Social Psychology

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8/20/2012

Myers (2012)
PowerPoint prepared by D. Owens

A science that studies the influences of our
situations, with special attention to how we
view and affect one another
The scientific study of how we think about,
influence, and relate to one another.

A fairly young science

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Sociology
the study of human societies and the behavior of
individual people and groups in society

Personality Psychology
The study of personality and individual differences

Social influence

Social Class

Attachment
Persuasion

Family
Prejudice &
Discrimination

Gender &
Gender Differences

Attraction &
Relationships

We construct our social reality
Our social intuitions are often powerful but
sometime perilous
Social Influences Shape our behavior
Personal attitudes and dispositions also shape
behavior
Social behavior is biologically rooted
Social psychology principles are applicable to
everyday life

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Values: personal convictions about what is
desirable and how people ought to behave
Obvious ways values enter psychology
Choice of research topics
Type of people who are attracted to various field
of study

Not so obvious ways
Hidden assumptions when forming concepts
Choosing labels
Giving advice

Common criticisms of social psychology
“If social psych research is driven by researchers
values, how can it be scientific?”
“Isn’t social psychology just common sense?

Hindsight bias: the tendency to exaggerate
one’s ability to have foreseen how something
turned out after learning the outcome.
Invoked after we know the facts

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Forming and Testing Hypotheses
Theory
Integrated set of principles that explain and predict
observed events

Hypotheses
Testable proposition that describes a relationship that
may exist between events

Forming and Testing Hypotheses
Location
Laboratory
Controlled situation
Field
Everyday situations

Method
Correlational
Naturally occurring relationships among variables
Experimental
Seeks clues to cause-effect relationships by
manipulating one or more variables

Correlation Research: Detecting natural
associations
Correlation and causation
Allows us to predict but not tell whether changing one variable will cause changes in another
Did pet ownership affect the 2008 presidential campaign?

Survey research
Random sample
Unrepresentative samples
Order of questions
Response options
Wording of questions
Framing

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Experimental Research: Searching for Cause and
Effect
Control: Manipulating variables
Independent variable
Experimental factor that a researcher manipulates
Dependent variable
Variable being measured; depends on manipulations
of the independent variable

Random assignment: The Great Equalizer
Process of assigning participants to the conditions of an
experiment such that all persons have the same chance
of being in a given condition
Eliminates extraneous factors

Ethics of Experimentation
Mundane realism
Experimental realism
Deception
Demand characteristics
Informed consent
Debriefing

We can distinguish between the content of
people’s thinking and acting and the process by
which they think and act

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