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social psychology

The scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.

social neuroscience

An integration of biological and social perspectives that explores the neural and psychological bases of social and emotional behaviors.


The enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.

social representations

widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Our social representations help us make sense of our world.

hindsight bias

The tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, one's ability to have foreseen how something turned out. Also known as the I-knew-it--all-along phenomenon.


An integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events.


A testable proposition that describes a relationship that may exist between events.

Field research

Research done in natural, real-life settings outside the laboratory.

correlational research

The study of the naturally occurring relationships among variables.

experimental research

Studies that seek clues to cause-effect relationships by manipulating one or more factors while controlling others


the degree of relationship between two factors

random sample

Survey procedure in which every person in the population being studied has an equal chance of inclusion.


The way a question or an issue is posed; framing can influence people's decisions and expressed opinions.

independent variable

The experimental factor that a researcher manipulates.

dependent variable

The variable being measured, so called because it may depend on manipulations of the independent variable

random assignment

The process of assigning participants to the conditions of an experiment such that all persons have the same chance of being in a given condition.

mundane realism

Degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday situations.

experimental realism

Degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its participants.


In research, an effect by which participants are misinformed or misled about the study's methods and purposes.

demand characteristics

Cues in an experiment that tell the participant what behavior is expected.

informed consent

An ethical principle requiring that research participants be told enough to enable them to choose whether they wish to participate.


In social psychology, the postexperimental explanation of a study to its participants.

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