Web Exercises

  1. Social Psychology in the News. Chapter 1’s prologue outlines the recent evolution of same-sex couples’ right to marry in the Unites States. On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry. Visit www.pewforum.org/2015/06/26/gay-marriage-around-the-world-2013.  Examine the list of nations in which gay and lesbian couples can marry. Do any of these countries surprise you? If so, why? Review some of the psychological benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and their children. What does it mean to say that these benefits are empirically or scientifically supported? Is the research supporting these benefits most likely correlational or experimental? Justify your answer. This exercise develops your understanding of social psychology as a scientific discipline and hones your ability to distinguish correlational from causal research.
  2. Social Psychology in the News. In Chapter 1, you learned that social psychology focuses on individual thought and behavior, whereas sociologists and anthropologists investigate groups and cultures, respectively. You also learned that social psychologists investigate individual, contextual, and evolutionary influences on behavior. Read the article describing the current global refugee crisis at www.vox.com/2015/9/5/9265501/refugee-crisis-europe-syria. Define social psychology and distinguish it from sociology and from anthropology. To which aspects of the crisis is social psychology most relevant? Offer several examples of how social psychologists might begin to understand the refugee crisis at each of the levels of explanation described in your text. This exercise reinforces your ability to contrast social psychology with other social sciences and to illustrate how the three levels of explanation can help us understand behavior.
  3. Chapter 1 explains how the 1908 publication of textbooks by McDougall and Ross helped establish social psychology as a field. Step into a time machine: visit https://archive.org/details/socialpsycholog01rossgoog to explore Ross’ (1908) foundational text in social psychology. Click the right-hand side of the right-hand page in the viewer to read successive pages—it is much like turning the pages in an old-school physical book. Click the magnifying glass to view the book full-screen. Compare and contrast the table of contents with that of your text. Which topics seem to have survived the test of time, appearing in both texts? Which of Ross’ topics seem completely alien today? Which of Ross’ topics do you think would be interesting to study today? Compare and contrast Ross’ definition of social psychology with the definition offered in your text. This exercise underscores the definition of social psychology and helps you understand how the first textbooks contributed to the development of social psychology.
  4. Social Psychology, Social Media, and Technology. Chapter 1 notes that positive psychology is an emerging trend in social psychology. If you have a Twitter account, follow @Fulfilldaily. If you do not have an account, visit twitter.com/fulfilldaily. Briefly describe positive psychology; you may need to refer to the final chapter of your text. Select four tweets from @Fulfilldaily and state the research hypothesis that each suggests. As one example, a tweet on October 12, 2015, states that “for success, attitude is as importance as ability.” This tweet suggests the hypothesis that optimism is positively related to occupational success. Indicate how research directed toward these hypotheses would reflect the emerging trend of positive psychology. This exercise should foreshadow your text’s discussion of emerging trends in social psychology and strengthen your understanding of hypotheses and their role in scientific research.
  5. Doing Research. Chapter 1’s Doing Research box features an extensive introduction to scientific research methods. Visit makingconnections.redlands.edu/index.php/encouraging-blood-donations. Read the abstract. Summarize the research in two or three sentences, noting the hypothesis, the manipulation, and the results. Identify: a) the independent variable; b) the dependent variable; c) the experimental conditions; and d) the control condition. Suggest potential confounding variables you should consider were you to replicate this work. Finally, explain how this research supports Festinger’s concept of cognitive dissonance. This exercise should help you define independent, dependent, and confounding variables and experimental and control groups. It also offers an opportunity to revisit the historical evolution of social psychology.