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Flashcards in Social Psychology Deck (60):

Describe social cognition

How you perceive the social world around you and how you attend to, store, remember and use information about other people and the social world.


Describe impression formation

the process of developing initial views of others. "thin slices" is a theory that small amounts of exposure to another person is enough to form an attitude.


Describe impression management

Our attempt to influence others beliefs and attitudes about us.


What is the Halo effect?

if you think someone has a positive and important trait, then you are likely to infer that he or she has other positive and important traits. E.g. If you think someone is physically attractive, you might think that he or she had other positive attributes.


What effect is described here?
Whether positive, negative, or neutral, the information you notice early on is more likely to bias your impression than is the information you pick up subsequently.

The Primacy effect


The theory that people come to understand themselves by making inferences from their behaviour and the events surrounding their behaviour. is called..?

The self-perception theory


What is learned riskiness?

without consciously changing our idea we believe children aren't a risk as they are good at stopping. (Ray Fuller, roadside playing and crossing roads) Children usually do behave safely, something we have learnt through observation, so we have adjusted our behaviour to reflect this.


Explain the use of self serving biases.

the inclination to attribute your failures to external causes and your successes to internal ones, but to attribute other people's failures to internal causes and their successes to external causes.


What is an attribution?

An explanation for the cause of an event or behaviour.


What are internal and external attributions?

Internal attributions: An explanation of someone's behaviour that focuses on the person's preferences, beliefs, goals or other characteristics; also called dispositional attribution.

External attributions: An explanation of someone's behaviour that focuses on the situation; also called situational attribution.


The strong tendency to interpret other people's behaviour as being due to internal (dispositional) causes rather than to external (situational) ones is called?

Correspondence bias


Describe Harre's (2003) child speed study and the results.

Asked people to identify how fast they would go down a busy rural road under 3 different conditions:
1. In normal traffic conditions.
2. When there are children playing with a ball on the footpath.
3. When there are children waiting to cross the road.
And then measured how fast people actually went when under these conditions.

Results: People tended to identify accurately their speed under normal conditions. However, most people under estimated how much they would slow down under both conditions 2 and 3. This could be due to a self perception theory in which we see ourselves in a better light than we actually act. Another contributor could be learned riskiness in which we think children act safe usually so will not cause a risk. Self-serving biases distort our self-perception in ways to protect our self-esteem i.e. We believe we would slow down if we saw kids trying to cross the road because we are good people, but in fact we only slow down a very small amount.


Describe Harre, Houkamau & Branst (2004) driving attribution study and their results.

Study of young drivers attributions about why they and their friends took risks on the road. Participants were 70 year 12 drivers (39 male, 31 female) from Auckland secondary schools.

Greater feeling of being "at risk" when not in control and tends to give negative bias towards friends driving. (We have a self-serving bias towards how good we are at driving.)
Greater knowledge of the diversity of own driving than our friends so it exacerbates correspondence bias. (We know how we drive safely with our nana in the car so we trust our driving, however we have only seen our friends driving recklessly with friends in the car and not how sensible they can drive.)


What is the above average effect?

the tendency of people to consider themselves better than others. This is a self-serving bias.


People from individualist cultures are motivated to think of themselves as better than others, as this is part of the cultural definition of status.

Culture difference


Describe Harre, Foster & O'Neill (2005) Crash risk optimism and their results.

Study of 314 first year New Zealand technical institute students, both male and female. They were asked to compare themselves in 10 different categories against others in their peer group.
Results: The items tended to cluster together into two groups, indicating different patterns of perceived superiority
- Driving ability - some people rated themselves as superior in driving ability; judgment, reflexes, skills and experience
- Driving caution - some people rated themselves as superior in driving caution; (not) being as risky, obeying rules, safe
Men showed more self-enhancement on driving ability.
Woman showed more self-enhancement on driving caution.

Conclusion: These results show an above average effect in which people tend to consider themselves better then others.


Describe Donoghue's 2008 study on above average effect and body image.

30 Australian men and women between the ages of 18-88 were photographed and asked to judge their body size, attractiveness and sexiness as well as the other people's photos.

Results:Both women and men judged themselves as larger than others judged them.
Both women and men judged themselves as more attractive and sexier than others judged them.

Conclusion: Body size judgements may be due to the inability to compare oneself with 'naked' others except those who advertise underwear. Again shows an above average effect for their judgements on their own attractiveness.


What are the 4 factors that underline attraction?

1. Repeated contact (mere-exposure effect)
2. Physical attraction
3. Similarity and homogamy
4. Reciprocity


Describe what is involved in passionate love.

an intense feeling that involves sexual attraction, a desire for mutual love and physical closeness, arousal and a fear that the relationship will end.


