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social psychology

the study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behavior influence, and are influenced by, the behavior of others

social cognition

mental processes associated with peoples perceptions of, and reactions to, other people


they way one thinks of oneself


the evaluations people make about how worthy they are as human beings

temporal comparison

using one's previous performance or characteristics as a basis for judging oneself in the present

social comparison

using other people as a basis of comparison for evaluating oneself

reference groups

categories of people to which people compare themselves

relative deprivation

the belief that, in comparison to a reference group, one is getting less that is deserved

social identity

the beliefs we hold about the groups to which we belong


mental representations that people form of themselves

social perception

the processes through which people interpret information about others, draw inferences about them, and develop mental representations of them

self-fulfilling prophecy

a process through which an initial impression of someone leads that person to behave in accordance with that impression


the process of explaining the causes of people's behavior, including our own

fundamental attribution error

a bias toward over attributing the behavior of others to internal causes

actor-observer bias

the tendency to attribute other people's behavior to internal causes while attributing our own behavior (especially errors and failures) to external causes

self-serving bias

the tendency to attribute our successes to internal characteristics while blaming our failures on external causes


a predisposition toward a particular cognitive, emotional, or behavioral reaction to objects

elaboration likelihood model

a model suggesting that attitude change can be driven by evaluation of the content of a persuasive message (central route) or by irrelevant persuasion cues (peripheral route)

cognitive dissonance theory

a theory asserting that attitude change is driven by efforts to reduce tension caused by inconsistencies between attitudes and behaviors

self-perception theory

a theory suggesting that attitudes can change as people consider their behavior in certain situations and then infer what their attitude must be

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