335 terms

Social Psych Final


Terms in this set (...)

Know all of the factors that predict attraction and how/why they increase attraction?
Propinquity effect
Halo effect
Impact on Environment (food scarce, fatter people more attractive)
Situational (closing time effect)
People prefer faces that are symmetrical.
People seem to prefer faces that are average.
What is the propinquity effect?
We tend to become attracted to people with whom see and
interact with regularly.
It is the single best predictor of whether two random people
will get together or not.

Examined friendship patterns in a married student housing
complex at MIT.
There were 17 2-story-buildings, 10 apartments per building
Couples were randomly assigned to buildings and
They were tracked over time... (Those on first floor living near the stairs had more upstairs friends!)
What is the halo effect?
We attribute positive characteristics to attractive people
What-is-beautiful-is-good stereotype
Self-fulfilling prophecies

Attractive people are judged to be smart, happy, well adjusted, socially skilled, confident, & assertive -- though also vain.
Is the stereotype accurate?
• Good-looking people do have more friends, better social
skills, better jobs, and a more active sex life.
• But beauty is not related to objective measures of intelligence,
personality, adjustment, or self-esteem.
The beautiful is good assumption can become self-fulfilling in relationships
How could self-fulfilling prophecies relate to attraction?
Male participants are asked to interact over the telephone
with a female participant
The males are shown either an attractive or unattractive
photograph (ostensibly of the female participant)
Men rated the 'attractive' conversational partners as warmer
and more sociable, and responded to her more favorably
Most interestingly, independent observers (who saw no
photograph) rated the women in the 'attractive' condition
more favorably
The 'beautiful is good' assumption led to a self-fulfilling

Replicated Snyder et al. (1977) using men as the targets and women as the participants with the expectation
Found similar results, suggesting that attractiveness is
socially important for men just as it is for women
Why do we like people that are similar to us?
We think that similar others will also like us
They provide us with social validation for our characteristics
and beliefs - they make us think we're right
We make negative inferences about someone who disagrees with us on important issues (e.g., he/she is unpleasant, immoral, weak, thoughtless)
What are the factors that predict relationship satisfaction & commitment according to social exchange theory?
This theory tries to predict how satisfied and committed
people will be towards their relationships and, hence, how
stable relationships will be.
"Exchange" means that people calculate costs and benefits.

Calculate Costs and Benefits
Are there generally more positives than negatives?
For example, they might have a temper, but are very kind and funny.

Compare difference in costs and benefits to a relevant
comparison level (usually past relationships)
Do you think you deserve better than what you are getting?
Did you have a prior relationship that no one else could live
up to?
Did you just get out of a bad relationship, and anyone seems better?
Do you have low esteem, and don't expect much?

Benefits - Costs - Comparison Level = Overall Level of
However, other factors must be considered to predict commitment to a relationship...

Factor in perceptions of viable alternatives.
Do you feel like this is the only person who would have you?
Do you feel like you have 5 good alternatives out there?
The more alternatives, the less committed.

Factor in Level of Investment
The more you have invested in the relationship, the higher
commitment will be.
E.g., time, money, children, emotional resources, pain and
trouble, etc.

Overall Satisfaction + Investment - Alternatives =
Commitment is like a behavioral intention to continue the
The higher the commitment, the more stable relationships
will tend to be.
What are exchange relationships?
Governed by equity (equal contributions).
We expect quick and equal reciprocity.
We keep track of contributions.
We feel exploited when we are not repaid.
Helping the other person doesn't affect our mood.
E.g., acquaintances, casual friends

Social Capital Perspective
Exchange relationships are like social capital. When you are in need of something, you can call on these relationships for help.
Studies have suggested that over the past 50 years these
have been steadily declining from people's lives - most likely due to the rise of TV and the fall of church attendance and other community activities.
What is the difference between companionate and passionate love?
Companionate love is an intimate, non-passionate type of love that is stronger than friendship because of the element of long-term commitment. 'This type of love is observed in long-term marriages where passion is no longer present' but where a deep affection and commitment remain. The love ideally shared between family members is a form of companionate love, as is the love between close friends who have a platonic but strong friendship.

Infatuated love: 'infatuation results from the experiencing of passionate arousal in the absence of intimacy and decision/commitment. Romantic relationships often start out as infatuated love and become romantic love as intimacy develops over time. Without developing intimacy or commitment, infatuated love may disappear suddenly.

Consummate love is the complete form of love, representing an ideal relationship toward which people strive. Of the seven varieties of love, consummate love is theorized to be that love associated with the "perfect couple." If passion is lost over time, it may change into companionate love.
What are 3 components of Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love? What are 7 different kinds of love this theory specifies?
intimacy, passion, commitment; seven forms: liking, infatuation, empty love, romantic love, fatuous love, companionate love, consummate love
What is balance theory? How does it explain interpersonal relationships?
When multiple relevant thoughts exist in our head, we desire the relationships between them to be similar.
This theory is very similar to dissonance theory.
What is prosocial behavior?
any act performed with the goal of benefiting another person

Basic Motives
1. Instinctive reaction to promote the welfare of those
genetically similar to us (evolutionary psychology)
2. Rewards of helping often outweigh the costs, so helping
is in our self-interest (Social Exchange Theory)
3. Under some conditions, empathy and compassion
prompt selfless giving (Empathy-Altruism Hypothesis)
What is altruism? Do you think altruism exists? Why or why not?
the desire to help another person even if it involves some personal cost to the helper
What are some evolutionary explanations of why people help? (Understand kin selection, reciprocal helping, learned social norms)
the attempt to explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection From this perspective, altruism is potentially problematic
How does social exchange theory predict helping behavior? What does this theory specify about whether or not altruism occurs?
The idea that much of what we do stems from the desire to
maximize our rewards and minimize our costs
Like evolutionary approach, this theory assumes that we
behave in line with our self-interest.

Rewards: Increase the probability that someone will help us in return in the future
It can relieve the personal distress of the bystander
Social approval and increased self-worth

Costs: Physical danger
Can result in pain / embarrassment
Time consuming

Argues that true altruism does not exist
Helping is a function of rewards and costs
Helping = rewards - costs
People help when the benefits outweigh the costs
What is the empathy-altruism hypothesis? What does this theory specify about whether or not altruism exists?
Empathy - the ability to put oneself in the shoes of another
person and to experience events and emotions the way that
person experiences them
Empathy-altruism hypothesis - the idea that when we feel
empathy for a person, we will attempt to help that person
purely for altruistic reasons, regardless of what we have to
gain. (Even when costs > rewards)
What is the 5-step model proposed by Latane and Darley (1970) that predicts when people will help? Understand the steps and what kinds of barriers can prevent people from helping at each step/
1. Notice the event
(Distracted, in a hurry. Failt to notice)
2. Interpret the event as an emergency
(Interpreting as not an emergency)
3. Assume responsibility
(fail to assume responsibility)
4. Know appropriate form of assistance
(can't offer appropriate help)
5. Implement decision
(Costs of helping too high; danger, legal concerns, embarrassment)
What is the bystander effect? How does it relate to diffusion of responsibility? What step in Latane and Darley's model do these phenomena relate to?
Bystander Effect the finding that the greater the number of
bystanders who witness an emergency, the less likely any
one of them is to help

Diffusion of responsibility - the phenomenon whereby each
bystander's sense of responsibility to help decreases as the number of witnesses increases Step 3.
What is the urban overload hypothesis? What step of Latane and Darley's model may this relate to?
The theory that people living in cities are constantly being
bombarded with stimulation and that they keep to
themselves to avoid being overwhelmed by it. (Population density is the best predictor of helping)
What is pluralistic ignorance? What step of Latane and Darley's model does this relate to?
bystanders' assuming that nothing is wrong in an emergency because no one else looks
concerned. Result of informational influence. Step 2.
What is the relationship between mood and helping?
1. Being in a good mood makes us look on the bright side of life
2. Helping prolongs our good mood
3. Good moods increase self-attention

Feeling guilty increases helping
Sadness can also increase helping
Negative-state relief hypothesis - the idea that people help in order to alleviate their own sadness and distress
How do social psychologists define aggression?
intentional behavior aimed at doing harm or causing pain to another person
Can be physical or verbal
Might succeed or not
What is the difference between instrumental and hostile aggression?
aggression as a means to some goal other than causing pain
aggression stemming from feelings of anger and aimed at inflicting pain
What is some of the evidence that aggression is partially innate? (Evolutionary explanations; amygdala; serotonin; testosterone)
Men are genetically programmed to be aggressive in order to perpetuate their genes
• Establish dominance over other men
• Prevent their female mates from copulating with others
But, in modern societies power may come more from career, wealth, celebrity, than from physical strength

Amygdala: limbic system component associated with emotion, particularly fear and anger

Serotonin: Chemical in the brain that inhibits (decreases) aggression
• Interruption of serotonin production leads to increase in
aggressive behavior
• Violent criminals have low levels of serotonin

Male sex hormone that increases aggression
• Testosterone injections increase aggression in lab animals
• Violent criminals have high levels of testosterone
What is some of the evidence that aggression is learned? (social learning theory; socialization)
Social Learning Theory: The idea that we learn social behavior (e.g., aggression) by observing others and imitating them (Bobo doll: Children that viewed adults hitting doll emulated)
What is the culture of honor and how does it relate to socialization of aggression?
aggression learned through the passing down of the belief that one may violently defend one's honor, a culture that is defined by its members' strong concerns about their own and others' reputations, leading to sensitivity to slights and insults and a willingness to use violence to avenge any perceived wrong or insult
What are some situational influences on aggression?
1. Frustration
2. Being provoked
3. Aggressive objects
4. Imitation
5. Violence in the media
What is the frustration-aggression hypothesis?
Frustration - the perception that you are being prevented
from attaining a goal
Frustration-aggression theory - The idea that frustration
increases the probability of an aggressive response

Increases Frustration:
Closeness to reaching your goal
• The greater the expectation, the more likely the aggression
Unexpected frustration

Frustration does not lead to aggression. It leads to readiness to aggress.

Whether or not people actually aggress depends on a variety of factors:
• Other person's ability to retaliate
• Understandable / legitimate / unintentional
How does negative affect relate to aggression?
The experience of an emotional state characterized by negative emotions. Such negative emotions might include anger, anxiety, irritability, and sadness
How do controlled and automatic aspects of cognition relate to aggression?
What is the aggressive stimulus effect?
an object that is associated with aggressive responses (e.g., a gun) and whose mere presence can increase the probability of aggression
What is the general conclusion drawn from research on exposure to media violence and aggression?
High correlation between amount of violent TV watched and viewer's aggressiveness
But, doesn't prove causation
• Does watching violent TV cause aggression?

