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PY 372: Wk 2 Notes

by: Jordana Baraad

PY 372: Wk 2 Notes PY 372

Jordana Baraad
GPA 3.9

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Here's the material for week 2, the first true course material. Topics covered are: Intro to Social Psych (fact or fiction quiz) and Research Methods. Any questions, feel free to ask!
Social Psychology
William Peter Hart
Class Notes
25 ?




Popular in Social Psychology

Popular in Psychology

This 13 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jordana Baraad on Thursday August 25, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PY 372 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by William Peter Hart in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 51 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychology at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 08/25/16
8/23 Intro to Social Psych SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY QUIZ Please answer each of the following statements as being either true or false. 1. Most of us have quite accurate insight into the factors that influence our behaviors. False: ex. conformity often supported by other reasons Ex. asked which soda is favorite (all samples are same soda) Chose cup w/ label M bc liked letter M (positive words assoc) 2. A person looking into a mirror will behave more in line with his/her attitudes than a person not looking into a mirror. True: ex. mirror in stores to prevent people from shoplifting Have to watch self do immoral act Ex. 7% cheating w/ mirror v. 70% cheating w/o mirror 3. To be mentally healthy, people need an opportunity to act out, thus venting their aggression. False: research supports “letting it go” w/ distraction is most effective to more pos mood Venting increases anger 4. The more you pay people go to class, the more they will enjoy class/ subject matter. False: ex. people often hate salaried jobs Money often  lost love—people question genuineness of their love Hobby can turn into chore when paid 5. All things being equal, the more often we see someone’s face, the more we grow to like the face. True: people like familiarity (like “acquired taste”) Disclaimer: only true for neutral stimuli, NOT noxious stimuli 6. The most successful relationships are those in which opposites attract. False: people like familiarity Similar hobbies, values, etc 7. People will pull harder in a tug-of-war when part of a team than when pulling by themselves. False: “social loafing”—people put in 1/3 of effort when they think others will pick up slack Harder to trace back success/ failure to individual Tip: less loafing in group project if assign specific parts to each person in group WHAT IS SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY? Social psychology: scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual or imagined presence of others. (ex. “mom is always watching” stops you from doing something stupid) Scientific method = key component (next class) RELATED DISCIPLINES Sociology: scientific study of human societies (e.g., US culture) and the groups that form such societies (e.g., social class). – Similarities: Studies phenomena that are often of interest to social psychologists – Differences: Sociologists focus on group level behavior; social psychologists study individuals within groups SOCIOLOGY VS. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY • Example – Aggression … • Sociology – Why is the level of violent crime higher in the US than in Canada? (GROUP-LEVEL ANALYSIS) • Social psychology – Does watching greater amounts of violent television cause individuals to become more violent? (INDIVIDUAL-LEVEL) PERSONALITY PSYCHOLOGY (not covered) Personality Psychology: Focuses on how individuals differ on certain stable traits – Similarities: Both focus on the individual – Differences: Personality psychology explains behavior in terms of stable personal influences; social psychology (generally) explains behavior in terms of situational context WHAT SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS NOT (not covered) • Example – Aggression… • Personality – Investigates why some individuals are more aggressive than others (e.g., a bad attitude) v. • Social psychology – Investigates features of a situation that may lead most people to aggress against others (e.g., hot weather, being insulted) SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS . . . • LEWIN’S EQUATION: – B = f (P, E) o F: “function of” Behavior is a function of the person (disposition and traits) and the environment (Text refers to this as power of the person and power of the situation). Ex. when trying to determine motive, quickly attribute to person’s nature Social psych stresses environment Though doesn’t deny individual differences in response to enviro THE CRITICISM AND MYTH OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY • Is social psychology simply common sense? – No, but it often feels that way Opposites can appear to be true Ex. Absence makes the heart fonder? V. Out of sight, out of mind? Look before you leap? V. Hesitate, and you will be lost? Too many cooks  spoiled broth? V. More heads are better than one? Social psych lends objectivity v. subjective “common sense” COMMON SENSE • Suppose a scientist finds that: • People with low self-esteem are more susceptible to flattery than people with high selfesteem – Seems reasonable… • Now…suppose a scientist finds that: • People with high self-esteem are more susceptible to flattery than people with low selfesteem – Also seems reasonable… • Thus, psychologists are often criticized Problems with common sense 1) Not critically analyzed; need to test ideas we have tendency to accept info as true w/o careful inspection facilitates communication part of inherently social nature 2) Not stated with specified conditions • When will one cultural idiom be correct? (be specific) • Hindsight is 20/20! Outcomes look like common sense. Hindsight bias: • a.k.a.: the “I knew it all along” phenomenon – the tendency to exaggerate, AFTER learning an outcome, one’s ability to have foreseen how something turned out • ex. sporting events 3) Stated ambiguously – horoscopes and psychics considered by audience as true/ accurate BUT actually BS human tendency to see patterns as meaningful perception of someone as “expert” confidence, enthusiasm phenomenon has name: Barnum Effect for horoscopes cultural stereotypes stated in general terms ex. “women so emotional” but men more emotional Try this on a friend… THEY *WILL* IDENTIFY W/ THIS DESCRIPTION • You have a great need for other people to like and admire you. • You have a great deal of unused capacity, which you have not turned to your advantage. • Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you tend to be worrisome and insecure inside. • You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. • You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others statements without satisfactory proof. • You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. • At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. • At times you are extroverted, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. • While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. PROBLEMS WITH COMMON SENSE  It’s sometimes outright wrong and stupid!  150 years ago common sense told us:  Women should not be allowed to vote  African Americans shouldn’t be taught to read  Individuals with disabilities should be institutionalized we only use 10% of brain motivation obscures reality you believe what you want ex. “Good things happen to good people.” BUT “Nice guys finish last.” CONCLUSION: Problems w/ common sense • Social psychology studies how behavior is a function of both the person and the environment. • Social psychology shares commonalities with sociology and personality psychology but also has distinct differences. • Social psychological theories and concepts often seem like common sense notions. • But, the difference between social psychology and common sense is that we use the scientific method to test ideas 8/25/16 Research Methods SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AS A SCIENCE  • What is science?  • To be considered a science, a discipline must have 3 features (2 most important):  – ***Systematic observation (vs. casual observation) – Public verification (not covered) o (e.g., claims of seeing Bigfoot are not scientific because they are not verifiable)  – ***Solvable problems  o limit of sci:  must be observable  via sight, touch, etc  must be measurable  observability can change w/ advanced technology o (e.g., whether God exists is not an empirical question) – beyond realm of sci • We study our beliefs and ideas about the world systematically:  – THEORY:  An integrated set of statements that describes, predicts or explains behavior. • Ex. Venting  frustration makes one feel better o but what does “feel better” mean?   ­­not measurable   – HYPOTHESIS: specific, testable and disconfirmable statement about the behavior we want to study OR  the theory we want to test.  o Ex. Writing an angry letter to one’s boss will result in a positive mood.         ­­  TEST: will support or disconfirm hypothesis support = tentative evidence, NOT proof disconfirmation  revision of hypothesis/ theory OR tossing aside notion  If __________, then ____________ is true.        Theory          hypothesis Moving from a theory to a testable hypothesis: Venting frustration will make people feel well.  – Construct: The conceptual representation of behaviors; the phenomenon around which research is based •  Venting Frustration and Feeling well are constructs   – Operationalization: Defines a construct in terms of the way it is measured or manipulated (i.e., makes the  construct concrete).  o Ex.  Writing an angry letter to the boss and experiencing positive mood  o Writing angry letter operationalizes “venting” o Positive mood operationalizes “feeling better” – Construct validity: extent to which the measured variables in research successfully represent the  constructs of theoretical interest  o I.e., Is writing an angry letter “venting”?  o Is experiencing a positive mood “feeling well”?  CHARACTERISTICS OF SCIENCE  • Three essential characteristics of a good science:   Logical  • The research (theory) makes sense given what we currently know  Repeatable  • The research can be replicated and has been peer reviewed  Vulnerable  • Hypotheses can be disconfirmed  GOALS of SCIENCE  1. To describe behavior.   2. To predict behavior.  3. ***To explain behavior (most complicated) Descriptive Research  Descriptive Research: Used to describe characteristics in a population:  Apply to representative sample, NOT to entire population • E.g., “What percentage of adults vent their anger?”   “What percentage of adults report being happy with life?”  One can use several different methods to describe behavior:  – Self­report (e.g., a survey)  – Observational methods (e.g., naturalistic observation)  o Set up situation then see what happens  Ex. gendered doors leading to same place to answer “% pop that would follow silly  rules” – Physiological methods (e.g., skin conductance)  • Advantages:  – Helps us generate hypotheses  – Helps inform policy decisions  • Disadvantages:  – Cannot make causal conclusions  Important Issues: Sampling and External Validity People in study (sample) MUST resemble population you wish to sample • External validity: The extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to the population of interest  o Random Sampling: Drawing from a population such that each individual in the population has an equal chance of being included in the sample.   