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The Best of Both Worlds of Psychology and Sociology

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1 The Best of Both Worlds of Psychology and Sociology
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY The Best of Both Worlds of Psychology and Sociology

2 Classification of Social Psychology
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGISTS study our behavior in groups, our interpersonal relationships and social influence. Social Psychologists seek to understand how the presence of others affects the thoughts, feelings and behavior of the individual. Central to study is Social Cognition, the ways in which we perceive and interpret information from others.

3 Social Interaction

4 Classification of Social Psychology
Social psychologists study areas of our social behavior such as interpersonal attraction, social perception, stereotypes, prejudice, human aggression, conflict management, social influence, conformity and obedience.

5 Social Influence

6 Classification of Social Psychology
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGISTS study many interesting topics concerning the nature of our attitudes, interpersonal perceptions, social persuasion and group behavior such as decision-making in groups, pro-social and anti-social behavior.

7 Group Behavior

8 Classification of Social Psychology
Social psychologists postulate that man is a "SOCIAL ANIMAL" who needs group affirmation, inclusion, affection and a sense of belonging.

9 Sense of Belonging


11 ATTITUDES ATTITUDES are central to interpersonal perception and include evaluative responses that influence our thoughts, emotions and actions. Attitudes are learned, relatively stable and enduring and affect the way we think, act, feel and behave. Attitudes are consistent and relatively lasting perceptions and evaluations of people, ideas and things.

12 Attitudes are learned and affect the way we think, act, feel and behave.

13 ATTITUDE ATTITUDES are learned and relatively enduring beliefs that predispose one to act and feel in particular ways. Attitudes have three components: COGNITIVE, AFFECTIVE and BEHAVIORAL; that is they affect the way we think, feel and act toward others.

14 Attitude

15 ATTITUDE ATTITUDE FORMATION is the process of learning evaluative responses and may be acquired through classical conditioning, operant conditioning or social learning. In classical conditioning, the person or idea that we have no attitude toward is paired with an object or concept that we have acquired an attitude toward and stimulus and response generalization occurs. In operant conditioning we are rewarded or punished for certain attitudes. In social learning we observe others and internalize what we observed.


17 SOCIAL COGNITION SOCIAL COGNITION refers to ways in which we perceive and interpret information from others. SOCIAL SCHEMAS are cognitive structures, clusters of ideas about people, events and things. Stereotypes are a type of schema about groups or categories of people.


19 STEREOTYPES STEREOTYPES are learned rigid beliefs, attitudes toward groups of people that influence our impressions of others. Sex-roles stereotypes , for instance, are strong beliefs that people hold about the attitudes, behaviors, personalities and even capabilities of men and women.

20 Sex-roles Stereotypes

21 SELECTIVE PERCEPTION SELECTIVE PERCEPTION arises as schemas in general and stereotypes in particular direct our perception so that we see what we want to see. Stereotypes are not absolute but are broad generalizations that tend to ignore the diversity (variability) in a group and increase the probability (likelihood) that we will tend to see the things we expect to see.

22 SELECTIVE PERCEPTION Obama is a Socialist Bush is a War-Hawk

23 SELECTIVE PERCEPTION PREJUDICE is an attitude toward a group that leads people to evaluate members of a group negatively. Prejudice involves "pre-judgement" of a person based on learned assumptions. The denial of privileges to a person because of prejudice is DISCRIMINATION, the behavioral component of prejudice. Prejudices are often very deep-seated attitudes that individuals maintain stubbornly, refusing to be influenced by information or experiences that may disprove their "prejudgments."


25 SELECTIVE PERCEPTION SELECTIVE PERCEPTION maintains attitudes of prejudice as people with a stereotype about a particular group will tend to "see what they expect to see", selecting information that is congruent with their preconceived stereotype. Thus it is difficult to change stereotyped schema that women are overly emotional or not as intelligent as people who hold this attitude will find "evidence" to support their perception.



28 SOCIAL PERCEPTION SOCIAL PERCEPTION is an interesting subfield of social psychology that investigates the way in which we form and modify our impressions and feelings toward others. What attracts us to others?

29 Attraction

30 SOCIAL PERCEPTION PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS is an important factor because of its PRIMACY EFFECT, the fact that our first impressions are powerful in setting both our expectation and evaluations of another person.

INTERPERSONAL PERCEPTION is influenced by factors such as attractiveness. We judge attractive children, for instance, to be smarter, more popular and well adjusted. Interestingly, if we treat attractive children "as if" they are intelligent and popular they are likely to "live-up" to our social expectations.

This process is called the "SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY," the tendency to act out the expectations of others as we begin to believe the "prophecies."

KEY FACTORS IN ATTRACTION are physical attractiveness and proximity, the tendency to form friendships and marry those who are spatially close to us. We also tend to like others who are like us (similarity) and those who reciprocate our affection (reciprocity.)

Reinforcement theory Social exchange theory Equity theory We are attracted to others not only for their initial attractive qualities but also for their similarity in attitudes and interests, their personal characteristics and for what we think we can gain from the relationship.

35 REINFORCEMENT THEORY The REINFORCEMENT THEORY states that attraction results from a positive reinforcing emotional experience. We tend to like others who like us and make us feel good about ourselves.

SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY proposes that we consider the costs and benefits of a relationship with other possibilities and choose the one person who seems to give us the most rewards.

37 EQUITY THEORY EQUITY THEORY is based on the belief that people are most comfortable in a balanced relationship in which their perceived contributions and benefits are relatively equal to their partners'.

ATTRIBUTION THEORY states that people tend to look for explanations for their own behavior and that of others. An ATTRIBUTION is a belief concerning why people behave in a certain way. The ATTRIBUTION PROCESS includes observation of behavior and the process by which we draw inferences about the motives and traits of others. ATTRIBUTIONS involve inferences about the cause of a person's behavior such as a failure or being late.

Do we see others as we see ourselves? Social psychologists would say no and explain that we make a FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR . We tend to attribute the behavior of others to INTERNAL DISPOSITIONAL INFLUENCES, personality factors and character traits such as laziness rather that to EXTERNAL SITUATIONAL INFLUENCES, external factors such as it being a difficult test.

Thus there is a FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR in the attribution process. We tend to hold others responsible for their misdeeds and mistakes and find internal character flaws (INTERNAL DISPOSITIONAL ATTRIBUTION) to explain their behavior. However we find ourselves victims of outside uncontrollable circumstance or situations (EXTERNAL SITUATIONAL ATTRIBUTION).

41 SELF-SERVING BIAS The SELF-SERVING BIAS includes our tendency to take credit for our good actions and our success while attributing our failures to external causes such as bad luck, an unfair test or another person. We tend to attribute our successes to internal factors and our failure to external factors. Ironically we tend to see ourselves as much less self-centered than others! You also may have noticed that you tend to be "above average" when you rate yourself compared to others!

42 SELF-SERVING BIAS In other words, as Freud would note, this is RATIONALIZATION.

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