Several Parts to Discussion Question : Number yours in a single post to correspond to the order here. For your first discussion please read Chapter 1 (p. 4-20) in your textbook (Required Book: Gilovic

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Several Parts to Discussion Question :

Number yours in a single post to correspond to the order here.

For your first discussion please read Chapter 1 (p. 4-20) in your textbook (Required Book: Gilovich, Keltner, Chen, & Nisbett (2019). Social Psychology(5th Edition). New York. Norton. 978-0393740318) and read Week 1’s Lecture notes (Part I). Then watch this video:

(if the link does not work, copy and paste into a new window) (stop at 2:15–the rest is an ad).

Your questions for the discussion are:

1. How would social psychologists explain why the people (in the video) conformed?

2. what type of explanation would social psychologists tend to avoid giving?

3. what “situational” or “personality” factors do you think would make people more likely to conform to the elevator gag?

4. what “situational” or “personality” factors do you think would make people less likely to conform to the elevator gag?

Chapter 2:

5. According to the methods overview in Chapter 2, what type of research method does the YouTube video represent and would this meet the standards to be a social psychology experiment? Why or why not?

Week 1: PSYC.2090 Social Psychology Lecture Part I: What is social psychology? (Chapter 1)

There are different definitions of social psychology. The most basic definition is that it is the scientific study of social phenomena. This means that any setting that involves two or more people is something that social psychologists study. That is why social psychologists typically study interpersonal attraction (when and why we like/love some people and not others); aggression (when and why we hurt people); prosocial behavior (when and why we help others or not); prejudice (when and why we dislike people based on the social groups they belong to); conformity (when and why we do what others do); persuasion (how others influence us and vice versa) etc.

However, this definition is incomplete. Social psychologists are interested in how we are influenced by other people even when we’re alone. For example, when I’m alone, I still may think about how other people will judge me if I decide to wear my bright yellow “bell-bottom” pants. I imagine that if I wore these pants that other people may stare at me, make fun of me, or even compliment me on my carefree style. If I imagine being teased, then I may decide to leave the pants in the closet and just wear my jeans. Note that this all happened in my head-I never interacted with any people-yet those imagined people influenced my behavior.

Another aspect of social psychology is that it is the study of how the situation influences people’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. We often contrast this view with that of personality psychology, which focuses more on how hard-to-change personality traits (individual differences) influence people’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. For example, personality psychologists focus on how certain individuals are more helpful than other individuals (regardless of the situation they are in). Whereas social psychologists focus on how the situation influences whether are not we help others (regardless of our personality). For instance, social psychologists have found that the more people witnessing an emergency situation, the less likely any one of those people is to help; this is called the

bystander effect

(p. 489-490).

To get a good understanding of how situations influence behavior, watch this 27 minute video:

Lecture Part II: Methods of Social Psychology (Chapter 2)

To start off this section, I would like you to answer the questions below about what you think research shows. I have provided the answers to this little quiz at the end of Research Methods section of the lecture.

1. Suppose an authority figure asks college students to administer near-lethal electric shocks to another student who has not harmed them in any way. What percentage of these students will agree to do it?

2. If you give a child a reward for doing something they already enjoy doing, they will subsequently like that activity (a) more, (b) the same, or (c) less.

3. Whom do you think would be happiest with their choice of a consumer product, such as an art poster, (a) people who spend several minutes thinking about why they like or dislike each poster or (b) people who choose a poster without analyzing the reasons for their feelings?

4. Repeated exposure to a stimulus, such as a person, a song, or a painting, will make you like it (a) more, (b) the same, or (c) less.

5. You ask an acquaintance to do you a favor—for example, to lend you $10—and she agrees. As a result of doing you this favor, the person will probably like you (a) more, (b) the same, or (c) less.

6. True or False: It is most adaptive and beneficial to people’s mental health to have a realistic view of the future, an accurate appraisal of their own abilities and traits, and an accurate view of how much control they have over their lives.

7. In the United States, female college students tend not to do as well on standardized math tests as males do. Under which conditions will women do as well as men?a) when they are told there are no gender differences on the testb) when they are told that women tend to do better on a difficult math test (because under these circumstances, they rise to the challenge)

c) when they are told that men outperform women under almost all circumstances

8. Which statement about the effects of advertising is most true?a) subliminal messages implanted in advertisements are more effective than normal, everyday advertisementsb) normal, everyday advertising, such as TV ads for painkillers or laundry detergents, is more effective than subliminal messages implanted in ads

c) both types of advertising are equally effective d) neither type of advertising is effective

9. In public settings in the United States, a) women touch men moreb) men touch women more

c) there is no difference—men and women touch each other equally

10. Which things in their past do people regret the most? a) actions they performed that they wish they had notb) actions they did not perform that they wish they had c) it depends on how long ago the events occurred

A. Rationale for Research

1. If you’re like most people, you didn’t get many of the questions right. Often when people here about a social psychology study’s results, they say the results were obvious—which can be the same as saying there was no need to conduct those studies because the results are “common sense”. But people tend to engage in “

hindsight bias

” (p. 39), which is when people know the outcome of an event they tend to believe that outcome was inevitable. This happens because it is very easy to see all the steps that led to that outcome. However, people have a much more difficult time predicting an outcome.

