Definition of Social Psychology • Social psychology is… the scientific study of HOW OTHER PEOPLE INFLUENCE OUR • Affect • Behavior • Cognition • Physiology/biology • influenced by the real, imagined, or implied presence of other people.
What do we mean by “influence”? Social Influence The effect that the words, actions, or mere presence of other people have on our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behavior. • Perceiving information – five senses • Processing information – construals Example – Jurors in a legal trial Example – Norms
Comparison to… common sense: False True True False True False False • Opposites attract. • Everyone dreams. • If told to do it, most people will shock someone almost to death. • Blind people have a more sensitive sense of hearing and touch. • Animals process information in the same way that people do. • A well-trained psychology can determine a person’s hidden problems by analyzing their dreams. • Playing classical music for a young infant will result in an increase in IQ.
Comparison to… philosophy • The creativity and analytical thinking of philosophers are a major part of the foundation of contemporary psychology. • But what happens when philosophers disagree?
Comparison to… personality psychology • When trying to explain social behavior, personality psychologists generally focus on individual differences—the aspects of people’s personalities that make them different from others.
Comparison to… sociology • The level of analysis reflects another difference between the disciplines: • Psychology – study of individuals in social situations • Sociology – broad, economic, political, and historical factors that influence a given society
In what ways does the situation and the person interact? • Different persons respond differently to the same situation • Different situations prime different parts of the person • Situations choose the person • Persons choose their situations • Persons change the situation • Situations change the person
Goals! • Goals, motives, objectives, desires, wants, needs, etc • At a given moment, various intersecting motives underlie our thoughts and behaviors. • Influence how we perceive and process information (construals) • Fundamental and universal set of motives
Goals! • Over the years, social psychologists have found that two of these motives are of primary importance: • The need to feel good about ourselves, • The need to be accurate. What happen when in conflict?