PSYCH 221 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY EXAM 1 STUDY GUIDE
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.
CRITICISMS OF BEHAVIORISM
Inadequate for understanding the social world
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.
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?
EXAMPLE OF GESTALT PSYCH (Illusions)
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
IMPORTANCE OF KEVIN LEWIN
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.
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR:
The tendency to explain our own and other people’s behavior entirely in terms of personality traits.
Underestimating the power of social influence.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE UNDERESTIMATE 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
BASIC HUMAN MOTIVES
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
Try to teach them more challenging material
The desire to feel good about ourselves
SOCIAL COGNITION APPROACH:
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)
WHY WE NEED TO TALK METHODOLOGY:
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.
HOW DO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGISTS DO THEIR RESEARCH? Methodology
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.
HOW DO WE COME UP WITH A QUESTION TO SCIENTIFICALLY STUDY SOCIAL INFLUENCE?
From… Personal experiences
From…Observations of others
From… Something we read
From… Some social issue that’s important to us From…Previous research
HOW IS A HYPOTHESIS GENERATED?
Social Psychology is cumulative
First you need to cannibalize previous theories and studies. Researchers in social psychology use their personal experiences to generate ideas
TYPES OF EXPERIMENTAL METHODS
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.
o Unobtrusively watch subjects "from outside"
o Use a coding scheme to record behavior
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.
CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION!!
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
HOW WE FORM BELIEFS ABOUT OURSELVES, OTHERS, AND THE WORLD
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
2 MODELS OF SOCIAL COGNITION
o Unintentional/involuntary/ no effort required/ non conscious.
o Naturally reactions
o Defensive reactions
o Flinching defensive action
o Happens instantly
o Have to do these things
o Speaking is an example
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
RESULTS OF PAYNE STUDY
(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
MORE EXAMPLES OF AUTOMATIC THINKING
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 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