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helping purely out of desire to help someone else (nothing in it for the helper)

Social Exchange Theory

No pure altruism: helping is motivated by desire to maximize rewards and minimize costs in relationships

Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis

Yes pure altruism: when we feel empathy for a person, we will attempt to help that person for purely altruistic reasons


motive to increase one's own welfare; helping behavior provides tangible or intangible benefits to the helper

Urban Overload Hypothesis

people living in cities are constantly bombarded with stimulation; need to keep to selves to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

Levine et al (1994) found that population density

is more related to helping than overall size of population (more crowding = less help).

Bystander effect:

the greater number of bystanders who witness an emergency, the less likely any one of them is to help.

Latane and Darley's (1970) Bystander Decision Tree

1. Notice the event
2. Interpret the event as an emergency
3. Assume responsibility
4. Know how to implement help
5. Decide to implement help

Pluralistic ignorance

assuming an event is not an emergency because no one else appears concerned.

Negative State-Relief Hypothesis

(Feel bad, do good)
Negative mood more likely to increase helping: guilt. Also, assisting may help to alleviate sad moods.
Exceptions: anger, profound grief

Feel good, do good hypothesis

Helping serves to prolong good mood, increase self-awareness, and boost self-esteem

Kin selection

idea that we are more likely to provide help to family members / genetic relatives

Reciprocity norm

expectation that helping others will increase the likelihood they will help us in the future.

Social responsibility norm

expectation that people will help those needing help

Need for Affiliation

(McAdams, 1989) the desire to establish social contact with others

Mere Exposure effect

the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more apt we are to like it (Moreland and Beach, 1992)


is a predictor of attraction - greater chance for reciprocal liking, social validation. There is no evidence that "opposites attract".

Matching hypothesis

people are most likely to form relationships with individuals of similar level of attractiveness (Berscheid et al, 1971, found that people usually avoid mismatches because of fear of rejection)


the belief that two or more people share the same subjective experience

Reward Theory of Attraction

we like those whom we associate with good experiences (Lewicki, 1985). We are more likely to continue with a relationship that we perceive as having more rewards than costs.


COGNITIVE component
identical characteristics assigned to all members of a group


affective or EMOTIONAL component
hostile or negative attitude toward a distinguishable group of people based solely on their membership in said group


BEHAVIORAL component
unjustified negative or harmful action toward a member of a group based solely upon his or her membership in said group

social cognition

the way we think about, interpret, and remember things

social identity

the 'we' aspect of our self-concept that comes from our group memberships

In-group bias

positive feelings about and special treatment for those in our in-group

out-group homogeneity

those in the out-group are seen as 'all alike'

prejudice tends to be...

affectively based and therefore difficult to change with facts

Stereotype threat

the experience of anxiety or concern in a situation where a person has the potential to confirm a negative stereotype about their group.

Stigma consciousness

the level of awareness of the stereotype about themselves that can affect their performance.

Ultimate Attribution Error

tendency to make dispositional attributions about an entire group

Group-serving bias

negative behaviors of the out-group are seen as dispositional, while negative in-group behaviors are seen as situational

Bookkeeping model

each piece of information inconsistent with our stereotype modifies the stereotype

Conversion model

information inconsistent with stereotype leads to a radical change in the stereotype (this is unlikely)

Subtyping model

information inconsistent with a stereotype leads to the creation of a subcategory

roots of prejudice

unequal status, scare resources

to overcome prejudice, mere contact

is not enough

conditions for reduction in prejudice through contact

mutual interdependence
a common goal
equal status
friendly, informal, one-to-one contact with out-group members
social norms that promote and support equality and are reinforced by group leaders

hostile aggression

driven by anger
end goal/aim is to inflict pain

instrumental aggression

intent to cause harm or pain as a means to some other goal

overt aggression

(physical, verbal) observable action

indirect aggression

(passive) aggression: aggression through inaction

elational aggression

aims at harming social relationships or status (e.g. excluding someone from your party), can be hostile or indirect. Overt aggression ratings are more common for school age boys and indirect for girls.

Neural influences on aggression

amygdala stimulation increases aggression, prefrontal cortex inhibits aggression

alcohol's effect on aggression

disrupts information processing
reduces self-awareness

hormonal influences on aggression

increased aggression is associated with high levels of testosterone and low levels of serotonin

group influence on aggression

Meier and Hinsz (2004) used giving hot sauce to another participant as a measure of aggression. If you think you're part of a group, you'll be more aggressive. You're more likely to be aggressive toward a group than an indiviidual.

