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psychology 101: final exam ch 16 - social psychology

Terms in this set (33)

attribution: the principles we follow when making judgements about the causes of events, others' behavior, and our own behavior
- everyone wants to understand and explain why people behave as they do, and why events occur as they do
- developing logical attributions for people's behavior makes us feel safer and more in control
- key to making correct attributions begins with the decision of whether a given action stems mainly from the person's internal disposition (personality, beliefs, attitude) or from the external situation

our attributions are frequently ruined by two major errors:

1) the fundamental attribution error (FAE)
- fundamental attribution error (FAE): the tendency of observers to overestimate the influence of internal, dispositional factors on a person's behavior, while underestimating the impact of external, situational factors.
(ex: in class, new girl quiet; u prob think she's stuck up due to a dispositional attribution but when u interact w her one on one, she's cool. her behavior is just based on the situation. the FAE is when a person judges a person without considering maybe that person is being like are due to a certain situation)
- we think this way bc human personalities and behaviors are more noticeable than situational factors
- saliency bias: a type of attributional bias in which people tend to focus on the most noticeable (salient) factors when explaining the causes of behavior.
(ex: helps explain why people sometimes suggest that homeless people begging for money "should just go out and get a job"—a phenomenon also called "blaming the victim.")
- when we focus on possible situational influences on behavior, we're more likely to make better more accurate judgments of the causes of events and other people's behavior.

2) the self-serving bias.
- self-serving bias: a type of attributional bias, in which we take credit for our successes, but blame other people or events for our failures.
- happens when we explain our own behavior
- we tend to favor internal (personality) attributions for our successes and blame external (situational) attributions for our failures.
- this bias is motivated by our desire to maintain positive self-esteem and a good public image
(ex: elite olympic athletes more often attribute their wins to internal (personal) causes, such as their skill and effort, while attributing their losses to external (situational) causes, such as bad equipment or poor officiating)
- people w poor self-efficacy may be more likely to blame themselves or feel guilty over perceived failures

why do we do all this^ though?

actor-observer effect: the tendency to attribute one's own actions to external (situational) factors while attributing others' actions to internal (dispositional) causes.
- when examining our own behaviors, we are the actors in the situation and know more about our own intentions and behaviors, and naturally look to the environment for explanations: "I didn't tip the waiter because I got really bad service."
- when explaining the behavior of others, we are observing the actors and therefore tend to blame the person, using a personality attribution: "She didn't tip the waiter because she's cheap"
conformity: changes in behavior, attitudes, or values because of real or imagined group pressure.

read about the experiment on pg. 513
- asch's study has been conducted dozens of times, in at least 17 countries, and generally with similar results
- but not when test is presented in an online format where participants could communicate with, but not see, one another

3 factors that drives conformity:
1) normal social influence:
- one of the 1st reasons we conform is that we want to go along with group norms (norm: a cultural rule of behavior prescribing what is acceptable and unacceptable in a given situation) (ex: asking ur homegirl what she's wearing so you're not underdressed or overdressed)
- we conform bc of our need for approval and acceptance by the group, and because conforming to group norms makes us feel good
- most often norms are quite subtle and only implied
2) informational social influence:
- ex: buying a specific product bc of your friend's recommendation (ur not conforming to gain their approval) because you assumed that they had more information than you did
- can work even if u do not know the person (ex: online & movie reviews)
3) reference group:
- people we most admire, like, and want to resemble.
- attractive actors and popular sports stars are paid millions of dollars to endorse products because advertisers know that we want to be as cool as LeBron James, or as beautiful as Natalie Portman
- parents, friends, family members, teachers, religious leaders, and classmates—all of whom affect our willingness to conform

*surprisingly, popular peers who had negative attitudes toward alcohol use were even more influential in determining rates of teenage drinking than those with positive attitudes!
obedience: following direct commands, usually from an authority figure.

from very early childhood, we're socialized to respect and obey our parents, teachers, and other authority figures.
- we conform and obey most of the time because it's in our own best interests (and everyone else's) to do so.
(ex: like most other North Americans, we stand in line at a movie theatre instead of pushing ahead of others. This allows an orderly purchasing of tickets.)
- conformity and obedience allow social life to proceed with safety, order, and predictability.

not always good to obey!
- we don't want teenagers (or adults) engaging in risky sex or drug use just to be part of the crowd. And we don't want soldiers (or anyone else) mindlessly following orders just because they were told to do so by an authority figure.
- recognizing/resisting destructive forms of obedience are particularly important to our society—and to social psychology.

