Social Psych


Terms in this set (...)

Def. of psychology-
the science of behavior and mental processes.
. Neuroscience
How the body and brain enable emotions, memories, and sensory experience (pg. 11) what do they study: How are messages transmitted within the body? How is blood chemistry linked with moods and motives?
How the natural selection of traits promotes the perpetuation of one's genes (pg. 11) what do they study: How does evolution influence behavior tendencies?
. Behavior genetics
How much our genes and our environment influence our individual differences (pg.11) what do they study: To what extent are psychological traits such as intelligence, personality, sexual orientation, and vulnerability to depression attributable to our genes? To our environment?
How behavior springs from unconscious drives and conflicts. (pg. 11) What do they study: How can someone's personality traits and disorders be explained in terms of sexual and aggressive drives or as the disguised effects of unfulfilled wishes and childhood traumas?
How we learn observable response. (pg. 11) What do they study: How do learn to fear particular objects or situations? What is the most effective way to alter our behavior, say, to lose weight or stop smoking?
How we encode, store, process, and retrieve information. (pg. 11) What do they study: How do we use information in remembering? Reasoning? Solving problems?
Social- Cultural-
How behavior and thinking vary across situations and cultures. (pg. 11) What do they study: How are we- as Africans, Asians, Australians, and North Americans- alike as members of one human family? As products of different environmental contexts, how do we differ?
Emphasize the growth potential of healthy people. What do they study: How do people foster personal growth?
Applied Research vs. Basic Research
Applied- aims to solve practical problems vs. Basic- science that aims to increase the scientific base.
Psychologists vs. Psychiatrists
Psychologists- experiment with, observe, test, and treat behavior while psychiatrists- provide psychotherapy and are medical doctors licensed to prescribe drugs and otherwise treat physical causes of psychological disorders.
Enduing Issues of Psychology-
Persons vs. Situation (pg. 598-599) - Have to decide whether behavior is due to something about personality, or whether anyone would do same thing in that situation
Kelley's 3 questions in making an attribution
a. does this person regularly behave this way in this situation?
b. do others regularly behave this way in this situation?
c. does this person behave this way in many other situations?
Example: Susan is angry while driving in a traffic jam
Rationality vs. Irrationality
Rational behavior is defined as behavior that is based on clear, practical and scientific reasons. We tend to view people who base all their actions on rational principles as rather analytical, sometimes even cold-hearted. Most of the time we'll contrast them to the more emotional, spontaneous persons we know. Which kind of behavior is the right one? Should we strive for a mixture of rationality and irrationality? (GOT FROM OTHER PSYCHBOOK)
Irrational behavior is what makes us human. Do you agree? At first sight, scientific evidence seems to point in this direction. Research has shown that bees behave more rational than the average human, that is, they are better at maximizing expected utility.
Mind vs. Brain
Mind results from the organized connections of neurons within the brain, connected both to the environment and to mechanisms for changing the environment (muscles). So is it true to say the mind is nothing but the brain? Scientists who want to find better ways to explain the connection between the brain and mind often take the view that all that's necessary to understand the mind is in the brain, because that keeps them looking for materially-based explanations, which is how cognitive science progresses. However, at present no one can say for sure how a single "thought" happens, and probably many aspects of cognition will never be explained through a scientific approach alone. Explanations of our thoughts are a subset of our thoughts, not the other way around. Theories should be tools to help us understand and better ourselves, not weapons for those who want to degrade our appreciation of ourselves and other human beings by reducing us to organic machines
Nature vs. Nurture-
The nature versus nurture debates concern the relative importance of an individual's innate qualities versus personal experiences in determining or causing individual differences in physical and behavioral traits. The view that humans acquire all or almost all their behavioral traits from "nurture" is known as tabula rasa ("blank slate"). This question was once considered to be an appropriate division of developmental influences, but since both types of factors are known to play such interacting roles in development, modern psychologists consider the question naive - representing an outdated state of knowledge. (OTHER PSYCHBOOK)
Stability vs. Change
over time are a person's personalities consistent or do they change? Or does a person during one period of life seem like a different person at a later period?
By refusing to acknowledge its own worldview bias, psychology avoids the challenge of having to engage in principled debate. (OTHER PSYCHBOOK)
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 behaviors, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition. We commit this error because we know ourselves but not others, actor-observer difference, our mental representations of people, and cultural influences.
beliefs and feelings that predispose our reactions to objects, people, and events. Our attitudes guide our actions for 3 reasons:
1- Outside influences on what we say and do are minimal.
2- The attitude is specifically relevant to the behavior.
3- We are keenly aware of our attitudes.
Foot- in the door phenomenon-
a tendency for people who agree to a small action to comply later with a large one. Ex- to get people to agree to something big, "Start small and build." Ex- How the Chinese got prisoners to believe in their propaganda.
