kinds of  generalizability:

 The extent to which researchers can generalize  from the situation constructed by the  

experimenter to real-life scenarios. This is referred  to as generalizability across situations.

 The extent to which researchers can generalize  from the participants in the experiment to people  in general. This is referred to as generalizability  across people.

 Generalizing Across People  

o How do you ensure that the results that your  participants gave would be the same as another group  of participants?

1 Random selection from population  

(Characteristic differences matter.)

2 Replicate the study with different groups of people

­ (Do this to check that the effect that comes about in the  experiment doesn’t just occur with one group of people.)

 MUDANE REALISM: The extent to which the experiment is  similar situations one experiences in real-life.

­ How life like is this

 PSYCHOLOGICAL REALISM: what psychologists try to  maximize this to make a setting seem more realistic. It is the extent to which psychological processes that are triggered in a study are similar to psychological processes that happen in everyday life.  

o Psychological realism heightens if people feel involved  in a real event.  

o To heighten this, researchers sometimes tell their  participants a cover story, which is a description of the purpose of the study they are participating in.  

 It is different from the true purpose.

 Maintains psychological realism in studies.

o The cover story isn’t the true purpose of the experiment because if the participants knew what was about to  happen, the psychological processes triggered would be different from ones that are triggered in real life  situations.

 The way to be certain that results of a study are  representative of the behaviors of particular populations is to ensure that participants in the study are selected randomly  from the population you are studying.  

 Social psychologists conduct research with diverse  individuals and cultures.  

 It is difficult to select random individuals for social psych  studies.

o Some researchers address this by studying the basic  psychological processes that make people easy prey for social influence. They assume that the processes are  basic and universally done.  

 Some social psych processes can be very dependent on  cultural factors and need diverse people for their studies.  

 FIELD EXPERIMENTS: experiments that are conducted in  everyday natural settings rather than in a lab.

 One of best possible ways to increase an experiment’s  external validity is by conducting it through field  experimentation.

 Field experiments enable researchers to control variables  and randomly assign participants to different situations like  they can in a lab setting.  

 Unlike in a lab setting though, the participants are unaware  that the events that they experience are even an experiment at all.

o This makes the external validity high; it’s all taking  place in the real world with real people.

 There is almost always a trade off between internal and  external validities…..So it’s the battle between randomly  assigning people or controlling over situations and  extraneous variables.


 When does the cost of research (cost, in terms of harm to  your participants) outweigh the benefit?

 Cost-benefit-analysis

o Needs to be done by another institution not including  the researcher.  

o Needs to be done before any research can be gathered. o Needs to state what can be learned from this  


o To what extent will there be harm to the participants.  

 What are some situations where the potential for harm to  your participants exists?  

o Milgram (1963) Have a participant shock a man in  another until he died. ( really didn’t die just an actor)  63% of the participants used the deadly shock and  would have killed an individual.

o Haney, Banks,& Zimbardo (1973)  

 Stanford Prison Study. Some took on the roles of  the prisoners and the guards. Over the few days,  

they started to abuse the prisoners. They were

normal but during the study they turned sadistic.  

Prisoners were hurt.  

 Deception  

o Why is it used?  

o When is it justified?  

o Usually don’t explain what the researcher is trying to do to the participants.

o If they know what is going to happen the reactions will  not be authentic.  

 Safeguards  

o Informed Consent/ your right to leave the study at  anytime and your right to safety  

o Institutional Review Boards / reviewed the study and  deemed it ethical and that the participants would be  safe.

o Debriefing/ tell them why you lied to them and justify it.


 Maintain Self-Esteem  

o The need to feel good about ourselves.

o Dissonance Theory  

 Use Strategies to Increase Accuracy  

o Social Cognition

o As human beings we want understand our world,  ourselves, and others accurate.


 Feb. 4, 1999

 Four police officers pulled up and mistook him for a serial  rapist that was on the loose

 He reached for him wallet knowing he would need to show  them his id

 One officer shot him

 Then the three others unloaded 41 shots into Diallo, killing  him.

 How did this happen?

o Self-esteem maintenance  

 The officers saw what made them feel good about  themselves

 All officers were acquitted.  

 What they saw that clicked with them.

 Were they racist?

o Social cognition approach  

 They did their best to be accurate, but instead  

made a deadly mistake.

 Can interpret information inaccurately


 Automatic thinking

o Unintentional/involuntary/ no effort required/ non conscious.

o Naturally reactions

o Defensive reactions

o Flinching defensive action

o Happens instantly

 Controlled Thinking  

o Have to do these things

o Conscious

o Speaking is an example

o Intentional  

o Voluntary  

o Effort required

o First time driving (becomes automatic once an  experienced driver)  

o Takes time  

 Automatic Thinking: Payne (2001)

o People presented with a Black or White male face for 200 ms (1/5 of second)  

o Study of reaction time

o Immediately followed by a picture of a weapon or tool ( hammer  or gun/ recognizable)

o Participants told to ignore face, judge as quickly as possible  whether second picture was a weapon or a tool

o Only variation was if it was a white or black male face o Told to ignore the face

o Had to respond in half a second


(people had to respond within 500ms)

o Shot less when black face and weapon

o More errors when white face and weapon

o More shots when black face and tool

o Less shots when white face and tool

o Police officers were biased with black men and jumped to the  conclusion that he was pulling out a gun.

o Just wanted to make this arrested

o Bias can come out when the subject doesn’t want to be biased o Replicated with the police

o Issue of how our society trains us to think about people


 SCHEMA :Mental representations that we use to organize  their knowledge around themes or topics

o Our schemas influence the info we may notice, think  about, and remember

o It’s like when you go into a fast food restaurant, you  know to order food and then sit down to eat.

o We relive these representations all the time

o This helps us to become accustomed to things o Schemas influence our memory and what we encode

o You can’t unlearn these schemas

o A single word can even active that representation in  your mind and take over

o Difficult to deactivate  

o Something about the situation will activate a schema  SCHEMAS ARE… AUTOMATIC  

o Unconscious

o Not intentional  

o Not voluntary

o No effort required

o Leaves lots of brain power for other things


o Guide Attention and Memory/ guide us and help us to  do everyday things

o They are important

o Help us interpret different situations

o Which schemas are applied has important  

consequences for how we construe a situation  

o In other words, we may have several possible schemas  that could be applicable to a given situation. The one  we focus on will impact our interpretation of the  situation.

o There might be more than one schema available to you  at one time

o They define our behavior

Page Expired
It looks like your free minutes have expired! Lucky for you we have all the content you need, just sign up here