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I'll be adding to this set little by little as I read. Feel free to add.

social psychology

The subfield that attempts to explain how the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others influences the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of of individuals.


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.


an assignment of a cause to explain one's own or another's behavior

situational attribution

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

dispositional attribution

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

actor-observer effect

The tendency to attribute one's own behavior primarily to situational factors and the behavior of others primarily to dispositional factors.

fundamental attribution error

the tendency to attribute others' behavior to dispositional factors

self-serving bias

The tendency to attribute one's successes to dispositional causes and one's failures to situational causes.


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.


A relatively stable evaluation of a person, object, situation, or issue, along a continuum ranging from positive to negative.

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.

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