Chapter 1 – Intro to Social Psychology

Social Psychology
The scientific study of the way people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other’s.
An organized way of gathering and analyzing evidence about the natural world by combining rationalism and empiricism.
Subjective Aspects
Refers to the evaluations and opinions of an individual regarding scientific research.
How do values affect social psychology?
There are values in every scientific field that guides it, however it is crucial to remain as objective and unbiased as possible in order to maintain validity.
Why is it wrong to view social psychology as common sense?
Due to the phenomenon of hindsight bias, when we understand something after the fact, we tend to believe we have known it all along. In reality, much of social psychological processes occur unconsciously.
How does social psychology relate to other disciplines such as sociology, personality psych and anthropology?
Social psychology concerns itself with the individual/situation interaction while remaining much more experimental.
The way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world.
The view that psychology (1) should be an objective science that (2) studies behavior without reference to mental processes. Most research psychologists today agree with (1) but not with (2).
Gestalt Psychology
A psychological approach that emphasizes that we often perceive the whole rather than the sum of the parts.
Naive Realism
Belief that we see the world precisely as it is when in reality we do not.
How does the situation have power?
1. Actions of others influences our own.

2. Cultural context influences how we perceive everyday events and what we consider normal.

3. Physical environment influences how we feel and behave (ex. crowded room)

How do biological aspects influence our social psychological interactions?
Things that are ingrained in us as social creatures as crafted by evolution can influence our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Additionally certain social situations can be understood on a neurological level.
What are some popular ways that social psychology can be applied?
1. Combating social problems (environmental psychology).

2. Legal psychology.

3. Understanding consumer behavior.

Self-Esteem Approach
The need to feel good about ourselves
Social Cognition Approach
Incorporation of principles of reasoning, logic and fundamental brain mechanisms into explanation of social behavior