People create their own understanding of reality.
-Power of the situation
-Meaning, we create the world, but the world shapes us as well.
How is How is social Psychology distinct from other sciences?
- Focused on topics of everyday concern
- Focused on how people think and behave in general
- Uses scientific methods
- Describes events: Determine that a phenomenon does or does not exist
- Predict events: Determine the extent to which one variable can be used to predict the value of another variable (correlational studies)
- Explain events: Determine the extent to which one variable causes another (experimental studies)
How are these goals reached?
- Scientists develop THEORIES and HYPOTHESES
- A theory is an explanatory statement about a phenomenon
- A hypothesis is a specific application of the theory; it provides a testable assumption about what should happen if the theory is correct.
Steps in Scientific Investiagation
1. Identify what you want to explain/understand
E.g., Why did Americans become more patriotic following the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks?
2. Develop a theory
E.g., “Fear of death leads people to defend their cultural beliefs”
3. Develop a specific hypothesis
E.g., “When Americans are led to think about their mortality, they will defend…”
4. Design a study and collect data
- Positive correlation, negative correlation, no correlation
Size of correlations
- Can range in size from -1.0 to 1.0
Correlation DOES NOT MEAN Causation
- Variable A may cause Variable B
- Variable B may cause Variable A
- Variable A and B could both be correlated with a third variable
2. Experimental studies
*By manipulating one variable and examining its effects on another variable.
Features of Experiments
- Manipulated variable (e.g. self esteem) is called the INDEPENDENT VARIABLE
- Outcome variable (e.g. rate of colds) is called the DEPENDENT VARIABLE
- Experiments must use random assignment
o Confounds--- other variables.
Random Assignment “The great equalizer”
- Every person in the experiment has an equal chance of being assigned to any one of the
- Helps assure that the variable being manipulated is the only thing that differs across condition
- NOT random selection (everyone in the population has an equal chance of being chosen)
*There is too much information available in the world for us to make sense of.
*Schemas are mental structures that help us to organize our knowledge about a category of things.
-persons = impressions
-groups = stereotypes
-events = scripts (you know what to do (ex.) at a restaurant)
… special because it uses temporal component
… we feel very uncomfortable when we don’t know how things are going to happen
-self = self-concept
… individual experiences
… might be the ‘biggest’ schema b/c you have the most information for this
Where do these schemas come from?
1. Help us comprehend the world
-if we didn’t have this… terrifying.
-everything would be new all the time.
2. Shape how we “construe” the world
(i.e., how we attend to things, perceive information)
What are the EFFECTS of Schemas? (7)
2. information search
3. interpretation of ambiguous behavior
4. Adding missing information
6. Speed of Processing
Schemas direct attention to relevant information
*participants read about the details of a house
*IV: Scenario: Burglary vs. Buying a house
Conclusion: the details people remembered depended on how they were thinking about the story. Robbing vs. not robbing.
2. Information search(effect of schema)
(Extraverted Impression Study)
IV: Personality (introverted, extroverted)
DV: # of confirming questions chosen
Conclusion: When the participant thought the person they talking to was extroverted, they chose extroverted questions. They wanted to confirm what they already knew.
3. Interpretation of ambiguous behavior
*white participants view video of interaction between a white and a black man (argument and one shoves the other)
DV: characterization of the “shove”.. as violent or playful.
- black shover: 75%
- white shover 17%
- black: 6%
- white 42%
(Mental Patient Study)
· Trained clinical psychologists listened to an interview with a man
· IV: Man labeled as either: Job applicant or Patient interviewing
· DV: Degree of “psychopathology” attributed to the man (on a 10-point scale; low scores = severely maladjusted)
· Job applicant: 5.88
· Patient: 2.4
4. Adding missing information
-Memory is NOT a passive thing. It creates stuff. It’s not reliable. (Needle example)
(El Paso Study)
Does x vandalize… true (87%)
Is x hispanic…. false (53%)
Is x male… false (87%)
Does x drink beer… true (100%)
Is x in a gang… false (40%)
(Car Crash Study)
*Showed 2 cars getting in a wreck
- About how fast were the cars going when they --- each other?
- smashed… 41
- hit…. 34
- contacted… 31
6. Speed of Processing
-Faster processing of schema-consistent info
Police stopped a man who looked like a rapist. He wasn’t. He reached for his ID and they shot him 41 times.
(Gun or Cell Study)
*Ps view photos of armed and unarmed black and white men (IVS)
*must decide to “shoot or not shoot” as quickly as possible
*DV: speed to respond
*Conclusion- people were faster to shoot if the person was armed and black. Don’t shoot was faster for white.
*More likely to NOT SHOOT if white
*More likely to SHOOT if black
Schemas allow us to be on automatic pilot without careful processing of info
(Copying Favor Study)
· The “favor-asking” script
o ask favor, offer reason
o Ps approached in library while waiting to use the photocopier
o Do we do it if they give a reason.. even if it’s bad?
§ request and good reason
§ request and bogus reason
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