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Social Psychology

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Social Psychology (PSY403)
VU
Lesson 06
CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
OBSERVATIONAL METHOD
Aims:
To make students understand how to conduct social psychology research using diverse scientific
methodologies.
Objectives:
Describe observational research method and its types
Link to previous lecture
In the previous lecture, essentials of observation, like identifying and defining categories of target
behaviour were discussed. This lecture will start with operational definition of a few more examples.
Essentials: Operational Definition
Compliance: A person immediately does what is asked of him or her
Humiliate: making fun of, shames or embarrass the individual intentionally
Other Essentials
·  Format? Format: frequency, intensity, or duration?
·  Recording: by writing in diaries, sophisticated instruments on kind of wrist watches, video, audio?
·  Validity: determined by validity of categories, and inter-rater reliability (known as Kappa
correlation)
Common types of observational methods
·
Naturalistic observation
·
Participant observation
·
Archival research
Naturalistic observation is a form of observational method that investigates behavior in its natural
environment (Lofland & Lofland, 1995). In such naturalistic studies, observers usually remain as
unobtrusive as possible, so that their presence does not influence the behavior under study. In some
observational studies, researchers are not present at all during data collection-- hidden video cameras
record the events. Later, researchers analyze the behaviors being investigated
Advantages:
·  Behaviour remains unobtrusive
·  Besides being used as the primary scientific method, also can be used during the initial phases of a
project
PARTICIPANT OBSERVATION
Another type of observational method is participant observation. Here, as in naturalistic observation, a
researcher records behavior as it occurs in its natural environment but does so as a participant of the group
being studied (Whyte, 1994). One of the chief benefits of this research strategy is that it allows
investigators to get closer to what they are studying than any other method. An example is Leon Festinger's
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Social Psychology (PSY403)
VU
study (1957) on cognitive dissonance to observe the Chicago based doomsday cult. Mrs. Keetch, leader of
the cult, claimed that she was in contact with the aliens from outer space. She also claimed that world will
end on 21st December; the only survivors will be the cult. It was one of the first tests of cog. dissonance
theory that people's thoughts and actions are motivated by a desire to maintain cognitive consistency. By
participant observers, they found that people of cult rather than leaving the group believed that the group
had saved the world. Other researchers have used this to conduct field experiments to investigate "when
prophecy fails"
Advantages
Listed below are four advantages of both naturalistic and participant observation research (Hong & Duff,
2002; Weick, 1985):
1. Allow researchers the opportunity to watch behavior in its "wholeness," providing the full
context in which to understand it.
2. Provide researchers the opportunity to record rare events that may never occur in a controlled
laboratory environment.
3. Allow researchers the opportunity to systematically record events that were previously seen only
by nonscientists.
4. Allow researchers to observe events that would be too risky, dangerous, or unethical to create in
the laboratory.
Problems of observation
Despite  numerous  benefits  in  using  naturalistic  and  participant  observation  methods,
some problems also bear mentioning.
·  First, due to the absence of control that researchers have in such studies, conclusions must be
drawn very cautiously.
·  A second problem is observer bias, which occurs when scientists' preconceived ideas about what
they are studying affect the nature of their observations. Bias occurs when scientists' preconceived
ideas about what they are studying affect the nature of their observations; e.g., believing ahead of
time that men are aggressive than women; inter-rater reliability and clear definitions of aggression
will help
·  A third potential problem facing you in naturalistic and participant observation research is that
your presence can significantly alter the behavior of those being studied and thus taint the data.
·  Finally, one last problem posed by these types of observational methods is that, more-than any
other scientific methods, they pose the most ethical problems involving invasion of others' privacy.
ARCHIVAL RESEARCH
The third observational method that we will discuss is archival research, which examines the already-
existing records of an individual, group, or culture. Examples of archival material include diaries, music
lyrics, television programs, census information, novels, and newspapers.
A popular procedure for evaluating information in archives is content analysis, a technique in
which two or more people (called judges), working independently, count words, sentences, ideas, or
whatever other category of information is of interest.
Archival research is often used to examine the beliefs, values, and interests of a culture.
Example: Study (1994-7) of Federman (1998)
A total of 80 researchers at 4 universities assessed TV violence in 2700 randomly selected programs from
6.00 a... To 11.00 p.m. 2000 hours.
