PSCH 312 Exam 1
Terms in this set (75)
The scientific study of the ways in which people's thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people
an explanation for a behavior or an event
2 kinds of attributions:
•Internal: attributing behaviors to a person's disposition or
• External: attributing behaviors to the situation that a person
Fundamental Attribution Error
The tendency to overestimate the influence of personality
and underestimate the influence of the situation in
When we consider our own behavior, we consider the
situation slightly more
Situational Strength and
the Fundamental Attribution Error
Unambiguous situations with clear
guidelines for behavior
Ambiguous situations without clear
guidelines for behavior.
• Personal experience, current events, & literature
can provide hypotheses to test (e.g., BIRGing)
Previous Theories and Research
• Science is cumulative—generate hypotheses based
on prior research (e.g., U-shaped function of
testable beliefs about the relationship between
-Attractive people are more successful.
-Violent TV viewing leads to violent behavior.
Types of Data
Descriptive and Correlational methods
-Focus on measuring behaviors and thoughts in their natural
-Focus on manipulating social processes, varying an
aspect of the situation and measuring the resulting
behaviors, thoughts, and feelings
Observing behavior in its natural setting
Pros - Real behavior, Real situations
Cons - Researcher can interfere,
some behaviors are rare, cannot
Extensive study of a single person or
Pros - Extensive information; Can ask
direct questions; Can study rare
Cons - Hard to generalize; no random
sampling; can't determine cause
Asking people about their beliefs,
Pros - Can study behaviors & thoughts
that are difficult to observe
Cons - Participants might be biased or
untruthful; Random sampling is difficult and
expensive; Question framing can bias results
Examining public records
Pros - Access to large amounts of
data, no difficulty generalizing
Cons - many interesting behaviors aren't
recorded, can't determine cause
Historically, the Southern USA tends to be more violent than the
Northern USA. Why might this be?
North settled primarily
by agro-farmers from
South and West settled primarily by "cavaliers" and herders
from North of England, Scotland & Ireland; interested in
hunting and herding; self-reliance and protection prized
Would you approve if a man punched an adult male stranger if that
stranger was a drunkard who bumped into the man and his wife?
What would you expect your 10 year old son to do if he was repeatedly
bullied by another boy who stole his lunch money?
Compared to Northerners, Southerners approved of punching more
Compared to Northerners, Southerners said the boy should fight back more
-Southeners more likely to use violence when honor is at stake
an example of cognitive bias, in which people react to a particular choice in different ways depending on how it is presented or phrased
a statistical technique whereby two or more variables are
systematically measured and the relationship between them assessed
-Correlations assess the extent to which variables naturally co-vary. If you have
knowledge of one, you can predict the other.
-Smoking and lung cancer
-Education and income
-Being Swedish and having blue eyes
-Height and distance from the ceiling
-Frequency of bad jokes made by your professor and
-"X" scores are not related to
-freckles and height
-Breathing oxygen and breast cancer
-straight line across
the variable that's manipulated
the variable that's measured
each subject has equal chance of being in any
Experiments test the effect of the Independent Variable (I.V.) on the Dependent Variable (D.V.)
look the same as true experiments but lack one main
ingredient: RANDOM ASSIGNMENT
-use pre-existing groups
Two types of experimental methods
-Behavior measured in the real world,
but includes a manipulation. Participants
rarely know they're in an experiment
-Pros - Real behavior, Real situations, higher external validity
-Cons - Less control over extraneous factors;
Measures often limited to observable behaviors;
-A controlled experiment with complete
control over the variables in the study
-Pros - More control over variables than any other
method. Ability to use invasive method. higher internal validity
-Cons - Might not generalize to real life; Suspicion
extent to which experiment allows confident
statements about cause and effect because all variables but the
independent variable are controlled and because random
assignment is employed...
extent to which results can be generalized to
other situations and other people
• Safeguards to deception
-Institutional Review Boards
The need to feel good about ourselves
How people select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make
judgments and decisions
2 Types of Social Cognition
- nonconscious, unintentional, involuntary,
- conscious, intentional, voluntary, effortful
It is a human motive to preserve a stable, positive self-concept
The need to feel consistent with our beliefs
Dissonance reduction is largely a process
occurs automatically, outside of awareness
the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, especially as relating to behavioral decisions and attitude change
How do we reduce dissonance?
3 ways to reduce cognitive dissonance
-1) Change our behavior
2) Change our cognition (thoughts)
3) Add consonant cognitions (thoughts)
Reduce dissonance example
• Change your behavior= Stop smoking
• Change cognitions= Perceive self as a non-smoker and thinking Smoking isn't dangerous
• Add consonant cognitions= I enjoy smoking
The easiest and most used method to remove dissonance
We pick the easiest effective response.
Many times, it is easiest to change our attitudes to be consistent
with our behaviors.
A reason or an explanation for personal
behavior that resides outside the individual (e.g. receiving a large reward or avoiding a severe punishment)
When there isn't a sufficient external justification (reason) available, you
make an internal justification.
the reduction of dissonance by changing
something about oneself (e.g., one's attitude or behavior).
when there is no
sufficient external justification for our behaviors,
we are likely to change our attitudes to fit our
Justification of Efforts
the tendency for individuals to
increase their liking for something they have worked
hard to attain
If asked to pick between 2 things....
