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Human Social Behavior Chapters 1-4

social psychology

the scientific study of how individuals think, feel, and behave in a social context.

interactionist perspective

an emphasis on how both an individual's personality and environmental characteristics influence behavior.

social cognition

the study of how people perceive, remember, and interpret information about themselves and others.

social neuroscience

the study of the relationship between neural and social processes

behavioral genetics

a subfield of psychology that examines the role of genetic factors in behavior.

evolutionary psychology

a subfield of psychology that uses the principles of evolution to understand human social behavior


a system of enduring meanings, beliefs, values, assumptions, institutions, and practices shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.

cross-cultural research

research designed to compare and contrast people of different cultures.

multicultural research

research designed to examine racial and ethnic groups within cultures


a testable prediction about the conditios under which an event will occur


an organized set of principles used to explain observed phenomena

basic research

research whose goal is to increase the understanding of human behavior, often by testing hypotheses based on a theory

applied research

research whose goals are to enlarge the understanding of naturally occurring events and to find solutions to practical problems

operational definition

the specific procedures for manipulating or measuring a conceptual variable

construct validity

the extent to which the measures used in a study measure the variables they were designed to measure and the manipulations in an experiment maipulate the variables designed to manipulate.

bogus pipeline technique

a procedure in which research participants are (falsely) led to believe that their responses will be verified by an infallible lie-detector

interrater reliability

the degree to which differnet observers agree on their observations

random sampling

a method of selecting participants for a study so that everyone in a population has an equal chance of being in the study

correlational research

research designed to measure the associatin between variables that are not manipulated by the researcher

correlation coefficient

a statistical measure of the strength and direction of the association between two variables


a form of research that can demonstrate causal relationships because (1) the experimenter has control over the events that occur and (2) participants are randomly assigned to conditions

random assignment

a method of assigning participants to the various conditions of the experiment so that each participant in the experiment has an equal chance of being in any of the conditions

independent variable

in an experiment, a factor that experimenters manipulate to see if it affects the dependent variable

dependent variable

in an experiment, a factor that experimenters measure to see if it is affected by the independent variable

subject variable

a variable that characterizes pre-existing differences among the participants in the study

internal validity

the degree to which there can be reasonable certainty that the independent variables in the experiment caused the effects obtained on the dependent variables

experimenter expectancy effects

the effects produced when an experimenter's expectations about the results of an experiment affect his or her behavior toward a participant and thereby influence the participant's responses.

external validity

the degree to which there can be reasonable confidence that the results of a study would be obtained for other people and in other situations

mundane realism

the degree to which the experimental situation resembles places and events in the real world

experimental realism

the degree to which experimental procedures are involving to participants and lead them to behave naturally and spontaneously


in the context of research, a method that provides false information to participants


accomplice of an experimenter who, in dealing with the real participants in an experiment, acts as if he or she is also a participant


a set of statistical procedures used to review a body of evidence by combining the results of individual studies to measure the overall reliability and strength of particular effects

informed consent

an individual's deliberate, voluntary decision to participate in research, based on the researcher's description of what will be required during such participation


a disclosure, made to participants after research procedures are completed, in which the researcher explains the purpose of the research, attempts to resolve any negative feelings, and emphasizes the scientific contribution made by the participants' involvement


the sum total of an individual's beliefs about his or her own personal attributes


a belief people hold about themselves that guides the processing of self-relevant information

affective forecasting

the process of predicting how one would feel in response to future


the theory that when internal cues are difficult to interpret, people gain self-insight by observing their own behavior

facial feedback hypothesis

the hypothesis that changes in facial expression can lead to corresponding changes in emotion

overjustification effect

the tendency for intrinsic motivation to diminish for ativities that have become associated with reward or other extrinsic factors

social comparison theory

the theory that people evaluate their own abilities and opinions by comparing themselves to others

two-factor theory of emotion

the theory that the experience of emotion is based on two factors: physiological arousal and a cognitive interpretation of that arousal.


an Eastern system of thought that accepts the coexistence of contradictory characteristics within a single person


an affective component of the self, consisting of a person's positive and negative self-evaluations

