social psych study guide.docx - What is social psychology...

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What is social psychology? The scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual or imagined presence of others. Also the environment Primary thesis of social psychology Human social thought and social behavior is governed heavily by the situation in which the thoughts and behaviors occurs. “Situation matters” Secondary theses of social psych: The power of situational forces is far greater than people tend to think it is Social thought and social behavior often do not fit into commonsense theories People’s perceptions are more important (in affecting social behavior and thought) than are the objective features of the situation. Social thought and social behavior are a function of both the person and thee situation The goals of social psychology To explain behavior To predict behavior To control behavior (Ultimate goal) The importance of empiricism: How we study social psych Isn’t social psych common sense? o Opposite attract ~~ birds of a feather flock together o Out of sight, out of mind ~~ absence makes the heart grow fonder o Look before you leap ~~~ he who hesitates is lost o Too many cooks spoil the broth ~~ two heads are better than one The social sciences turn up “no ideas or conclusions that can’t be found in any encyclopedia of quotations… day after day social scientists go out into the world. Day after day they discover that people’s behavior is pretty much what you’d expect” –Cullen Murphy Social psychology is full of counter- intuitive findings The hindsight Bias The tendency to overestimates, after learning an outcome, one’s ability to have foreseen the outcome Outcomes seem obvious after the fact Examples: o Fischoff (1975) War between British and Gurkhas in India o Telgen (1986) Love is stronger than fear ~~~ Fear is stronger than love He that is fallen cannot help him who is down ~~ He that is fallen can help him who is down o Sports, games, elections trial outcomes, studying for tests, etc
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Sociology vs Social Psychology Why does social psychology need to be scientific? Why can’t we just watch people or just ask them how they would behave? Expectations Culture Values In other words, our interpretations of an outcome is colored by our view of the world Questions Effects How a question is worded can affect the way people responded to the question. Example what is the most important problem facing our country today Public school- 32% Abortion ? Other ? Helping farmers get a fair price for their crops should be the top priority pf the Iowa legislature (27%) Education should be the top priority of the Iowa legislature (86%) Crime should be the top priority of the Iowa legislative (34%) The math doesn't add up to 100%!!!!!!!
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