(read study pg 516)
important factors that influenced obedience:
- legitimacy and closeness of the authority figure
- remoteness of the victim
- assignment of responsibility
- modeling or imitation of others

other factors:
1) socialization:
- from an early age, we're all taught to listen to and respect people in positions of authority.
2) the foot-in-the-door technique:
- foot-in-the-door technique: an initial, small request is used as a setup for a later, larger request.
(ex: once milgram's participants complied with the initial request, they might have felt obligated to continue.)
3) relaxed moral guard:
- one common intellectual illusion that hinders critical think- ing about obedience is the belief that only evil people do evil things, or that evil announces itself.
(ex: the experimenter in milgram's study looked and acted like a reasonable person who was simply carrying out a research project. Because he was not seen as personally corrupt and evil, the participants' normal moral guard was down, which can maximize obedience.)
group membership:
- deindividuation: to be deindividuated means that we feel less self-conscious, less inhibited, and less personally responsible as a member of a group than when we're alone
- groups sometimes actively promote deindividuation by requiring members to wear uniforms, for example, as a way to increase allegiance and conformity.

group decision making:
- groups actually supported riskier decisions than decisions they made as individuals before the discussion
- but some groups support riskier decisions while others support conservative decisions
- a group's final decision depends primarily on its dominant preexisting tendencies.
- if the dominant initial position is risky, the final decision will be even riskier, and the reverse is true if the initial position is conservative - a process called group polarization.
(group polarization the tendency for groups to make decisions that are more extreme (either riskier or more conservative), depending on the members' initial dominant tendency.
- it appears that as individuals interact and share their opinions, they pick up new and more persuasive information that supports their original opinions, which may help explain why American politics has become so polarized in recent years
(ex: can you see how if we only interact and work with like-minded people, or only talk politics with those who agree with us, we're likely to become even more polarized?)
- read the jury story pg 519
- groupthink: the faulty decision making that occurs when a highly cohesive (united) group strives for agreement, especially if it is in line with the leader's viewpoint, and avoids contradictory information
(ex: when a group is highly cohesive (a couple, a family, a panel of military advisers, an athletic team), the members' desire for agreement may lead them to ignore important information or points of view held by outsiders or critics)
- to make matters worse, women are especially likely to refrain from speaking up in a group setting, so their opinions are less likely to be heard than men's

how can we prevent?
- you might suggest that group leaders either absent themselves from discussions or remain impartial and silent.
- second, can you see how the group members should avoid isolation and be encouraged to voice their dissenting opinions, in addition to seeking advice and input from outside experts?
- a third option is to suggest that members should generate as many alternatives as possible and that voting be done by secret ballot versus a show of hands.
- finally, group members should be reminded that they will be held responsible for their decisions, which will offset the illusion of invulnerability, collective rationalizations, stereotypes, and so on.
prejudice is also believed to develop from everyday mental shortcuts that we create to simplify our complex social world
- stereotypes allow quick judgments about others, thereby freeing up mental resources for other activities.
- these mental shortcuts too often lead to negative outcomes
(ex: when a science faculty were sent identical résumés from a male and a female student applying for a job as a laboratory manager, both male and female faculty members rated the male applicant as more competent and hirable than the female)

people use stereotypes as mental shortcuts when they classify others in terms of their membership in a group.
- given that people generally classify themselves as part of the preferred group, they also create in-groups and out-groups.
(in-group: any category to which people see themselves as belonging
out-group: any other category)
- compared with the way they judge members of the out-group, people tend to judge in-group members as being more attractive, having better personalities, and so on -
a phenomenon known as in-group favoritism
- people also tend to recognize greater diversity among members of their in-group than they do among members of out-groups (out-group homogeneity effect: judging members of an out-group as more alike and less diverse than members of the in-group.)
- when members of minority groups are not recognized as varied and complex individuals, it is easier to treat them in discriminatory ways.
(ex: war - viewing people on the other side as simply faceless enemies makes it easier to kill large numbers of soldiers and civilians.)

