PSYC 3580 Exam 1

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What is the goal of social psychology?
To identify universal properties of human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence, regardless of social class or culture
Social psychology is about...
Learning what people actually think, feel, do in given situations (Distinct from "common sense" or "folk wisdom")
The scientific method...
Offers an empirical test to determine what is actually true Collects data to describe and understand social world
Why do people do the things they do?
Identify internal and external processes that guide thoughts, emotions, behavior
What is social psychology?
the scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another
social psychology
emphasis on context, situation
personality psychology
emphasis on person, individual differences
contemporary social psychology
person x situation interaction
general principles that explain predicted and observed events
testable predictions about how people will respond under specific conditions (Operational definition: quantify an abstract construct, concept)
it is constant
external validity
accuracy across situations/people (tested with replication)
internal validity
accuracy of causal relationship between variables (i.e., rule out alternative explanations)
construct validity
accuracy of construct of interest
The construct of aggression is broad. Different forms of aggression
Physical, verbal, relational
Ways to test a hypothesis
ethnography, correlational approach, field experiments (Quasi-experiments), experiments
studies people in their setting (highly realistic, detailed data, high in ecological validity)
Ethnography Strengths
realistic, good for describing phenomenon
Ethnography Limitations
rarity or secrecy of behavior, massive time commitment, ethics?, causality, sometimes generalizability (low external validity
Correlational Approach
basic relationships: degree of relationship between 2 variables
Coefficient (r) between0.0 and 1.0 (+/-)
Large (absolute) value = strong relationship, (Sign shows direction of relationship)
Examples of positive correlations
Social connections and well-being, Efficacy and performance, Attention and memory, Testosterone and aggression*
Examples of negative correlations
Intergroup contact and prejudice, fatigue and performance, alcohol and self-regulation, power and perspective-taking
Study variables
"cause" variables (independent), "effect" variable (dependent)
field studies
studies in which people's behavior is observed in a natural setting (no "true" independent)
field experiments strengths:
lots of realism, construct validity (ecological validity)
field experiment weaknesses
limited claims about causality, low internal validity, no control over groups (ie. no random assignment)
experimental research
benefit of random assignment, participants get equal chance to be in either condition
mundane realism
setting of the experiment similar to the world at large (ecological validity)
psychological realism
does the experiment evoke the same process as the world at large (internal validity)
4 Methods of Self-Concept
introspection, the looking-glass self, self-perception, vicarious self-perception
stimuli from environment activates related concepts in the mind
conscious processes
experience of self, deliberate preferences, self-control
non-conscious processes
attention, perception memory automatic processes integration of sense information concept activation
usually know what we feel or think, but not why
The Looking Glass Self
internalize ourselves exactly like others do
limits of looking glass self
we don't see ourselves exactly like others do people don't always accept the opinions of others
view of self informed by, active, available info
vicarious self-perception
people have merged identities with similar others (sense of connection with others based on important self-relevant identities)
listening to our "inner voice"
the looking-glass self
learn from feedback of friends and family
four ways of constructing self-concepts
introspection, the looking glass self, self-perception, vicarious self-perception
evaluation of the self
how good you feel about self generally
how good you feel about self in the moment
self-esteem strengths
easy, precise, domain-specific
self-esteem limitations
self-presentation, hide negative, inflate positive
explicit measures
more precise specific, but susceptible to self-presentation
implicit measures
less biased primitive, general measure of self-evaluation
low self-esteem
protecting self from failure (avoid negative)
high self-esteem
achievement, success (approach positive)
benefits of high self-esteem
buffer against bad news or failure more resilient report more positive affect initiative more confident less susceptible to persuasion
downfalls of high self-esteem
more willing to experiment with drugs, risky sexual behaviors less influenced by persuasion
unrealistically high, extreme self-esteem more aggressive greater ingroup favoritism unfaithful to partners narcissists don't think they are narcissists
terror management theory (TMT)
our self-esteem and culture can protect us from "death anxiety"
sociometer theory
rooted in evolutionary psychology, need others to survive people developed an innate need to belong
self-control or willpower (largely explicit, conscious, deliberate
3 major forms of self regulation
overriding short-term desires in favor of long-term benefits (impulsive control) manage goals (persistence, prioritization) any process of monitoring and altering one's responses (thoughts, behaviors)
sources of regulatory failure
limited resources, limited attention, wavering commitment
A high capacity for self-control predicts...
components of the limited resource model
behavioral control, thought control, emotion control
prefrontal cortex
implicated in executive control (dorsolateral, ventroateral prefrontal cortecies, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex)
limited resource model
initial acts of self-regulation deplete resources
implications for pursuing multiple goals that require lots of self-regulation?
multiple goals use environment to advantage
Zeigarnik effect
experiences of intrusive thoughts about an active, but unfulfilled goal ("intrusive thoughts" when out with friends when there is something to be done)
"what the heck" effect
Tendency to temporarily abandon one's long-term goals after a single self-control failure
3 self motives
self-appraisal, self-verification, self-enhancement
learn the truth about ourselves
self-verification (consistency)
confirm what we already believe about ourselves
see the best in ourselves
create obstacle for self excise for failure even more awesome if succeed...
self-serving biases
internal attributions (skill, ability, effort)
unrealistic optimism
we think good things are more likely to happen to us than others; we think bad things are less likely to happen to us than others
false consensus
negative events - we overestimate consensus positive events - we overestimate uniqueness