Children: Most of the experimental evidence suggests watching violence increases aggressive behavior
The effect is generally stronger for children who had
aggressive tendencies to begin with

Adults: Time spent watching violent TV as adolescent predicts likelihood of subsequent violent acts
Homicide rates in U.S. tend to increase during the week after a heavyweight boxing match
How might consuming alcohol affect a person's tendency toward aggression?
Alcohol reduces social inhibitions & increases aggressive
• Experiments have shown that legally drunk people respond more violently to provocations
Alcohol may disrupt information processing - people go with their first instinct without putting much more thought into it
• Lack of controlled processing
What are some suggested strategies to stop aggression? What seems to be most effective?
Actively enabling anger to dissipate
Express your feelings calmly
Model nonaggressive behavior
Train people in conflict resolution
Increase empathy
Define stereotypes?
a belief or association that links a whole group of people with certain traits or characteristics

Stereotyping - application of social category knowledge or
beliefs (stereotype) to interpret or make inferences about an
individual category member
Define prejudice?
[negative or positive] feelings toward persons based on their membership in certain groups
Define discrimination?
behavior directed against persons because of their membership in a particular group
What is social categorization? How does it relate to in group bias/in group favoritism and the outgroup homogeneity effect?
Tendency to perceive more variability among in-groups than
out-groups (leads to / preserves stereotypes)
In other words, we ignore individual differences when we
make categories, but not for our own group. WHY?

1. We have more opportunities to learn about individual
differences with our own group
2. Easier to recall specific individuals when thinking about our own group
What is social role theory? How does it explain stereotype formation?
Men viewed as more agentic, women more communal
Stems from observation of social roles
• Women = homemakers
• Men = breadwinners
As a result, these groups are assumed to have different
personal characteristics or traits
What is the "kernel of truth" hypothesis?
The idea that stereotypes are based on actual group
Accentuation - leads to assimilation and contrast
(Observation of Correlations)
What is an illusory correlation? Why do these correlations form?
These work to both form and maintain stereotypes.
The basic problem is that we are good at remembering
unusual events that happen together.

An Illusory Correlation is the perceived relationship between
two events that are not at all, or only very weakly, related.
(Pakistani hits woman in bar)

Participants made height estimates of 44 photos of standing
and sitting males and females
Photos matched on actual height (22 pairs)
Participants told not to use sex as a cue, given cash bonus
for accuracy
(Observation of Correlations)
How do stereotypes influence our perception of behavior and our memory for events?
Ambiguous behaviors are interpreted in stereotype
consistent ways
In effect, the world you see is overpopulated with people
acting stereotypically

Encoding and retrieval - stereotypes may cause encoding
and retrieval of a greater proportion of stereotype consistent
Storage and organization - information may be stored along
with a stereotype

(White man in picture aggressive towards black remembered as black)

Black and white 6th graders saw pictures and descriptions of ambiguously aggressive behaviors by black or white children
Both black and white children rated the black kids' behaviors as meaner (apparently based on the black/aggressive stereotype)
What is the difference between stereotype activation and stereotype application? What do Gilbert and Hixon's studies suggest about how these processes operate?
Stereotypes can be activated without actually being applied
to some target
Stereotype activation - the stereotype is activated in memory (comes to mind) in response to encountering the category
Stereotype application - the stereotype is applied to the
category object/person (stereotyping occurs)

Cognitive load decreases stereotype activation
• Stereotypes are less likely to be activated
Cognitive load increases stereotype application
• Stereotypes are more likely to be applied to a target

Good news: in a busy world, there is evidence that
stereotypes might be less likely to be activated
Bad news: if they do get activated, in a busy world they are
more likely to be applied to targets
What is stereotype suppression? Are people able to do this successfully?
No, trying to suppress a stereotype often leads to a rebound

Participants who initially suppressed the stereotype sat
further away from Nazi, showing evidence of a stereotype
rebound effect.
How can attributions contribute to the maintenance of stereotype? What is the linguistic intergroup bias?
The way behavior is identified and explained can help
maintain stereotypes
e.g., linguistic intergroup bias - describing stereotypical outgroup behaviors with abstract language rather than concrete
• He hit that man. (concrete - behavioral description)
• He is violent. (abstract - dispositional attribution)
What is subtyping? How does it contribute to maintaining stereotypes?
Tendency to view stereotype-inconsistent individuals as
"exceptions to the rule"
Prevents your stereotype schema from being disconfirmed
Example: a businesswoman might be seen as agentic, but
women as a whole are not
• Businesswomen are a subgroup of women
What is the relationship between stereotypes and the self-fulfilling prophecy? (know the reswults of the Word, Zanna & Cooper, 1974 study)
Stereotypes provide ready-made expectations which can
contribute to self-fulfilling prophecies

Had subjects act as interviewers of job candidates who were black or white
Objective researchers coded behavior for seating distance,
length of interview, and the number of speech errors while
talking (which are indicators of anxiety)
What is social identity theory?
theory in which the formation of a person's identity within a particular social group is explained by social categorization, social indentity, and social comparison
What is the minimal group paradigm? How it is used to study ingroup bias?
Group based on arbitrary categories (blue/brown eyes) to see effect of behavior on ingroup/outgroup
Ingroup bias - positive feelings and special treatment we
reserve for people we have defined as being part of our
ingroup Can also lead to negative feelings and unfair treatment directed towards members of an outgroup
What are the two motives in Marilynn Brewer's optimal distinctiveness theory?
Proposition that when people feel very similar to others in a group, they seek a way to be different, and when they feel different, they try to be more similar.

We are motivated to join groups (need to belong)
But, we are also motivated to maintain distinctiveness...

We often have a strong preference for members of our
But, this is independent of dislike for outgroup
• Can have just ingroup preference
• With or without outgroup derogation
Nonetheless, prejudice is often a consequence of ingroup
How do individual differences/personality factors contribute to prejudice? What is social dominance orientation? How do social normal contribute to prejudice?
People who were prejudiced toward real groups were more
likely to be prejudiced toward fake groups as well, a motivation to have one's group dominate other social groups Learning / acquiring prejudices from what others around you believe or expect
Tested by comparing levels of prejudice from people in
different ingroups (regardless of "personality")
How is prejudice measured?
Direct measures - prejudice as self-reported attitudes
Behavioral measures - prejudice as social distance,
nonverbal behavior
Implicit measures - prejudice as automatic evaluation
(implicit attitudes)
Affective measures - prejudice as emotions
What is ambivalent prejudice?
Occurs when people have both positive and negative feelings toward a group Suggested that ambivalence is caused by conflict between egalitarian (a person who believes in the equality of all people) values and negative attitudes toward disadvantaged group(s)
What is aversive prejudice?
ambivalence caused by being aware of negative feelings toward an outgroup which are perceived as not justified (wheelchair sitting next to)

Discomfort, anxiety, and preference to avoid
• Self-conscious behavior ("bend over backwards")
• Release of prejudice under ambiguous conditions ("letting
down your guard")
What is modern prejudice/modern racism?
Blatant expression of prejudice has diminished, but prejudice is still with us
Modern racism - prejudice revealed in subtle, indirect ways
because people have learned to hide prejudiced attitudes in
order to avoid being labeled as racist
Usually studied with indirect, subtle, unobtrusive measures
(black/white dolls)
What is the difference between implicit prejudice and explicit prejudice? How do these forms of prejudice relate to different types of behavior?
Explicit prejudice (= explicit attitudes)
• Conscious
• Deliberative
• Social and personal values
Implicit prejudice (= implicit attitudes)
• Unconscious
• Spontaneous
• Habit from direct and vicarious experience

White students interviewed by black students that were less racist made less eye contact and blinked more (Discomfort) than overtly racist
What are hostile sexism?
holding stereotypically negative views of women--for example, that women are less intelligent than men
What are ambivalent sexism?
a form of sexism characterized by attitudes about women that reflect both negative, resentful beliefs and feelings and affectionate, chivalrous, but potentially patronizing beliefs and feelings
What are benevolent sexism?
taking an attitude toward women that appears to be positive--and even chivalrous--but that is stereotypic in nature; for example, believing that women need to be protected
What is stereotype threat? Can you describe an example of a stereotype threat study?
Stereotype threat - apprehension experienced by members
of a minority group that they might behave in a manner that
confirms an existing cultural stereotype
When an individual is threatened by being stereotyped and,
as a consequence, acts in accordance with the stereotype
The stereotype interferes with their ability to perform well in
these situations

Gave black and white college students items from the SAT
test. Some subjects were told the test measured general
intelligence. Others were told that the test was still in development, and was not a valid test of intelligence

When black students thought the test measured intelligence, they became nervous that they would perform more poorly and confirm a stereotype
This led to overall poorer performance on the test
What is contact hypothesis? What are the necessary conditions for contact to reduce prejudice? What is the jigsaw classroom?
the idea that merely bringing members of different groups into contact with each other will erode prejudice

But, does not really seem to work. Often leads to increased hostility unless conditions are right
Allport (1954) suggested six necessary conditions:
1. Mutual interdependence - existence of situations where
groups need each other and must depend on each other
in order to accomplish a goal
2. A common goal
3. Equal status of group members
4. Having informal interpersonal contact
5. Multiple contacts with several members of the outgroup
6. Social norms that promote equality

A classroom setting designed to reduce prejudice and raise the self-esteem of children by placing them in small, desegregated groups and making each child dependent on the other children in the group to learn the course material and do well in the class
What is the stereotype content model? What are the two main dimensions of this model?
A model proposing that the relative status and competition between groups influence group stereotypes along the dimensions of competence and warmth. a chart that compares people as being warm/cold and competent/not competent
What is mere exposure?
Repeated exposure to some stimulus leads to increased
What is your favorite letter?
• There is a 2 in 26 chance that anyone would have chosen the first letter of their first or last name.
• Hence, in this class 1 or 2 people should have done this.