Aggressive cues:

anything in our environment that is associated with overt aggression (e.g. a gun) can make it more likely that we will respond in an aggressive way.

Aggressive models:

when we've seen someone behaving aggressively, being around them might make us more aggressive.


a favorable or unfavorable evaluative reaction toward something or someone

ABC's of attitudes

Affective component (emotional)
Behavioral Component (your intentions to behave)
Cognitive component (the way you think about it)

What factors might influence the relationship between stated attitudes and behaviors?

Strength of attitude, social influences (bogus pipeline = fake lie detector), and whether implicit or explicit attitudes are being measured


the attitudes we think about, would fill out on a questionnaire, reasonable predictors of behavior for topics that are not socially sensitive.


automatic responses that predict behavior relating to socially sensitive topics. One way of measuring this is looking at their microgestures when they react to stimuli. Implicit Association Tests (IATs) test your response times for combinations of pictures and words and are also used.

When are attitudes most predicitive of behaviors?

When outside influences are minimal.
When considering aggregates of behavior over time
Attitude specificity

Theory of Planned Behavior:

in order to best predict whether a given attitude will be reflected in subsequent behavior, one needs to take into account:
Attitude toward the behavior
Subjective norms
Perceived control/self-efficacy
Specific intention/goal

Self-presentation Theory / Impression Management:

We want to appear consistent rather than hypocritical, so may express attitudes that match our actions.

Self-perception Theory:

When our attitudes and feelings are uncertain or ambiguous, we infer these states by observing our behavior and the situation in which it occurs.


set of social norms that defines how individuals in a given social position should behave. Role-playing can help convince you that you believe something.

Foot-in-the-door phenomenon:

tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply with a later, larger request.

Over-justification Effect:

In seeking to explain one's own behavior, overemphasizing the role of extrinsic factors over intrinsic reason. (e.g. in relationships, where you can't then be friends afterward)

Two-Factor Theory of Emotion

In trying to find the right label for our emotions we experience physiological arousal at first, then see out an explanation from cues in the environment.

The more permanent a decision,

the more we will engage in spreading of alternatives, or downgrading the choice that we didn't pick.


a strategy whereby the salesperson induces a customer to agree to purchase a product for a very low price, subsequently claims it was an error, and then raises the price (using postdecision dissonance).

Counterattitudinal Advocacy:

stating an opinion or attitude that runs counter to one's private belief or attitude.

Festinger & Carlsmith (1959):

Ask the participant of a boring study to tell the next person coming in that the experiment was fun or interesting: $1 or $20. The control group rated the study as boring as it was. The group that was paid a dollar made them report it as more enjoyable, while the people given 20 rated it as less enjoyable, as they had sufficient reason for lying, so they didn't feel the need to justify it for themselves.

Insufficient Justification Effect:

when we can't come up with sufficient external justification for our actions, we attempt to find internal reasons.

Insufficient Punishment:

dissonance is aroused when individuals lack sufficient external justification for having resisted a desired activity or object.

Ben Franklin Effect -

doing someone a favor with little or no justification can create a more favorable attitude toward that person.

Jecker and Landy (1969)

Contest where participants could win a substantial amount of money. Participants were approached by either experimenter or department secretary. Participants then filled out a questionnaire that included an opportunity to rate the experimenter. People liked the experimenter less if they gave the money to the psychology department, but people liked the experimenter more than the control if they had to give it back directly to the experimenter.

Affectively-based attitudes:

Based more on values than on objective beliefs about the properties of an object (social identity products, can be affected by operant conditioning)

Behaviorally-based attitudes:

Based on observations of how one behaves toward attitude object (occurs when initial attitude is weak or ambiguous, self perception theory)

Cognitively-based attitudes:

Based primarily on people's beliefs about the properties of an object (utilitarian products)

Yale Attitude Change Approach:

who says what to whom?


a credible communicator is perceived as both expert and trustworthy. Cues to expertise/trustworthiness; arguing against self-interest, expert in field, and talking rapidly or with confidence.

Sleeper effects:

where you remember the message, but forget where you heard it.