Describe what is involved in companionate love.

a type of love marked by very close friendship, mutual caring, liking, respect and attraction


Describe what is involved in parental love

cultures survive on mother-child love as infants are reliant on them for survival. Infant strategies for "being lovable" include smiling and looking cute.


Sternberg's triangular model of love includes Passion, Intimacy and Commitment. Explain how the triangle works.

Romantic love=passion + intimacy
Companionate=intimacy + commitment
Fatuous love=passion + commitment
Only Consummate love has all passion, intimacy and commitment.


What are the 3 attachment styles in love?

Secure - 55% not concerned with the possibility of loss of the relationship.
Avoidant - 25% uncomfortable with intimacy and closeness.
Anxious-ambivalent - 11% those who want, but simultaneously fear, a relationship.


What role does arousal have in romantic love?

• In times of high tension we are more likely to fall in love because of that arousal.
• The Romeo and Juliet effect - parental opposition can intensify passionate attraction.
• Dutton and Aron (1974) - swing bridge study; arousal was heightened by the nervousness felt by the fear of the swing bridge.


Describe Averill & Boothroyd (1977) Belief in love as a key factor study.

41 men and 44 women given a newspaper account of Floyd and Ellen and other examples of 'great romances' and then asked to rate own most intense love experience on a 10 point scale in terms of its resemblance to the 'romantic ideal'.

Results: People tend to polarise to the extremities. The results showed that different people will interpret love differently. The decision as to if it is the real thing is down to the mind of each individual.


What is the Matching hypothesis?

people tend to settle into relationships with others who have a similar level of physical attractiveness as themselves. The "league" reference.


Is physical attractiveness subjective? Yes and No

• Langlois and Roggman (1990) - computer generated 'average' (symmetrical) faces deemed more attractive than real faces.
• Cross cultural studies show evidence of a considerable agreement on facial attractiveness. (There is much less agreement on body attractiveness).
• However, judgments on attractiveness are influenced by other characteristics. Such as a warm friendly disposition.


Explain Differential Parental Investment.

A woman tends to make a greater investment 9+months and then caring for.
A man tends to have less time invested in the conception of a child.
Therefore, it is important for a woman to choose a man who can look after her and her child/ren.


Buss (1989) discovered what about romantic attraction?

Kindness and intelligence valued by both genders.
Men prefer traits that signify fertility- symmetrical face, smooth skin, 7:10 waist to hip ratio.
Women prefer status, ambition and dominance - characteristics that would provide resources to support children.


What is Imitation?

is the copying of another person or social norm.


What are social norms and how do they differ from perceived norms?

Social norms: "the rules that implicitly (don't have to be stated) or explicitly (directly told) govern members of a group."

Perceived norms: People's perception of the social norm - which may or may not be accurate but is important in influencing their behaviour.


We see our colleagues' bikes sitting outside the office. We start biking to work. What causes us to do this?

behavioural traces are when we can see the effect of someone's behaviour and thus we copy it.


What is it called when a behaviour that a member in a given position in a group is expected to perform

Social role


Define social hierarchy.

The roles that reflect the distribution of power in a group.


What is deindividuation?

a process by which behaviours become accepted in a group context that would not be outside that context. (they lose their personal identity)


What is it called when "victims" are not seen as a real person?


By differentiating the victims from being another human being one can act more brutally towards them, e.g. Mock prison guards in Stanford Prison experiment.


Describe conformity.

A change in beliefs or behaviours to follow a group's norms - Pressure to be who society says you should be.


Explain the difference between informational social influence and normative social influence.

Informational social influence: applies when we use others as a guide to what is right.

Normative social influence: applies when we want to fit in for the sake of fitting in.


Explain Asch (1956) Length of line test

• Only 1/4 participants continued to always call out the correct answer.
• Meaning 3/4 of participants conformed to the group and gave the incorrect answer knowing it to be wrong.
• Embarrassment was the main reason people gave as to why they conformed.
• If one of the others had given a different answer the participant was less likely to conform.
Conclusion: when given a model or option to break conformity the participant would. It was not necessary for that ally to be correct, just important that someone else had broken conformity first.


Give reasons as to why we conform.

Imitation is a key feature of human learning, so we are predisposed to imitation.
• Others do provide information on what is right (informational social influence).
• Non-conformity threatens the individual's desire for social approval and belonging.
• SO: It is very hard to do the right thing when everyone else is doing the wrong thing.


