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Flashcards in Social Psychology Deck (124)

What is social psychology?

It is the sect of psychology that "uses scientific methods to understand and explain how the thought, feeling, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other human beings." (Allport, 1985)


What is an attitude, and why is it so important to social psychology?

An attitude is an evaluation of people, objects, or ideas. Since we can have positive or negative attitudes about nearly everything, attitudes shape our view of the world.


According to social psychology, why do advertisers use the same commercial for the same product over and over again?

The mere exposure effect hypothesizes that you will like something more as you see it more, which will increase your likelihood of buying what is advertised.


An ad with a political candidate explaining directly why he is better than his opponent is an example of what idea of social psychology?

This is an example of the central route of persuasion.


An ad featuring a beautiful model and a famous athlete using a product without saying why it is better than a competitor's product is an example of what idea in social psychology?

This is an example of the peripheral route to persuasion.


What did Richard LaPiere's research show about attitudes and behavior?

His research, which looked at the behavior toward Asians in America in the 1930s, showed that, while hotel and restaurant workers at the time overwhelmingly said they would refuse service to Asians, a very small percentage actually did. This suggests that attitude does not necessarily dictate behavior.


What is cognitive dissonance?

Cognitive dissonance is the theory that people are motivated to reduce the differences that are psychologically uncomfortable between their own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Often this is "sour grapes" or rationalization.


What was Festinger and Carlsmith's experiment on cognitive dissonance?

Participants in a study were paid either $1 or $20 to tell a confederate that the task to complete was enjoyable when it was really quite boring. The more a participant was paid, the less they actually believed they enjoyed the task.


What compliance strategy believes a person should ask for something small to get something bigger later?

The foot-in-the-door phenomemon believes that if someone agrees to giving away something small, they will be more likely to give away something larger if it is requested later.


If you ask your parents for $50 and they say no, then you ask them for $20 and they say yes, what compliance strategy is employed?

The door-in-the-face strategy suggests that if you ask for something large, asking for something smaller will seem more reasonable and the request is more likely to be granted.


Why would we be more likely to donate money to people wrapping presents for free during the holidays?

Norms of reciprocity are the idea that if someone does something nice for you, you should do something nice for him. So since the volunteers are wrapping presents for free for you, you think the least you could do is donate to their cause.


Why might you choose to believe you got in a car accident because someone cut you off instead of believing it is because you were not paying attention to the other cars on the road?

Attribution theory addresses how we understand behaviors and the causes of events. You may attribute your accident to someone else making a poor driving decision instead of you so you won't feel bad or guilty.


What are the three kinds of information Harold Kelley proposed we use to make attributions?

  1. consistency: how consistent is this information over time?
  2. distinctiveness: how distinct is this information from the other information we have about the subject?
  3. consensus: how would others have responded given the same information?


What did Rosenthal and Jacobson's experiment, "Pygmalion in the Classroom" show about self-fulfilling prophecy?

A class of students was issued a standard IQ test, but the researchers told teachers it was a measure of performance potential and randomly selected several students as being more capable than others.

As a result of self-fulfilling prophecy, teachers treated these kids as capable learners, and their scores improved more than the other students'. 


What is the fundamental attribution error?

It is our bias to view the behavior of others in terms of dispositional characteristics (a teacher thinks a student failed a test because the student is stupid), but not considering situational reasons (the student did not study).


If I believe everyone likes chocolate because I like chocolate, and you believe everyone likes vanilla because you like vanilla, what is being exhibited?

The false-consensus effect is occurring. We believe that because we feel one way about something, everyone else feels the same way about it.


What belief (suggested by M.J. Lerner) allows us to think that good things will come to good people, and bad things will ultimately befall bad people?

The just-world bias helps us make sense of the world by believing that it is fundamentally fair.

This also allows us to blame victims of misfortune, believing things would have been different if they had made better decisions, so they got what they deserved.


What is a stereotype?

A stereotype is a shared belief or generalization about a group of people and can be positive or negative.


What is a prejudice and how does it differ from a stereotype?

A prejudice is the negatively affective component of stereotyping, like being scared of a group of people you believe (through stereotyping) to be violent.


What is discrimination, and how does it emerge from stereotypes and prejudices?

Discrimination is the action taken because of the prejudices that arise from stereotypes.

An example of discrimination is calling the police about a group of people loitering in an area because you believe them to be violent, even if they have done nothing wrong.


If you believe that other cultures are odd because they are not like your own, and that your culture is superior to other cultures, you are engaging in what?



Why might we see members of our out-groups as all being the same?

