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SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY I. What is social psychology? a. Links sociology and psychology b. Sociology – the scientific study of human society i. Social institutions, stratification, social processes, the structure of social units c. Psychology – the scientific study of individual thought and behavior d. Social psychology – the systematic study of the nature and causes of social behavior and attitudes e. The social structure creates the individual and the individual creates the social structure II. What do social psychological theories explain? a. The impact of one individual on another’s behavior and beliefs i. Communication – both verbal and non verbal; theories explaining persuasion, altruism, aggression, attraction b. The impact of a group on a member’s behavior and beliefs i. Group – number of people who share a feeling of unity or are bound together in relatively stable patterns of interaction ii. Establishment of norms iii. Conformity iv. socialization c. the impact of a member on a group’s activities and structure i. group decision making processes and group performance ii. jury deliberation studies iii. leadership studies d. the impact of one group on another group’s activities and structure i. creation/maintenance of stereotypes ii. inter-group conflict III. Research in social psychology a. Fair main objectives of social psych Research i. Explore or describe social reality 1. When little is known on a topic 2. Understand features of a social process 3. Qualitative methods, such as in depth interviews, participant observation, or focus groups are typically strongest 4. Gives wide latitude to those being studied to explain their experience 5. EX. Provide thick description of the experiences of people who provide care giving to chronically ill family members ii. Identifying correlations between variables 1. Does a change in one variable (any part of a process that can change) co-occur with a change in another 2. Hypothesis – an educated guess or statement of the relationship between two variables
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3. Quantitative methods, such as survey, archival, or experimental designs, are strongest 4. Correlations vary in strength – weak/strong 5. Correlation is not the same as a causal relationship 6. Ex. Does the number of human births in a geographic region vary systemically with the number of storks present in that geographic area? a. There is a moderate correlation between these two variables iii. Testing causal hypotheses 1. Variable A causes variable B 2. Criteria for causal relationships between variables a. Association b. Temporal order c. Elimination of plausible alternatives (falseness) 3. Quantitative methods, such as survey, archival, experimental designs are strongest 4. Causal hypothesis: In a given geographic region, the number of human births increases as a result of an increase in the number of storks 5. The relationship between number of storks and number of human births is spurious 6. Model 1 a. Number of storks causes the number of human births
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