Large reward or severe punishment →

External Justifications (I do or think this because I have to) → temporary change

Small reward or mild punishment →

Internal Justifications (I do or think this because I have convinced myself that it's right) → lasting change

Mills(1958) Dissonance and Cheating

Measured the attitudes of sixth graders on cheating.
Competitive exam with prizes
Illusion that cheating could not be detected.
Attitudes toward cheating reassessed afterward.
The kids who cheated shifted to have their attitudes slight less harsh, while kids who didn't cheat were even more anti-cheating after the study.

Bersheid, Boye, and Walster (1968)

Confederates were reading and shocked if they didn't read well. Participants were told they would be either a teacher administering shocks or a bystander. Some of the participants are told the victim will retaliate against them, some only against someone else. Participants were then asked to rate the victim's intelligence, attractiveness, etc. They came to dislike the person they gave the shocks to because they didn't like to think of themselves hurting the person if they were a good person.

Affectively-based attitudes

based more on values than on objective beliefs about the properties of an object. These can be affected by operant and classical conditioning

Behaviorally-based attitudes

based on observations of how one behaves toward attitude object.It occurs when initial attitude is weak or ambiguous, self-perception theory

Cognitively-based attitudes

based primarily on people's beliefs about the properties of an object (used for utilitarian objects)

Central Route of persuasion

occurs when people are motivated and have the ability to pay attention to arguments. Attitudes formed via central route are the most long lasting and resistant to counter-persuasion.

Peripheral Route of persuasion

occurs when people do not pay attention to the arguments but they are instead swayed by the surface characteristics (peripheral cues)

What determines motivation?

personal relevance, personality, mood (good mood = avoid activities that might spoil mood, sad/neutral mood = more likely to take central route)

Fear appeals are effective

when accompanied by specific recommendations that are perceived as effective and feasible

Leventhal, Singer, & Jones (1965):

fear appeal urging college students to obtain tetanus shots:
Fear + no instructions: 3%
Fear + specific instructions: 28%
Instructions only: no students obtained shots

Heuristic - systemic model of persuasion

Systematically process merits of arguments (similar to central route). Rely on heuristics (e.g. "experts are always right", "lab coats = authority")


a change in behavior or belief as a result of real or imagined group pressure


publicly acting in accord with social pressure while privately disagreeing


conforming to other people's behavior out of a genuine belief that what they are doing or saying is right.

Social influence: informational

use others as a source of information to guide behavior.

Pluralistic ignorance

bystanders assume nothing is wrong because no one else appears concerned

social contagion

mass psychogenic illness/hysteria
perpetuation (conscious or unconscious) of undesirable social norms

Normative social influence:

"to be liked"
Compliance (public) without acceptance (private)

What factors make it more or less likely that we will submit to normative social influence?

Group unanimity, public response, prior commitment, importance of accuracy


compliance in response to a direct request to change your behavior. How to induce?
Foot in the door technique
Door in the face technique
Obedience to authority

Foot in the Door Technique

Better for eliciting long-term compliance
May trigger self-referent 'informational social influence

Door in the Face Technique

Better at eliciting short-term (one-time) compliance


motive to protect or restore one's sense of freedom. Arises when we perceive that our freedom of action is 'threatened'

Reactance is likely to:

increase our interest/desire for the forbidden
lead us to take steps to reassert our freedom
make us feel or act negatively or aggressively toward the individual we perceive as restricting our freedom.

Observational Research Design

description: what is the nature of the problem

Correlational Research Design

from: knowing x, can we predict y?
(-1, 0, 1) shows the strength of the correlation, with it being closer if the number is closer to 1 or negative 1.

Experimental Research Design

only method that can make statements of causality
Experimental control
Manipulation of independent variable while all other variables remain constant
Includes random assignment to group.

natural experiment

has the parameters of an experiment, but the researchers do not manipulate these themselves, i.e. weather-related

natural laboratory experiment

natural but in the lab


steps taken to ensure no lasting negative effects from participation

Social cognition:

How we think about, select, interpret, and remember social information to make judgments and decisions.