2. Another thing to consider is that a result might be common sense in part because past research was done that changed how people think about something. For instance, early social psychologists (pre-1960s) believed that people only liked something (say, a job) because they had many positive experiences with that thing and had few negative experiences with that thing. Now, we know that sometimes people like things in which they have negative experiences. We know, for example, that people who join a fraternity, in which they were hazed (in which they were humiliated or put under tremendous psychological and physical stress), tend to like and feel more connected to that fraternity than do people who did not experience hazing when they joined a fraternity. This is a

cognitive dissonance

(p. 41) finding in which people rationalize that they must really like something if they endured negative experiences to attain it—we call that

effort justification

(p. 215-217). In the 1950s this result, would have made little sense to people. Today, people are less surprised by these types of findings—and cognitive dissonance is a fairly common term—I’ve heard it a lot when listening to radio shows and I’ve even heard the host of the Daily Show use it.

3. Even if a result turns out to be common sense, it is still important to conduct that research. Given that so many results have been surprises to researchers, it is very difficult to know beforehand which results will confirm common sense and which will be surprises.

4. I had you do the quiz because I wanted to make a point about the hindsight bias. However, I could do a similar type of exercise to challenge commonly held beliefs. In other words, we have many beliefs (that we attained from media and people in our lives) that are simply incorrect). Thus, the point of doing research is to not rely on hearsay or even our own intuition, but to find evidence. The video below captures my point.

How many of you believed that we only used 10% of our brain? I used to believe it at one point—I had heard so many people say it, that I assumed it was true. And I bet I made similar comments (in the past) about people only using a small percentage of their brain’s capabilities…therefore, making it likely that I spread that misinformation to somebody else.

B. Goals of Research

In social psychology, we have five main research goals: describe, predict, causal analysis, application, and theory building. Here’s a mnemonic that may help you remember these five goals. Take the first letter of each word (Describe, Predict, Causal, Apply, Theory) DPCAT. Now rearrange them into CD TAP. Now imagine a CD tap dancing, then suddenly it’s smashed to pieces by a social psychology research book. I’ve had students tell me that they remember that image but forgot what the letters stand for—so, make sure you also remember what each letter means.

There are three main research methods that we use in social psychology (observational, correlational, and experimental). No one method can address all five goals. The different research methods help us achieve different goals. So, it is very important that knowledge we gain is based on many studies that use different methods. *Indeed, all three methods should be used to achieve the goal of



1. Observational Methoda. This method achieves the goal of


. This method involves the systematic observation and measurement of behavior. The research observes people in a natural state (e.g., at school, at the market, in the workplace).

Weaknesses: 1) Certain kinds of behavior are difficult to observe, because they occur rarely or in private. 2) Observational research is confined to one particular group of people, one particular setting, and one particular type of activity. This limits generalizability—meaning it’s very difficult to take the results of an observational study and say this probably occurs (generalizes to) in other situations and people.

2. Correlational Methoda. This method achieves the goal of



We might look at the relationship between personality (individual differences) and some behavior. Often we measure people’s personality by having people complete a survey. Say we wanted to look at how people’s level of self-esteem relates to various outcomes.

First, let’s break down how we might measure self-esteem. Below is the Rosenberg self-esteem scale. After a sample of people completes these items, a researcher will add all responses to all items together for each participant. This will result in one overall score of self-esteem for each person in the sample. Note that because we want a high score to mean that the person has high self-esteem, then we need to change the score of the some of the items before we add them to the other items; items 2, 5, 6, 8, & 9 need to be reverse code so that 1 = 7, 2 = 6 etc. Note also that the lowest score a person could get is 10 (10 items x 1), and the highest score they could get is 70 (10 items x 7)

Positive Relationship

: Let’s introduce a positive correlation by discussing the relationship between people’s self-esteem scores and their scores on a survey measure of life satisfaction. The scatter plot (graph) below represents a positive correlation between self-esteem and life satisfaction. The higher people’s self-esteem scores, the higher their life satisfaction scores. Note that this is a positive correlation because as people’s self-esteem goes up, their life satisfaction also goes up. This means that on average: 1) a person who has a high self-esteem score tends to have a high life satisfaction score; 2) a person who has a low self-esteem score tends to have a low life satisfaction score; 3) a person who has a medium self-esteem score tends to have a medium life satisfaction score.

Negative Relationship

: Let’s introduce a negative correlation by discussing the relationship between people’s self-esteem scores and their scores on a survey measure of depression. The scatter plot below represents a negative correlation between self- esteem and depression. The higher people’s self-esteem scores, the lower their

depression scores. Note that this is a negative correlation because as people’s self- esteem goes up, their depression goes down. This means that on average: 1) a person who has a high self-esteem score tends to have a low depression score; 2) a person who has a low self-esteem score tends to have a high depression score; 3) a person who has a medium self-esteem score tends to have a medium depression score.

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