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CHAPTER 1 THE FIELD OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. CHAPTER OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, you should be able to: Offer a definition of social psychology.

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Presentation on theme: "CHAPTER 1 THE FIELD OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY. CHAPTER OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, you should be able to: Offer a definition of social psychology."— Presentation transcript:

1 CHAPTER 1 THE FIELD OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

2 CHAPTER OBJECTIVES After reading this chapter, you should be able to: Offer a definition of social psychology and discuss the types of issues this field considers. State the four key components to a science. Consider how social psychology differs from the field of sociology. State and briefly discuss the five major headings that characterize the variables of interest to most social psychologists. Discuss some of the major contemporary research trends in social psychology. Consider the advantages and limitations to systematic observations and the survey method. Describe the correlational method including the meaning of correlational coefficients and the key drawback to this method. Outline the nature of the experimental method including all of the key components to this methodology. Explain the basic purpose of inferential statistics and meta-analysis. Define the term "theory" and describe the procedure involved in building theories. Consider when and how deception is used in social and psychological research. Discuss the importance of informed consent and debriefing in social psychological research.

3 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY A WORKING DEFINITION Social Psychology is the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behaviour and thought in social situations.

4 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IS SCIENTIFIC IN NATURE The term science refers to: A set of values Several methods that can be used to study a wide range of topics

5 FOUR CORE VALUES A FIELD MUST ADOPT TO BE CONSIDERED SCIENTIFIC Accuracy: A commitment to gathering and evaluating information about the world in as careful, precise and error-free manner as possible. Objectivity: A commitment to obtaining and evaluating such information in a manner that is as free from bias as humanly possible. Skepticism: A commitment to accepting findings as accurate only to the extent that they have been verified over and over again. Open-Mindedness: A commitment to changing one’s views – even views that are strongly held – if existing evidence suggest that these views are inaccurate.

6 Social Psychology, as a field is deeply committed to these values and applies them in its effort to understand the nature of social behaviour and social thought. Social psychologist adopt the scientific method because “common sense” provides an unreliable guide to social behaviour and because out thought is influenced by many potential sources of bias.

7 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY FOCUSES ON BEHAVIOUR OF INDIVIDUALS Social psychologists realize that we do not exist in isolation from social and cultural influences. But the field’s major interest lies in understanding the factors that shape and the actions and thoughts of individual human beings in social settings. This is in contrast with Sociology which focuses on large groups of people or society as a whole.

8 Variables that assist Social Psychologists to Understand the Causes of Social Behaviour and Thought The Actions and Characteristics of Other Persons Cognitive processes Environmental Variables Cultural context Biological Factors

9 Research Methods in Social Psychology There are three research methods mainly used by social psychologists Systematic observationSystematic observation: Describing the world around us Correlation:Correlation: The search for Relationships The Experimental MethodThe Experimental Method: Knowledge through Systematic Intervention.

10 Systematic Observation A method of research in which behaviour is systematically observed and recorded. Another technique included under this heading is the survey method survey method: A method of research in which a large number of people answer questions about their attitudes or behaviour.

11 CORRELATION Correlational Method: A method of research in which a scientist systematically observes two or more variables to determine whether changes in one are accompanied by changes in the other. The term refers to a tendency for one event to change as the other changes. Correlations can range from 0 to or the greater the departure from 0 the stronger the correlation. Positive numbers mean that as one variable increases the other increases too Negative correlation mean that as one variable increases the other decreases The existence of even strong correlations between variables does not indicate that they are causally related to each other.

12 The Experimental Method Experimental Method: A method of research in which one or more factors (the independent variable) are systematically changed to determine whether such variations can affect one or more other factors (dependent variables) Independent variable: The variable that is systematically changed in an experiment Dependent variable: The variable that is measured in an experiment.

13 Experimentation: Two requirements for its success Random assignment of participants to experimental conditions: A basic requirement for conducting valid experiments. According to this principle, research participants must have an equal chance of being exposed to each level of the independent variables. Insofar as possible, all factors other than the independent variable that might also affect participant behaviour must be held constant Experimenter effects occur when researchers unintentionally influence the behaviour of participants. Such effects can be eliminated or minimized by double blind procedures.

14 Theory about some aspect of social behaviour Predictions are derived from this theory Research design to test this prediction is conducted Predictions are confirmed Confidence In the Theory is increased Predictions are disconfirmed Theory is modified Theory is rejected Confidence In the theory Is reduced THE ROLE OF THRORY IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL RESEARCH

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