Two types of processing involved in Social Cognition

Automatic and Controlled


mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects

Schema accessibility:

chronic accessibility (long term - such as a self schema) or temporary accessibility (priming: process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept)

Higgins, Rholes, & Jones (1977): "Donald" Experiment

"Study 1": memorize lists of words (one group memorizes positive words, the other negative words)
"Study 2": read a description of "Donald" and give their impressions of him.
Those who read the negative list described "Donald" more negatively. In order to be effective, schemas primed should be applicable to the situation.

Self-reference effect:

information related to the self is processed more efficiently than other information.

Primacy effects:

first impressions are lasting.

Halo effects:

one good trait implies others

Belief perseverance

it is hard to let go of schemas, even when we encounter evidence against them

Controlled Processing:

thinking that is conscious, voluntary, effortful. It provides checks and balances for automatic, taking over when unusual events occur. It occurs when motivated and free of distractions / high cognitive load.

Gilbert's "Theory of Automatic Believing":

initial acceptance of information → assess truthfulness → unaccept if necessary

Attribution Theory:

Types of attributions:
Internal (dispositional) / External (situational)
Stable (not going to change) / Unstable (it's just this particular incidence, but could easily change)
Global (likely to affect your behavior across a number of domains) / Specific (in a certain instance)

Kelley's Co-variation Model:

model to explain the cognitive process used in deciding to make internal or external attributions for others' behaviors. Three factors to consider: consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus.

Spontaneous trait inference:

automatic inference of a trait after exposure to someone's behavior.

Fundamental Attribution Error:

tendency to overestimate the extent to which people's behavior is due to internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of situational factors.

Perceptual salience

we tend to focus on the person more than what is going on around them.

William James:

first thinker to talk about the Self from a psychological perspective. He distinguished between the "I" (stream of consciousness) and the "me" (objective characteristics about yourself). Argued that understanding the Self is crucial for understanding human behavior.


Set of schemas that answer the question: "who am I?" This mental representation of ourselves impacts: perceptions, information processing, decision-making, goals and motivations.

Independent view of the self:

defining oneself primarily in terms of one's own internal thoughts, feelings, and actions. This is common in Western cultures.

Interdependent view of the self:

defining one's self in terms of one's relationships to other people, recognizing that one's behavior is often determined by thoughts and feelings of others.


people are motivated to feel good about themselves.


people are motivated to feel good about themselves.

Self-serving bias:

success = internal factors, failure = external factors


making excuses in advance of failing

Why do people self-verify?

Pragmatic reasons: wanting interactions with others to go smoothly. Epistemic reasons: wanting to feel we know ourselves and our world.

The self functions as

a filter, and a motivator for action (self-enhancement, self-verification)

Gender differences in self-concept

Men tend to emphasize collective (group-based) bonds.
Women tended to emphasize relational (one on one) bonds.


process whereby people look inward and examine their own thoughts, feelings, and motives. We don't spend as much time on this as we think we do.

Self-awareness theory:

when we focus attention on ourselves, we evaluate and compare our behavior to our internal standards and values. If it doesn't match up, we can either change our behavior or minimize self awareness.

Beaman, Klentz, Diener, and Svarnum (1979):

349 children trick-or-treating in Seattle. They were told to take only one piece of candy and then left alone with it. They threw in a self-awareness manipulation by putting a mirror right there for some of the participants. Kids with the mirror took less candy overall.

The spotlight effect -

belief that others are paying more attention to our appearance/behavior than they actually are.

Causal theories:

theories about the causes of one's own feelings and behaviors. External events don't impact your mood as much as you think they do (illusory correlations).

Nisbett & Wilson, 1977: Rate how much you enjoyed the film.

Rate how much you think the power saw noise outside affected your ratings - the people thought it impacted their enjoyment but it made no noticeable difference in their ratings.

Reasons-generated attitude change:

Temporary attitude change resulting from considering the concrete reasons for one's attitudes.

false consensus:

the idea that more people tend to share our opinions or beliefs or undesirable wants than actually do.

False uniqueness:

the tendency to underestimate how common a particularly good or desirable ability or behavior of our own is in the general populace.


refers to an individual's tendency to engage in self-presentational strategies.
High self-monitors: friendships tend to be focused in certain specific areas
Low self-monitors: broader, less focused friendships

Illusory correlation

thinking that two tings go together when they do not

illusion of control

thinking something you do is controlling an outcome you have no control over


mental shortcuts used in decision making when the situation is ambiguous

Availability Heuristic

how easily does it come to mind

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