We have extensive experience with those who are part of our in-groups, so we see the variance therein. However, we have less experience with groups we are not part of, so we tend to see them as all being the same. This is called out-group homogeneity.


Why might we engage in in-group bias?

Researchers suggest that we have a need to see ourselves as good people. If we have a social identity that we believe makes us good, we will tend to favor people in our in-groups, since we believe they must also be good (or they would be part of our out-groups).


When prejudice is reduced through cooperation between groups to complete a larger goal, what is this goal called, and what is this belief?

This large, shared goal is called a superordinate goal, and the theory of minimizing prejudice through cooperation with other groups is called contact theory.


What did Sherif's Robbers Cave study teach us about group conflict and superordinate goals?

  • Kids were divided into two groups in a camp
  • Both groups showed escalating hostility in competitive tasks resulting in prejudice
  • This prejudice was only decreased when the two groups had to cooperate to complete a superordinate goal (like putting out a fire)
  • This shows how easily in-groups form prejudices and hostility and how superordinate goals can reduce those prejudices


How would the frustration-aggression hypothesis explain a scapegoat?

This theory asserts that frustration makes us more likely to become aggressive, and when we can't vent our aggression at the source of the frustration, we act out our aggression on someone or something else (a scapegoat).


What did the murder of Kitty Genovese lead Darley and Latane to study?

When Genovese was murdered in view of dozens of witnesses who did nothing, Darley and Latane wanted to find out why nobody helped. This led to their research on the bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility.


What did Darley and Latane find about the bystander effect?

They found that the more people there are involved as bystanders to an emergency, the less likely each individual will be to take action to stop the emergency.

The diffusion of responsibility phenomenon spreads out the feeling of responsibility within a group so it is less and less concentrated with each additional witness.


Why are we less scared of turbulence on an airplane if the flight attendants are smiling?

Pluralistic ignorance is the idea that we look at those around us to decide how we should react to a situation. If we are on a bumpy flight but the flight attendants or other passengers are unaffected, we will react as though nothing is wrong.


What are the four factors involved in deciding whether you may like someone?

  1. proximity/propinquity: do you see this person regularly?
  2. attractiveness: is this person attractive?
  3. similarity: is this person like you in a lot of ways?
  4. reciprocal liking: does this person feel positively about you, too?


What is social facilitation?

This is when the presence of one or more observers makes someone perform better at routine tasks.


What is the difference between social facilitation and social impairment?

While social facilitation explains that we may improve performance on simple or routine tasks, social impairment shows that we may perform difficult tasks more poorly than we normally would if we were doing them without being observed.


What is conformity?

It is the act of blending into a crowd, or following along with an idea, view, or action of others.


Explain Solomon Asch's conformity study.

  • Participants were asked to participate in a group vision test, measuring the length of lines
  • All members of the group except the participant were confederates in the study
  • Even if the confederates gave an obviously wrong answer, a significant percentage of the participants would conform to this wrong answer


What experimental findings explain how ordinary people may commit atrocities while following the orders of an authority figure?

Milgram's obedience study showed the following:

  • Participants were told to shock another participant (actually a confederate) when they answered a question incorrectly
  • More than half of the participants administered the highest level of shock to the confederate because they were ordered to do so by the experimenter
  • Even when the confederate screamed or begged the participant to stop, the majority of participants still followed orders to shock the confederate


What are group norms?

Group norms are the rules of behavior (implicit or explicit) that go along with belonging to a group.


Why might many overachievers dislike being part of group projects?

Within groups, social loafing is common. This occurs when individual members of a group do less than they would on their own because they believe someone else will "pick up the slack" or their performance will be less noticeable.


What is group polarization and why might it occur?

Group polarization is the phenomenon by which ideas and actions within a group are more extreme than they would be for the individual members. This may occur because groups tend to strengthen preexisting beliefs.


What term did Irving Janis coin, and what does it mean?

Groupthink is the mistaken unanimity of a group decision, which generally ends up negatively. Individual members of a group will downplay their own beliefs about the flaws of a plan for the sake of unanimity.


What may cause a person to riot when their favorite team wins a championship?

Deindividuation is the idea that people lose sight of their individual nature when they are excited (positively or negatively) and feel anonymous, as they might feel being a part of a giant fanbase.


What does Zimbardo's prison study suggest about deindividuation?

People adapt to the roles they are given, so context deindividuates people and makes them act in ways they never imagined they would.
  • Participants were randomly assigned to be either a guard or a prisoner in a mock prison
  • Participants rapidly adapted to their assigned roles (ex. guards became more aggressive and sadistic, prisoners became more passive and dependent), leading to dangerous situations
  • Experiment was terminated early because of "guard" cruelty


Who performed the first official social psychology experiment?