Works best the less you are aware of being exposed to
something multiple times (e.g., someone you always pass on the way to class)

Had female confederates go into a class 0, 5, 10, or 15 times throughout a semester.
At the end of the semester, students rated how attractive she was in an unrelated task.
What are Communal relationships?
The focus is responding to the others needs over time.
Strict reciprocity is not desired.
We don't keep track of contributions.
Contributions can be more unequal.
Helping the other person makes of feel happy.
E.g., close friends, romantic partners, family

Was married and visiting the college for a short time only
(exchange expectation)
• Was new to town, unattached, and looking for friends
(communal expectation)
Men who used the red pen, the same as the female, were
indicating that they didn't care who got more, they would
split the money equally. (a communal behavior)
Men who used the black pen were indicating that they wanted to keep track of who circled what so they could split the money accordingly. (an exchange behavior)
What is kin selection?
the idea that behaviors that help a genetic relative are favored by natural selection
Helping a kin member may decrease one's own probability
for survival / passing on one's genes
But, kin share the same genes, so saving a kin member may pass on one's own genes
What is reciprocal helping?
the expectation that helping others will increase the likelihood that they will help us in the future
May have been adaptive because people who had this
understanding with their neighbors were more likely to
What is learned social norms?
Learning social norms has survival value
Helping others (altruism) is considered a valuable norm in
virtually all societies
Therefore, learning to help others has survival value
Assimilation effect
when objects/people seem more similar than they actually are
Contrast effect
when objects/people seem more different from one another than they actually are
social dominance orientation?
a motivation to have one's group dominate other social groups Learning / acquiring prejudices from what others around you
believe or expect
Tested by comparing levels of prejudice from people in
different ingroups (regardless of "personality")
Motivational perspective (Prejudice)
Low self-esteem or self-esteem threat
Frustration-aggression theory (Prejudice)
Displaced anger/Scapegoating
Personality perspective (Prejudice)
People who were prejudiced toward real groups were more
likely to be prejudiced toward fake groups as well (made up groups for the study just as likely to hate as real ones)
Group norms perspective (Prejudice)
Learning / acquiring prejudices from what others around you believe or expect
Tested by comparing levels of prejudice from people in
different ingroups (regardless of "personality")
What are the basic tenants of cognitive dissonance theory as Leon Festinger (1957) originally proposed?
1. Any two cognitions are either relevant or not.
2. If relevant, they can be dissonant or consonant.
3. Dissonance causes negative arousal. (discomfort)
4. People will be motivated to reduce this arousal.
What are three methods of reducing/avoiding cognitive dissonance? Be able to describe one study that shows this effect.
1. By changing our behavior to bring it in line with the
dissonant cognition
2. Changing one of the cognitions to make it less dissonant
3. Adding new cognitions that are consonant with the behavior
What is post-decision dissonance? What is the spreading of alternatives? Be able to describe one study that shows this effect.
Definition - dissonance aroused after making a decision,
typically reduced by enhancing the attractiveness of the
chosen alternative and devaluating the rejected alternatives.

• We like the chosen object or action more
• We like the rejected objects or actions less
• This makes us feel better!

Had women rate several small appliances
Gave the women a choice of receiving one of two appliances she rated equally attractive. 20 minutes later, the women were asked to re-rate the products
Rated the chosen appliance as more attractive and the
nonchosen appliance as less attractive
• This is called spreading of alternatives

Made it easy for 6th graders to cheat on exam
Observed who cheated (vs. not)
Children who cheated showed a more lenient attitude toward cheating (than before they cheated)
Children who did not cheat showed a harsher attitude toward cheating (than before they did not cheat)
Again, this shows spreading
What is the justification of effort effect? Be able to describe one study that shows this effect.
Definition - the tendency for individuals to increase their
liking for something they have worked hard to attain
Example - if you work really hard to get someone to go on a date with you, you're probably much less likely to admit to your friends that he/she is actually boring
I worked really hard for this, so it must be worth it!

College students volunteered to join a group
Before joining the group, they had to go through an initiation that was either:
• Severe
• Mild
• No initiation (control group)
Everybody listened to a taped discussion from the "group"
that was really dull and boring
Then, participants were asked to rate the group based on the discussion. This with severe initiation liked it the most.
What is the insufficient justification effect? Be able to describe one study that shows this effect.
Counterattitudinal advocacy - stating an opinion or attitude
that runs counter to one's private belief or attitude
(Experience Cognitive Dissonance)
External justification - a reason or an explanation for
dissonant personal behavior that resides outside the
individual (e.g., reward or punishment) yes, move directly to step 5 (no attitude/behavior change needed) Attitude/behavior doesn't change!.
• If no, insufficient justification

Internal justification - the reduction of dissonance by changing something about oneself (e.g., attitude or behavior)
• Forced to change attitude/behavior

Participants were induced to lie to another student about the task
• Say the boring task is interesting
Agreed to do so for $1 or $20
Results - how boring was the task?
• $20 - said the task was boring, did not change their attitude (had external justification)
• $1 - said the task was interesting, changed their attitude
(insufficient justification)

Can this paradigm change behavior in the real world?
Participants (college students) were asked to compose a
speech describing dangers of AIDS and advocating condom use
Two groups:
• Group 1 - composed the arguments
• Group 2 - composed the arguments and read them in front of va video camera (to be watched later by high school students)
In addition, half of the participants from each group were
reminded of their own failure to use condoms
• 4 groups total...

Four conditions:
1. Hypocrisy - composed arguments & read in front of
camera, reminded of own failures (highest)
2. Commitment-only - composed arguments & read in front
of camera (3)
3. Mindful-only - composed arguments, reminded of own
failures (2)
4. Information-only - composed arguments (lowest)
How does dissonance relate to insufficient punishment?
Definition - the dissonance aroused when individuals lack
sufficient external justification for having resisted a desired
activity or object, usually resulting in individuals' devaluing
the forbidden activity or object
Similar to insufficient justification, but here we are talking
about insufficient punishment instead of insufficient reward

Harsh punishments teach us to avoid getting caught
But, insufficient (mild) punishment induces dissonance
• "Only a mild punishment? Why am I not doing this ction?"
Dissonance reduction - devaluing the forbidden activity or
• "I am not doing it, but I would only receive a mild punishment if I did. I must not really want to do it after all!"

Children were asked to rate attractiveness of several toys
Experimenter chose a toy the child really liked and told the child they were not allowed to play with it
Children were threatened with mild or severe punishment (random assignment to condition)
Experimenter left the room for a few minutes
Experimenter returned and asked children to rate
toys again

None of the children played with the forbidden toy while the
experimenter was gone
But, they found a difference between the groups
If children were threatened with severe punishment, attitudes did not change (still liked the toy the same or more)
If children were threatened with mild punishment, attitudes
toward the toy changed (liked the toy less)
• Insufficient punishment!
• "I did not play with the toy, but the punishment wouldn't have been that bad. I must not really like the toy."

Army reservists were asked to eat fried grasshoppers
Asked by a stern, unpleasant officer or a well-liked, pleasant one
• Stern officer - liked grasshoppers better
• Lacked external justification, had to change attitude
• Pleasant officer - liked grasshoppers less
• Had external justification, did it to please the officer, no attitude change.
Insufficient Justification and Insufficient Punishment
Large reward or severe punishment -> External justification -> Temporary change

Small reward or mild punishment -> Internal justification ->
Lasting change
How do good/bad deeds lead to dissonance? What are some of the consequences?
Good Deeds: We like people not for the favors they have done us but for the favors we have done them
Ben Franklin used this strategy to manipulate a political rival to become a friend by asking him for favors
"He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged" (Franklin, 1868/1900).
Bad Deeds: "There's nothing people can't contrive to praise or condemn and find justification for doing so." -Moliere, The Misanthrope
If we harm someone, this induces dissonance between our
action and our self-concept as a decent person.
To resolve this dissonance, we may derogate our victim.
Students participated in an intellectual contest that enabled
them to win a substantial sum of money
Three conditions:
• Experimenter asked them to return money as favor to
experimenter (liked most)
• Secretary asked them to return money as favor to psychology department
• Not asked to return money (control group) (liked least)
Participants were then given an opportunity to rate the

There are many examples of this in the real world:
• Holocaust - economic struggles, blame the Jews, see Jews as less than human
• Vietnam War - "those aren't people; those are ietnamese"
• Abu Ghraib - fear of terrorism, dehumanization, unfair
treatment of prisoners (torture)
How do you think terrorists justify their behavior?
• Do they see Americans as less than human?
• Religious struggles, struggle for power, they think we are in the way, easiest thing to do is dehumanize Americans, Israelis

DAVIS & JONES (1960)
Induced students to insult a confederate to his face
After doing so (but not before), they found him less attractive
Implications - once we engage in a negative act, we will
attempt to rationalize our behavior (e.g., Vietnam War - My
Lai massacre of innocent civilians)

Had participants deliver a shock to a confederate who would or would not have a chance to retaliate
Only those "victims" who could not retaliate were derogated
Implications - prisoners can't retaliate, more likely to be
derogated/dehumanized (e.g., Abu Ghraib)
What is meant by the term self-persuasion?
A long-lasting form of attitude change that results from attempts at self-justification
What is an attitude?
global summary or evaluation (positive or negative) of an attitude object
Attitude object can basically be anything
Put simply, attitudes refer to the extent to which we like or dislike something
When we're talking about people, attitudes toward categories are called prejudice
Why is it important to study attitudes?
Attitudes Predict Behavior
What is ambivalence?
the state of having contradictory or conflicting emotional attitudes
What is the difference between an explicit and an implicit attitude?
Implicit attitudes - relatively more automatic, may come to mind automatically and influence our nonconscious behavior.
Explicit attitudes - relatively more controlled, when you have more time or ability to think about an issue/object/person you might come up with a different attitude, this might influence more controlled behaviors.
What are the 3 component of attitudes (ABCs)?
Affect, Behavior, Cognition
What is the tripartite model of attitudes? What is problematic about this model?
All three components (ABCs) have to match, they influence attitude, but are not influenced by attitude.
What is the causal model of attitudes? How is it different from the tripartite model?
Attitude is your overall evaluation (positive or negative)
Emotion, cognition, and behavior can be antecedents (cause the attitude) and/or outcomes (a result of the attitude)
Attitude can be based more on emotion, cognition, or behavior
The three components don't have to match! (makes this model different from the tripartite model)

