Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 1, Day 1) – Social Psychology 101
What a busy first day of SAVY! Here’s what we learned:
- Social psychology is a big, new topic for most of our students, so we began by figuring out what they already new by making individual concept maps and discussing our ideas afterward. Then, we learned our official definition of psychology: The scientific study of how we feel about, think about, and behave toward people around us and how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by those people.
- Next, we worked through some of the different levels of social interaction that social psychology involves by using Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. Using our own experiences as examples helped us breal down the many complex social interactions we take part in into manageable chunks.
- Our students did a great job of using Bronfenbrenner’s levels to try to explain real-world phenomena like the outpouring of help that followed Hurricane Katrina. However, we noticed how difficult it was to pinpoint which level in Bronfenbrenner’s systems was responsible for a particular outcome. While this helped us see how the different systems could potentially interact, it also made us wonder how psychology was any different from intuition.
- To explore this idea further, we played a game to test our intuitions. Students labeled different sentences as true or false and rated their confidence on their answers. We discovered that even when we felt very confident in our answers, they weren’t always correct. This overconfidence, and the hindsight bias we felt when we found out the correct answers, made us realize how important it is to test our intuitions with scientific studies.
- To round out our day, we learned about the three types of study designs psychologists use most: Observational studies, correlational studies, and experimental studies. They’re complicated ideas to nail down, but we’ll be practicing them quite a lot the rest of this week!
Tomorrow we’ll be practicing our new knowledge of study designs by exploring one of the most famous ways people influence each other in social groups – conditioning!