Norman Triplett, 1897

He found that cyclists rode more slowly on their own than they did when other cyclists were riding with them.


Who was Kurt Lewin and what was his contribution to social  psychology?

He is frequently credited as being the "father of social psychology," and he derived field theory.


What is field theory?

It is Kurt Lewin's theory that our personalities are dynamic and derived from the many interacting influences in our lives.

These influences, including valence, vector, and barrier, act upon a person's field, or life space.


What were two of Fritz Heider's major contributions to social psychology?

  1. attribution theory
  2. balance theory


What is attribution theory?

Attribution theory is the attempt to understand events and behaviors by attributing intentions to others.


According to Fritz Heider, why do our feelings and beliefs tend to stay consistent over time?

Balance theory states that people want to maintain psychological stasis, so there is an urge to preserve attitudes through time.


What idea explains the difference in perspective between the person performing an action and the person observing the same action?

actor-observer attributional divergence


Why are we more likely to take credit for our role in a successful group presentation than an unsuccessful group presentation?

The self-serving bias allows us to believe that we had a greater role in something's success than in its failure.


Seeing a relationship between two unrelated things is called what?

illusory correlation


The idea that one small belief change begets larger belief changes that ultimately snowball, making a large impact is known as what?

slippery slope


Studies have shown that doctors overestimate their ability to know the outcome of a case, and that they claim after the fact to have "known it all along." What psychological effect is occurring?

hindsight bias


What psychological effect is occurring when you believe a beautiful girl must also be smart and kind?

The halo effect is the belief that because a person has a good trait, all their traits must also be good.


How might self-fulfilling prophecy explain why people think the prettiest girl in school is stuck up?

Self-fulfilling prophecy states that when we have a preconceived notion about a person, group, or situation, we will behave in a way that will get the outcome we expect.

So we may treat the prettiest girl in school in a way that may make her feel defensive, which can make her seem stuck up.


What did Lee Ross show in studies of people defending incorrect answers?

If a person was able to rationalize an incorrect answer before they learned it was false, they would persist in their belief that the incorrect answer was actually true.


What is Richard Nisbitt best known for?

He is known for his studies showing that mental processes shape our preferences subconsciously and that we are unaware of why we do what we do.


What is base rate fallacy?

Base rate fallacy is using irrelevant information and ignoring relevant information to make a decision or hypothesis.


Who studied the illusion of control?

Ellen Langer


Using fuzzy trolls and rabbits' feet in bingo is an example of what?

Thinking you can control the outcome of something chance-based is known as the illusion of control.


After a school shooting, people are quick to attribute one single, simple cause to the events, rather than believing a number of factors contributed. What is this an example of?


People will also persevere in their beliefs despite new information to the contrary.


What is an availability heuristic?

When you use an availability heuristic, you judge the first things that come to mind as the most important because they are more salient.

For example, people may think air travel is more dangerous than car travel because they see more news stories about plane crashes than car accidents, so plane crashes come to mind first.


How can a representativeness heuristic lead to stereotyping?

Representativeness heuristics take information we have already conceptualized with prototypes and applying them to all situations to make a judgment.

If your prototype of a specific group is negative because of one person in that group, it could lead to incorrectly stereotyping the whole group.


What social psychologist is most closely associated with cognitive dissonance theory?

Leon Festinger


What social psychologist is most closely linked with self-perception theory?

Daryl Bem


How does Bem's self-perception theory contrast with Festinger's cognitive dissonance theory?

Festinger believes that actions are born of beliefs, rather than the other way around. Bem believes that people who are uncertain of their beliefs may consider their behavior for better understanding.


The fear of making one's passion one's job and losing passion for it is known in social psychology as what?

The overjustification effect assumes that we have to be paid for our jobs because we don't want to do them. Therefore, if we are paid for something we love, we will lose our passion for it. This is part of the self-perception theory.


Why would social psychology explain why we might like a rags-to-riches story more than a consistently happy story?

The gain-loss theory believes that we like "gain" more than consistency, so a consistently happy story would have no "gain" and a rags-to-riches story would start sad but end up happy, with more "gain."


Social exchange theory asserts that our interactions are such that they minimize ________ and maximize _________.

costs; rewards


What are the two facets of self-presentation?

  1. self-monitoring
  2. impression management

Self-presentation influences our behavior so that we are accepted by others.


What is self-monitoring?

when people pay attention to and modify their own behaviors, often to be more favorable to others


What is impression management?

acting in ways that are perceived favorably by others


According to the theory of social facilitation, what helps or hinder performance on tasks?

the presence of others


What did Robert Zajonc find about social facilitation?

