Psychology Chapter 13: Social Psychology

social psychology
study of how people influence others’ behavior, beliefs, and attitudes
social facilitation
enhancement of performance brought about by the presence of others (ex: bicycle riderse obtained faster speeds when racing w/ other bicyclists than when racing against only the clock)
social disruption
worsening of behavior in the presence of others; occurs in tasks we find difficult (ex: “choking” in the company of others while singing a difficult song)… effects of social influence can be either positive or negative, depending on the situation and person
attribution
process of assigning causes to behavior; some are internal (ex: we conclude that Joe Smith robbed a bank because he’s impulsive) and others are external (ex: we conclude that Bill Jones robbed a bank because his family was broke)
fundamental attribution error
tendency to overestimate the impact of dispositional influences (enduring characteristics such as personality traits, attitudes, and intelligence) on other people’s behavior.. we attribute too much of people’s behavior to who they are
social comparison theory
theory that we seek to evaluate our beliefs, attitudes, and abilities by comparing our reactions with others’ (ex: if you want to find out whether you’re a good psychology student, it’s only natural to compare your exam performance with that of your classmate)
mass hysteria
outbreak of irrational behavior that is spread by social contagion; we tend to engage in social comparison when a situation is ambiguous; episodes can lead to collective delusions in which many people simultaneously come to be convinced of bizarre things that are false (ex: UFO sightings)
conformity
tendency of people to alter their behaviors as a result of group pressure (ex: The Asch paradigm, comparison of lines)
parametric studies
studies in which an experimenter systematically manipulates the independent variable to observe its effects on the dependent variable
deindividuation
tendency of people to engage in uncharacteristic behavior when they are stripped of their usual identities
groupthink
emphasis on group unanimity and the expense of critical thinking and sound decision making; groups sometimes become so intent on ensuring that everyone agrees w/ everyone else, that they give up their capacity to evaluate issues objectively; not all lead to bad decisions, rather overconfident ones
group polarization
tendency of group discussion to strengthen the dominant positions held by individual group members (ex: in one study, a group of students who were slightly prejudiced become even more prejudiced after discussing racial issues)
cults
groups of individuals who exhibit intense and unquestioning devotion to a single cause
inoculation effect
approach to convincing people to change their minds about something by first introducing reasons why the perspective might be correct and then debunking it
obedience
adherance to instructions from those of higher authority
pluralistic ignorance
error of assuming that no one in a group perceives things as we do (ex: seeing a student slumped across a bench– is he asleep, drunk, ill, dead? looking around, no one seems to be responding, so we assume, perhaps mistakenly, that the situation isn’t an emergency after all and there’s nothing to worry about)
diffusion of responsibility
reduction in feelings of personal responsibility in the presence of others
social loafing
phenomenom whereby individuals become less productive in groups
altruism
helping others for unselfish reasons
enlightenment effect
learning about psychological research can change real-world behavior for the better (ex: learning about bystand effects increases the changes of intervening in emergencies)
aggression
behavior intended to harm others, either verbally or physically
relational aggression
a form of indirect aggression, prevalent in girls, involving spreading rumors, gossiping, and nonverbal putdowns (ex: silent treatment) for the purpose of social manipulation
belief
conclusion regarding factual evidence (ex: do you think the death penalty is an effective deterrent against murder?)
attitude
belief that includes an emotional component (ex: how do you feel about the death penalty?); there is not that high of a correlation between attidues and behavior, so not all attitudes predict behavior
self-monitoring
personality trait that assesses the extent to which people’s behavior reflects their true feelings and attitudes (ex: low self-monitors tend to be straight shooters, whereas high self-monitors tend to be social chameleons… we can usually trust low self-monitors’ actions to mirror their attitudes)
cognitive dissonance
unpleasant mental experience of tension resulting from two conflicting thoughts or beliefs (cognition A & B… changing cognition A & B, or generate cognition C that reconciles A & B)
self-perception theory
theory that we acquire our attitudes by observing our behaviors (ex: “I told the other subject that I liked the task, and I got paid only one lousy buck to do so, so I guess I must’ve really liked the task”)
impression management theory
theory that we don’t really change our attitudes, but report that we have so that our behaviors appear consistent with our attitudes (ex: subjects in the $1 condition didn’t want to look like hypocrites, so they told the experimenter they enjoyed the task even though they didn’t)
foot-in-the-door technique
pesuasive technique involving making a small request before making a bigger one (ex: getting a classmate to volunteer at a charity organization for 1 hour a week.. and then based on the perspective of cognitive dissonance theory, the classmate will feel a need to justify her initial commitment; as a consequence, they’ll probably end up w/ a positive attitude toward the organization, making it easier to get them to volunteer even more of their time)
door-in-the-face technique
persuasive technique involving making an unreasonably large request before making the small request we’re hoping to have granted (may work because initial large request often induces guilt in recipients; often backfires if initial request is too outrageous)
low-ball technique
persuasive technique in which the seller of a product starts by quoting a low sales price, and then mentions all of the “add-on” costs once the customer has agreed to purchase the product (ex: a confederate asked strangers to look after his dog while a visited a friend in the hospital, once they agreed, he let them know he’d be gone for 30 minutes… this worked better than if he told the stranger upfront that he’d be gone for 30 minutes before the agreement)
prejudice
making premature conclusions about a person, group of people, or situation prior to evaluating the evidence
adaptive conservatism
evolutionary principle that creates a predisposition toward distrusting anything or anyone unfamiliar or different
in-group bias
tendency to favor individuals within our group over those from outside our group
out-group homogeneity
tendency to view all individuals outside our group as highly similar (ex: simply telling ourselves that members of other groups all share at least one undesirable characteristic, therefore we don’t need to bother getting to know them)
discrimination
negative behavior toward members of out-roups
stereotype
a belief, positive or negative, about the characteristics of members of a group that is applied generally to most members of the group
implicit stereotypes
beliefs about the chracteristics of an out-group about which we’re unaware
explicit stereotypes
beliefs about the chracteristics of an out-group about which we’re aware of
ultimate attribution error
assumption that behaviors among individual members of a group are due to their internal dispositions (ex: caucasian students are more likely to interpret a shove an intentionally aggressive, as opposed to accidental, when it originates from an African American than from another caucasian)
scapegoat hypothesis
claim that prejudice arises from a need to blame other groups for our misfortunes
just-world hypothesis
claim that our attributions and behaviors are shaped by a deep-seated assumption that the world is fair and all things happen for a reason; “blaming the victim”; people w/ a strong belief in a just world are expescialyl likely to believe that victims of serious illnesses are responsible for their plights
jigsaw classrooms
educational approach designed to minimize prejudice by requiring all children to make independent contributions to a shared project; shown to decrease racial prejudice with, not just by itself but with positive intervention
groupthink symptoms
symptoms: illusion of group’s invulnerability (“we can’t possibly fail!”), illusion of group’s unanimity (“obviously, we all agree”), unquestioned belief in the group’s moral correctness (“we know we’re on the right side”), pressure on group members to go along w/ everyone else (“don’t rock the boat”), stereotyping of the out-group (“they’re all morons”), self-censorship (“I suspect the group leader’s idea is stupid, but I’d better not say anything”), and mindguards (“oh, you think you know better than the rest of us?”)
implicit egotism effect
the finding that we’re more positively disposed toward people, places, or things that resemble us
dual process models of persuasion
there are two alternative pathways to persuading others: the central route (leads us to evaluate the merits of persuasive arguments carefully and thoughtfull) and the peripheral route (leads us to respond to persuasive arguments on the absis of snap judgments)