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Social Psychology Notes Week 1

by: Christina Hancock

Social Psychology Notes Week 1 EBIO 1220

Marketplace > University of Colorado at Boulder > Science > EBIO 1220 > Social Psychology Notes Week 1
Christina Hancock

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About this Document

These notes are for the first week of Social Psychology. They outline and cover the material under the topics of; What is Social Psychology, Science in Question, and Ethics.
General Biology 2
Dr. Carol Kearns
Class Notes
social psychology
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Christina Hancock on Thursday January 21, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to EBIO 1220 at University of Colorado at Boulder taught by Dr. Carol Kearns in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 32 views. For similar materials see General Biology 2 in Science at University of Colorado at Boulder.


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Date Created: 01/21/16
Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Social Psychology Week 1 The scientific study of the way individuals think, feel, and behave in a social context. Topics this class will cover: • How do we know who we are? • What are common ways that we misjudge others? How do we change other peoples attitude? • • How do other people affect us? • Is group or individual work more productive? • What is love? • What increases aggression? • What prevents people from helping others? What is Social Psychology? Scientific Study: Personal experience or intuition can be a starting point, but answers come from scientific evidence. Follow Scientific Goals and Methods • Objectivity • Generality Validity and Reliability • • Explanation is the Goal Theory-based and ruled by evidence Individuals: We focus on individuals rather than groups - Distinct from Sociology But not a specific individual! - Distinct from Clinical Psychology We want to know about the typical (average) - Distinct from psychopathology, we want to understand “normal behavior” Think, Feel, and Behave: Social Context: Basic Premise: Humans are social animals and cannot be understood without considering the social context. • Presence of other people • Thought of other people 1 Tuesday, January 12, 2016 •Social rules and norms (Distinct from other subfields of psychology; Biological or cognitive) Over Arching Themes: Power of the situation- how social interactions change behavior Small things matter (“channel factors”) - the way someone says something or a chance encounter, the way someone looks. Construal: How people interpret a situation is often more important for understanding behavior than how things actually are. Minuet Maid Commercial Example Shames, expectations and top-down processing: Prior knowledge or expectations about the world (e.g. stereotypes) often drive our thoughts, feelings and behaviors Automatic (unconscious, unintended, spontaneous) vs. Controlled (conscious, intended, deliberate) —————————————————————————————————————————— Science Begins with a Question: - Why do people…? Scientific Theory: An explanation Question: “Why do people cheat on taxes?” Explanation = Theory : “People cheat because they think everyone else does.” Scientific Theory General Terns Casual Relations Disconfirmation with data must be possible. If the data show the theory is wrong, it must be abandoned. Hypothesis is a specific prediction about the results of a study bas on one’s theory. Science = Empirical Tests of Theories Descriptive/ Correlational Research Goal is to describe reality at a particular time, place, using objective measures Social psychologists are typically interested in describing how two or more variables are associated with one another: correlational research “Is there an association between how much one thinks other people cheat on taxes and how much one cheats on one’s own taxes?” 2 Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Methods of Descriptive/ Correlational Research • Analyze existing data (archives) -Tax records, police reports, Hospital records, etc. • Collect new data by observation or asking questions (in person, telephone, mail, internet) Potential Research problems: • Correct interpretation of behavior • Correct recording of behavior • Problems with participant sampling and response • Sample is too small to represent the population • Sample is obtained in a biased manner Obtaining an Unbiased Study Sample Choose participants to represent the population accurately • What dimensions must be considered? • Randomly select people from a population; a large enough sample will be unbiased. Random selection: every person has an equal chance of being studied. Primary Limitation of Correlational Research • An association between two variables tells us little about casual direction Correlation DOES NOT = Causation Problem of third variables: Correlations may be caused by something we haven’t • measured Problems of reverse causation: Causality may be in either direction • A better understanding of correlations is obtained if… Obvious third variables are eliminated Longitudinal research reduced the possibility that something measured later caused what was measured earlier (time travel?) An Experiment: (random controlled trial) The goal of an experiment is to isolate the effect of one or more variables on a specific • outcome -Everything except for the variables under study should be controlled (kept constant) - Same for Lab or field • Valid experiments allow for claims of causality. Experiments are thus the gold standard in testing scientific theories. IV: The variable that is manipulated by the researcher DV: The outcome that is expected to be influenced by the IV; a measure of behavior, feelings or judgment. 3 Tuesday, January 12, 2016 Ethics Scientific Openness and Replication • Researchers have an ethical obligation to conduct valid studies and faithfully report results without hiding “inconvenient” findings. • Researchers have an ethics obligation to provide other researchers with enough detail to allow for replication. • Researchers are increasingly being asked to provide their raw data for verification of results Ethical Treatment of Human Subjects/ Participants: History • Revelations of Nazi medical experiments on prisoners during WWII • Concerns about social psychology studies that may have caused sever psychological distress. Belmont Report; Modern Principles in protecting human subjects: • Respect for persons: informed consent, privacy and confidentiality, careful consideration of deception, and debriefing. • Beneficence: max benefit and minimize risk • Justice: the benefits and burners of research should be equitable across the population. Research subjects can not be exploited because of their circumstances. 4


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