Examples of Summary Evaluations
Chipotle Burritos
Affect: They make me really happy! (+)
Behavior: I'm always eating them! (+)
Cognition: The ingredients are really fresh (+)
Attitude: I love Chipotle!
What are the three properties of attitudes?
o Valence
Is your overall evaluation positive or negative?
o Extremity
How positive or negative is it?
o Strength
How strong or weak is your attitude?
What is the difference between direct and indirect measures of attitudes?
Direct: Obtained through self-report (asking people what they think/feel about some issue)
Don't ask directly, make an inference about the attitude by observing something else. Typically used in situations where people may not know or may not want to reveal their attitudes.
What are some direct measures of attitudes (be specific)?
Self-Report measures
Likert Scale (1-5 Disagree/Agree)
Semantic Differential (Bad -3 to +3 Good)
What are some indirect measures of attitudes (be specific)?
Nonverbal (Eye contact, seating distance, head nodding)
Physiological (Skin conductance, pupil size, facial EMG, EEG (electroencephalograph) / ERP (event-related potential, measured using EEG) )
"Implicit" (Evaluative priming Show attitude object on screen Then, show target adjective on screen
• The adjective is either positive or negative
• Participants are asked to categorize as good/bad
Measure reaction time,
Implicit Association Test (IAT)Attempts to measure the association between two concepts in a person's mind)
What is the specificity principle?
Attitudes correlate with behavior when the attitude measure closely matches the behavior in question.
To best predict behavior from attitudes, the measures should match the level of specificity
Correlations of attitude measures with use of birth control pills during a two-year period
How does the specificity principle help us understand when attitudes will predict behavior?
It has always been assumed that attitudes should be predictive of behavior.
Early studies suggested a weak or nonexistent relationship between attitudes and behavior.
Only years later did a comprehensive model of WHEN attitudes predict behavior come about...
Attitudes correlate with behavior when the attitude measure closely matches the behavior in question.
To best predict behavior from attitudes, the measures should match the level of specificity
Correlations of attitude measures with use of birth control pills during a two-year period
What types of attitudes will predict spontaneous behaviors?
Explicit attitudes are better for predicting deliberative behavior
Controlled attitudes predict controlled behavior
Implicit attitudes are better for predicting spontaneous behavior
Automatic attitudes predict automatic behavior
What is the theory of planned behavior? More specifically, what are the 3 predictors of behavioral intentions (and thus behavior)?
Proposed that attitudes do predict behavior - but only under certain conditions...
Behavior is predicted by behavioral intention, which is predicted by 3 factors:
o The "specific" attitude toward the behavior
The more specific the better
o Subjective norms
Our perceptions of what others think we should do
o Perceived behavioral control
Am I free to perform the behavior?
What is persuasion?
A method of changing a person's cognitions, feelings, behaviors or general evaluations (attitudes) toward some object, issue, or person.
What was the Yale approach to attitude change?
o Persuasion is determined by whether or not people can learn and remember arguments.
o The Source:
(Credibility, Likeability, Attractiveness)
o The Message
(Strong arguments, Positive emotions)
o The Recipient
(Knowledge, Personal relevance)
o Sometimes really strong arguments were found to be highly persuasive, and sometimes they were not Sometimes people were persuaded by experts, regardless
of what they said, and sometimes they were not.
(Summary: Who says what to Whom)
What did OSU researchers say was actually the cause of attitude change?
What is in the message is not so important as how you respond to what's in the message
Positive thoughts about message = persuasion more likely
Negative thoughts about message = persuasion less likely
What is elaboration? (be able to define this term)
o Petty & Cacioppo (1986): People do not always process communications in the same way.
o People differ in the amount of message-relevant thinking, or elaboration, they engage in.
o The amount of message elaboration determines what types of information is important for that person.
What 2 general factors determine the degree of elaboration?
o 1) Motivation- you have to be motivated to think
• Personal relevance
• Accountability
• Need for Cognition
o Need for Cognition Scale Items
I prefer complex to simple problems.
I only think as hard as I have to. (R)
I feel relief rather than satisfaction after completing a task that required a lot of mental effort. (R)
It's enough for me that something gets the job done; I don't care how or why it works. (R)
o 2) Ability - you have to be able to think
• Time pressure
• Message repetition
• Distraction
• Knowledge
• Fatigue
What are the 2 routes to persuasion and what determines which route is taken?
o Amount of elaboration determines what route to persuasion we use:
Peripheral route to persuasion: People do not think critically about the contents of the message but focus instead on superficial characteristics.
In the consumer domain: price, brand name, packaging

Central route to persuasion: People are influenced by the strength and quality of the message arguments.

Central route is useful when we have important decisions

Peripheral route is useful when our decisions are fairly trivial or we need to make a decision quickly
What types of attitude change occur as a result of each route?
Central Route processing leads to attitude that is stronger
Peripheral route processing leads to attitudes that are weaker.
What are some examples of non-argument cues in a message?
expertise, beauty, popularity, body movements, etc...
In the consumer domain: price, brand name, packaging
Explain how some variables that serve as cues under low elaboration can serve as arguments under high elaboration?
When you're not thinking, you might prefer a product simply because it is endorsed by a celebrity
When you are thinking you might evaluate a celebrity endorsement as an argument in favor of the product because it actually tells you about some property of the product
What is the need for cognition?
Persuasion depends on many factors! Sometimes we are persuaded without realizing it, and sometimes persuasion is a result of conscious reflection. If we are mindful of persuasive attempts, it becomes easier to resist.
What is the effect of mood on elaboration?
Mood can affect the AMOUNT of thought for a number of reasons
Positive mood decreases elaboration and negative mood increases elaboration
Happy-> assume all is well. Sadness -> something is wrong
Happy -> decreased cognitive capacity. Wander and daydream.
We want to be in a good mood
Good mood -> thinking more might spoil it
Bad mood -> thinking more can't hurt. We might learn something good and improve our mood.
When do fear appeals to lead to persuasion?
Effect of fear on persuasion is curvilinear (Normal Distribution):
Low level of fear-> no effect on us
High level of fear-> overwhelming; hopeless; defensive.
Moderate -> most effective
How to make fear work?
Probability (How likely is it I'll get cancer?)
Severity (How bad is cancer?)
Effectiveness of recommendation (Will quitting now help?)
Capability to carry out recommendation (Can I quit?)
What is poison parasite advertising and how does it work?
Health messages are often drowned out by the millions spent to promote unhealthy products. How can health messages compete?
Have mnemonic links to the opponent's ads, a parasitic device which essentially infects the opponent's message by linking its memory and impact to the counter ad
How can people resist persuasion?
Forewarning, Selective Exposure, Counter-Arguing, Attitude Inoculation, Reactance Theory/Psychological Reactance, Source Derogation, Sleeper Effect
Define: Forewarning
Advance knowledge that person is about to be persuaded
• Often increases resistance
***ada (1986) 2 groups given persuasive message, warned group was less persuaded
Define: Selective Exposure
Direct our attention away from info that challenges our attitudes & toward info that supports
Can lead to bolstering (providing additional support for your preferred opinion)
Eagly et al. (2000)
• Pro-choice & Pro-life
• Pro-attitudinal message (match)
• Counter-attitudinal message (mismatch)
• List thoughts in response to message
Define: Counter-arguing
Arguments that refute persuasive message
Freedman & Sears (1965)
Told HS seniors to expect speech on why teens shouldn't drive
• Told 10 minutes before
• Told 2 minutes before
More time = preparation for defense = resistance
Define: Attitude Inoculation
Exposure to weak versions of argument increases later resistance
McGuire's (1964) inoculation theory
• Important cultural beliefs were never challenged
• Solution: teach people to counter-argue
• Works like a flu shot!
McAllister et al. (1980)
• Older teens teaching younger teens how to resist pressure to smoke
o One group learned counterarguments
o Control
Followed for next 3 years...
• inoculated group less likely to smoke
Define: Reactance Theory/Psychological Reactance
react against threats to freedom by asserting themselves & perceiving threatened alternative as more attractive (Brehm, 1966)
When message is too strong, we tend to move in opposite direction
Pennenaker & Sanders (1976)
• 2 signs on bathroom wall to reduce graffiti
o "Do not write on these walls under any circumstances."
o "Please don't write on these walls."
• Which resulted in less graffiti?
Define: Source Derogation
Discrediting or "putting down" the source of a message
Define: Sleeper Effect
Learn the message, then learn/decide the source was not credible
Forget the source
Believe the message
What are subliminal messages and do they lead to long-lasting attitude change?
What is conformity?
the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, and behavior in ways that are consistent with group norms .
Conformity in order to be liked and accepted by others
Often results in public compliance without private
What are social norms?
implicit or explicit rules a group has for the
acceptable behaviors, values, and beliefs of its members
Group members who do not conform are often ridiculed,
punished, or rejected by other group members
Understand the general methodology and results of Asch (1956) line length study?
Participants were presented with a series of three lines of
differing lengths and were asked to match a target line to one of the three.
Other participants in the session were actually
In 2/3 of trials, confederates unanimously agreed on an
incorrect answer
A surprising amount of conformity occurred...
Participants claimed they did not want to feel different or
foolish, so they went along with the group
This is especially surprising for 2 reasons:
1. Surrounded by strangers
2. No tangible risks or punishments for failing to conform
Other variations of the study
Example - wrote answers on paper instead of saying them
• Conformity dropped dramatically
Suggests that social disapproval plays a big role in the
original finding
What are Informational influence and normative influence? How the help explain the Sherif and Asch studies?
influence resulting from one's willingness to accept others' opinions about reality
influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval
What is the difference between private and public conformity (or private acceptance and public compliance) How the help explain the Sherif and Asch studies?
• Private acceptance = genuine belief in their correctness
Was not just due to public compliance
• Public compliance = change in behavior without a change in belief
What are the factors that influence conformity (and how does each influence whether people will conform)?
1. When the situation is ambiguous
2. When the situation is a crisis
3. When other people are experts
What does social impact theory specify about when people conform?
Social Impact Theory - conforming to normative pressures
depends on:
• the strength (personal importance),
• immediacy (physical proximity),
• and number of other people in a group.
Conformity should increase directly with the amount of
strength and immediacy, but increases in numbers will show diminishing returns (increase up to a point, and then level off).

1. When the group size is three or more
2. When the group is important (Normative pressures are stronger when they come from people whose friendship, love, or respect we cherish. Can be dangerous to have important decisions made by closely-knit groups - may care more about pleasing each other than about making the right decision)
3. When one has no allies in the group (Variation of Asch's experiment:
• If at least one other person gave the right answer, the level of conformity dropped from 32% to 6%. If 2 or more people start to dissent, the beliefs of the
group are more likely to be challenged)
4. When the group's culture is collectivistic (Differences in cultures' individualist vs. collectivist orientation have implications for conformity)
5. The effect of low self-esteem (May make people more likely to conform)
6. Gender differences in conformity (56% of men are less persuadable than the average woman, private no difference)
What is minority influence?
occurs when the individual or the minority affects change in the majority
What are idiosyncrasy credits and how do they relate to resisting social influence?
Step 1 - become aware that we are being influenced
Step 2 - find an ally, someone who thinks like you do

if you conform to the group norms most of the time, you may gain credits that allow you to deviate occasionally without any major consequences
What is obedience?
the tendency to change our behavior in response to direct commands from other people
Understand the general methodology and results of the Milgram (1953) study
Participants were told it was a study on the effects of
punishment on learning
Assigned to role of teacher
Partner was assigned to be the learner (confederate)
Participant (teacher) was told to punish the learner for every mistake
• Each mistake is to receive a progressively higher level of
The learner (confederate) protests, but the experimenter
insists that the experiment must continue
62.5% of the participants gave the full 450 volt Danger XXX
shock 80% continued past the learner's announcement that he had a heart condition and refused further participation)
What are some factors that increase/decrease obedience (based on variations of the Milgram study)?
The orders to continue came from another "teacher" rather
than from the experimenter
• Two experimenters disagreed about whether the experiment should be continued
If two other "teachers" refused to continue, there was
significantly less compliance