Role playing and Zimbardo Prison Study-
when you adopt a new role- college student, marry, or begin a new job- you strive to follow the social prescriptions. (You may feel as though you are acting but in time this behavior becomes the norm.) Zimbardo Prison Study- subjects became to take their roles as prison guards extremely seriously within 48 hours. Bottom Line- SOCIAL ROLES ARE POWERUL
Cognitive Dissonance Theory
proposed by Leon Festinger says 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 our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes. Ex- African American male in video when told he was biased against black people told the researcher that he believed the test was biased. This allowed him to ease his discomfort of having negative feelings toward is own race. Ex- "Alcoholics Anonymous saying "Fake it till you make it"
Conformity and Asch's Line Experiment
adjusting one's behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard. Asch's Line Experiment- a simple test where a person had to choose between a line he or she knows is not the line they saw. After people (participants in the study) give the same wrong answer, the participant tends to conform to the group. Alone- they got is right 99 percent of the time. With actors- only answered the question correctly 40 percent of the time.
Factors that strengthen Conformity-
1- one is made to feel incompetent or insecure
2- the group has at least three people
3- the group is unanimous
4- one admires the groups status and attractiveness (i.e. frat/ sorority)
5- one has made no prior commitment to a response
6- other's in the group observe one's behavior
7- one's culture strongly encourages respect for social standards
Normative and Informational Influences-
Normative- Influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval. Ex. (basketball player getting booed/ heckled for not saying national anthem)
Informational- Influence resulting from one's willingness to accept other's opinions about reality. (we tend to conform to highest on important and unimportant judgments)
. Obedience and Milgram Shock
Hypothesis- Germans were more obedient than the rest of us due to Holocaust horrors. Ran an experiment were one person was the teacher and the other the learner. He gave fake high voltage to people who were in another room. Conclusion- 63 percent complied fully up the last switch. Next time, he had his actors fake a heart condition and still 65 percent complied fully. What does this mean? We tend to be obedient to people we see as authority figures (i.e. Klan application)
Factors that strengthened obedience
1. Person giving orders was close at hand and was perceived to be a legitimate authority figure.
2. Authority figure was supported by prestigious university. (i.e. obedience was higher when he said he was from Yale than junior college)
3. The victim was depersonalized or at a distance, even in another room. (i.e. soldiers have a easier time to kill from airplanes than if they have to see their victims)
4. their were no role models for defiance
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. (Expert pool players played better in front of people, poor players played worse) (Works in sports for home-field advantages) Rule of thumb- what you do well, you will excel on in front of people and what you find difficult will become more difficult when being watched. DIDN'T WORK FOR THE BEARS THIS WEEK THOUGH
Social Loafing
the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward a attaining a common goal than when individually accountable. WHY? They feel less accountable in a group. (That is why some of you hate group work in your classes, YOU DO ALL THE WORK.)
the loss of self-awareness and self- restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity. Where does this happen most? (Rock concerts, ballgames- hecklers are anonymous at ball games, worship)
Group Polarization
the enhancement of a group's prevailing attitudes through discussion within the group.
Benefits- spiritual awareness, self-help groups (i.e. weight watchers, alcoholics anonymous)
Negatives- Highly prejudiced people become more prejudiced when around highly prejudiced people
Normative Influence on Group Polarization- this accounts for why no one stood up for the girls being hazed or the prisoners at Abu Ghraib because everyone wanted to avoid disapproval..
Informational social influence on Group Polarization- explains why 911 occurred; terrorists were influenced by others (Al Quada) to carry out the attack.)
the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives.
18A- Factors that contribute to Groupthink
1- Overconfidence
2- Conformity
3- Self-Justification
4- Group Polarization

18B. (pg 712) Ways to prevent Groupthink
1. Leader welcomes various opinions
2. Invites expert's critiques of developing plans
3. Assigns people to identify problems
Power of the individual
social change is often made by the minority that sways the majority.
A- Self Fulfilling prophecies- Gandhi (getting rid of the British) and Rosa Parks (Civil Rights), individuals influence other individuals to what they see as ideal
Minority Influence
the power of one or two individuals to sway majorities. It is clear that a minority position that stays consistent is far more successful at swaying the majority than if the minority waffles in their opposition.
Prejudice and Stereotypes
Prejudice- an unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice Involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action.
Stereotypes- a generalized belief about a group of people
Vivid/ availability heuristic-
tendency for us to use shortcuts in our head to examine our surroundings. Leads us to make errors on issues. Media doesn't help by portraying minorities in a negative light. This causes us to believe falsely, "they are all like that"
Illusory Correlation
the perception of a relationship where none exists. Our prejudices are rooted in this perception because we believe the stereotypes in our heads even though we know they are not true. I.e. All African Americans are good at basketball
Confirmation bias
a tendency to search for information that confirms our perceptions. i.e. If we believe that all African Americans are good at basketball, and we only watch the NBA, we will began to believe our own bias. The sad truth is once people have a wrong idea, they tend not to budge from that idea.
Categorization and Ingroup/ Outgroup Bias
We simplify things by putting them in categories.
Ingroup-US, Outgroup-them
We are a group bound species. Thus, we favor our own groups. I.e. Cliques in high school.
