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Social psychology

subfield in psychology that deals with how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by our social interactions with others

Social perception

processes by which we form impressions, make judgments, and develop attitudes about the people and events that constitute our social world

Impression formation

process of developing an opinion or impression of another person

Social schema

mental image or representation that we use to understand our social environment


oversimplified generalizations about the characteristics, attributes, and behaviors of members of a particular group or category

Self-fulfilling prophecy

expectation that helps bring about the outcome that is expected


assumption about the causes of behavior or events

Dispositional causes

causes relating to the internal characteristics or traits of individuals

Situational causes

causes relating to external or environmental events

Fundamental attribution error

tendency to attribute behavior to internal causes without regrd to situational influences

Actor-observer effect

tendency to attribute the causes of one's own behavior to situational factors while attributing the causes of other people's behavior

Self-serving bias

tendency to take credit for accomplishments and to explain away our failures or disappointments


positive or negative evaluation of persons, objects, or issues

Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM)

a theoretical model that posits two channels by which persuasive appeals lead to attitude change: a central route and a peripheral route


A person who poses as a participant in an experiment but is actually assisting the experimenter.

Naive Subject

a person who has agreed to participate in an experiment but is not aware that deception is being used to conceal its real purpose

Primacy Effect

The tendency for an overall impression of another to be influenced more by the first information that is received about that person than by information that comes later.


physical or geographical closeness; a major influence on attraction.

Mere-exposure Effect

The tendency to feel more positively toward a stimulus as a result of repeated exposure to it.

Halo Effect

The tendency to assume that a person has generally positive or negative traits as a result of observing one major positive or negative trait.

Matching Hypothesis

The notion that people tend to have lovers or spouses who are similar to themselves in physical attractiveness and other assets.


Changing or adopting a behavior or an attitude in order to be consistent with the social norms of a group or the expectations of other people.

Social Norms

The attitudes and standards of behavior expected of members of a particular group.


The tendency for members of a tightly knit group to be more concerned with preserving group solidarity and uniformity that with objectively evaluating all alternatives in decision making.


Acting in accordance with the wishes, suggestions, or direct requests of other people.

Foot In The Door Technique

A strategy designed to gain a favorable response to a small request at first, with the intent of making the person more likely to agree later to a larger request.

Door In The Face Technique

A compliance technique in which someone makes a very large request and then, when it is denied, as expected, makes a smaller request (for what is actually desired).

Low-ball Technique

Getting someone to agree to an attractive proposition before revealing the hidden costs.

Social Facilitation

Any positive or negative effect on performance that can be attributed to the presence of others, as an audience or as co-actors.

Audience Effects

The impact of passive spectators on performance.

Co-action Effects

The impact on performance of the presence of other people engaged in the same task.

Social Loafing

The tendency to put forth less effort when working with others on a common task than when working alone.

Social Roles

Socially defined behaviors considered appropriate for individuals occupying certain positions within a given group.

Cognitive dissonance

The unpleasant state that can occur when people become aware of inconsistencies between their attitudes or between their attitudes and their behavior.


A deliberate attempt to influence the attitudes and/or behavioir of another person.

Prosocial Behavior

Behavior that benefits others, such as helping cooperation, and sympathy.


Behavior that is aimed at helping another, requires some self-sacrifice, and is not performed for personal gain.

Bystander Effect

A social factor that affects prosocial behavior: As the number of bystanders at an emergency increases, the probability that the victim will receive help decreases, and the help, if given, is likely to be delayed.

Diffusion of Responsibility

The feeling among bystanders at an emergency that the responsibility for helping is shared by the group, making each person feel less compelled to act than if he or she alone bore the total responsibility.


The intentional infliction of physical or psychological harm on others.

Frustration-aggression Hypothesis

The hypothesis that frustration produces aggression.


Displacing aggression onto members of minority groups or other innocent targets not responsible for the frustrating situation.

Personal Space

An area surrounding each person, much like an invisible bubble, that the person considers part of himself or herself and uses to regulate the level of intimacy with others.


The subjective judgment that there are too many people in a confined space.

Sexual Aggression

Any kind of sexual contact in which one or more participants are either unable to give consent or are forced into participation.


Attitudes (usually negative) toward others based on their gender, religion, race, or membership in a particular group.


Behavior (usually negative) directed towards others based on their gender, religion, race, or membership in a particular group.

