Psych 281: Chapter 12

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Social Psychology
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The scientific study of how a person’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real, imagined, or implied presence of others
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Conformity
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Behavior that is influenced by what others are doing; cultures with high levels of individualism have lower rates of conformity; women tend to conform more than men when a public response is required; Asch’s study
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Asch’s Study of Conformity
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Showed that if four or more people were doing a behavior than the likelihood increased that the person after them would also do that behavior
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Four
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Magic number of conformity
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Compliance
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Behavior that is a result of a direct request
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Obedience
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Changing one’s behavior at the command of an authority figure
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Groupthink
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A kind of thinking that occurs when people place more importance on maintaining group cohesiveness than on assessing the facts of the problem with which the group is concerned
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Group Behaviors
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– Group Polarization – Social Facilitation – Social Impairment – Social Loafing
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Group Polarization
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When groups will take more extreme positions than individuals
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Social Facilitation
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Others watching increases our behavior; arousal is a key factor
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Social Impairment
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Others watching decreases our behavior; arousal is a key factor
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Arousal
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A key factor in social facilitation and in social impairment
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Social Loafing
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Tendency for people to put less effort into a simple task when working with others; can be decreased by making individuals more responsible
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Compliance Techniques
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– Foot-in-the-Door – Door-in-the-Face – Lowball – Used in sales
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Foot-in-the-Door
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Small request that turns into a larger request
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Door-in-the-Face
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Large request we usually refuse and then agree to a smaller request
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Lowball
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Agrees to a commitment, then says no and increases the cost; one usually agrees to the second, higher offer
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Milgram’s Study
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One person is the “teacher the other is the “learner”; “learner” is in on the experiment; the “teacher” asks “learner” questions; when the “learner” answers questions wrong they get shocked by the “teacher”; shocks get increasingly higher and the “learner” experiences more ‘pain’; used to study blind obedience
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Milgram’s Findings
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Around 65% of participants went all the way to 450 volts (the top); people will easily obey an authority figure and do harm to others; participants identified with the experimenter and the larger scientific process rather than the ordinary community; no single personality trait has been found to be associated with high levels of obedience
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Attitude
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A response, either positive or negative, towards a certain person, idea, object, or situation; they are learned
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ABC Model of Attitude
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– Affective Component – Behavior Component – Cognitive Component
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Affective Component
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The way a person feels
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Behavior Component
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The actions a person takes
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Cognitive Component
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How the person thinks
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Persuasion
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A process of social influence to cause other people to change their attitudes and behavior; includes source, message, and target audience
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Source
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If the communicator is viewed as an expert, seems trustworthy, attractive, or similar to the person receiving the message, there is an increased chance of successful persuasion; greater expertise leads to greater persuasion
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Message
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Message should be clear and well organized; should present both sides to the audience if they are uncommitted
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Target Audience
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Know your audience
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Types of Processing
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– Central-Route Processing – Peripheral-Route Processing
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Central-Route Processing
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Uses facts and content of the message
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Peripheral-Route Processing
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Focuses on feelings and outside aspects of the message
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Cognitive Dissonance
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A sense of tension that occurs when a person’s behavior does not correspond to his or her attitude
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Ways to Reduce Cognitive Dissonance
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– Change behavior to match the attitude – Change the thought to justify the behavior – Developing new thoughts to justify the behavior
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Leon Festinger and James Carlsmith Experiment
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Those who got one dollar performing a boring task said the task was more interesting than those who received twenty dollars for the same task
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Impression Formation
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The forming of the first knowledge that a person has concerning another person
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Stereotype
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A set of characteristics believed to be shared by all members of a group
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Attribution
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Explanations that account for one’s own behaviors and or the behaviors of others
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Fundamental Attribution Error
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We are more likely to attribute another’s behavior to internal rather than to situational causes and our own behavior to situational causes
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Situational Attribution
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Attribution caused by a situation
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Dispositional Cause
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Internal personality characteristics are seen as the cause of an attribution
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Prejudice
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Attitude
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Discrimination
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Behavior
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In-group
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The group one identities with
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Out-group
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The group competitors, enemies, or others
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Scapegoating
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The process of making people in an out-group responsible for the problems; usually the group of people with the least amount of power
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Prejudice Theories
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– Social Identity Theory – Self-fulfilling Prophecy
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Social Identity Theory
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Individuals view their own group favorably in order to think of themselves more favorably; part of a person’s self concept is based on identification with nation, culture, ethnic group, gender or other roles in society
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Self-fulfilling Prophecy
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The tendency of one’s expectations to affect one’s behavior in such a way as to make the expectations more likely to occur
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Realistic Conflict Theory
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Increasing prejudice and discrimination are closely tied to an increasing degree of conflict between the in-group when those groups are seeking a common resource, such as land, or available jobs
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Interpersonal Attraction
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– Proximity – Similarity – Opposites Attract – Reciprocity of Liking
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Proximity
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Work or live closely to one another; positively correlated
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Similarity
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People tend to like being around others who are similar to them
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Opposites Attract
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Complementary characteristics
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Reciprocity of Liking
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If someone likes me then I like them
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Aggression
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– Parts of the Brain – Hormones – Alcohol – Social Roles – Learned – Video Games
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Parts of the Brain Related to Aggression
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– Amygdala – Limbic System
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Hormones Related to Aggression
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Testosterone
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How Alcohol Relates to Aggression
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Alcohol acts to release inhibitions
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How Social Roles Affect Agression
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A type of behavior expected from certain individuals
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How Video Games Relate to Aggression
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Violent video games do correlate with increased aggression levels of the children who play them, but a correlation does NOT PROVE causation; they have not proven that playing violent video games causes increased aggression
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Zimbardo’s Prison Study
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– Male college students agreed to participate in a two-week experiment to discover what would happen when they took on the roles of prisoners and guards – Guards became more aggressive – The experiment was cancelled after 5 days because it was getting out if control – Abu Gharib prison guards showed similar behavior
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“Kitty” Genovese Case
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Victim of a brutal assault 38 people observed and none called 911; bystander effect; diffusion of responsibility; more inclined to help if we are in a good mood; the fewer people observing the more help one recives
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Bystander Effect
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When there are other potential helpers people are less inclined to help
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Diffusion of Responsibility
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The more people the less responsibility each individual feels
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Altruism
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Helping someone in trouble with no expectation of reward and often without fear for one’s own safety

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