Baseline: males and females - 65%
When study was performed in office building - 47%
When victim was in the same room - 40%
When the participant touched the learner - 30%
When experimenter was in a remote location - 20%
When experimenter was ordinary person - 19%
When two confederates rebelled - 10%
Control: no commands at all - 2-3%
Think about how the results from the Milgram (1963) study can inform us about historical and current events.
Milgram demonstrated that we all have the potential to be influenced by authority figures and behave in ways completely inconsistent with our good natured

Mindlessness / foot-in-the-door phenomenon
• Mindlessness leads to initial compliance, and initial
compliance begets subsequent compliance
Milgram experiment:
• Quick pace of experiment
• The shock increased in very small doses
How is the loss of personal responsibility related to obedience?
The experimenter is seen as the authority figure...
• He is responsible for the end result
• The participant is "just following orders"
Moral disengagement
• Prison guards who conduct executions (Osofsky et al., 2005)
• Explanation for things like the My Lai Massacre, Holocaust
How can cognitive dissonance theory be applied to obedience?
Each increase in shock led to dissonance
Each rationalization of dissonance provided basis for
escalating the shock a bit further
What is compliance?
The tendency to change our behavior in response to direct requests from other people. A change in behavior due to a direct request from another person.
What are the 6 norms of social influence proposed by Cialdini? Be able to give examples of each and explain how they relate to compliance.
o 6 Norms of Social Influence - Cialdini
o Reciprocity
o Social Proof
o Consistency
o Liking
o Authority
o Scarcity
What is the foot-in-the-door technique?
Technique: Ask for something small, and then ask for something bigger.
o Ask if you can look in cupboards vs ask to take phone survey than asked to look in cupboards
o First action implies support of the cause. To be consistent, one should continue to support the cause.
o Opposite of door-in-the-face.
o Results of "Privacy Invasion"
22% outrageous request only, 53% outrageous request follows small request
What is low-balling?
Technique: Offer a nice, low price item and later add on restrictions that make it less appealing.
Would you like to participate in a psych experiment at 7:00 am?
Would you like to participate in a psych experiment? Yes?
Ok, we can fit you in at 7:00 am ...
o "Early Bird" Study
24% at 7am, 55% 7am after commitment
What is the door-in-the-face technique?
Technique: 2-steps
Ask for a big favor that is likely to be refused
Ask for a smaller favor after the refusal
• Based on idea of reciprocal concessions
o If I compromise, then you feel obligated to compromise
• Example:
o Participants asked to make a one-time blood donation
o Half the participants asked simply to make a one-time donation
o Half the participants asked to participate in a long-term donation program; after refusal, participants are asked to make a one time-blood donation
o Initial Request: 32% Long Term: 50%
What is the that's-not-all technique?
Technique: 2-steps
o Offer something desirable and make a request
o Sweeten the deal before the offer is rejected
• Based on he idea that if you are given a better deal, you should reciprocate by accepting
• Example:
o Field study where an experimenter sold cupcakes
o Half told cupcakes cost 75 cents
o Half told they cost $1.00 but before a decision could be made told participants that they could have them for 75 cents
o 75: 44% That's not all: 73%
What is a group? What features define a group?
Direct interactions among group members over a period of time and a shared common fate, identity, or set of goals.

Important components: Interact, Interdependent (Share goals)
o A family, members of a baseball team, a construction crew building a highway, a mob of protesters
Why do people join groups?
o Fulfills basic human needs
o Need to belong
o Self-esteem
Feel like you're important to your group (Social identity)
Have some understanding of who we are (Accomplish tasks that are difficult to accomplish alone)
Most groups have 2 to 6 members
What are social norms?
norms about which behaviors are acceptable
Groups have different social norms
Powerful determinant of our behavior (e.g., conformity, obedience)
Consequences when norms are violated:
• Pressure to conform
• Rejection
What are social roles?
shared expectations in a group about how particular people are supposed to behave
Roles are helpful because people know what to expect from each other
But, people can get so far into a role that their personal identities and personalities get lost (e.g., Stanford Prison Experiment)
What are gender roles?
role expectations based on gender
Women are expected to be wife & mother
Can be difficult when roles change
Women can now pursue careers, but are still expected to be wife & mother
• Expected to "do it all"
• Women are expected to do more
What is social facilitation?
when the presence of others energizes us
Will being with other people affect your performance?
the tendency for people to do better on simple tasks and worse on complex tasks when they are in the presence of others and their individual performance can be evaluated
(Cockroach, Children with fishing reel)
What is social loafing?
when the presence of others relaxes us
the tendency for people to do worse on simple tasks but better on complex tasks when they are in the presence of others and their individual performance cannot be evaluated
In this case, merging into a group leads to relaxation
No evaluation = less willing to try our hardest
What are some factors that influence social loafing?
o Simple vs. difficult tasks
People do worse on simple tasks
Do better on difficult tasks
o Relaxation
Remember, impairs simple tasks
Relaxation aids difficult tasks
When is social facilitation likely to occur? When is social loafing likely to occur?
o Simple vs difficult tasks
Improves performance on simple, well-learned tasks
But, people (& roaches) do worse when the task is difficult
o Arousal and dominant response
Presence of others increases physiological arousal
This aids people on easy tasks
But, leads people to become flustered on difficult tasks
• Why Does the Presence of Others Cause Arousal?
o Makes us more alert.
o Concerned with how other people are evaluating us (evaluation apprehension)
o Other people are distracting
What is deindividuation? Why does it occur? What group characteristics promote it?
o The loosening of normal constraints on behavior when people can't be identified (such as when they are in a crowd), leading to an increase in impulsive and deviant acts
o Makes people feel less accountable
o Increases obedience to group norms
What are group norms?
shared guidelines or rules for behavior that most group members follow
Standford Prison Study and what does it illustrate?
Showed evidence of deindividuation, or the tendency of people to engage in atypical behavior when stripped of their usual identities by showing cruelty of people when they were assigned as "guards" in a prison study.
What is group cohesiveness?
Qualities of a group that bind members together and promote liking between members
o Members of cohesive groups are more likely to:
Stay in the group
Take part in group activities
Try to recruit new members
Members tend to be alike (Why? Conformity pressures)
What are some potential pitfalls of group decision making?
What is process loss?
o Groups do well only if most talented member can convince others that he or she is right
o Process loss - any aspect of group interaction that inhibits good problem solving

• Process Loss Occurs
o Groups do not try hard enough to find out who is the most competent member
o Most competent member has low status
o Most competent member might find it difficult to disagree with others in the group (cannot break from normative conformity)
o Communication problems within the group
What is group polarization? What are 2 explanations for why it occurs?
o Risky shift - groups make riskier decisions than individuals
o Group polarization - The tendency for groups to make decision that are more extreme than the initial inclinations of its members
o Occurs for two main reasons
Persuasive arguments interpretation - each member presents strong arguments that other members had not considered
Social comparison interpretation - to be liked, people will adopt a slightly more extreme position that is similar to others' position
What is groupthink?
A kind of thinking in which maintaining group cohesiveness and solidarity is more important than considering the facts in a realistic manner
How can people actively prevent groupthink?
o The leader should try to:
o Remain impartial
o Seek outside opinions
o Create subgroups who meet separately and then convene
o Seek anonymous opinions / secret ballots
Consonance, Dissonance, Irrelevance
Consonance: "I believe safe sex is important, and I always
use condoms."
Dissonance: "I believe safe sex is important, and I rarely use condoms."
Irrelevance: "I believe safe sex is important, and I like horror movies."
Cognitive Dissonance Summary
The attempt to reduce dissonance can prevent us from
learning from our mistakes
Dissonance is uncomfortable and it is relatively easy to
rationalize our behavior
However, it is important to stop and think before we
rationalize so that we can learn from our mistakes
Attitude Formation
Learning Approach (Attitudes form when people encounter information that can be positively or negatively evaluated. E.G. Hot Stove)
Mere Exposure (Being exposed to something enough times leads to positive attitudes. (Subconscious) People seem to misattribute vague feelings of familiarity with previous positive encounters. (Conscious) Exposure initially increases positive attitudes, but then boredom and annoyance set in and lead to more negative attitudes.
Classical Conditioning (Associating some attitude object with something that is already liked)
Genetic Predispositions (Twin studies have shown that attitudes towards many things have a genetic component.)
Attitude Strength
Strong attitudes have four characteristics:
Resistant to change
Persistent over time
Impact information processing and judgments
Predict Behavior
Attitudes that share the exact same extremity may differ in attitude strength
Strong attitudes are:
Held with confidence
Often the result of direct experience
Often associated with lots of consistent knowledge about the topic
Come to mind easily (i.e., are highly accessible)
Norm of Reciprocity
o Norm: if someone does you a favor, you reciprocate.
o Principle: We have a strong pull to reciprocate that we will do things we don't want to do just to return a favor. We are motivated to repay our "debts.
o Technique:
Pre-Giving: Giving someone a gift with "no strings attached" increases the likelihood that the individual will comply with a future request
• Examples:
o Survey incentives
o Easter Seals and Disabled
o Veterans mail requests
o Christmas cards
(Door In Face, Thats not all)
Social Validation (Social Proof)
Norm: If you are unsure of how to act, do what everyone else is doing.
Principle: We assume that others know the correct way to act, and we believe we won't get chastised for acting like everyone else
o Technique
Inform the person that many other individuals have complied (the more other people the better, the more notable or "famous" the better).
1 person OR 4 people staring up into the sky on the sidewalk
5% looked to the sky with one person, 80% when four people
Norm: If you like someone, you should help them out.
Principle: People are more agreeable with others they like, even when they have only known them for a short time.
o Factors that increase liking:
When we feel like we "know" people, we are more likely to go along with their requests.
Using the person's first name
Which contributes to the many advantages attractive people enjoy.
Criminals are twice as likely to not have jail time if they are more attractive.
Staged study where:
Defendant either looked more attractive than the victim
Victim looked more attractive than the defendant
o Results of "I'm Too Sexy for this Courtroom" study
Defendant more attractive: $5623
Victim more attractive: $10510
Norm: When an authority figure asks you to do something, you go along with what he or she says
Principle: Authorities are believed to have more knowledge and training, so they know what is best
Can manufacture authority ...
Doctors in labcoats
Professors interviewed on History Channel in front of bookshelf full of books
• Catch Me if You Can
o Taught without a degree at a college
o Posted as FBI
o Did this by just conveying authority
• The Parking Meter Study
o Asked people to feed someone else's meter
o Dressed in plain clothes: 42%
o Dressed as a police officer: 92%
Norm: If something is scarce, it is more valuable
Principle: The fact something is rare or "going fast" suggests that it is desirable.
Optimal conditions
• When something is newly scarce
• When others are competing for the same item
Taco Bell field study: Scarcity of Cinnamon Twists
Low Restriction/No Scarcity: 2%
High Restriction/Scarcity: 10%
o Closing Time
Studies have shown that people find the opposite sex more attractive near closing time in bars...
Studies suggest that feeling time is running out causes this effect.
o Possible Explanation for Scarcity
Reactance Theory (Brehm) - when we feel pressured, or that our freedoms are being threatened, we act to reestablish these freedoms.
Consistency and Commitment
Norm: People generally act according to their values and beliefs and do not contradict themselves. Once committed to something, people follow through.
Principle: People are motivated to be consistent and do not want to appear hypocritical. Inconsistency leads to uncomfortable cognitive dissonance.
The Four Wall Technique
Technique: You remind people of their attitudes or past behaviors by having them agree with a series of statements until they can't refuse the request. They must agree to stay consistent.
To sell encyclopedias ask...
Are your children important to you?
Is your children's education important to you?
Would you do whatever you could to aid in your child's education?
Then how could you not buy these encyclopedias?
(Foot in Door, Lowball)
We tend to like and help those who seem similar to ourselves
Similarity does not need to be meaningful for it to increase compliance.
Incidental similarity is when people feel similar to someone who shares an insignificant attribute.
Confederate dressed as hippie/conservative and asked for a dime.
2/3 more likely to get money when similar to the person they asked.
Understand the general methodology and results of the Sherif (1936) autokinetic study
Autokinetic effect = illusion that a still point of light in an
otherwise dark visual field moves
The situation is ambiguous because people vary in the
amount of motion they perceive
People were put in groups to make their estimates
Over several trials, the differing estimates of the people