Realistic Conflict Theory

The view that as competition increases among social groups for scarce resources, so do prejudice, discrimination, and hatred.


A social group with a strong sense of togetherness, from which others are excluded.


A social group made up of individuals specifically identified by the in-group as not belonging.

Social cognition

The mental processes that people use to notice, interpret, and remember information about the social world.


Widely shared beliefs about the characteristic traits, attitudes, and behaviors of members of various social groups (racial, ethnic, or religious), including the assumption that the members of such groups are usually all alike.


The tendency to look at situations from one's own racial or cultural perspective.


feelings of likeing for others, together with having positive thoughts about them and inclinations to act toward them in positive ways


the principal that people tend to like others who like them back

Bystander Intervention

helping a stranger in distress

Out-group Negativism

a cognitive bias involving the predisposition to attribute more negative characteristics to members of out-groups then to those of in-groups

In-group Favoritism

the cognitive bias involving the predisposition to attribute more positive characteristics to members of in-groups then to those of out-groups

Out-group Homogeneity

a cognitive bias describing the tendency to perceive members of out-groups as more alike than members of in-groups

Authoritarian Personality

a personality type characterized by rigidity, perjustice, and excessive concerns with obediance and respect for authority

Contact Hypothesis

Allport's belief that under certain conditions, increased intergroup contact helps reduce prejustice and intergroup tension


a negative emotional state experienced when one's efforts to pursue one's goals are thwarted


negative bias held toward others based on their ethnicity or racial identification

Stereotype Threat

a sense of threat evoked in members of stereotyped groups when they believe they may be judged or treated stereotipically

Personal Identity

the part of our psychological identity that involves our sense of ourselves as unique individuals

Social Identity

part of our psychological identity that involves our sense of ourselves as members of particular groups`

Bait-and-switch Tecnique

a compliance technique based on "baiting" an individual by making an unrealisticly attractive offer and replacing it with a less attractive offer


compliance with commands or orders issued by others, ususally persons in a position of authority

Legitimization of Authority

the tendency to grant legitimacy to the orders or commands of persons in authority


the loss of self-awareness that may occur when one acts in concert with actions of a crowd

Group Polarization

the tendency for members of decision-making groups to shift toward more extreme views in whatever direction they were intintionally leading

Job Satisfaction

the degree to which workers have positive feelings toward their jobs


a form of working at home in which people communicate with their home office and clients via computer or phones

Organizational Cultures

the system of shared values and norms within an organization

Central Route of Persuasion

relatively stable change by carefully scrutinizing facts, statistics, and other information

Peripheral Route of Persuasion

pairs superficial positive factors with and argument leading to less stable change in attitudes


set of expectations about a social position


adjusting one's behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard

Normative Social Influence

influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval

Informational Social Influence

influence resulting from one's willingness to accept others' opinions about reality


"Us"- people with whom one shares a common identity


"Them"- those perceived as different or apart from one's ingroup

Just-World Phenomenon

tendency of people to believe the world is just

Frustration-Aggression Principle

principle that frustration - the blocking of an attempt to achieve some goal - creates anger, which can generate aggression

Social Trap

a situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing their self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior


a condition in which people receive from a relationship in proportion to what they give to it


revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others


unselfish regard for the welfare of others

Social Exchange Theory

the theory that our social behavior is an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs

Super-ordinate Goals

shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation

Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-reduction (GRIT)

a strategy designed to decrease international tensions

Informational Social Influence

acceepting others' opinions about reality, especially in conditions of uncertainty

Normative Social Influence

going along with the crowd

dispositional attribution

attributing a behavior to some internal cause, such as a personal trait, motive, or attitude; an internal attribution

situtational attribution

attributing a behavior to some external cause or factor operating within the situation; an external attribution

Birds of a feather flock together

receives the most support

Halo effect

Clarice lends her notebook to a classmate who is attractive and seems bright. Clarice is surprised when he does not show up to return it to her when promised. Clarice's assumption that he would be responsible reflects this.