Other people around improves performance on easy tasks, but worsens performance on difficult tasks.


The process of evaluating your own abilities, actions, and ideas against others' is known as what?

social comparison


According to the theory of social comparison, why is mainstreaming children with disabilities a bad idea?

Social comparisons are made to others in the immediate surroundings, so children with disabilities might compare themselves to children without disabilities and develop low self-esteem.


According to Stanley Milgram, why would New Yorkers be considered rude and standoffish, as compared to people from less populated areas?

The stimulus overload theory believes that people in densely populated areas are less prosocial because they have excessive stimuli and can't handle any more.


Constant communication between people, or ______ _______ influences behavior.

reciprocal interaction


What theory states that a person who is grossly overpaid for his job will be more uncomfortable than a person who is fairly paid for his job?

Equity theory asserts that we are most comfortable in situations where both rewards and punishments are equitable or logical.


Who is known for his prisoner's dilemma and trucking company game studies?

Morton Deutsch


What are the three main factors in the prisoner's dilemma and trucking company game studies?

  1. cooperation
  2. competition
  3. trust

Prisoners must trust that their cohort will cooperate with their plan, and trucking companies must trust that the other company will not break the deal and compete for business.


What are conditions under which conformity is likely?

  • a majority of the group agrees
  • the majority is unanimous
  • there is a concern about losing status with dissent
  • the situation is occurring publicly
  • the person conforming isn't committed to other options
  • the person conforming has low self-esteem


Within the context of conformity, what is the difference between compliance and acceptance?

Compliance occurs when an individual conforms publicly but maintains a dissenting belief. Acceptance occurs when an individual conforms and does not have dissenting feelings.


Within the context of conformity, what is a dissenter?

A dissenter is a person who openly opposes the majority.


What are conditions under which conformity will not likely occur?

  • when it is obvious that the majority is trying to control, reactance may occur
  • when people are forewarned that they are going to be controlled, they withstand the pressure of conformity


Under what conditions is a speaker likely to influence a listener's beliefs or attitudes?

  • the speaker is overheard instead of addressing the listener directly
  • the speaker is involved in a two-way exchange, like a debate
  • the speaker's message is emotional, shocking, or evocative of emotion
  • the speaker is trustworthy or respected
  • there are similarities between the listener and the speaker
  • the listener accepts the speaker


According to R.E. Petty and J.T. Cacioppo's elaboration likelihood, why would a celebrity speaking out for a cause only sway people who were not already heavily involved with the cause?

They argue that people who are deeply involved with an issue or cause will only be persuaded by the strength of an argument and will ignore superficial factors, like the fame or attractiveness of the speaker.


Why might a negative campaign ad from a source with low credibility still be more effective than a highly persuasive campaign ad from a very credible source?

The sleeper effect is a counterintuitive phenomenon that shows confidence in a message from a source that is less credible will become stronger over time, so an undecided voter may be more strongly swayed.


Why is McGuire's inoculation theory aptly named?

The theory states that untested beliefs are vulnerable, but beliefs that have been challenged and defended persevere. Like a vaccine, a small challenge makes one's beliefs stronger and more immune to other challenges.


Why do people take less individual responsibility for group actions as the group gets larger?

As groups get larger, there is a greater diffusion of responsibility among group members, resulting from deindividuation. If nobody is an individual, nobody takes individual responsibility.


According to Zimbardo, _______ behavior is increased in densely populated areas, based on his research with cars left in New York City and Palo Alto, CA.



What did James Stoner suggest about points of view in groups?

He argued that the dominant views are often strengthened and gain unanimity (group polarization). Because of this strengthened point of view, groups are more likely to engage in risky behavior than individuals, called the risky shift.


What did Kenneth and Mamie Clark's doll studies suggest about segregation?

The studies showed that African-American children in segregated schools thought white dolls were superior to black dolls, and children in integrated schools did not. They argued schools should be integrated because segregation was a cause of low self-esteem.


According to attraction and liking research, do opposites really attract?



What allows feelings of emotional closeness to grow within a relationship?

reciprocity of disclosure, or sharing emotions, feelings, and secrets with one another


Why should you not go skydiving on a first date?

The excitation-transfer theory argues that physiological arousal will transfer to unrelated areas. If you skydive, you may think the rush you feel is because you like your date, when really you may not like him (or her) at all.


What are the two coping differentiations made by Richard Lazarus?

  1. problem-focused coping: changing the thing creating stress
  2. emotion-focused coping: changing the way you feel about the stressor by controlling emotions


What is objective self-awareness and what is its counterpart?