Ex: Literary Digest, presidential election poll of 1936   FDR v. Landen for Pres  Predicted that Landen would win in landslide bc inaccurate polling  Phone polling—only rich people had phones in that age  Ensures external validity Additional Issues with Self­Report Surveys Interpreting surveys can be complicated Do you trust people’s responses? People can lie (even in anonymous surveys) People can give opinion even when ignorant Ex. Lie Witness Report @ Coachella   • Writing good survey questions  – Wording makes a HUGE difference in how people answer  o “Assistance to the poor” vs. “welfare”  Ordering of questions also matters a lot  (see below) Solved by: Careful construction of surveys  We want to describe how attractive Mitt Romney is:  • How attractive is Al Gore on a 1­10 scale, where 1 means very unattractive and 10 means very attractive?  Problems with survey:  Question Ordering  How attractive is Tatum? Right before “How attractive is Al Gore? “ v.  “How attractive is this (ugly)guy?” right before “How attractive is Al Gore?” Bottom line:  Can learn a lot from surveys  Not ALWAYS accurate/ truthful 1. think they know but don’t 2. lying a. for desirability i. ex. self­report v. roommate report of drug use  CORRELATIONAL RESEARCH  • Description and ***Prediction  – Determine how much two pre­existing variables (venting and happiness) are related or associated ( o Measure of a relationship.)  – 2 things Used to describe and predict behavior  o Directionality (a.k.a. Valence): positive, negative  o Strength: strong, moderate, weak, none CORRELATION (r) Correlation coefficient (r)  Describes linear trends ONLY • Strength of relationship  – Range: ­1 to +1  o Indicated by the absolute value of the number  o The closer to 1 (or ­1), the stronger the relationship o  Correlations close to zero are weak o In psychology, anything over .3 is relatively strong…  o Which is stronger? .8 or .3 .3 or ­.5  Absolute value   1.2 or ­.8  1.2 is impossible r ­­ > 1 • Valence of relationship— +/ ­ determines direction – negative or positive sign  o Negative= inverse; As one variable increases in value, the other decreases in value   Ex. bills and disposable income o Positive = parallel; As one variable increases in value, the other increases in value   Ex.  class attendance and final grade  Minutes played and points scored  Bills and debt  Height and weight Leave much to be desired, but… • Advantages:         ­­  predict important outcomes – Efficient  o You can study things that you cannot manipulate (gender) AND should not manipulate (no contact in infancy; brain injury)  • Disadvantage:  ­­  Cannot assert causality.  • Example: The number of violent crimes committed in New York increases as ice­cream sales  increase.  • Does ice­cream cause violent crime?  NO—related to warmer temperatures • Regular breakfasts correlated w/ later virginity loss strong correlation but NOT cause confounding variable: breakfast rel to strictness/ consistency in parenting Bottom line: CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION!!!!!!!!!!  EXPERIMENTAL METHODS  •experimental methods: ONLY way to establish causal relationship – Manipulate one or more variables while controlling others (holding them constant)  – Used to explain behavior (The only method to discover the causal relationship between constructs)  – Ex. watching violent TV  increased violence? o 2 groups: 1 watch violent tv, 1 watch nonviolent tv o both groups are irritated after o measure aggression in response • Key Ingredients:  – Independent Variable (IV) (random assignment is IMPORTANT) ONLY difference btwn groups is IV          ­­ The experimental factor  OR variable manipulated in the experiments by the researchers  • Called the condition group  – Control Group  o A group in a study that does not receive the experimental manipulation  o The control group allows for comparison with the experimental condition  – Dependent variable  o The variable that is measured in an experiment and is expected to change as a result of the  experimental manipulation  – Random Assignment  o  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. o Minimizes individual differences; equalizes preexisting differences  o The “Great Equalizer”  DO NOT CONFUSE RANDOM SAMPLING AND RANDOM ASSIGNMENT.  Random Sampling  v.  Random assignment Method of getting people into study applied once in study ­­descriptive research  ­­experimental research EXPERIMENTAL METHODS  • Advantages:  – If done well, you CAN conclude CAUSE and EFFECT!  • Potential Disadvantages:  – Weak: Generalizability (external validity)  o Not like “real world”; sterile lab enviro – Demand Characteristics  o Cues in the experiment that tell the participant what behavior is expected  – ***Ethical concerns  – – Deception (e.g., Milgram)  ETHICS  • How do we address ethical concerns?  (intuitive) – Informed Consent: let people know what they’re getting into; inform of right to leave – Golden Rule o Minimize discomfort  o Only do worthwhile research (don’t waste participants’ time)   Improve by reimbursing/ compensating – Confidentiality: don’t’ divulge participants’ info  – Debriefing: A detailed explanation of the true purpose of the study after it is over. o Give right to withdraw data Self Outline I. Development a. Before age 2, babies don’t distinguish self from others II. Self-concept / esteem (beliefs about self; attitude) III. Sources of Self-knowledge IV. Self motivation a. Not processing info passively b. Have goals Development of Self Self recognition @ approximately 2 yrs (18 months – 2yrs) Don’t see self as character Ex. infantile amnesia (not forming reliable autobiographical memories before 2 yrs old) Red rouge test Place red dot on kid’s face Response to changed refection indic link btwn self & mirror img Happens around 18 months


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