1 Introduction

1 Introduction - Social Psychology Chapter 1: Introduction...

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Social Psychology Chapter 1: Introduction We are social beings and we forge our social identities not alone but in the context of other people. What is Social Psychology? Defining Social Psychology: Social psychologie is the scientific study of how individuals think, feel, and behave in regard to other people and how individuals´ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are affected by other people. Scientific Study: many approaches (we can learn human behavior e.g. from novels, films, history etc.) Difference is, that social psychology is a science and applies the scientific method of systematic observation, description, and measurement to the study of human condition. How individuals think, feel, and behave: social psychologists investigate a wide variety of attitudes and contexts. Social psychology typically focuses on the psychology of the individual. Other people- the social element: its empasis on the social nature of individuals makes social psychology (s.p.) unique. Attempting to establish general principles of human behavior, social psychologists sometimes examine nonsocial factors that affect people´s thoughts, emotions, motives, and actions. Social Psychological Questions and Applications: Table 1.1 / page 7 The value of social psychology´s perspective on human behavior is widely recognized. We can think of no other field of study that offers expertise that is more clearly relevant to so many different carrer paths. The Power of Social Context: An Example of a Social Psychology Experiment: The social nature of people runs so deep that even which seems so personal an unique to ourselves can be influenced subtly but significantly by merely thinking about other people. Experiment by Emily Pronin and colleagues (2004); they called it identity bifurication . The experiment illustrates the power of thinking about others, female undergraduate students who cared about math disavowed aspects of their feminine identity that were relevant to negatvie stereotypes about women and math if they had just read about the underperformance on a math test of a number of seventh- and eighth-grade girls relative to boys. The social context can have subtle and profound effects even on individuals who might otherwise seem well protected against it. Social Psychology and Related Fields: Distinctions and Intersections: Table 1.2 / page 10 Social psychology and Sociology : Share an interest in many issues, such as violence, prejudice, cultural differences, and marriage. Sociology tends to focus on the group level <-> social psychology tends to focus on the individual level. Sociologists most often study the relation between people´s behaviors and societal variables, such as social class <-> social psychologists are more likely to study the relation between people´s behaviors and more specific, immediate variables, such as manipulations of mood and exposure to particular models of behavior.
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Social psychologists are more likely than sociologists to conduct experiments in which they
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This note was uploaded on 02/04/2011 for the course PSYCH 212 taught by Professor Dansullivan during the Spring '11 term at NYU.

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1 Introduction - Social Psychology Chapter 1: Introduction...

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