Also, facing terror and death strengthens patriotism because it makes us feel closer to each other as the in group.
Scapegoat theory
we find someone else to blame if things go wrong. Two examples- Germans scapegoat Jews for their problems following WWI
Student's scapegoat teachers if they do not perform as well as they would like
Social Inequalities
when people have power, they believe they can justify why this is happening by developing racist attitudes. Prejudice rationalizes the inequality which makes us feel we are better than other groups. The NON HAVES experience self blame or anger when dealing with discrimination. This allows the HAVES to blame the victim because they see the NON HAVES AS THE PROBLEM.
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.
Any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy.
A. Catharsis hypothesis and video games (pgs 725-726) -
emotional release in psychology that maintains that releasing aggressive energy releases aggressive urges.
Video Games-
increase aggressive thoughts, emotions and behaviors.
Spillover effect
arousal from stimuli can fuel anger, which breeds more anger, and practicing violence breeds more violence.
Biology of Aggression
Genetic, Neural, or Biochemical
Genetic- we are bred for aggressiveness, it is innately in us. Researchers are seeing if criminals had genetic markers for crime. Neural- Animal and Human brains have neural systems when stimulated inhibit or produce aggressive behavior. (Inserting electrodes in monkey made him more aggressive)

Biochemical- hormones, alcohol, and other substances in the blood influence the neural systems that control aggression.
Psychology of Aggression
Aversive events bring out the worst in us. When we are miserable we make others around us miserable.
Frustration-Aggression Principle
Frustration creates anger, which may in some people generate aggression. Hot days produce the most violent crime and spousal abuse rates.
Sexual Aggression in the media-
Monkey see, Monkey Do, Thus, sexual violence on TV most directly affect men's acceptance and performance of aggression against women.
Conflict Resolution
The goal of solving a perceived incompatibility of actions, goals, or ideas.
Social traps
a situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursing their self interest, became caught in mutually destructive behavior. (Extra credit game- you won, but you weren't supposed do)
Cooperation, Communication, and conciliation are key to transforming people's attitudes to promote peace between two parties. How?
Superordinate goals- shared goals that override differences among people and require cooperation.
(ex.) Kids working together on a common problem promoted peace between groups
Communication- the need for a third party mediator to facilitate much needed communication helps increase trust between two parties.
strategy by social psychologist Osgood nicknamed GRIT (Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction); The goal is to get one side to announce their goals and then begin to negotiate rather than face war. Most effective strategy known for increasing trust and cooperation a smile, a touch, or a word of apology can do wonders to improve the communication process.
Enemy Perceptions
mirror image perceptions- We see our enemies as untrustworthy and evil and they believe the same about us.
we have three simple ingredients whether we like someone: Proximity, Physical Attractiveness, and Similarity
geographic nearness; MOST POWEFUL; your most likely to marry someone from hometown or college; repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases our chances of liking something. Why?
Mere Exposure Effect- phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking them. Human face is also not perfectly symmetrical so we see our selves differently than our peers do. Advertisers bank on this concept and overload us with commercials.
Physical Attractiveness
Studies show that we are a bit shallow and truly admire attractiveness.
One's looks can predict popularity, frequency of dates, and how others perceive you.
We perceive attractive people as healthier and happier. They do better in the workplace due to the fact that they can use their appearance to get a job
Hollywood Study- attractive people are seen as morally superior.
However, physical attractiveness is surprisingly unrelated to self-esteem and happiness.
They are often paranoid that they are being hired for their looks.
Beauty in the eye of the culture since our cultures value different types of attractiveness.
we don't like dissimilar people. Opposites don't attract, they retract.
You want to be around people that have similar interests as you.
Passionate Love
an aroused state of intense passionate absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a relationship. Adrenaline, the feeling of nervousness makes the heart grow fonder.
Compassionate Love
The deep affectionate attachment we feel sore those whom are lives are intertwined. Love fades, that is why many non- western cultures practice arranged marriages. They have lower divorce rates, but we will get into that later.
Enduring relationships
equity and self disclosure (pg 734) which simply means that they are fair and you tell your partner everything about you (darkest fears, dreams, experiences)
the unselfish regard for the welfare of others
Why do psychologists care? Case of Kitty Genovese- woman stabbed in New York, no one called 911 till it was too late.
Examples of Altruism- "Let's roll on Sept 11"- passengers take plane down to save others
Teacher steps in front of student shooting at Columbine.
Bystander Effect
the tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present. .
Diffusion of Responsibility
Fewer people help if others are available. (Kitty Genovese case)
We help most when: just saw helpfulness occur, not in a hurry, victim needs help and deserves help, victim is similar to us, we feel guilty, are in a small town, not busy, and in a good mood.
Social Exchange Theory
The theory that our social behavior is an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize benefits and minimize costs. We help more when we experience rewards and there are social expectations.
Are religions facilitate that as well as this expectation makes those of us who attend religious services are more likely to donate time and money