Terror Management Theory

The theory that humans cope with the fear of their own death by constructive worldviews that help to preserve their self-esteem

self-awareness theory

the theory that self-focused attention leads people to notice self-discrepancies, thereby motivating either an escape from self-awareness or a change in behavior

private self-consciousness

a personality characteristic of individuals who are introspective, often attending to their own inner states

public self-consciousness

a personality characteristic of individuals who focus on themselves s social objects, as seen by others

implicit egotism

a nonconscious form of self-enhancement


behaviors designed to sabotage one's own performance in order to provide a subsequent excuse for failure

bask in reflected glory

to increase self-esteem by associating with others who are successful

downward social comparison

the defensive tendency ti compare ourselves to others who are worse off than we are


strategies people use to shape what others think of them


the tendency to change behavior in response to the self-presentation concerns of the situation

social perception

a general term for the processes by which people come to understand one another

mind perception

the process by which people attribute humanlike mental states to various animate and inanimate objects, including other people

nonverbal behavior

behavior that reveals a person's feelings without words, through facial expressions, body language, and vocal cues

attribution theory

a group of theories that describe how people explain the causes of behavior

personal attribution

attribution to internal characteristics of an actor, such as ability, personality, mood, or effort.

situational attribution

attribution to factors external to an actor, such as the task, other people, or luck

covariation principle

a principle of attribution theory that holds that people attribute behavior to factors that are present when the behavior occurs and are absent when it does not

availability heuristic

the tendency to estimate the likelihood that an event will occur by how easily instances of it come to mind

false-consensus effect

the tendency for people to overestimate the extent to which others share their opinions, attributes, and behaviors

base-rate fallacy

the finding that people are relatively insensitive to consensus information presented in the form of numerical base rates

counterfactual thinking

the tendency to imagine alternative events or outcomes that might have occurred but did not

fundamental attribution error

the tendency to focus on the role of personal causes and underestimate the impact of situations on other people's behavior

belief in a just world

the belief that individuals get what they deserve in life, an orientation that leads people to disparage victims

impression formation

the process of integrating information about a person to form a coherent impression

information integration theory

the theory that impressions are based on (1) perceiver dispositions; and (2) a weighted average of a target person's traits


the tendency for recently used or perceived words or ideas to come to mind easily and influence the interpretation of new information

implicit personality theory

a network of assumptions people make about the relationship among traits and behaviors

central traits

traits that exert a powerful influence on overall impressions

primacy effect

the tendency for information presented early in a sequence to have more impact on impressions than information presented later

need for closure

the desire to reduce cognitive uncertainty, which heightens the importance of first impressions

confirmation bias

the tendency to seek, interpret, and create information that verifies existing beliefs

belief perserverance

the tendency to maintain beliefs even after they have been discredited

self-fulfilling prophecy

the process by which one's expectations about a person eventually lead that person to behave in ways that confirm those expectations


through observation senses/concrete

naturalistic observation

systematic collection of data through observation of organisms in their natural environment

self-serving bias

- a tendency to explain our successes in terms of stable, internal factors such as our skills and traits and our failures in terms external, unstable factors. Generally, external, unstable factors are circumstances over which we have no control.

Actor-observer effect

explain our own behavior in terms of external causes but the behavior of others in terms of internal causes


The personal and subjective meaning that a person attaches to any situation

Target of Beliefs

Whether expectations concern beliefs about another person or the self.

Nature of the Beliefs

Whether expectations are assumptions which are accepted without challenge or whether they are hypotheses which are subject to test.

Consequences of Beliefs

Whether expectations affect behavior currently or how behavior is remembered.


A person who "...suffers as a result of ruthless design or incidentally or accidentally". Suffering is generally the result of physical and/or psychological loss

Personal Causality

When the event to be explained is caused by human agency


When the agent causing the event knew or should have foreseen the consequences


Justifications for the event which lessen responsibility

Characterological self blame

Attributing responsibility for the negative event to dispositional characteristics. Characterological attributions undermine perceptions of control and may lead to helplessness.

Behavioral self blame

Attributing responsibility for the negative event to specific behaviors in which the individual did or did not engage. Behavioral self-blame can facilitate coping by identifying specific behaviors, under the control of the victim, which can be changed to avoid future victimization.

moral model

When the actor is seen as responsible for both the problem and the solution to the problem.

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