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social psychology

the scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 723)

attribution theory

suggests how we explain someone's behavior—by crediting either the situation or the person's disposition. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 724)

fundamental attribution error

the tendency for observers, when analyzing another's behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 724)


feelings often based on our beliefs, which predispose us to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 726)

foot-in-the-door phenomenon

the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 727)

cognitive dissonance theory

the theory that we act to reduce the discomfort (dissonance) we feel when two of our thoughts (cognitions) are inconsistent. For example, when our awareness of our attitudes and of our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 728)


adjusting one's behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 732)

informational social influence

influence resulting from one's willingness to accept others' opinions about reality. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 733)

normative social influence

influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 733)

social facilitation

stronger responses on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 738)

social loafing

the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 739)


the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 739)

group polarization

the enhancement of a group's prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 740)


the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 740)


unjustifiable negative behavior toward a group or its members. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 743)


an unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 743)


a generalized (sometimes accurate but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 743)


"us"—people with whom one shares a common identity. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 746)

ingroup bias

the tendency to favor one's own group. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 746)


"them"—those perceived as different or apart from one's ingroup. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 746)

scapegoat theory

the theory that prejudice offers an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 747)

just-world phenomenon

the tendency of people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 748)


any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 749)

frustration-aggression principle

the principle that frustration—the blocking of an attempt to achieve some goal—creates anger, which can generate aggression. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 751)

social trap

a situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing their self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 756)

mere exposure effect

the phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking of them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 759)

companionate love

the deep affectionate attachment we feel for those with whom our lives are intertwined. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 763)

passionate love

an aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a love relationship. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 763)


a condition in which people receive from a relationship in proportion to what they give to it. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 764)


revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 764)


unselfish regard for the welfare of others. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 765)

bystander effect

the tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 766)

reciprocity norm

an expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 766)

social exchange theory

the theory that our social behavior is an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 766)

social-responsibility norm

an expectation that people will help those dependent upon them. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 767)

superordinate goals

shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation. (Myers Psychology 8e p. 767)


rules within a group indicating how members should or should not behave

self-serving bias

tendency often in individualistic cultures to attribute our own successes to dispositional factors and our own failures to situational factors

injunctive norms

Norms that define what behaviors are typically approved or disapproved.

descriptive norms

People adjust their behavior to match the rest of the group.

robber cave sherrif

Sherif's study at a summer camp, 2 groups were pitted against one another. They grew to despise the other group. Sherif then intermixed groups. When presented with goals in which they had to work together the new groups then worked together.

situational or internal attribution

belief that an individual's behavior is based on events in the environment rather than long-lasting personality characteristics.

dispositional or external attribution

belief that one's behavior is due to long-lasting personality traits rather than the current environment.

Weiner's attribution model

stability of a given action (stable/unstable) often leads to explaining it in terms of an internal or external attribution.

self-fullfilling prohecy

Process in which initial impression of someone or ourselves leads that person or ourselves to behave in accordance with that impression.

defensive attribution

also called blaming the victim - blaming victim for their misfortune so one feels less likely to be victimized in a similar way

chameleon effect

Natural (unconscious) tendency to imitate other peoples speech, inflections & physical movements

self-handicapping strategies

Doing things that contribute to you failing (knowingly or unknowingly) and then using these very things as excuses for failing.

spotlight effect

assumption that others pay more attention to our behavior & appearance than they actually do

actor-observor bias

tendency to attribute the behavior of others to dispositional factors and our own behavior to situational ones in a comparison

self-perception theory

Attitudes can change as people consider their behavior in given situations, and from this deduce what their attitude must be. (high and low self monitors)

high self-monitors

change behavior to match the group and gain approval - respond best to peripheral routes of persuasion

low self-monitors

behavior stays the same regardless of who they are with and what is happening - respond best to central routes of persuasion

central route to persuasion

persuasion method that focuses on individuals who have to make a decision take time and effort necessary to gather all info & and make well determined choice.

peripheral route to persuasion

persuasion method that focuses on individuals that need to make a decision take into account random and inconsequential factors in order to arrive at a decision. usually, topic is of little importance to them

sleeper effect

After previously rejecting a choice, delayed reaction of persuasion convinces an individual to change their mind.

door-in-face strategy

tendency for an individual who denies an outrageous request to agree to a lesser one.

halo effect

term for how we think beautiful people are more vivacious, socially skilled, intelligent, & well adjusted

matching hypothesis

we seek individuals most like ourselves (attractive wise).

romantic ideals

expect partner to fit ideals about loyalty, status, attractiveness, humor, etc. and the closer they match these the more attractive they are

Sternberg's Love Theory

combinations of passion, intimacy, and committment result if various types of love

contact theory

idea that prejudice can be reduced by increasing contact with those that are different


physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy

social impairment

lowering of performance on a given task in the pressence of others - usually a task that is not well reshearsed


changing behavior or beliefs to match other members of group.


adjusting behavior because of a request.

reciprocity norm

Tendency to respond to others as they have acted towards you


"fake subjects" that look & behave like real subjects in study.


researcher famous for line study of conformity


researcher famous for teacher-learner study on obedience to authority


experimenter famous for $1 or $20 experiment on cognitive dissonance


experimentor famous for research on how roles influence behavior and the power of the situation in a mock prison

negative state relief model

Helping others aids in eliminating negative moods and unpleasant feelings.

empathy-altruism model

Unselfish behavior can occur as a result of empathy with another person.

commons dilemma

People who share a common resource tend to overuse it and therefore make it unavailable in the long run.

prisoner's dilemma

situation in which an individual must choose between a cooperative act and an act that will help them but hurt others.

individualist culture

cultural perspective which places the individual, independence and autonomy over the group.

collectivist culture

cultural perspective which places interdependence, cooperation and social harmony take precedence over personal goals.


cognitive structures that guides information processing.

social schema

organized cluster of ideas about categories of social events and people.

injunctive norms

norms that define what behaviors are typically approved or disapproved.

hindsight bias

tendency to believe, after learning an outcome, that one would have foreseen it.

confirmation bias

tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions.

self-handicapping strategy

when an individual intentionally places one's self at a disadvantage to provide an excuse for failure.

bystander effect

any particular witness is less likely to get involved if more witnesses are present

diffusion of responsibility

theory for why bystander effect occurs - each individual bystander thinks someone else will get involved

Kitty Genovese

woman whose murder in front of witnesses led to research on bystander effect

devil's advocate

main tool in preventing groupthink - designate 1 person to take unpopular role of constantly challenging groups emerging consensus & offer additional alternatives - forces group to see other ways and face reality

compassionate love

intimate, non-passionate love, which includes committment

false consensus effect

tendency to overestimate the extent to which others share our beliefs and behaviors



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