Presentation on theme: "The Nature of Social Psychology"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Nature of Social Psychology Tom Farsides:29/09/03The Nature of Social Psychology
2 The goals of the lecture series NOTTo cover everything in text.Chapters 1 through 11 must be read and learnt.Any part of Chapters 1 through 11 may be examined.TOIllustrate active engagement with the material.
3 Lecture structure Why bother to study social psychology? What social psychology is.Methods in social psychology
4 Why bother with social psychology? 1. To get better grades.2. To avoid the pitfalls of specialisation.3. Because all human science is social psychological, e.g., Orne’s (1971) demand characteristics.4. Because it will make you a better person and will contribute to a better society.
6 Improving you, your grades and your society Get in the habit of ‘manipulating’ the material you encounter.Start by choosing one or more things you really want to change about (i) yourself, and (ii) society.For everything you encounter on this course, ask yourself, “what use is this to me in promoting my personal and social goals?”
7 Section 2: What social psychology is “The scientific study of the reciprocal influence of the individual and his or her social context”Manstead & Hewstone (1995, p. 588)
8 Example topics within social psychology Helping behaviour (altruism)AggressionAttitudesAttraction (e.g., friendship, love)InterdependenceIntergroup relationsPrejudice and discriminationSocial identity and the selfSocial influence (e.g., conformity, minority influence)Stereotyping
9 Let’s take a closer look at what the individual parts of the definition mean...
10 “…the scientific study of…” (i.e., Uses ‘the scientific method’) EmpiricalSystematic studySearch for general principlesPositive criticism (self-testing)Social and rational (non-subjective)
11 “…the individual…”Psychology is interested in two ‘ABCs’ of the individual.The individual focus distinguishes psychology from related empirical disciplines.e.g., pharmacologye.g., sociology.
12 “...in their social context…” Distinguishes social psychology as a sub-discipline.“Social context” may be actual, perceived, and/or conceived.
13 Section 3: The scientific method in psychology Scientific psychologyGenerates literature-aware, empirically testable, and replicable research hypotheses.Employs a variety of methods to repeatedly test them.Communicates and interrogates results.Strives for ever-better theoretical precision and coverage.
14 Key terms and concepts in scientific psychology TheoriesHypothesesConceptual variables and operational variablesConstruct validityManipulation checksConvergent and discriminant validityReliability (internal, test-retest, inter-rater)TriangulationReplicabilityExternal validityGeneralisationUtility
15 Correlational research Correlation assesses the linear relationship between two variables.
16 The correlation coefficient Shows the strength and valence of a linear relationship between two continuous variables.Ranges from -1, through 0, to +1.
17 Correlation and causation Correlation does not allow us to ‘locate’ cause and effect.If A correlates with B, there are three causal possibilities.1. A (amount of violent TV watched) causes B (aggressive tendencies),2. B (aggressive tendencies) causes A (amount of violent TV watched), or3. Some other variable, C (extent of family troubles) causes both A (amount of violent TV watched) and B (aggressive tendencies).
18 ExperimentsExperiments allow us to infer cause-and-effect relationships because of the two essential characteristics of experiments:control of the experimental procedures, andrandom assignment of participants to conditions
19 Independent variables An independent variable is one that the experimenter manipulates to examine its effect on participants.They have two or more conditions (or levels).An experiment will have one or more independent variables.A ‘subject variable’......is a preexisting difference among participants...may be used as an independent variable.
20 Dependent variablesA dependent variable is an operationally defined measurement employed to see if is affected by the different conditions or levels of the independent variable.There can be one or more dependent variables (DV) for each independent variable (IV).
21 Control in experiments To ensure that any changes in the dependent variables are caused by differences in the levels of the independent variables.Experimental group(s)receives treatment.Control groupOtherwise identical, but doesn’t receive treatment.Any differences attributable to controlled difference (i.v.).Potential extraneous or confounding variables ‘controlled for’ (e.g., held constant).
23 Societies of psychologists The British Psychological Society (BPS)Our national organisationLow cost student membership (£13)Many sub-sections, e.g., social psychology, studentCheap journals, e.g., BJSP for £10.50 (student rate)Benefits include receiving ‘The Psychologist’ (newsletter)SeeSociety of Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP)Largest organisation of personality & social psychologist in worldLow cost student membership ($25)Benefits include receiving PSPB, PSPR, and ‘Dialogue’ (newsletter)See
24 Important web pages Social Psychology Network My site Psychabilities Best social psychology site on the www.My sitePages of specific interest to Sussex psychology students, e.g., social psychology, study skills, etc.(Capital U, digit 0)PsychabilitiesSupplementary resource to core text of Brehm et al. (2002)