Chapter 1: Science of the Social side of life Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 1: Science of the Social side of life Deck (24):

What is social psychology

The scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior, feelings, and thoughts in social situations. The investigation of the ways in which our thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by the social environments in which we find ourselves, by other people or our thoughts about them.


What does "science" refer to?

- A set of values
- methods that can be used to study a wide range of topics


4 Core values of scientific fields



Epigenetic processes

Where the operation certain genes is turned on or off


Evolutionary psychology

Branch of psychology that suggests that our species, like all others, has been subject to the process of biological evolution throughout its history and that as a restful, we now possess a large number of evolved psychological mechanisms that help us to deal with important problems relating to survival


Cognitive processes

The involvement of social cognition - thinking about other people and interactions with them - and how it plays a large role in social behavior.


Environmental variables

the impact of the physical world on our social behavior. Aspects of the physical environment - weather, hunger, visual stimuli, etc. - that influence our feelings, thoughts, and behavior.


Biological factors

The idea that our preferences, emotions, and behaviors may be linked to our biological inheritance. Biology and social experiences are bidirectional.


Social neuroscience

efforts to relate activity in the brain to key aspects of social thought and behavior


Multicultural perspective

Recognizing the importance of cultural factors in shaping who we are and social behavior


Naturalistic Observation

Behavior is carefully observed and recorded in settings where the behavior naturally occurs


Survey methods

Often involve large numbers of persons who are asked to respond to questions about their attitudes or behavior


Correlational method

Two or more variables are measured to determine how they might be related to one another. However correlation does not equal causation.



Involves systematically altering one or more variables (independent variables) in order to determine whether changes in this variable affect some aspect of behavior (dependent variable)


Independent variable

The variable in experimentation that researchers are seeking to alter, to determine any affect on the dependent variable


Dependent variable

Variable that is affected (or not affected) the alterations to the independent variable


Experimental method

Requires random assignment of participants to conditions and holding all other factors that might also influence behavior constant so as to avoid confounding variables.


Confounding variables

variables outside of the independent and dependent variables that may affect the outcomes of an experiment. Researcher bias, participant expectations, and more are examples of this.


Mediating variables

variables that intervene between an independent variable and changes in social behavior



Statistical technique that permits an assessment of how well findings replicate - whether the same pattern of results is obtained despite variation in how particular studies were conducted



factors that can alter the effect of an independent variable on the dependent variable. Also affect the strength of a relationship between two variables.



An effort used by researchers to withhold or conceal information about the processes of a study from the participants, in order to prevent their knowledge of the true purposes of the study from affecting their behavior in the study. Valid only if researchers agree that it is necessary in order to obtain valid research results. Can use passive deception, or misleading deception


Informed consent

Giving participants as much information as possible about the procedures to be followed before they make their decision to participate



providing participants with a full description of the purposes of the study after they have participated in it, including an explanation of any deception used and why it was necessary to employ.