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Social Psychology “an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined,

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Presentation on theme: "Social Psychology “an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Psychology “an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others” (Allport, 1954)

2 Journals Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (JPSP) Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (PSPB) Journal of Experimental Social Psychology (JESP) Psych Bull, Psych Review, PSPR, AESP

3 Societies Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) Society of Experimental Social Psychologists (SESP)

4 Who are you? Say something interesting about yourself Why learn about the history of SP? What determines what topics are studied or no longer studied?

5 Brief history of Social Psychology Greek philosophers Psychology begins in 1800s 1864 Cattaneo uses “social psych” for group emergence 1871 mentioned in Linder’s textbook 1876 Ringlemann study 1898 Triplett study

6 First textbooks—1908 (McDougall, Ross) Floyd Allport’s text in 1924 Experiments are king—The psychology of groups is the psychology of the individuals Journal of Abnormal Psych becomes J of Ab Psych and Social Psych in 1921

7 More history vs. behaviorism and psychoanalysis WW2 and Nazis –Gestalt psych –Practical applications Kurt Lewin GI Bill, boom time for social psychologists First handbook 1954 Leon Festinger—experimental revolution

8 1947 SPSP starts, 1965—JPSP and JESP 50s/60s—group dynamics wanes. Individuals and attitudes become more prominent 70’s cognitive revolution –Paper and pencil are king! –Gergen, social psych as history –McGuire—need more diverse methods –IRBs, better data analysis techniques

9 80’s new topics like love and relationships, evolutionary psychology, the self 1980 JPSP split into 3 parts EJSP and JASP 1971 PSPB 1975

10 90’s decade of the brain –Evolutionary psych –Social neuroscience 00’s influence of culture –Multidisciplinary –Nonconscious approaches –Internet

11 00’s and beyond Broadening 5 ways “You can never have too many social psychologists.”

12 Broadening topics Positive psychology Evil, terrorism Motivated social cognition Emotion Unconscious, automaticity Construals, socially shared cognition Religion Intergroup relations, prejudice Funding issues

13 Broadening the discipline Social neuroscience Emphasis on culture and how it evolves Spatial analyses Links to other areas (business, law, health…) More multidisciplinary research

14 Broadening perspectives Evolutionary psychology Social identity theory Terror management theory Dynamical systems

15 Broadening methods Advanced statistics, going beyond ANOVA Computer simulation Internet data collection Qualitative items But less behavioral measures—15% of JPSP articles had in 2006 vs. 80% in 1976

16 Broadening globally Influencing and being influenced by other social psychologies (European = more sociological) Growth! 2800 to >7000 members of SPSP in less than 20 yrs from all over world

17 Controversies and resolutions Social psych continues to respond to zeitgeist Construal vs. behaviorism Basic vs. applied Person vs. situation Evolution vs. culture Still going on: IAT, free will, how to give psych away

18 McGuire’s (1973) koan We put too much emphasis on testing hypos, not enough on generating them We need to get away from simple, linear models We need to remember that data come from people We need to put together more data archives and do more longitudinal studies We should use ANOVAs less and other techniques that let us deal with messier data more. See the advantages of decreased funding (get more personal with your research, think about it more) It’s okay that some of these recommendations conflict with each other.

19 Analysis from leaders in the field Don’t build enough Shouldn’t only build Need more activism Too narrow Need more links to other fields/ cultures Blame it on social cognition Need bigger theories (cog, evo, soc ident) Too negative and problem-focused Not enough emphasis on time

20 Other criticisms Ellsworth –Participants are people too –Think more about what you’re doing, less on stats and their outcomes How can we address these issues as a discipline?

21 WEIRD people Henrich et al. –Sears, 1988 Are our samples a problem? Are they more for some areas than others? Can we generalize? How far? What and how much should we report on demographics?

22 Is it a problem to study college students? When? How are college students different from other people? Is this a social psych problem or a psych problem or something bigger? Are there problems with Henrich et. al’s cited samples?

23 How does it affect what we study? Are there domains that should be more or less universal?

24 What should we do about WEIRD samples? Explicitly discuss generalizability of findings Give info on demographics Give people credit for using nonstudent samples Build more diverse participant pools

25 Theories (Van Lange, 2013) “There’s nothing so practical as a good theory.” Kurt Lewin What is a theory? What is not a theory? What makes a good theory? –Truth –Abstraction –Progress –Applicability

26 What does a theory do for us? Are we too theory focused or not enough? What are “levels” of theories and what level should we be theorizing at? What are the advantages and disadvantages of theory-based research? Theory-driven research vs. HARKing

27 Public Skepticism Is it a problem? If so, why is it? 6 myths –Psych is common sense –Psych doesn’t use scientific methods –Can’t generalize b/c everyone is unique –Psych doesn’t yield replicable results –Psych can’t make precise predictions –Psych not useful to society

28 Why are people skeptical? We do some bad stuff. Our public face isn’t necessarily scientific See psych as another helping profession Hindsight bias in findings Think they are experts too Look for biological explanations Explain results they don’t like as nonscientific Don’t see value in basic research

29 What should we do differently? Communicate better w/ the public Don’t look down on “popularizers” Explain why it’s not just obvious Use evidence-based practice Organizations should promote more, show what against

30 B/F “persons” Consistency seeker Self-esteem maximizer Terror manager Info seeker Information processor Foolish mistake maker Nondifferent individual Impression manager Naturally selected animal Cultural animal Group member Benighted layperson


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