Definition of Violence: As any depiction of physical force, or the credible threat of such force, intended to
harm an animate being/group.
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Social Psychology (PSY403)
VU
Areas covered:
·
How characters reacted
·
Context in the presentation of violence
·
Whether violence interactions showed pain, realistic injury, and long term consequences
Study Results
·  Violence was a popular theme
·  More than 60% of shows contained some violence
·  Premium cable channels had greater violence shows (85%) than public TV programs (18%).
·  Most incidents were sanitized
·  Violence often glamorized except in 4% of the cases
·  Children programs showed violence in a humorous context (67%)
·  Conclusive evidence from combined sources
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Table of Contents:
  1. INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY:Readings, Main Elements of Definitions
  2. INTRODUCTION TO SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY:Social Psychology and Sociology
  3. CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY:Scientific Method
  4. CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY:Evaluate Ethics
  5. CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY RESEARCH PROCESS, DESIGNS AND METHODS (CONTINUED)
  6. CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY OBSERVATIONAL METHOD
  7. CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY CORRELATIONAL METHOD:
  8. CONDUCTING RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY EXPERIMENTAL METHOD
  9. THE SELF:Meta Analysis, THE INTERNET, BRAIN-IMAGING TECHNIQUES
  10. THE SELF (CONTINUED):Development of Self awareness, SELF REGULATION
  11. THE SELF (CONTINUE…….):Journal Activity, POSSIBLE HISTORICAL EFFECTS
  12. THE SELF (CONTINUE……….):SELF-SCHEMAS, SELF-COMPLEXITY
  13. PERSON PERCEPTION:Impression Formation, Facial Expressions
  14. PERSON PERCEPTION (CONTINUE…..):GENDER SOCIALIZATION, Integrating Impressions
  15. PERSON PERCEPTION: WHEN PERSON PERCEPTION IS MOST CHALLENGING
  16. ATTRIBUTION:The locus of causality, Stability & Controllability
  17. ATTRIBUTION ERRORS:Biases in Attribution, Cultural differences
  18. SOCIAL COGNITION:We are categorizing creatures, Developing Schemas
  19. SOCIAL COGNITION (CONTINUE…….):Counterfactual Thinking, Confirmation bias
  20. ATTITUDES:Affective component, Behavioral component, Cognitive component
  21. ATTITUDE FORMATION:Classical conditioning, Subliminal conditioning
  22. ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOR:Theory of planned behavior, Attitude strength
  23. ATTITUDE CHANGE:Factors affecting dissonance, Likeability
  24. ATTITUDE CHANGE (CONTINUE……….):Attitudinal Inoculation, Audience Variables
  25. PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION:Activity on Cognitive Dissonance, Categorization
  26. PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION (CONTINUE……….):Religion, Stereotype threat
  27. REDUCING PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION:The contact hypothesis
  28. INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION:Reasons for affiliation, Theory of Social exchange
  29. INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION (CONTINUE……..):Physical attractiveness
  30. INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS:Applied Social Psychology Lab
  31. SOCIAL INFLUENCE:Attachment styles & Friendship, SOCIAL INTERACTIONS
  32. SOCIAL INFLUENCE (CONTINE………):Normative influence, Informational influence
  33. SOCIAL INFLUENCE (CONTINUE……):Crimes of Obedience, Predictions
  34. AGGRESSION:Identifying Aggression, Instrumental aggression
  35. AGGRESSION (CONTINUE……):The Cognitive-Neo-associationist Model
  36. REDUCING AGGRESSION:Punishment, Incompatible response strategy
  37. PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR:Types of Helping, Reciprocal helping, Norm of responsibility
  38. PROSOCIAL BEHAVIOR (CONTINUE………):Bystander Intervention, Diffusion of responsibility
  39. GROUP BEHAVIOR:Applied Social Psychology Lab, Basic Features of Groups
  40. GROUP BEHAVIOR (CONTINUE…………):Social Loafing, Deindividuation
  41. up Decision GROUP BEHAVIOR (CONTINUE……….):GroProcess, Group Polarization
  42. INTERPERSONAL POWER: LEADERSHIP, The Situational Perspective, Information power
  43. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IN COURT
  44. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY APPLIED: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY IN CLINIC
  45. FINAL REVIEW:Social Psychology and related fields, History, Social cognition