Lecture 7: What is Social Psychology? Flashcards Preview

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What is the scientific method?

*A theory is an organised set of general principles or ideas used to explain...
- observed phenomena
- The relationship between constructs/events.
*Data/ evidence is gathered by applying empirical methods.


What makes a good theory?

*Predictive accuracy - Does it reliably predict behaviour.
*Internal coherence - Is it logical and consistent?
*Parsimony - Does it make unnecessary assumptions?
*Fertility - Does it inspire more ideas/research.


What are the 3 levels of Theories?

*Grand theories (Meta - theories)
*Mid - range


What is social psychology?

*It is an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others.
*It links people's cognition (thought processes), affective states (feelings and emotions) and behaviour to their social world.
*It takes a process - oriented approach: we want to know what people do and when, as well as why they do it.


What 3 topical areas are there in social psychology?

*Social influence - e.g., conformity, compliance, obedience, persuasion.
*Social perception - e.g., impression formation, attraction, stereotyping, bias.
*Social interaction - e.g., aggression & conflict, helping, prejudice & discrimination, communication.


Does social psychology have relevance?

*It is relevant to everyday life and has important implication.
*Theories of human social behaviour are likely to be affected by common sense notions.


How is social psychology considered a science?

*Social psychologists use empirical methods to test their theories.
*It is the scientific study of the effects of social and cognitive processes on the way individuals perceive, influence and relate to others.
*It is the scientific study of hoe individuals think, feel and behave in a social context?


What are the levels of explanation in social psychology?

*Intrapersonal - taking place or existing within the mind.
*Interpersonal - Relationships
*Intergroup - Social groups
*Societal - society impact


What is the Hermeneutic approach?

*Arose out of a critique of the scientific method during the crisis of social psychology
*Rejects the goals of mainstream social psychology.
*Argues that research should be concerned with understanding individual behaviour in specific contexts rather than searching for general theories.


What experimental methods are used?

*Lab experiments
*Field experiments


What non - experimental methods are used?

*Case studies
*Archival research
*Field Studies


What is the importance of scientific literacy?

*Interpretation of research findings.


What was the purpose of the Stanford prison study?

*To study the effects of imprisonment
*To test the dispositional hypothesis.


Who were the participants of the Stanford prison study?

*75 participants responded to advertisement.
*Volunteers filled in a battery of psychological tests and were interviewed to asses their mental stability.
*21 were randomly assigned to the roles of guards or prisoners.


What conclusions were drawn from the stanford prison study?

*The power of social roles
*Tyranny or evil are produced by the adoption of particular social rules.


What's important when studying people?

*Participants and experiments are people:
- Both are involved in a sense making process.
- The notion of subject is misleading - especially in social psychological research.
*A study's famousness is not a guarantee for its analytical rigor:
- Different levels of explanation can be used to explain social behaviour.


What are the five basic ethical principles?

*Protection from harm - physical and mental.
*Respect for privacy - anonymity or confidentiality.
*Use of deception - 50-75% of researchers uses deception.
*Informed consent - including the possibility to withdraw at anytime.
*Debriefing - full explanation of purpose of research.