Resulted in private acceptance of the group norm

Participants maintained adherence to group norm in private
and up to a year later
Spreading of Alternatives
Technique to reduce free-choice dissonance - Spreading the relative worth of alternatives. Enhancing positives of choice made. Enhancing negatives of alternatives.
Peripheral route to persuasion
People do not think critically about the contents of the message but focus instead on superficial characteristics.
• Low elaboration
• Non-argument related cues determine persuasion
• Using heuristic cues like expertise, beauty, popularity, body movements, etc...
• In the consumer domain: price, brand name, packaging

Peripheral route is useful when our decisions are fairly trivial or we need to make a decision quickly
• The problem is that heuristics can sometimes lead to errors, but so can central processing.
Central route to persuasion
People are influenced by the strength and quality of the message arguments.
• High elaboration
• Involves careful thought about the message
• Everything is evaluated as an argument; the critical factor is whether the arguments are strong.

Central route is useful when we have important decisions
• Attempting to use central route in every situation would be impossible; we'd never make it out of bed!
• Also, central processing does not always = accuracy
External justification
A reason or an explanation for dissonant personal behavior that resides outside the individual (e.g., in order to receive a large reward or avoid a severe punishment)
Internal justification
the reduction of dissonance by changing something about oneself (one's attitude or behavior)
What are the causes, symptoms, and consequences of groupthink?
The group is highly cohesive
Group isolation
A directive leader (opinionated leader, people don't go against leader)
High stress
Poor decision making procedures
What are the symptoms and consequences of groupthink?
o Symptoms of groupthink
Illusion of invulnerability
Belief in the moral correctness of the group
Stereotyped views of outgroup
Direct pressure on dissenters to conform
Illusion of unanimity
o Defective decision making
Incomplete survey of alternatives
Failure to examine risks of the favored alternative
Poor information search
Failure to develop contingency plans
members who protect the group from receiving information that might shake confidence in their decision; a symptom of groupthink
What is the definition of social psychology?
The scientific study of how individuals think, feel, and behave in a social context. Social psychology is a science.
We use the scientific method.
The ABC's of social psychology
Affect (feel)
Cognition (think)
How is social psychology different from other disciplines?
Diverse set of topics (not like political science/economics)
Individual people (not like sociology)
Personality: Social Psych focused on situation.
What are some social issues/problems social
psychologists might help us understand and why?
Many of the questions that social psychologists pose come
from wanting to understanding everyday experiences.
The first step towards becoming a social psychologist is
asking why?
If you give children a reward for doing something they already enjoy doing?
they will enjoy the activity less, especially when they no longer receive a reward.
Who do you think would be happiest with their choice of a consumer product?
Those that choose something without analyzing. (less to think about what they don't like)
Repeated exposure to a stimulus, such as a person, a song, or a painting, will make you like it?
You ask an acquaintance to do you a favor for example lend you 10 bucks and they agree?
The will like you more.
It is most adaptive and beneficial to people's mental health to have a realistic view of the future.
In the US, female college students tend not to do as well on math tests as males do, they do as well as men when?
When told there are no gender differences.
Social Context
Thoughts, feelings, or behaviors either:
(a) concern other people
(b) are influenced by other people

Can be real or imagined
Importance on Research
Intuition is useful for generating questions, but it provides no concrete evidence
Systematic research is necessary to determine truth
A great deal of social psychology is counterintuitive
Why Study Social Psychology
To inform action
Applications to other domains
Social Perception
the study of how we form impressions of and make inferences about other people

Why do some people have higher self esteem than others?
Why does racism seem to persist even after schools are desegregated and affirmative action policies are in place?
Social Influence
The ways people alter the attitudes or behaviors of others, either directly or indirectly.

Why does it sometimes seem impossible to change people's minds?
Why do people behave differently in crowds than they do when they are alone?
Social Relations
Interactions between individuals or groups in the same clan, social class, organization, country, gender, or any other grouping of people with a common denominator.

Why do people fall in love?
What leads teenagers to engage in school shootings?
Why learn about research methods
Understand how social psychological knowledge is obtained
Learn to critically evaluate research and ideas.
People are intuitive scientists
You may not believe it, but you engage in hypothesis testing and the scientific method on a regular basis.
For example: Weather/Social Interactions
Scientific Method
a method of investigation involving observation and theory to test scientific hypotheses
(Scientific Method) Coming up with a testable prediction about the conditions
under which an event will occur.
(Scientific Method) For each concept you are interested in, figure out how you will get at it.
This involves taking something that you're interested in and
making it testable.
Operationalization is the process by which we make a theoretical variable one that we can measure.
For example: liking of political candidate
(Scientific Method) Actually conduct your study and measure the concepts in which you are interested.
(Scientific Method) To evaluate the quality of our findings, we look at the validity of the experiment.
The validity of experiments and studies in general can be
evaluated in many different ways.
Examination of data to determine whether or not predictions were supported.
In other words, did you find what you were expecting?
Revise or Replicate
(Scientific Method) If your predictions have been confirmed you will want to replicate your study to confirm the findings.
If your predictions have been disconfirmed you will want to revise your hypothesis.
If findings do not work out, we revise our hypotheses or
operationalizations and go from there.
In scientific research, we require that findings be replicable
to ensure that our results were not due to statistical error.
Anything that can potentially hold more than one value is a
We manipulate one variable to determine the effect of this
manipulation upon a second variable.
Independent Variable (IV)
The variable a researcher changes or varies to see if it has an effect on some other variable.

IVs are manipulated
• Multiple levels of an IV
• Treatment vs. Control
• Relative differences
Dependent Variable (DV)
The variable a researcher measures to see if it is influenced by the independent variable.

DVs are measured
• Continuous measures - a range of scores is possible
• Dichotomous measures - behavior either performed or not
Developing a Hypothesis
Two steps:
Develop a theory
• A theory is a collection of beliefs about some phenomenon.
Derive hypotheses from theories
• A hypothesis is a collection of variables organized into a
testable statement of prediction.
Two Key Features of a Hypothesis
A hypothesis contains at least two concepts and some
statement of the relationship between them.
A hypothesis can be operationalized and tested (theories can only be tested by testing hypotheses).
Theory vs Hypothesis Example
Theory - People like cookie dough ice cream best.
Hypothesis - If given vanilla ice cream and cookie dough ice cream, people will rate the cookie dough ice cream as more enjoyable.
Where do Research Ideas Come from?
Inspiration from previous theories and research
Personal observation
Conceptual Definitions
Definitions that describe concepts by using other concepts. Consist of primitive terms and derived terms. Sometimes used as variables in the research process.

This is the actual concept that you are dealing with.
For example, joy, anger, opinions, love, aggression, how
much you really support the candidate, etc.
Operational Definitions
clear, precise definitions and instructions about how to observe and measure concepts and variables

This is how you get at the concept you are attempting to
manipulate or measure.
To operationalize a variable is to take a real-world measure of it.
For example...
• 1 to 10 rating of support for policies
• amount of time spent volunteering
Conceptual/Operational Anger
Conceptual definition
• A strong feeling of displeasure and hostility.

Operational definition
• A rating on an anger self-report scale
• Ratings of facial expressions
• Angry responses towards a confederate
Conceptual/Operational Liking Ice Cream
Conceptual definition
• How much people like a particular brand of ice cream.

Operational definition
• Rating on a liking self-report scale
• Choice of that ice cream over others
• Number of smiles while eating
Conceptual/Operational Self-Esteem
Conceptual definition
• How much you like yourself

Operational definition
• Rating on a self-esteem self-report scale
• Number of self-destructive behaviors in a given day
• How quickly you can identify the word me after you are
primed with a positive word
Three ways to Measurement
• Observational Method
• Correlational Method
• Experimental Method
Each allows you to answer different types of questions.
Observational Method (Measurement)
Used to describe the nature of a phenomenon
Researcher observes people and records measurements or impressions of their behavior
Can also be used to help generate a hypothesis for
experimental research
Naturalistic observation - observation and recording of
behaviors as they occur in their natural setting
Detect naturally existing behavior
Study behaviors that would be unethical to recreate in lab
Ethnography - attempt to understand a group or culture by
observing it from the inside
Participant observation - joining the group in order to observe it (while trying not to interfere with the natural behavior of the group)
Correlational Method (Measurement)
Used to examine the relationship between variables
Systematic measurement of 2 variables and the relationship between them
Allows researchers to know how much one variable can be predicted from the other
Used to examine the relationship between variables
Experimental Method (Measurement)
Used to see the effect of one variable on another variable.
Running an experiment allows researchers to determine whether or not X caused the differences in Y
Always involves some form of intervention by the experimenter
Observational Method Strengths/Weaknesses
• Can be easy to do
• Can be done in a lab or in a field setting
• Behavior is often difficult to observe (e.g., romantic
• No information about causation
• Does not allow for prediction or explanation of behavior (only description)
Correlation Coefficient
Correlation coefficient - statistical technique for calculating
the degree of association between two variables r signifies the size and direction of the relationship between two variables
r ranges from -1 to +1
• Sign = direction of correlation (-1 = negative, 1 = positive)
• Absolute value = size of correlation (0 = non-existent, 1 = very strong)
Correlational Research Questions
How does Y change when X changes?
Is Y associated with / related to X?
Can you predict Y by knowing what X is?
Correlational Research: Surveys
Random selection (or random sampling) of participants allows conclusions to be drawn about a larger population
A representative sample of people is asked the same questions
Correlational Research Strengths/Weaknesses
• Researchers can study naturally occurring variables that
might be difficult or unethical to manipulate
• Surveys allow information to be collected about a lot of people very quickly
• Provides no information about causality
• Random selection can be difficult to achieve
Third Variable Problem
It is never clear whether two variables are related to each
other because one caused the other, or whether they are only related because they are both associated with a third

