Psychology 100: Chapter 12

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Social Psychology
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-Concerned with how people influence other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions -We constantly make social judgments and automatically classify people into social categories -Social psychologists have shown that our long-term evaluations of people are heavily influenced by our first impressions
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Attributions
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-Explanations for events or actions, including other people’s behavior -We are motivated to draw inferences in part by a basic need for both order and predictability -One of the most basic distinctions we make when making attributions for people’s behavior is: Person versus Situation -Attributions can vary on other dimensions: -They can be stable over time (permanent) or unstable (temporary) -They can be controllable or uncontrollable
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Personal Attributions
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-Explanations of people’s behavior that refer to their internal characteristics, such as abilities, traits, moods, or efforts
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Situational Attributions
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-Explanations of people’s behavior that refer to external events, such as the weather, luck, accidents, or other people’s actions
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Fundamental Attribution Error
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-Pervasive tendency to overemphasize the importance of personality traits and underestimate the importance of a situation when explaining another’s behavior -Began as the correspondence bias: We expect others’ behavior to correspond with their beliefs and personalities
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Actor/Observer Discrepancy
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-When interpreting our own behavior, we tend to focus on situations Ex. We blame situational aspects, like traffic, for being late
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Self-Serving Bias
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-Generally, people tend to see themselves in a more positive light than others see them -Adaptive trait that motivates people; if people did not love themselves, they would have no motivation
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Personal vs. Situational
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-We attribute our failures to situational, unstable, or uncontrollable factors in a way that casts us in a positive light -We attribute our successes to personal, permanent factors in a way that gives us credit for doing well Example: If you fail a test, you may blame your poor performance on not getting enough sleep or on the professor creating a bad exam; if you do well on a test, you may attribute that good performance to being smart
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Stereotypes
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-Cognitive schemas that help us organize information about people on the basis of their membership in certain groups -Allow for easy, fast processing of social information -Occur automatically, largely outside of our awareness -Affect impression formation
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Subtyping
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-When we encounter someone who does not fit a stereotype, we put that person in a special category rather than alter the stereotype -Stereotypes are self-maintaining: They direct our attention toward information that confirms them and away from disconfirming evidence
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Self-fulfilling Prophecy
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-Tendency to behave in ways that confirm our own or others’ expectations Ex. Teachers’ expectations of students’ success/failure can impact those students’ performances Ex. You expect someone to be shy so you don’t talk to them much
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Prejudice
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-Negative feelings, opinions, and beliefs associated with a negative stereotype
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Discrimination
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-Inappropriate and unjustified treatment of people as a result of prejudice
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Why do stereotypes lead to prejudice and discrimination?
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-Personality factors -People treat others as scapegoats to relieve stress -People discriminate against others to protect their own self-esteem -We favor our own groups and stigmatize those who pose threats to our groups
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Inhibiting Stereotypes
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-Presenting positive examples of admired out-group individuals has produced more-favorable responses toward that group -Training people to respond counter-stereotypically —having them press a \”no\” key when they saw an elderly person paired with a stereotype of the elderly — led to reduced automatic stereotyping -Telling people that their test scores indicate that they hold negative stereotypes can motivate people to correct their beliefs, and the worse they feel about holding those beliefs, the harder they try not to be biased -Cooperation with people that you are prejudiced against -In everyday life, inhibiting stereotyped thinking is difficult and requires a conscious effort
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Robber’s Cave
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-\”Robber’s Cave\” study showed that introducing superordinate goals reduced hostility between groups -People who work together to achieve a common goal often break down subgroup distinctions as they become one larger group -In working together toward a greater purpose, people can overcome intergroup hostilities -Bilingual instruction and \”jigsaw classrooms\” in schools leads to less ingroup favoritism among elementary school children
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Attitudes
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-People’s evaluations of objects, of events, or of ideas -Attitudes are shaped by social context, and they play an important role in how we evaluate and interact with other people -They are acquired via classical conditioning (ex. advertisers associate products with celebrities) and operant conditioning (ex. rewarding a student for studying may create a positive attitude toward studying) -They are also shaped through socialization -In general, people tend to develop negative attitudes about new things more quickly than they develop positive attitudes about them
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Explicit Attitudes
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-Attitudes that a person can report -Saying you like something or do not like something is stating your explicit attitude toward it
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Implicit Attitudes
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-Attitudes that influence a person’s feelings and behavior at an unconscious level -We access implicit attitudes from memory quickly, with little conscious effort or control
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The Implicit Attitudes Test (IAT)
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-Uses reaction time attitudes to assess attitudes by seeing how quickly a person associates concepts or objects with positive or negative words Ex. Asian=smart
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Mere Exposure Effect
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-The more we are exposed to something, the more we tend to like it Ex. When people are presented with normal photographs of themselves and the same image reversed, they tend to prefer the reversed version. Why? *The reversed image corresponds to what people see when they look in the mirror. It is how we are used to seeing ourselves.