Liking for owned object increases and liking for un-
owned object decreases
When people vote for a candidate...
voters increased liking for candidate that
they voted for AND decreased liking for the other candidate, after voting
Attitudes didn't change
Post Decision Dissonance
dissonance aroused after making a decision typically reduced by enhancing the attractiveness of the chosen alternative and devaluing the rejected alternatives
the tendency to
overestimate the intensity and duration
of our emotional reactions to future
When our attitudes and feelings are uncertain or ambiguous, we infer
I ate the whole bag of chips?!...
I must have been hungry.
I've been biting my nails all day...
something must be bugging me.
I laugh in PSYCH 312 a lot...
I must find my professor's jokes hilarious.
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
Self-Perception theory: accounts for responses when
people's attitudes are vague or uncertain.
• Cognitive Dissonance theory: accounts for responses
when people have well-defined attitudes.
the shady strategy whereby a salesperson induces a customer to
agree to purchase a product at a low price, and then later raises the price
3 reasons why low-balling (often) works:
1) Agreeing to a price creates the illusion of irrevocability. This contract feels
binding, and you are a person who follows through with what you say you will do.
2) The feeling of commitment triggers an anticipated emotion- excitement! To
leave without it, would produce dissonance and disappointment.
3) The price is probably not too far off that which you'd find somewhere else.
Same initial attitudes + Different Behaviors
A long-lasting form of attitude change that
results from attempts at self-justification
ex. the kids who were tempted to cheat, but resisted came to
believe that cheating is bad all by themselves; they convinced
Will a mild or severe threat be more likely to
stop people's unwanted behavior, mild or severe threat?
aroused when individuals lack sufficient
external justification for having resisted a
desired activity or object, usually results in
people devaluing the forbidden activity or
Can dissonance even cause us to hate our friends?
Three variables of interest:
• Closeness to other person
• Relevance of activity to self-esteem
• Performance level on the activity
Trouble (dissonance) if
• Close to other person
• Activity is central to our self-esteem
• Performance of other person is higher than
• Example: premed student thinks,
"My best friend got into a top medical school
and I didn't--ouch."
How reduce this kind of dissonance with close people?
• Reduce Closeness to other person
• Reduce how central the activity is to your self-
•Outperform the other person
•Implications for close relationships
Picking up things about our environments
Ex. Language acquisition and
mental structures people use to organize their
knowledge about the social world. Schemas influence the information people notice, think about, and remember
-Ex. can be the reason for cops shooting darker skinned people
• Functional (particularly when we have accurate schemas)
• Guide attention
• Help us interpret ambiguous situations
• But... they can lead us astray, get us into trouble, & have dire
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
a prediction that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true
Ex. bloomer children, teachers made them actually be the ones that do best
Why did the Bloomers do better in the example of self fulfilling prophecy?
• Climate: Teachers created a warmer climate for the bloomers,
treated them more warmly
• Feedback: Teachers gave bloomers more DIFFERENTIATED
•Input: Taught more material to the bloomers
•Output: Teachers gave bloomers given more opportunities to
respond and shaped their answers
simple rules for making decisions in a rapid manner
-mental shortcuts that allow people to conserve their mental resources
Three basic heuristics
• Anchoring and Adjustment
Two cognitive biases
• Confirmation Bias
A mental shortcut whereby people classify something
according to how similar it is to the typical case.
Ex. Assuming Tom is an an Ivy League professor instead of a truck driver
"Tom is a 41-year old who reads nonfiction books, listens to NPR
and plays tennis in his spare time."
-people do not process
the statistical likelihood of a
match. People ignore base rates.
-many many truck drivers but much fewer Ivy League professors
the tendency to
believe that a particular chance event is
affected by previous events and that
chance events will "even out" in the
making judgments about
the frequency or likelihood of an event based on
the ease with which evidence or examples come
Ex. Assuming car crashes cause more deaths than lung cancer because car crashes are more available in the media
Anchoring and Adjustment
A shortcut in which people make an estimate by choosing a
starting point (anchor) and then compensating for the
perceived difference between the starting point and the most
likely answer (adjustment)
Ex. If given a small # we will estimate higher but not high enough and if given a big # we will estimate lower but not low enough
the mistakes we make because of heuristic use
tendency to notice and search
for information that confirms
our beliefs and to ignore
information that disconfirms
Ex: Does temperature at launch cause O-ring
damage?NASA looked at cases where damage occurred and not where NO
the tendency to
imagine other outcomes in a situation than the ones that actually occurred
Ex. Close calls inspire counterfactual thinking
Those events that nearly happened or nearly didn't
-Upward counterfactual: "It could have been so much better"
-Downward counterfactual: "It could have been so much
The extent that schemas
and concepts are at the forefront of
people's minds and are therefore likely to
be used when making judgments about
the social world
Priming Social Behavior
•In social psychology, we use the technique of priming to make
concepts, schemas, traits or goals accessible in the minds of
• Sentence unscrambling tasks
• Word search puzzles
• Name of a task
• Subliminal priming
The attempt to avoid thinking about
something we would prefer to forget
Tendency for people to feel more confident in their
judgments than their skills, abilities, and
"The squeaky wheel gets the grease" is more representative of
what kind of cultural perspective? A) Individualistic or B) Collectivistic
"The nail that stands out gets pounded down" is more
representative of what kind of cultural perspective? A) Individualistic or B) Collectivistic