stereotypes and prejudice can operate even without a person's conscious awareness or control.
- implicit bias: a hidden, automatic attitude that may guide behaviors independent of a person's awareness or control.
(ex: after making comments that implied black people are not as intelligent as whites, Nobel laureate James Watson said: "I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said. There is no scientific belief for such a belief.")
- we do this bc we naturally put things into groups or categories to help us make sense of the world around us.
- BUT the prototypes and hierarchies we develop are sometimes based on incorrect stereotypes of various groups.
prejudice and discrimination have a long, sad global history

prejudice also severely limits the perpetrator's ability to accurately judge others, and to correctly process information.
- ex: U.S. public's reaction to the naming of hurricanes
(archival research on more than
six decades of death rates from U.S. hurricanes reveals that more people have died from feminine-named hurricanes (like Betsy), than from masculine-named
hurricanes (such as Charlie))
- a hurricane's name taps into our hidden, gender-based stereotypes.
- men are generally perceived as being strong and aggressive, whereas women are seen as being weak and passive.
(these gender stereotypes then apparently lead respondents to perceive a lower risk and to take fewer precautions to "Hurricane Betsy" than to "Hurricane Charlie"—with deadly consequences!)

why does it prejudice and discrimination keep happening then?
- learning theorists believe that human behavior only continues if it's reinforced.
- where are the reinforcers? the most important, but seldom acknowledged, payoffs for prejudice are the economic and political benefits to the perpetrators.
(if certain minority groups (and women), are considered less important and valuable, they can be paid less for equal work.)
- another possibility is ethnocentrism, the tendency to favor our own group over others
- ex: most agree that it's relatively harmless (and highly reinforcing) to be a fan and loyal supporter of your local sports team.
- however, can you also see how our feelings of pride and reflected glory can sometimes escalate to destructive feelings of superiority and prejudice against the opponents?
four major approaches:
1) cooperation and common goals
2) intergroup contact
3) cognitive restraining
4) cognitive dissonance

1) cooperation and common goals:
- one of the best ways to combat prejudice and discrimination is to encourage cooperation rather than competition (read study on pg. 524)
- superordinate goals (the "mini-crises")

2) intergroup contact:
- increase contact and positive experiences between groups
- but contact can sometimes increase prejudice.
- increasing contact works only under certain conditions that provide for close interaction, interdependence (superordinate goals that require cooperation), and equal status.

3) cognitive retraining
- take another's perspective or undo associations of negative stereotypical traits
(ex: televised specials and recent movies, like 42 and The Butler, help the viewing public understand and empathize with the pressures and heroic struggles of Blacks to gain equal rights)
- people can also learn to be less prejudiced if they are taught to selectively pay attention to similarities rather than differences

4) cognitive dissonance:
- each time we meet someone who does not conform to our prejudiced views, we experience dissonance
(ex: "I thought all gay men were effeminate. This guy is a deep-voiced, professional athlete. I'm confused.")
- to resolve the dissonance, we can maintain our stereotypes by saying, "This gay man is an exception to the rule."
- BUT if we continue our contact with a large variety of gay men, or when the media shows more instances of non-stereotypical gay individuals, this "exception to the rule" defense eventually breaks down, and attitude change occurs
(on May 6, 2013, Jason Collins became the first openly gay, male athlete playing in a major American team sport. Why did he decide to publicly announce his sexual orientation? One of his many reasons was: "I want to march for tolerance, acceptance, and understanding)
like prejudice and discrimination, violence toward others is an unfortunate part of our social relations.
- when we intentionally try to inflict psychological or physical harm on another, psychologists call it aggression
(aggression: any behavior intended to cause psychological or physical harm to another individual.)

1) biological explanations:
- because aggression has such a long history and is found in all cultures, some scientists believe that humans are instinctively aggressive
- most social psychologists, however, reject this "instinct" argument, but do accept the fact that biology plays a role.
(ex: brain injuries and other disorders also has identified possible aggression circuits in the brain)
- testosterone and lowered levels of some neurotransmitters links with aggressive behavior

2) psychological explanations:
- substance abuse (particularly alcohol abuse) is a major factor in many forms of aggression
- aversive stimuli, such as loud noise, heat, pain, bullying, insults, and foul odors, also may increase aggression
- frustration-aggression hypothesis: a hypothesis which states that the blocking of a desired goal (frustration) creates anger that may lead to aggression.
- social-learning theory suggests that people raised in a culture with aggressive models will develop more aggressive responses
(ex: the United States has a high rate of violent crime, and there are widespread portrayals of violence on TV, the Internet, movies, and video games which may contribute to aggression in both children and adults)
- exposure to violence increases aggressiveness and that aggressive children tend to seek out violent programs

3) reducing aggression:
- we should release our aggressive impulses by engaging in harmless forms of aggression, such as exercising vigorously, punching a pillow, or watching competitive sports.
- BUT this type of catharsis doesn't really help & it may even intensify the negative feelings

