CH. 4 Social Psychology

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Attitude
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A favorable or unfavorable evaluative reactions toward something – often rooted in beliefs and exhibited in feelings and inclinations to act
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Implicit association test (IAT)
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A computer-driven assessment of implicit attitudes. The test uses reaction times to measure people’s automatic associations between attitude objects and evaluative words. Easier pairings (and faster responses) are taken to indicate stronger unconscious associations
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Role
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A set of norms that defines how people in a given social position ought to behave
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Foot-in-the-door phenomenon
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The tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request (Sign study showed that 76% of homeowners allowed a big sign in their yard after having put a small sign in their yard as compared 17% of homeowners allowed the big sign when only asked about the big sign
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Low-Ball technique
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A tactic for getting people to agree to something. People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante. People who receive only the costly request are less likely to comply with it
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Killing Begets Killing: Bug death machine
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Students who initially perceived themselves as killing several bugs, by dropping them in the apparent killing machine, later killed an increased number of bugs during a self-paced killing period. (In reality, no bugs were harmed)
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Cognitive dissonance
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Tension that arises when one is simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions. e.g., dissonance may occur when we realize that we have, with little justification, acted contrary to our attitudes or made a decision favoring one alternative despite reasons favoring another
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Insufficient justification
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Reduction of dissonance by internally justifying one’s behavior when external justification is \”insufficient\”
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Dissonance theory suggests that parents…..
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should aim to elicit desired behavior non-coercively, thus motivation children to internalize the appropriate attitudes
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Self-perception theory
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The theory that when we are unsure of our attitudes, we infer them much as would someone observing us, by looking at our behavior and the circumstances under which it occurs
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Over-justification effect
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The result of bribing people to do what they already like doing; they may then see their actions as externally controlled rather than intrinsically appealing
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Self-affirmation theory
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A theory that (a) people often experience a self-image threat, after engaging in an undesirable behavior; and (b) they can compensate b affirming another aspect of the self. Threaten people’s self-concept in one domain, and they will compensate either by refocusing or by doing good deeds in some other domain
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The ABC’s of attitude:
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A – Affect (feelings) B – Behavior tendency C – Cognition (thoughts)
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Door-in-the-face phenomenon
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The tendency for people who first said no to a larger request later comply to a smaller request
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Why might attitudes not predict behaviors? (Wicker, 1969)
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Because the developing picture of what controls behavior emphasized external social influences, such as others’ behavior and expectations, and played down internal factors, such as attitudes and personality. We are essentially hypocrites
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When do attitudes predict behavior?
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Our attitudes predict our behavior when other influences on what we say and do are minimal, when the attitude is specific to the behavior, and when the attitude is potent
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Aggregate measures of behavior
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Principle of aggregation: The effects of an attitude become more apparent when we look at a person’s aggregate or average behavior than when we consider isolated acts (A bunch of acts piled together instead of a single act)
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Attitude is specific to behavior
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e.g., Attitudes toward the general concept of \”health fitness\” poorly predict specific exercise and dietary practices, but an individual’s attitudes about the costs and benefits of jogging are a fairly strong predictor of whether he or she jogs regularly
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They of Planned Behavior (Ajzen, 1977)
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Knowing people’s intended behaviors, and their perceived self-efficacy and control. Moreover, four dozen experimental tests confirm that inducing new intentions induces new behavior. Even simply asking people about their intentions to engage in a behavior increases it’s likelyhood
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Cialdini’s 1978 study on \”Low-ball technique\”
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Cialdini and his collaborators found that this technique indeed works. When they invited introductory psychology students to participate in an experiment at 7:00 a.m., only 24% showed up. But if the students first agreed to participate without knowing the time and only then were asked to participate at 7:00 a.m., 53% showed up
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Cialdini’s 1975 study on \”Door-in-the-face phenomenon\”
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Subjects were asked to be a Big Brother or Sister at a detention center for two hours per week for two years, when asked this 0% of them agreed to this request. They were then asked to chaperone the group at the zoo for one day. 50% agreed to chaperone the trip at the zoo as compared to only 17% of participants who only received the zoo request.
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Cognitive dissonance theory
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One theory is that our attitudes change because we are motivated to maintain consistency among our cognitions
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Applications of Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Brehm 1956 on Consumer behavior
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Jack Brehm brought some of this wedding gifts to his University of Minnesota lab and had women rate eight products, such as a toaster, a radio, and a hair dryer. Hrehm then showed the women two objects they had rated closely and told them they could have whichever they chose. later, when rerateding the eight objects, the women increased their evaluations of the item they had chosen and decreased their evaluations of the rejectd item. (They were not allowed to keep the gifts)
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Aronson, Fried, and Stone 1991 study on Cognitive dissonance
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Aronson and colleagues asked sexually-active undergraduate volunteers to develop a speech promoting condom use from a set of facts. Participants were randomly assigned either to deliver the speech in front of a camera or to silently rehearse the speech but not to deliver it. Among these groups, participants were also randomized to review occasions in their past when they had unprotected intercourse, or not to, prior to developing the speech. Finally, participants reported their levels of condom use in the past and reported their level of intention to use condoms in the future. Results indicated that participants in the camera/unprotected intercourse reported the highest levels of previous risk behavior, indicating that the hypocrisy-induction procedure had \”enabled subjects to overcome denial\”. This is not what Cognitive dissonance would have predicted. They should have felt the greatest dissonance-based pressure to under rate their risk. Three months later they were called up and asked about their condom use and they used condoms more often.
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Festinger & Carlsmith, 1959 study on insufficient justification
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They predicted that those paid $1 for their lie about the study would feel more dissonance and change their attitudes toward the study and those paid $20 wouldn’t feel as much dissonance because they have justification for what they had done. They were right.
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Standford prison experiment (Zimbardo, 1971)
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Zimbardo wanted to find out: Is prison brutality a product of evil prisoners and malicious guards? Or do the institutional roles of guard and prisoner embitter and harden even compassionate people? Do the people make the place violent? Or does the place make the people violent? By a flip of a coin, students were either assigned as a guard or a prisoner. They all were paid $15 a day. The guard’s job was to take away the prisoners individualism. The experiment went to extreme lengths and went on to long. Everyone lost sight of the main goal and had a growing confusion between reality and illusion, between role-playing and self-identity. They were all released and sent home.
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Threaten a person’s self-concept in one domain, and they will compensate by doing something good in another domain. This describes the
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Self-sufficiency theory
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Dissonance theory explains attitude _______________, while self-perception theory explains attitude _______________.
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change; formation
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A politician who publicly favors a tax increase, while privately not believing in the tax increase, will most likely experience
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cognitive dissonance
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In one variation of Stanley Milgram’s study of obedience, obedience ___________ when the experimenter was not present and gave instructions by phone.
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declined
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In the Asch study, conformity was lowest when
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the subjects wrote their answers privately.
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A person’s personality is seen as being a predictor of conformity when
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the social influences impinging upon them are weak, as opposed to being strong
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Which of the following is not one of the positive labels mentioned in the text for social influence?
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being an agreeable person

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