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C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology

C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology

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C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology

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  1. C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology Welcome!

  2. C82SAD: Social and Developmental Psychology • 2-hour lectures once per week in both semesters • Wednesdays 9am-11am Biology A150 (here!) • Semester 1: Social psychology • Semester 2: Developmental psychology • Handouts, glossaries • Module resources can be found at

  3. Social Psychology (Semester 1) • Course text Hogg, M.A. & Vaughan, G.M. (2007). Social Psychology (5th Ed.). Harlow: Prentice Hall Important: Look at the chapter headings.

  4. What is Social Psychology? • Numerous definitions • Why? Different strands - based on methods, assumptions and questions raised • Concerned predominantly with: • Understanding how we interact/communicate • Understanding how our social environment shapes our cognitions and judgements/choices • Understanding human interaction • Different approaches to posing and answering questions that arise

  5. What is Social Psychology? “The scientific investigation of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others” Allport (1935)

  6. Two strands of social psychology CONTINUUM c.f. Mr. Spock c.f. Hercules Poirot Sociological Social Psychology Psychological Social Psychology STRAND Social constructionist Humanistic Logical Empiricism ORIGIN Social Cognition PREVAILING PROCESSES Language and Culture Inductive/Qualitative e.g. Discourse analysis Quantitative/ Hypothetico-deductive e.g. Experimental METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH Popper (1968) Gergen (1973) Shotter (1975) KEY AUTHOR(S)

  7. Social Psychology Some Important Considerations and Assumptions • Social psychologists don’t study animals

  8. Social Psychology Some Important Considerations and Assumptions • People don’t behave in a social ‘vacuum’ • The individual is the unit of analysis • Other people, social contexts, the groups we belong to all affect our decisions and behaviour in social contexts • Experimental psychologists use ingenious experiments to look at social phenomena • Social psychologists don’t study animals

  9. Social Psychology Some Important Considerations and Assumptions • Observable behavior • Non-observable phenomena: thoughts opinions, attitudes, beliefs, intentions, goals etc. • What makes social psychology social is that it deals with real or implied presence

  10. Social Psychology Some Important Considerations and Assumptions Que? We ‘think’ with ‘words’ Most of us don’t drop litter

  11. Social Psychology and Questions? • What are the questions that social psychology intends to answer? • Examples: • How do we make sense of our decisions and expectations in the social world? • How do the choices we make influence our behaviour? • What effects do our decisions have on others and how do others decisions effect us? • How does our membership of a group influence the way we behave?

  12. Topics of Social Psychology Conformity Discrimination Persuasion Stereotyping Power Crowd behaviour Group norms Group identification Social influence Social conflict/harmony Obedience Social change Prejudice Decision making Intergroup relations Leadership Communication Attitudes Impression management Self-presentation Social facilitation Attraction and friendship

  13. Social Psychology Methodological Issues • Scientific methods • Hypotheses formed on the basis of knowledge, assumptions and causal or systematic observation • E.g. hypothesize that a dancer performs better before an audience than alone • Experimental design

  14. Social Psychology Methodological Issues • Experimental methods in laboratory • Careful control of independent variables and its effect on a dependent variable • Example 1: Deci and Ryan’s (1985) experiments on intrinsic motivation • Aimed to examine effects of rewards on intrinsic motivation

  15. Social Psychology Methodological Issues • Dependent variables: Amount of time spent on puzzle in free choice paradigm and enjoyment • Uses one-way mirror room to observe participants • Deci and Ryan’s (1985) experiments on intrinsic motivation • Effects of rewards on puzzle solving • Independent variable: Reward, no-reward conditions

  16. Results of Deci and Ryan’s Experiment Intrinsic Motivation

  17. Social Psychology Methodological Issues • Example 2: Bandura et al.’s (1961) Bobo Doll Experiment • Independent variable: Children exposed to two ‘models’ of behaviour = • aggressive ‘model’ (e.g. adults punched, kicked, hit doll, tossed it in the air, while saying “Hit him down”, “Sock him in the nose” etc.) • nonaggressive adult model (both verbal and physical) • Dependent variable: Amount of aggressive actions children performed when freely interacting with the Bobo Doll

  18. Bobo Doll Experiment Method • Bandura et al. (1961): Children watched an adult playing with ‘Bobo doll’ (5-foot inflated plastic doll).

  19. Bobo Doll Experiment Method Source: Bandura & Walter (1963)

  20. Social Psychology Methodological issues • Experimental methods in field • Naturalistic settings outside laboratory • Field experiments have high external validity • Less control over extraneous variables • More difficult to obtain subjective measures (usually relies on observed behaviour)

  21. Social Psychology Field Experiment • Dutton & Aron (1974) examined the mis-interpretation of arousal according to environmental feedback • Method: Male participants crossed either • a wobbly suspension bridge high over a canyon = high anxiety OR • or a solid bridge only 10 feet above a brook =low anxiety • As each participant crossed the bridge, an attractive female research assistant approached and • administered questionnaire about some ambiguous pictures of people • gave him her phone number in case he had questions about the study

  22. Social Psychology Field Experiment • Dutton & Aron (1974) Results: Participants on the suspension bridge found more sexual themes in pictures and were also much more likely to call the woman • Conclusion: The arousal that occurred on the wobbly suspension bridge was fear, but participants misattributed it to sexual arousal because of the presence of the attractive research assistant

  23. Social Psychology Methodological issues • Nonexperimental methods • Case studies • In-depth analysis of a single case • Interviews, questionnaires, behavior observation • Rich data but less generalizable to population • Survey research and field studies • Questionnaire studies and correlations between constructs • Large samples of respondents looks at group responses • Generalizable, but cannot infer causality because data is CORRELATIONAL • Doesn’t involve CHANGING variables/conditions of people

  24. Social Psychology Theories • Behaviourism • Neo-behaviourists (e.g., Bandura) need to evoke unobservable constructs to explain behaviour • E.g. Social Modelling imitation of behaviour and shaping by vicarious learning • Cognitive psychology • Representations and cognitive consistency, E.g. Lewin’s (1951) Field theory representations of social environment affect motivation • Aronson (1984), Festinger and Carlsmith – cognitive dissonance (arousal) evoked attitude change

  25. Social Psychology Theories • Evolutionary social psychology • Important behavioural tendencies evoked a survival benefit and therefore became part of human genetic makeup • More recently in the form of sexual selection e.g. fitness indicator theory, sensory bias theory • Personality • Stable, generalized, heritable traits that influence behaviour in a number of contexts • Little evidence for true heritable traits • Collectivist theories: people behave according to social context

  26. Social Psychology Theories • Social cognition • Information processing is central to the theory • Examines the effects of social information on decision making and behaviour • Assumes all individuals process information in the same manner