Correlation does not equal causation!
Characteristics of A true Experiment
1. Manipulated IV
2. Random assignment of subjects to the conditions or levels of the IV
3. Reasonable attempts to hold the situation constant except for the manipulated IV
Experimental Research Strengths/Weaknesses
• Permits conclusions about causality
• An experimenter can rule out other variables by holding them constant
• Difficult and unethical to manipulate some variables
• Results may not generalize to broader population
• Lab studies can be artificial, not like real-world
Summary of Research Methods
Observational Description What is the nature of
the phenomenon? (descriptive)
Correlational Prediction From knowing X, can
we predict Y?
Experimental Causation Is variable X a cause
of variable Y?
Evaluate (Construct Validity)
Are your results dependent on the particular way you
manipulated and measured your variables?
Do the operations accurately represent the concepts under
Or, would you likely find very different results if you used
different operations?
Statistical Validity
Have you demonstrated that an effect exists above chance levels?
Statistical significance testing
• 95% confidence is necessary to be able to say that results are not due to chance alone
• This probability corresponds to a p-value of .05
Internal Validity
Making sure that nothing besides the independent variables can cause differences in the dependent variable across conditions
How well have you controlled alternative explanations for the effect you have shown?
Can you be sure that changes in X actually caused differences in Y across conditions, and not some other factor?
External Validity
How well the results of the study generalize to other
situations and to other people
Lab studies may not look like the real-world
Mundane Realism
is the extent to which an experiment is
similar to real life situations.
It is okay if mundane realism is low if psychological realism
is high.
Social psychologists are especially interested in thoughts
and behavior and are curious whether the processes we
study in the lab also occur in real life.
Psychological realism (or experimental realism)
is the extent to which the psychological processes triggered in an experiment are similar to psychological processes that occur in everyday life
(Evaluate) Validity Issues
Construct validity and statistical validity are always
Internal validity is easier to attain in the lab.
External validity is easier to attain in a field setting.
Researchers should strive to examine hypotheses in both the lab and the field.
• Caveat: basic research vs. applied research
• More important for real world problems than basic
psychological processes
Ethics in Research
Informed consent
Participants must be informed about the study before they
Consent must be obtained in order for someone to participate
After the study, we tell participants everything about the study and let them ask questions.
No undue stress or irreversible stress
Must be approved by the IRB (Institutional Review Board) they will check to make sure you're not harming participants
Cross-Cultural Research
Many classic findings have been replicated across cultures
When findings do not replicate in other cultures, it does not
mean that the findings are false
Growing focus on similarities and differences between
How people perceive, interpret, remember, and use
Assumed to be (relatively) unbiased
Social Cognition
How people perceive, interpret, remember, and use
information about themselves and others
Assumed to be influenced by expectations, needs, and
wishes of person as well as reality
Information Processing Stages
Perception and attention
Encoding and interpretation
Storage and retrieval (memory)
Inference and judgment
Behavioral responses
Jerome Bruner and the New Look
Judgment and perception are same process
Judgment is perception under uncertainty that requires conscious effort
If judgment is influenced by expectations, needs, and wishes of perceiver, perception is too
• Huge insight
• People start investigating social factors influencing perception (becomes field of social cog)
Top-down Processing
Abstract ideas influence perception
Guided by expectations and situational context
Concrete features of stimuli without context
Guided by stimuli
Experiment: Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968)
The teacher's expectations (top-down processing) of
students made teachers see students differently (perception), and then treat them differently (behavior)
• Encourage and challenge bloomers
• Give them more attention
• Students with extra attention and challenges do better
Self Fulfilling Prophecy
Social Cognition (Human processing capacity is limited)
Humans cannot physically perceive, encode, store, retrieve
everything (often there are time limitations also)
Must efficiently simplify processing
• Less information
• Top-down processing (schemas)
• Heuristics
• Accessible schemas/information have greater impact
Mental frameworks
• Make sense of situations
• Organize our world
• Influence attention, interpretation, and memory
• Form expectations about people, situations, etc.
Individual person schemas
Information about an individual's characteristics and
Information about the self
Role schemas
Information about how people in certain roles generally act
Relationship schemas
Information about how people are supposed to relate to one another
Event schemas (scripts)
Information about the sequence of events that happen in a
setting or situation
Group schemas (stereotypes)
Information about the members of a particular group
Schemas: Influence on perception and attention
Identify important information
Distort information processing
Confirmation bias
We disproportionately seek out confirming information
Ignore disconfirming information
Schemas: Influence on encoding Interpretation
• Faster comprehension
• Perception of novel situations
• Go beyond information given
• Can be relied on too much
• Bias interpretations

(Nun/Rockstar and alcohol example)
Schemas: Influence on Memory
• Provide structure
• Bias recall
• Persistent even when discredited
• This is the perseverance effect
Schemas: Influence on Behavior
• Give us an idea of how to behave
• Can affect behavior towards someone else
• Which affects the other person's behavior
• Self-fulfilling prophecy
Schemas influence?
Perception and attention
Encoding and interpretation
Storage and retrieval
Inference and judgment
Behavioral responses
Process through which recent experiences increase the
accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept
Any of the ABC's
Feelings, personality traits, goals, behaviors, stereotypes,
Supraliminal Priming
At the conscious level
• Words or images
• Strong scents
• Music
Subliminal Priming
Outside of consciousness
Not aware of the presentation of the stimuli (flashes on screen too fast to be consciously recalled)

Notice that priming increases the accessibility of something
This can affect behavior
But cannot make you do something that you don't want to do
Mental shortcuts, rules
• Fast and efficient
• Good strategies, given limited capacity
• Lead to some systematic errors
Availability Heuristics
Basing a judgment on the ease with which you can retrieve/simulate something
• If it feels easy to recall, then it must be more revalent/correct
Generally the more there is of something, the easier it is to
Which are more dangerous, sharks or coconuts?
Representativeness Heuristic
Making judgments based on similarity
• If it is like X, then it is X
Generally things with characteristics of a category are
members of that category
Can lead to a number of errors
Fluency Heuristic
Subjective sense that processing something is easy
• Makes things seem more positive
• Makes things seem true or valid; increases confidence
• Makes things seem more likely to happen
Perceptual fluency: easy to visually process
Ease of retrieval: easy to bring to mind or imagine
Conceptual fluency: concept is accessible, has been primed
Linguistic fluency: easy-to-understand, simple language
Social Cognition Amount of processing depends upon motivation and ability
• Process more when there are free resources (i.e., only doing one thing at once) and unlimited time
• Motivation
• Process more when something is relevant, important,
interesting, etc.
Social Cognition Influencing Ability
Individual differences
• Intelligence
• Knowledge about the topic
Cognitive load
• Time pressure
• Distraction
• Secondary task
Social Cognition Influencing Motivation
Individual differences
• Liking thinking
• Personal importance
• Have to justify reasons
• Responsible for outcome of decision
• Get paid to do well
Personal relevance
• Has implications for self
Social Cognition: Motivation and Ability
Motivation and availability both have the same influence on processing
• Motivation and ability ↑, thoughtful and careful processing ↑, use of heuristics ↓
• This does not mean that increasing motivation and ability will make processing less biased
Need to be both motivated and able to process
More thought does not mean that the processing is unbiased
Social Cognition: Processes
• Perception
• Heuristics and schemas
• Priming
• Judgment
• Counterfactuals
• Thought suppression
• Analyzing reasons
Imagining what could have been
• Undo an aspect that changes the outcome
• Might-have-been's
• If X, then Y would have happened
• Compare yourself to other people
• Imagine what you could have done better
• Imagine how things could have been much worse
Types of Counterfactuals
• Imagining how things could have been better
• Imagining how things could have been worse
Affective Forecasting
We often try to imagine what the consequences or our
actions will be or how we will feel if something bad happens
• We don't consider everyday things (happy, sad)
• We don't realize people can adapt to situation
• We project current feelings to future selves
Analyzing Reasons
Giving reasons for choice: good or bad idea?
Generally good
Can cause problems if
• Unaware of basis for decisions
• Unable to verbalize these reasons
Automatic vs Controlled: Which should you use
Using automatic processes get us by very well
• Biases we talked about are the exception, not the rule
But for important things, we should use our critical thinking
• Sometimes, though, automatic might be better
• Analyzing reasons and unconscious thought
A judgment that is made about the cause of a
behavior—either our own or someone else's.
Attribution Theory
A description of the way in which people
explain the causes of their own and other people's behavior.
Internal attribution
people infer that a person is behaving a
certain way because of something about that person (also
called dispositional attribution or personal attribution)
External attribution
people infer that a person is behaving in a certain way because of the situation that he or she is in (also called situational attribution)
Normative Models
models that describe how people should make attributions
Correspondent Inference Theory (Jones & Davis, 1965)
Covariation Theory (Kelley, 1967)
Covariation Theory
Covariation principle - In order to form an attribution about
what caused a person's behavior, we systematically note the pattern between the presence (or absence) of possible causal factors and whether or not the behavior occurs
Possible causal factors:
1. Consensus - do other people behave the same way?
2. Distinctiveness - does that person behave like that toward everything/everyone?
3. Consistency - is this particular behavior the same across time?
the extent to which other people behave the same way towards the same stimulus as the actor does
Behavior: Jim played a prank on Dwight
• Consensus is...
• High - if other people also played pranks on Dwight
• Low - if Jim is the only person who played a prank on Dwight
Distinctiveness information - the extent to which one
particular actor behaves in the same way to different stimuli
Behavior: Jim played a prank on Dwight
• Distinctiveness is...
• High - if Jim only played a prank on Dwight (and no one else)
• Low - if Jim plays pranks on everyone
Consistency information - the extent to which the behavior
between one actor and one stimulus is the same across time
and circumstances
Example - The Office
• Behavior: Jim played a prank on Dwight.
• Consistency is...
• High - Jim always plays pranks on Dwight
• Low - this was the only time Jim played a prank on Dwight
More likely to make internal (dispositional) attribution when...
• Consensus - low
• Distinctiveness - low
• Consistency - high
• Low consensus - Jim is the only person who played a prank
on Dwight
• Low distinctiveness - Jim plays pranks on everyone
• High consistency - Jim always plays pranks on Dwight
• Conclusion - Jim is just a prankster (internal attribution)
More likely to make external (situational) attribution when...
• Consensus - high
• Distinctiveness - high
• Consistency - high
• High consensus - other people also play pranks on Dwight
• High distinctiveness - Jim only played a prank on Dwight
• High consistency - Jim always plays pranks on Dwight
• Conclusion - Dwight is a good target for pranks (external
Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE)
tendency to infer that people's behavior corresponds to or matches their disposition or personality Is now often called the correspondence bias (not necessarily an error, just a bias)
Fundamental attribution error tends to be applied unevenly
• More likely to use internal causes for other's behavior
• More likely to use external causes for own behavior
Why do we do this?
• Perceptual salience
• Availability of information
Explanations for one's successes that credit internal,
dispositional factors
Explanations for one's failures that blame external,
situational factors
Lau & Russell (1980)
• Showed this pattern among the attributions professional
athletes made for their performance
Roesch & Amirkhan (1997)
• Found the same pattern among athletes of different skill levels
• Including less-experienced athletes, highly skilled athletes,
and athletes in solo sports
1. Maintain self-esteem
2. Self-presentation - maintain perceptions of others
3. People have information about their behavior in other
• Positive outcomes may be expected
• Negative outcomes may be unexpected
Explanations for behavior or outcomes that avoid feelings of
vulnerability and mortality
• that could never happen to me
• they had it coming
• Etc.
One form of defensive attribution
Belief in a just world - The belief that bad things happen to
bad people and good things happen to good people
• We see ourselves as good, think nothing bad can happen to
• Can lead to "blaming the victim" for his/her misfortunes
3 Stages:
1. Categorization
2. Characterization
3. Correction
STAGE MODEL Stage 1 - Categorization
• Behavior is automatically categorized
• Represented in terms of a general category

