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Social Psychology

the study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one and other

Attribution Theory

the theory that people try to explain behavior through either the situation or the persons disposition

Fundamental Attribution Error

when observers underestimate the impact of a situation, and overestimate the persons disposition


Are Westerners more likely to blame disposition or situation?


feelings, often influenced by our beliefs, that predispose us to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events

Central Route Persuasion

attitude change path in which interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts. Occurs mostly when people are naturally analytical or involved in the issue.

Peripheral Route Persuasion

Responses to incidental cues, such as the speakers attractiveness. AKA when external factors (besides the actual logic of an argument) influence behavior.

Foot-in-door phenomenon

The tendency for people to agree to a small request and then later to a larger one. Milgram experiment.


a set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave. SPE, Abu Ghraib.

Cognitive Dissonance Theory

the theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent. For example, when our awareness of our attitudes and our actions clash, we can reduce the resulting dissonance by changing our attitudes.

chameleon effect

the effect of people mimicking others


adjusting behavior to coincide with group standard. Asch line experiment.

Normative Social Influence

influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval

Informative Social Influence

influence based on accepting other peoples view of reality


When a situation is serious, conformity is more or less likely to rise


Between obedience and kindness, most people choose


When supported by beliefs, role models, and social interactions, people will or will not rebel

social facilitation

stronger responses on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others. Does not apply to difficult tasks.

social loafing

the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling towards a common goal then when individually accountable. Tug of war example. Don't want white dudes from US or UK.


the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint, occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity. War, food fights, baseball games.

group polarization

the enhancement of a groups prevailing inclinations through discussion within the group. Amplified through isolation.


the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives. Allowing dissent or differing opinions prevents this.


the enduring behaviors, ides, attitudes, values, and traditions shared by a group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.

Four things that have changed in culture for the worse:

Delinquency, Divorce, and Depression


understood rules for accepted and expected behavior. Norms prescribe "proper" behavior.

personal space

the buffer zone we maintain around our bodies


an unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action.


a generalized (but sometimes accurate) belief about a group of people


unjustifiable negative behavior toward a group and its members





ingroup bias

the tendency to favor your own group

scapegoat theory

prejudice provides an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame

other-race effect

the tendency to recall faces of your own race more clearly than faces of other races. Also called cross-race bias, and own-race bias.

just-world phenomenon

the tendency to believe the world is just and that people get what they deserve and deserve what they get.


any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy

frustration-aggression principle

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

mere exposure effect

the phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases our liking of them

passionate love

an aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present in the beginning of a love relationship

companionate love

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


a condition in which people 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

the tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if others are present

social exchange theory

the theory that our social behaviors are an exchange process, the aim of which is to maximize our benefits and minimize costs.

reciprocity norm

the expectation that people will help those who have helped them

social-responsibility norm

an expectation that people will help those dependent upon them


a perceived incompatibility of actions, goals or ideas

social trap

a situation in which the conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing their self-interests, become caught in mutually destructive behavior

mirror-image perceptions

mutual views often held by conflicting people, as when each side sees itself as ethical and peaceful and views the other side as evil and aggressive

self-fulfilling prophecy

a belief that leads to its own fulfillment

superordinate goals

shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation


Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction

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