The Field of Social Psychology

The Field of Social Psychology - Chapter 1 The Field of...

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Chapter 1 – The Field of Social Psychology: How We Think About and Interact with Others Social psychology – the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior and thought in social situations. Social thinking - beliefs, judgments Social influence - conformity; persuasion Social relations- prejudice; aggression Social Psychology is Scientific in Nature - The term science itself refers not to topics of interest such as physics or biochemistry, but to two things: 1. A set of values 2. Several methods that can be used to study a wide range of topics Values associated with a science. 1. Order - there are lawful, not haphazard, relationships among events 2. Determinism – every event has a physical, potentially measurable cause 3. Accuracy – scientist’s commitment to gather and evaluate information as carefully, precisely, and error-free as possible 4. Objectivity – scientist’s commitment to be as free of bias as possible when obtaining, evaluating information 5. Open - mindedness – willingness to change even strongly-held views if you get information that contradicts what you believe 6. Skepticism – attitude that doubts all claims not supported by solid research evidence Social Psychology Focuses on the Behavior of Individuals 1. Here we need to distinguish between social psychology and sociology. Sociologists and social psychologists share an interest in studying how people behave in groups. While most sociologists study groups, from small to very large, most social psychologists study average individuals – how each person thinks about, is influenced by, and relates to others. Examples: marriage; racial prejudice 2. Social psychologists use more experiments
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Social Psychology Seeks to Understand the Causes of Social Behavior and Thought 5 major categories: 1. The Actions and Characteristics of Other Persons - Being cut off in traffic; a friend invites you to a party - Attractiveness; race 2. Cognitive Processes - How we interpret and think about the behavior of others effects the way we reciprocate 3. Environmental variables: Impact of the Physical World - Impact of the Physical World - Heat and crime 4. Cultural Context - Changing ideas about divorce 5. Biological Factors - Used to look outside individual for causes of social behavior Evolutionary psychology - stresses principles of natural selection and
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The Field of Social Psychology - Chapter 1 The Field of...

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