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social psychology

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

attribution theory

the theory that we tend to give a casual explanation for someone's behavior, often by crediting either the situation or the person's disposition

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


a belief and feeling that predisposes one to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events

foot-in-the-door phenomenon

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

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


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

social facilitation

improved performance of tasks in the presence of others; occurs with simple or well-learned tasks but not with tasks that are difficult or not yet mastered

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


the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity

group polarization

the enhancement of a group's prevailing attitudes through discussion within the group


the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives


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.


a generalized (sometimes accurate but often overgeneralized) belief about a group of people


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


"them"—those perceived as different or apart from one's ingroup.

ingroup bias

the tendency to favor one's own group

scapegoat theory

the theory that prejudice offers an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame

just-world phenomenon

the tendency of people ot believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get


any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy

frustration-aggression principle

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


a percieved incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas

social trap

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

mere exposure effect

the phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking of them

passionate love

an aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a love relationship

companionate love

the deep affectionate attachment we feel for those with whom our lives are intertwined


a condition in which peoople 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

bystander effect

the tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present

social exchange theory

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

superordinate goals

shared goals that overide differnces among people and require their cooperation


Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction - a strategy designed to decrease international tensions

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