Example: Jim played a prank on Dwight
• Jim's action was a "prank"
MODEL Stage 2 - Characterization
• Make an internal attribution automatically
• Perceiver infers that the actor possesses the corresponding
Example: Jim played a prank on Dwight
• Jim is a person who plays pranks (i.e., a prankster)
MODEL Stage 3 - Correction
Can consciously choose to engage in correction
• Consider possible situational reasons for the behavior
• May adjust original attribution to take account of situational
Example: Jim played a prank on Dwight
• Oh wait, Jim only played the prank because Dwight is a good
target for pranks - Dwight was the cause, not Jim
No cognitive load
• Gardening condition - internal attribution (she was behaving
anxiously because she is an anxious person)
• Sexual fantasies condition - external attribution (she was
behaving anxiously because of what she had to talk about)
Cognitive load
• Gardening condition - internal attribution (she was behaving
anxiously because she is an anxious person)
• Sexual fantasies condition - internal attribution (she was
behaving anxiously because she is an anxious person)
Participants under cognitive load were unable to correct for
the influence of the situation
This supports Gilbert's model - the idea that correction
requires cognitive effort
Correction is more likely to occur when we:
• Think carefully before making a judgment
• Are motivated to be accurate
• Are suspicious of the target's motives
Implicit personality theories
Type of schema people use to
group various kinds of personality traits together
Helps us form well-developed impressions of other people
quickly (like schemas)
These theories are often culturally shared
• American culture - "what is beautiful is good"
• Chinese culture - person who embodies traditional Chinese
values (focus on relationships, maintaining harmony in
relationships, inner harmony)
North American and some other Western cultures stress
individual autonomy or independence
East Asian cultures (e.g., China, Japan, Korea) stress group
autonomy or interdependence
This is sometimes described as a difference between
individualist (Western) and collectivist (Eastern) cultures.
Some research has shown a strong difference between
Western and Eastern cultures
• Western cultures more likely to make dispositional inference
• Eastern cultures more likely to make situational inference
More recent research has modified this perspective
• Everyone makes fundamental attribution error
• BUT, people in Eastern cultures are more likely to correct for
the situation, or take situational information into account
Examined the classic Jones & Harris (1967) finding in a cross-cultural context
Participants - American vs. Japanese
Independent Variable - choice vs. no-choice essay
Dependent Variable - fundamental attribution error
• Japanese were less likely than Americans to make
fundamental attribution error in no-choice essay condition
(equally likely in choice condition)
• Japanese are more sensitive to external constraints
People don't always judge others' behavior "correctly"
Initial judgments are often biased
Tend to rely on schemas (prior knowledge) and heuristics
(mental shortcuts)
But, given sufficient effort/motivation, some of these biases
can be overcome
Important to be mindful of bias (fundamental attribution error,
actor-observer effect, etc.) so that we can use this knowledge
to improve accuracy
Even though people make many "errors," we are still
remarkably accurate
A. Reflexive consciousness - self-knowledge; turning
consciousness inside
B. Interpersonal aspects of selfhood - the self as an active
participant in social relationships
C. Executive function - how the self makes decisions,
initiates action, and exerts control over the self and the
The self-concept is a schema about yourself that contains all
The self-concept has three functions:
• Managerial - organizes our future behavior
• Organizational - helps interpret and recall information
• Emotional - helps determine emotional responses
People gain knowledge about themselves in a number of
distinct and important ways:
1. Introspection
2. Self-perception
3. Facial Feedback
4. Two-Factor Theory of Emotions
5. Social Comparison Theory
thinking about yourself; looking within.
You are just searching in your own brain for a ready made
answer or feeling.
Typically used when an answer is clear and readily available.
Introspections can be biased.
Called participants on either a sunny or rainy day and asked
them how satisfied they were with their life.
Rainy day participants were less happy.
But, when warned that the weather may affect their mood
before rating life, this effect went away.
When attitudes or feelings are ambiguous or weak, you may infer them by using previous behaviors as evidence
Similar to figuring out information about someone else by
observing them.
Can also be biased...
The idea that the face not only reflects internal states, but it also affects them.
When observing yourself (self-perception), you may make
use of non-diagnostic cues just as you would with someone else you might observe.
Theory was developed by Schachter and Singer in 1962
The idea that people perceive arousal and then attempt to
explain it
An attractive female confederate approached males to give them a questionnaire:
• Half of the males had just crossed a rickety bridge over a
• Half were just standing on that side of the bridge.
After the questionnaire people were given a note explaining the experiment with the interviewer's phone number on it
People who had just crossed the bridge felt aroused.
They explained this arousal as a reaction to the pretty
• This is called a misattribution of arousal.
The people who had not just crossed the bridge had no extra arousal to explain.
The idea that we learn about our own abilities and attitudes by comparing ourselves to other people
1. People desire accurate knowledge.
2. If available, they will consult an objective standard; if not,
they will compare with another person.
3. People will gain the best knowledge when comparing with
someone similar to themselves on a given dimension
Goal #1: Self-enhancement - we want to feel good about
Goal #2: Consistency - we want new information to be
consistent with how we already view ourselves
Goal #3: Accuracy - we want accurate information about
ourselves (at least some of the time)
These are also known as self-related goals
The drive to seek consistent information is so strong that
people have been shown to seek negative self-information if
they have a negative self-image.
People like to be consistent.
It's difficult to change an entire self-schema.
Studies have shown that people prefer self-information in the
following order:
1. Self-enhancing information
2. Consistent information
3. Accurate information
Rationalizing or thinking about things in a way that reflects
positively (or less negatively) on you.
• Self-serving bias
• False consensus effect
• Unrealistically positive self-views
Downward social comparison
Festinger assumed that people would always desire accurate
self-knowledge. Other studies suggested this wasnt so.
Downward social comparison - A comparison with a person
worse than us on a particular trait or ability
More likely for traits and abilities that are important to us, or
when we are just feeling bad about ourselves.
People have different self-concepts
Three important ones:
• Actual self
• Ideal self
• Ought self
Ought self
the self that is concerned with the duties, obligations, and external demands we feel we are compelled to honor
Actual-Ideal discrepancies lead to dejection, sadness,
depression (low arousal emotions)
Actual-Ought discrepancies lead to agitation, guilt, anxiety
(high arousal emotions)
When people are more aware of themselves, their
discrepancies will be more salient.
People will often try to reduce or escape self-awareness to
avoid this (TV, alcohol, drugs, video games, etc.)
Can be thought of as an attitude towards the self.
Can be thought of as how much we like ourselves
Self-esteem can be thought of as stable or unstable
Seek self-enhancing information
• Reduce self-awareness
• Self-serving cognitions
• Self-handicapping
• Downward social comparisons
• Basking in reflected glory...
Associating yourself with successful others
Study showed that people on college campuses were more likely to wear their football team's jerseys after a win - the bigger the win, the higher the probability
More likely for domains that are unimportant to you
How we attempt to convey information and images about
ourselves to others
There are two motives that govern self-presentation:
• Instrumental - we want to influence others and gain rewards
• Expressive - we construct an image of our selves to claim personal identity
We tend to judge others on the traits on which we look good
Dunning and his colleagues have found:
• Participants evaluated the applications of prospective college students more favorably when those applicants shared their own competencies.
• Participants tended to describe the leadership styles of
famous leaders (e.g., Martin Luther King, Jr.) as similar to
their own.
Idea that people differ in the degree to which they look to the environment for cues about social behavior
High self-monitors - attend to the situation and the behavior
of others and modify behavior accordingly
Low self-monitors - do not try to alter their behavior to suit
each situational nuance
A temporary reduction in the self's capacity to engage in selfcontrol caused by the depletion of our self-control abilities.
Self-control is like a muscle. We can wear it out, but we can also build it up.
• In other words, we can become better at self-control with
Participants are told that they will complete two experiments
• First, a taste test
• Second, an anagram task (which is unsolvable)
Participants are brought into a room with freshly baked
cookies and are told to eat the cookies, or to eat radishes
sitting in a bowl
Experimenters then measure how long participants work on the anagrams

Resisting the temptation of the cookies caused participants
to give up more easily in the face of subsequent frustration
The self-control required to not eat cookies left participants
with fewer resources to the anagram task
(1998) - STUDY 2
Participants are told that they will complete two experiments
• First, they will watch a movie clip
• Second, an anagram task
Participants are brought into a room and they are told to
suppress their emotional reaction to the clip (which is either
really happy or sad)
Experimenters then measure how many anagrams are
completed successfully
Stifling emotion caused poorer performance
Initial acts requiring self-control use up the resource and
there is less ability for the second task.
Creating performance obstacles for ourselves which can
then be used to explain away failures.
If we fail, we have a ready-made situational excuse (no
internal attributions needed).
If we succeed, we must be exceptional.
We tend to fail more.
Other people tend not to be fooled.
Unfortunately, your ought self and your ideal self are not
People not only collect self-information in a biased way, but they also have ways to control the information and feedback they receive which have implications for self-esteem.
You end up with a biased, usually rosy, view of yourself