Explain group polarisation

The tendency of group members' opinions to become more extreme after group discussion.


What is groupthink?

a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' striving for unanimity overrides their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action.


What are the processes in groupthink?

A highly cohesive group.
A leader preference for a certain decision.
Insulation of the group from the outside.


What is meant by the thought process of invulnerability in groupthink?

illusion of invulnerability and willingness to take extraordinary risks. This may cause them to ignore clear danger warnings. (Nothing has happened in the past, so it won't happen now.)


What is meant by the thought process of rationalisation in groupthink?

Participants in groupthink collectively construct rationalisations that discount warnings and other negative feedback


What would occur in a groupthink situation if a member disagrees?

Group members often apply direct pressure on anyone who questions the validity of arguments supporting a decision.


Group members tend to censor themselves when they have opinions or ideas that deviate from the group consensus. This is called?



What is it called when group members share an illusion that the majority view is unanimous?

Illusion of unanimity


How do time pressures effect groupthink decisions?

Group feels a decision must be made in a short period of time so rush to bad decisions.


Why does only considering a few alternatives lead to bad decisions in groupthink?

Group considers few alternatives, often only two and thus feel an obligation to get things done.


Describe Milgram's (1963) study on obedience and the results he discovered.

40 male Participants aged between 20-50 years from normal working backgrounds such as mail clerks, teachers and salesmen were selected to be the teacher in what they were told was a study on how well punishment helped with learning and memory.
The student who was a confederate pretended to be hooked up to a electric shock machine. The teacher would then state one of the paired words and the student would have to identify the correct paired word. If the student answered incorrectly the teacher would administer an electric shock. The voltage increased for each wrong answer.

14 psychology majors said participants would only continue to the maximum shock intensity 1.2% of the time.

40 Psychiatrists said that it would be used by 0.1% of participants.

Results: 2/3 of participants continued to the maximum shock intensity.

Obedience explained in terms of:
• The university setting gave the impression of worthiness of the study and authority of the experimenter
• Many participants felt an obligation or commitment to the experimenter
• The subject's inability to check out the ambiguity of the situation with others
• The sense that the subject was another person's agent gave them a feeling of lessened responsibility
Ingrained habit of obedience


Describe what variations to Milgram's obedience study have been undertaken and their results.

Proximity: if a subject only had to instruct another to inflict the shocks they went to the maximum 93% of the time.
If a subject had to put the learner's hand directly on the shock, obedience dropped to 30%Concluding that the reduced proximity to the learner increased obedience.
If the teacher was supported by a disobedient peer, only 10% fully obeyed. Like conformity once someone else had disobeyed it was easier to then disobey yourself.
Similar rates of obedience in Europe, Jordan, South Africa and Australia.
Similar rates in women, men and children

50 years on Burger (2008) conducted Milgram's study again with results showing 70% were willing to give shocks greater than 150 volts. So time hasn't changed our obedience either.


What is prosocial behaviour?

Acting to benefit others.


How does prosocial behaviour differ from altruism?

Altruism is an alternative term for such behaviours as prosocial, but sometimes used only to refer to behaviours that carry a cost to the individual.


Describe the kin-selection hypothesis in relation to altruism.

altruistic behaviour evolved because it promoted the survival of our kin. e.g 1 person's sacrifice lead to the survival of many.


Why do people perform altruistic behaviours?

because they expect the favour to be returned - reciprocal altruism.
This creates social obligations and bonds.
Indirect reciprocity - people who act according to reciprocal altruism gain a good reputation, so become more accepted in the social network = advantages


Explain the bystander effecr.

Primarily studied in contexts in which people help (or don't help) a stranger.
Latane and Darley - proposed situational model: that helping others occurs or doesn't occur primarily because of the characteristics of the situation, not the personal characteristics of the individuals involved.


Explain why people are less likely to help if there is a crowd.

Diffusion of responsibility. People knew others were witnessing the event so assume someone else will help.


What factors increase a persons chance to react to an emergency?

Situational and personal features associated with helping (or not)Similarity to the person in need and belief they "deserve" help.
E.g. Homeless man: We tend to assume that people have gotten themselves into this situation and thus are not deserving of help.


Why is it more likely for an individual to intervene in a fight where it is obvious the two fighting are strangers?

Ambiguity: In many situations the information is ambiguous. A lovers' quarrel?
Shortland and Shaw (1976)
• People more likely to intervene in a fight between male and female strangers than a married couple.
• Participants perceived, that the woman in the stranger situation, to want more help.
If the relationship of the two individuals is unknown participants assumed they were intimately involved and thus did not intervene.