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Cognitive Dissonance
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-An uncomfortable mental state due to a contradiction between two attitudes or between an attitude and a behavior -People reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes or behaviors; they sometimes also rationalize or trivialize the discrepancies with a reassuring lie Ex. I want to lose weight, but I didn’t eat anything all day, so I deserve to pig out for dinner; but tomorrow, I’ll eat healthier Ex. Smokers have extreme cognitive dissonance knowing that they are harming their bodies, but do not want to give up smoking
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Social Facilitation
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-The idea that the presence of others generally enhances performance -Social facilitation can enhance or impair performance based on the increased levels of arousal an audience provides: *If the dominant response (behavior) is relatively easy, the presence of others will enhance performance *If the dominant response (behavior) is difficult, the presence of others will impair performance
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Social Loafing
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-People do not work as hard when in a group than when working alone -When people know that their individual efforts can be monitored, they do not engage in social loafing Ex. Six blindfolded people wearing headphones were told to shout as loudly as they could. Some were told they were shouting alone and others were told they were shouting with other people. Participants did not shout as loudly when they believed that others were shouting with them (Latané, Williams, & Harkins, 1979)
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Prosocial Behavior
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-Actions that tend to benefit others, such as doing favors or helping *Why are humans prosocial? -Selfless: motivated by empathy -Inborn tendency to help others -Selfishness: to relieve one’s negative mood
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Altruism
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-Helping when it is needed without any apparent reward for doing so
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Zimbardo and Haney
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-Tested to convey deindividuation and conformity to social roles/norms -Showed how quickly apparently normal students could be transformed into the social roles they were playing -The researchers had male undergraduates at Stanford University play the roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison *Within days, the \”guards\” became brutal and sadistic *The prisoners became helpless to resist
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Deindividuation
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-A state of reduced individuality, reduced self-awareness and reduced attention to personal standards *Self-awareness typically causes people to act in accordance with their values and beliefs; when self-awareness disappears, so do restraints *People are especially likely to become deindividuated when they are aroused and anonymous and when responsibility is diffused (e.g., rioting by fans)
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Ash’s Study
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-Ash wanted to show that people will go along with the majority in order to avoid looking stupid or foolish, even when the majority is knowably in the wrong -At a certain point, the person would just give in to the majority either because of self-doubt or just fear of standing out -Ash had actors give wrong answers to see what the participant chose (participants consistently went with majority) -Once given a partner, participants would give the right answer with support from someone else and when answers were written anonymously, participants would give right answer without social pressure
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Milgram Experiment
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-In one condition, the participant was asked to shock a learner in another room when he answered the questions incorrectly -In another condition, the participant was asked to shock the learner right next to them *In both cases, the learners were actors who pretended to be in pain -The participants in each condition were told to shock their patients insistently, even though many were uncomfortable -This experiment shows that people answer to authority when given orders insistently; even against their own values *However, they are less willing (though generally, still compliant) when they feel more personally responsible (i.e. guilt for shocking person)
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Bystander Intervention Effect
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-The failure to offer help by those who observe someone in need -A person is less likely to offer help if other bystanders are around
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Latane & Darley Experiment
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-Male college students were placed in a room to fill out a questionnaire -Some were alone, some were with 3 other naïve participants, and some were with two calm confederates (actors) *Pungent smoke started to come out of the heating vent *When alone, most participants went for help *Few went for help when seated with other participants *Only 10% went for help when seated with confederates *90% opened the window, coughed, etc. but did not get help
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Why does the Bystander Effect Occur?
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1. Generally, a diffusion of responsibility occurs in group situations 2. People fear making social blunders in ambiguous social situations 3. People are less likely to help when they are anonymous and can remain so 4. People weigh two factors: How much harm do they risk to themselves by helping? What benefits might they forgo if they help?
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How do we reduce the Bystander Effect?
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-Make everyone feel responsible; model altruism -Reduce ambiguity, make needs clear, teach skill set, so people will feel secure with how to act and won’t feel foolish for trying to help -Reduce anonymity=Hey you in the red shirt – I need your help! -Create a greater sense of interconnection; Show that benefits outweigh the harm and when to get help/resources
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What Influences who we like?
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Proximity: How often people come into contact Familiarity: People like familiar things more than unfamiliar ones (the mere exposure effect) Similarity: People similar in attitudes, values, interests, backgrounds, and personalities tend to like each other *Even physical similarity (the matching effect) *The most successful romantic couples also tend to be the most physically similar
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What influences who we like continued?
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=Admirable qualities – but not too many =Physically attractive people *How people rate attractiveness is generally consistent across all cultures Attractiveness can bring many important social benefits *The \”what is beautiful is good\” stereotype the belief that attractive people are superior in most ways

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