It is the ability to attend to our thoughts, actions, feelings, and selves, and it is countered by deindividuation.


What instrument might a researcher use to increase truthfulness in self-reports?

a bogus pipeline

This is a "machine" that the respondent believes will notify experimenters to lies or falsifications, thereby reducing the difference between the respondent's actual bias and reported bias.


What principle believes that people will get promoted at work until they reach a level where they become incompetent, and will ultimately remain in that position?

The Peter Principle


What did Stuart Valins study, supporting the idea that environment affects behavior?

stress levels in differently shaped rooms


How does Leonard Berkowitz's frustration-aggression hypothesis help explain scapegoating?

It theorizes that when trying to accomplish a task, there will naturally be interference, which causes frustration, further causing aggression. This aggression is frequently misplaced onto others, or scapegoats.


What did M. Rokeach find with regard to racial bias and belief similarity?

People want to be around others who have similar beliefs and attitudes, rather than people with a similar skin color.


What are the three parts of Fischbein and Ajzen's theory of reasoned action?

behavioral intention=attitudes toward that behavior+subjective norms


Why is cross-cultural research important for psychology?

Not all cultures are the same, so before something can be considered normal or abnormal, cultural variation must be taken into account to avoid improper generalization.


According to Elaine Hatfield, what are the two types of love?

  1. passionate love: accompanied by physiological arousal, characterized by a longing for another
  2. companionate love: love for people whose lives are deeply connected with our own

Passionate love is seen frequently at the beginnings of relationships, while companionate love is seen in later stages of relationships.


According to Paul Ekman, what are the six basic emotions all humans have?

  1. happiness
  2. sadness
  3. fear
  4. disgust
  5. anger
  6. surprise


What is reciprocal socialization?

Socialization by both parties in a relationship. Parents and children are a good example, as children learn socially accepted behaviors from their parents, and parents learn newer, more current terminology.


What is the purpose of FACS coding?

The Facial Action Coding System (FACS) is used to analyze facial expressions and sort them into emotion categories. It can also analyze whether a smile is genuinely reflective of emotion or not.


Harold Kelley is known for his view on attribution theory. What were the three parts of this view?

  1. consistency: given a similar situation, would most people react consistently?
  2. distinctiveness: would this behavior vary if the situation were slightly or very different?
  3. consensus: do most people engage in this behavior given the same situation?


How did Walter Dill Scott help usher in the use of psychology in business?

He used psychology in advertising to target consumers and he helped the military implement the use of psychological testing for personnel purposes.


What term, used in industrial/organizational psychology, did Henry Landsberger coin in 1955?

Hawthorne effect

The Hawthorne effect is the phenomenon where people increase workplace productivity if they believe they are being watched.


What were the phases of group dynamics observed during Sherif's Robbers Cave experiment?

  1. in-group phase: people form bonds with those who are similar
  2. friction phase: different in-groups compete with one another
  3. integration phase: through superordinate goals, the competing groups work together, reducing intergroup tension.


What term represents the interplay between humans and technology in work environments?

sociotechnical system


A cost that will never be recovered and, therefore, should be ignored, is called what?

a sunk cost


Explain Bindle's role theory.

This theory believes that people have an understanding of the roles they are supposed to fill and change their behavior to fit those roles.


Briefly explain Heider's balance theory.

When three elements interact, stress will occur if they do not interact harmoniously. If the elements lack balance, an effort will be made to create balance, thereby reducing stress.

A way to remember this is by considering the idea that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Agreeing with the enemy or disagreeing with the friend will create imbalance.


What are three types of cognitive dissonance?

  1. free-choice dissonance
  2. forced-compliance dissonance
  3. post-decisional dissonance


What kind of dissonance occurs when choosing between two or more positive options?

free-choice dissonance


When would forced-compliance dissonance occur?

when a person is forced to do something that conflicts with their existing attitudes or beliefs


How does the spreading of alternatives reduce dissonance?

It emphasizes the positive aspects of a chosen option. If trying to decide between two job applicants, a manager will consider the one she chose to be smarter, more capable, etc., to reduce dissonance.


What allows us to feel the emotions of others?



What was Batson's empathy-altruism hypothesis?

He believed that when we see someone else suffering, we will experience an empathic response and be more likely to help, even if helping the other person is for selfish reasons (like relieving one's own distress).


What does Bandura's social learning theory suggest about aggression?

We learn aggression by observing it directly (modeling) or reinforcement, which they believe will grant them a reward of some kind.

This research was done in the famous "Bobo doll" study.


When someone stands in your "personal bubble," you tend to move away. What is the name for the study of personal space?