- we should introduce incompatible responses.
- because certain emotional responses, such as empathy and humor, are incompatible with aggression, purposely making a joke or showing some sympathy for an opposing person's point of view can reduce anger and frustration

how to prevent gun violence:
- primary prevention (also called universal prevention): involves healthy development in the general population, such as teaching better social and communication skills to all ages.
- secondary prevention (also called selective prevention): consists of providing assistance for at-risk individuals, including mentoring programs and conflict-mediation services.
- tertiary prevention (also called indicated prevention): involves intensive services for individuals with a history of aggressive behavior to prevent a recurrence or escalation of aggression, such as programs that rehabilitate juvenile offenders.
altruism: prosocial behaviors designed to help others, with no obvious benefit to the helper

three key approaches to explaining why we help:
1) evolutionary theory of helping:
- evolutionary theory of helping: a theory which states that altruism is an instinctual behavior that has evolved because it favors survival of one's genes.
(ex: by helping our own child or other relative, for example, we increase the odds of our genes' survival.)

2) egoistic model of helping:
- egoistic model of helping: a theory which states that altruism is motivated by anticipated gain—later reciprocation, increased self-esteem, or avoidance of distress and guilt.
(we help others only because we hope for later reciprocation, because it makes us feel virtuous, or because it helps us avoid feeling guilty)

3) empathy-altruism hypothesis:
- empathy-altruism hypothesis: a theory proposing that we help because of empathy for someone in need.
- seeing another person struggles can make us understand them and share our own feelings w them
- when we feel empathic toward another, we are motivated to help that person for his or her own sake.
(ex: middle school students who had been bullied were more likely to say that they would help another student who was being bullied)
- the ability to empathize may even be innate
(ex: infants in the first few hours of life are more likely to cry and become distressed at the sound of another infant's cries, but not to tape recordings of their own cries, or those of an infant chimpanzee)
whether someone helps depends on a series of interconnected events and decisions:
1) the potential helper must notice what is happening, interpret the event as an emergency, accept personal responsibility for helping, decide how to help, and then actually initiate the helping behavior
- most onlookers report that they failed to intervene because they were certain that someone must already have called the police.
- bystander effect: a phenomenon in which the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one individual will feel responsible for seeking help or giving aid to someone who is in need of help.

why are we less likely to help when others are around?
- when others are present, we assume the responsibility for acting is shared, or diffused, among all onlookers
- when we're the lone observer, we recognize that we have the sole responsibility for acting.

how can we promote helping?
- diffusion of responsibility: the dilution (or diffusion) of personal responsibility for acting by spreading it among all other observers.
- it's important to clarify when help is needed and then assign responsibility.
(ex: most parents teach their children to scream as loudly as they can if they're being abducted by a stranger. given that children often scream, for a variety of reasons, can you see why this might not work?
instead, they should be taught to make eye contact with anyone who may be watching and then to shout something like: "This isn't my parent. Help me!"
- "What Would You Do?" and "CNN Heroes," which honor and reward altruism, also increase helping.
- enacting laws that protect helpers from legal liability, so-called "good Samaritan" laws, also encourages helping behavior.
the way we look—including facial characteristics, body size and shape, and manner of dress—is one of the most important factors in our initial attraction, liking, or loving of others

attractive individuals are seen as being more poised, interesting, cooperative, achieving, sociable, independent, intelligent, healthy, and sexually warm than unattractive people

standards for attractiveness appear consistent across cultures, with most people showing a preference for faces that are average as opposed to "distinct"
- cultures also show consistency in what they want in a mate
- women are valued more for looks and youth, whereas men are valued more for maturity, ambitiousness, and financial resources

- men prefer attractive women because youth and good looks generally indicate better health, sound genes, and high fertility
- women prefer men with maturity and resources because the responsibility of rearing and nurturing children has historically fallen primarily on women's shoulders.

beauty is in "the eye of the beholder."
- what we judge as beautiful varies somewhat from era to era and culture to culture

wb ugly people?
- human mating involves a host of mental skills and attributes, including charisma, humor, personality, intelligence, compassion, and even clever pick-up lines

both men and women tend to select partners whose physical attractiveness approximately matches their own

the least recognized, but one of the most effective, ways to increase attractiveness and signal interest to a potential romantic partner is with verbal and nonverbal flirting.
- flirting provides positive cues of your interest, and thereby increases your attractiveness
- in heterosexual couples, the generally accepted norms are for the woman to first signal her interest, and for the man to make the first approach