Primacy Effect

you should list positive traits before negative ones - information consistent with the first impression will strengthen the impression - information inconsistent with the first impression is likely to be disregarded

self-serving bias

Jason attributes his success to his hardworking nature and his failures to situational causes - Jason is showing this

physical attractiveness

not a physical attraction - asymmetrical faces are rated as more attractive than symmetrical

undesirable behavior

by making situational attributions and explain the behavior of others by making dispositional attributions

mere exposure effect

Erica and Eric live on the same floor in the dormatory. Every time Erica sees Eric, she likes him more. Erica's feelings towards Eric illustrate

actor-observer effect

your sister's' car goes off the road during the winter. You indicate that this occurred because she is a bad driver. However, when your car goes off the road you blame it on the icy conditions. Your beliefs are an example of aoe

social psychology

Andrew is studying the general field of how people think about, influence, relate to and interatct with people

Asch's conformity

5% of the participants conformed all of the time, 70% of the participants conformed some of the time; 25% of the participants did not confrm


conformity rates increase if the source of influence are part of an individuals ingroup


more than 60% of the participants administered the maximum voltage - if one person disobeyed the experimenter in front of the others, the others were more likely to disobey the instructions to proceed

compliance to gain

must do foot-in-the-door, door-in-the-face, and low-ball

affective component of attitude

the feelings about the object of the attitude

festinger and Carlsmith

conducted the classic experiment about cognitive dissonance in the 1950's. Asked participants to perform a boring task and then tell the people beind them that the task was fun, some of the people in the first group were paid $1 and others were paid $20 to lie the people who were paid $1 have significantly more positve attitudes.

social facilitation

task performance increases when the task is easy and others are present and task performance decreases when the task is difficult and others are present

prejudice is to discrimination

as attitude is to behavior

frustration-aggression hypothesis

Sally is very upset because she spent 4 hours working on a term paper that was just lost due to a computer virus. Sally starts screaming at her roommate

bystander effect

people are reluctant to help someone when others are present


your brother tells you that all car salesmen are slimy and dishonest

diffusion of responsibility

you pass by a homeless man on the street and do not give him change. You think that other people will give him change

prosocial behavior

volunteer work


is linked to high testosterone levels, neurological disorders, alcohol abuse

realistic conflict theory

natural prejudice and discrimination are products of competition resources


Sandra likes Steve and Steve likes Sandra.

matching hypothesis

Brian and Kelly are most likely to start dating if their religious, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds are similar

situational attribution

you fail your driving test and blame it on the other drivers on the road not knowing how to drive.


people are more likely to become friends with, date and marry people who are similar - both men and women rate mutual attraction, dependable character, emotional stability and maturity, and pleasing disposition as the most important mate selection traits - people who are mismatched in terms of attractiveness are more likely to end their relationship than people who are matched in terms of attractiveness

group think

the tendency for a groups decision to grow more extreme with the passage of time


depends on source of communication

groupthink and group polarization

asking a memeber of a group to play devils advocate
encouraging an open discussion of all alternatives
bringing in outside experts

components of attitude

cognitive, behavioral, affective - I beleive that it is important to take care of the enviornment - I recycle papers, plastic,s cans and other items - i get upset when I see people litter

Social norm

people do not stnad facing each other in an elavator


people died when they followed the orders of Jim Jones

abusive parents

have not been abused as children, nor will they have children who become abusive adults - no research

sexually victimized

women 35 percent in US

social cognitive

prejudice and discrimination are learned through observation and reinforcement


an open discussion, the jigsaw technique, a diversity education - not a competitive game between the groups


linked to pain, crowding and foul odors

Langlois and Roggman

merged pictures of 2 students at a time, he continued adding faces to form a composite of 32. RESULTS: composite faces were rated as more attractive. atractiveness are based on features that are approximately the mathematical averageof features in a general population


Average faces are more attractive; average of hot are even hotter - averaging faces tends to make them more symmetrical. symmetrical faces and bodies are seen as more attractive adn sexually appealing

11 meta-analyses

cross cultural studies of attactiveness Langlois and others foudnthat males and females across many cultures have similar ideas about the physical attractiveness of members of hte oppposite sex

Robert Winch

proposes that men and women tend to choose mates with needs and personalities that are coplementary rather than similar to their own. - they are needs that supply what the partner lacks.


suggest that the impact of physical attractiveness is strongest in hte perception of strangers. once we get to know people qualities assume more importance


found that people generally attribute additional favorable qualiteis to those who are attractive.

David Buss

men perfer beautiful young women - women prefer men with money and social status - these preferences ahve been adaptive in human evolutionary history - to men - beauty and youth suggest health and fertility to women, resources = security

four qualities in mate selection

1) mutual attraction/love 2) dependable character 3) emotional stability and mauturity and 4) pleasing disposition

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