Intro to Social Psychology 

    Ψ  Social psychology is the scientific discipline that attempts to understand & explain how the 
thought, feeling, & behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied 
presence of others.
    Ψ  Social psychology: a science that studies the influences of our situations, with special attention 
to how we view & affect one another.

    Ψ  Social psychology: A broad field whose goals are to understand & explain how our thoughts, 
feelings, perceptions, & behaviors are influenced by interactions with others. It includes the study 
of stereotypes, prejudices, attitudes, conformity, group behaviors, & aggression.
    Ψ  Social psychology: The scientific study of how people think about, influence, & relate to 
one another.

 Differences between Psychological & Sociological Psychology

      • Psychological Social Psychology: 
       The central focus is on the Individual. 
       Researchers attempt to understand social behavior by analyzing immediate stimuli, 
       psychological states, & personality traits. 
       Prediction of behavior is the primary goal of research. 
       Experimentation is the primary method of research followed by surveys. 

    • Sociological Social Psychology: 
      Central focus is on the group. 
      Researchers attempt to understand social behavior by analyzing societal variables, 
      such as social status, roles & norms. 
      Description of behavior is the primary goal of research. 
      Surveys & participant observation are the primary research methods. 


A theory is an integrated set of principles that explain & predict observed events. Theories 
are a scientific shorthand.       

Theories are ideas that summarize & explain facts.       

Theories not only summarize, the also imply testable predictions called hypotheses (guesses
 as to cause).       
 A good theory:      
 1.  effectively summarizes a wide range of observations.      
 2.  makes clear predications that:            
           a.  confirm & modify the theory. 
             b.  generate new exploration. 
              c.  suggest practical applications. 
                  An experiment is a method for identifying cause & effect relationships by following 
              a set of rules & guidelines that minimize the possibility of error, bias & chance occurrences.   
                Disadvantage: Information obtained in one experimental situation or laboratory situation 
              may not apply in other situations.    
                Advantage: Identifies cause & effect.Random selection is how you draw the sample of 
              people for your study from a population. 
                  Random assignment is how you assign the sample that you draw to different groups (control or 
              experimental) in your study. We randomly assign in order to help assure that our groups are 
              similar to each other (i.e., equivalent) prior to changing the independent variable.
              Conducting an experiment: seven rules:       
 - Rule 1: ask (hypothesis) 
        - Rule 2: identify variables 
               - Independent variable (treatment) 
               - Dependent variable (resulting behavior) 
        - Rule 3: choose subjects (random selection) 
        - Rule 4: assign subjects randomly 
               - Experimental group 
               - Control group 
        - Rule 5: manipulate independent variable 
               - administer treatment 
               - Use double-blind procedure 
        - Rule 6: measure resulting behavior (dependent variable) 
        - Rule 7: analyze data 
        A correlation is an association / relationship between the occurrence of two or more 
        events, a correlation coefficient is a signed number signifying the strength & direction 
        of that relationship.

       Perfect positive correlation coefficient (+1.00) (always) 
        Positive correlation coefficient (+0.01 to +0.99) (sometimes happens) 
         Zero correlation (0.00) (events happen at random) 
        Negative correlation coefficient (-0.01 to -0.99) (sometimes) 
       Perfect negative correlation coefficient (-1.00) (Never) 
      Correlations are positive if  the occurrence of the events in each domain increase together. 
      Correlations are negative if  the occurrence of the events in one domain increases as the 
      occurrence of events in the other domain decreases. 
 Correlation is not causation! it is a clue that can be used to predict.
 General Ethical Precautions       
   Do no harm! 
         Secure informed consent. 
          Explain the procedures before hand. Use deception only if essential 
           & justified by a significant purpose. 
            Keep confidential all personal information. 
             Fully explain the experiment afterward, including any deception.    
           Precautions about Findings          
             Report Honestly 
             Limit Misinterpretation    
 Ψ  Mundane realism can be defined as a superficial similarity to real life. It is not important in an experiment.    
 Ψ Experimental realism is important, an experiment should absorb & involve the participants.   
 Ψ  Generalization from laboratory to life: Does not always happen. Be cautious!

Improve your study habits! 

    A common complaint from students is that their study is ineffective; because, students 
are often poor judges of what they know, the use of self tests such as those in most texts 
& most textbook support web sites can fix this.

    A plan for time management using the right sort of goals is effective in improving 
study results.

Types of study goals:

1. Time       
    2. General       
       3. Specific performance goals 

    Reward yourself when goals are reached (self-reinforcement).

Take notes! 

- Use your own words. 
    - Use an outline format. 
        - Associate new material with old. 
            - Ask yourself questions as you study, then look for the answers.

Stop procrastinating:

     1.  Stop thinking or worrying about the final goal, conquer today's work. 
         2.  Break the overall task down into smaller more reachable goals. 
             3.  Write down a realistic schedule that you know you can follow.

Read the textbook!

Ψ   Many students don't bother to read the textbook before going to the lecture that will cover the material. Trying to get 
anything out of a lecture without reading the material first is like trying to find a new, unfamiliar place without using a map 
or a GPS device. You can get lost real quick. This is especially true because most instructors in the traditional college 
setting make the assumption that the student has in fact prepared for the class by reading the assignment to be covered 
by the lecture. The instructors then use the lecture to expound on the information the student has supposedly got from the 
reading. If the student's have failed to do the reading, the lecture may not make a lot of sense.    

Think Critically!

Ψ   Critical thinking means making reasoned judgments. It is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully 
conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, 
observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief & action. 

Ψ   A Critical thinker

  raises vital questions & problems, formulating them clearly & precisely. 
  gathers & assesses relevant information. Uses abstract ideas to interpret that information effectively. 
  comes to well-reasoned conclusions & solutions by testing them against relevant criteria & standards. 
  thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing & assessing, as need be, their assumptions, 
implications, & practical consequences. 
  communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems. 

                 Social Psychology
                   Robert C. Gates