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Social Psychology Midterm 1

Social Psychology Midterm 1 - Social Psychology Research...

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Social Psychology January 10, 2011 Research methods in social psychology Answering whether Byran will help Malcolm is an issue of prediction o Can we predict the likelihood that one individual will help another? In order to predict this, we’ll need some information Ideally, that information will be relevant to the phenomenon we are trying to predict (helping) Note, though, that there are many sources of information that wont be relevant to a question of interest Levels of Analysis : distinct domains of study that (often but not always) focus on and seek to predict different features of the same thing—look at the body from biological, romantically, all in different ways. All LOA of natural sciences do not identify the same things—quantum physics can tell molecular level, but not predict if byran will help Malcolm The cognitive neuroscience LOA o Can help describe neural activity of byran helping Malcolm but doesn’t predict if he will help him Three LOA stand out as particularly helpful in predicting if byran will help Malcolm o Personality psychology o Sociology o Social psychology Personality psychology o Focuses on individual differences What type of personality is Byran? He’s outgoing and extraverted Do extroverts tend to be helpful Sometimes they can be quite helpful So does knowing byran is extroverted help predict of he will help Malcolm Partly, but we need to know other aspects of the situation, because extroverts are more likely to help in some ways but not others Sociology o Focuses on broad social trends (demographics) What is noteworthy demographic feature of byran? He’s from Sweden Do Swedes tend to be helpful? Sometimes they can be particularly helpful So does knowing that hes Swedish help us predict if he will help Malcolm?
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Partly, but we need more features of the situation Social Psychology o Focuses on the ways social situations influence thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of individuals o Primary concern is with the average person So, often times social psych blurs across dimensions of personality and demographics o This is a limitation, but also a strength Helps us predict the ways in which situations generally influence most people o Focuses on the ways situations affect individuals in general What is noteworthy about Byran’s situation? He is the only one available to help, and Malcolm has asked for help o Most average individuals are willing to help under these conditions o In general people are likely to help in this situation o Malcolm is likely to be helped by byran January 12, 2011 How exactly do social psychologists study effects of situations on the average individual?
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