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Social Psychology

Scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another

Attribution Theory

The theory that we tend to give a causal 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


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 larger request

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

The theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent. Ex) Our awareness of our attitudes and of our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting discomfort 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 aviod disapproval

Informational social Influence

Infleunce resulting from one's willingness to accept other's opinions about reality

Social Facilitation

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

Social Loafing

Tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable (tug-of-war example)


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

Group Polarization

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

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Occurs when one person's belief about others leads one to act in ways that induce the others to appear to confirm the belief


Unjustifiable attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discrimnatory action


Generalized belief about 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

Tendency to favor one's own group

Scapegoat Theory

Theory that prejudice provides an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame

Just-World Phenomenon

Tendency of people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get


Any phsyical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy

Frustration-Aggression Principal

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


A perceived 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

Aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at beginning of love relationship

Companionate Love

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


Condition in which pepole 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

Tendency for any given bystander to be less-likely to give aid if other people are present

Social Exchange Theory

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

Superordinate Goals

Shared goals that override differences among pepole and require their cooperation


Strategy designed to decrease international tensions

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