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PY 101 Chapter 15: Social Psychology

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social psychology
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scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another
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attribution theory
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tendency to give a causal explanation for someone’s behavior, often by either crediting the behavior to one’s situation or to his/her disposition
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fundamental attribution error
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concept that people tend to both overestimate the effects of one’s disposition and underestimate the effects of environment
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how attitudes affect actions
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due largely to attribution theory; how we perceive one to be, either due to one’s disposition or situation, affects how we view them
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foot-in-the-door phenomenon
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if you give someone leeway in an area, you may eventually compromise to a greater commitment than you initially thought you would
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role
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set of expectations that is assumed in a given position defines how one ought to behave see Philip Zimbardo (1972) experiment (students as guards, prisoners)
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cognitive dissonance
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occurs when one’s actions and attitudes are directly opposed, creating tension; tension is lessened when one’s actions and attitudes come in line
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social influence
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study of attitudes, beliefs, decisions, and actions and the way they are molded; this is said to be the greatest contribution of social psychology
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the chameleon effect
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our unconscious tendency to mimic others; this helps us to feel empathy toward others
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conformity
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to change one’s beliefs to fit in the consensus of the group (compare to obedience)
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conditions that strenghten conformity
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one feels incompetent or insecure the group has at least 3 people the group is unanimous one admires the group’s attractiveness, status one has no prior commitment to a response the group observes one’s behavior one’s culture strongly encourages respect for a social standard
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reasons for conforming
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normative social influence informational social influence
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normative social influence
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influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid rejection. A person may respect normative behavior because there may be a severe price to pay if not respected
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informational social influence
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the group may provide valuable information, but stubborn people will never listen to others
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obedience study
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Milgram conducted an experiment in which people were told to inflict pain on subjects for answering questions incorrectly
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obedience is likely to occur when
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person giving orders was close in proximity and seemed to be an authoritative figure authority figure was from a prestigious institution victim was depersonalized no role model for defiance was found
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social facilitation
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we do better at a task when others are watching
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social loafing
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the tendency of an individual in a group to exert less effort toward attaining a common goal than when tested individually
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deindividuation
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when a group experience arouses people and makes them anonymous, they become less self-aware and self-restrained
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prejudice
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an unjustifiable (usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice is often directed towards different cultural, ethnic, or gender groups
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components of prejudice
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beliefs (stereotypes) emotion (hostility, envy, fear) predisposition to act (to discriminate)
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difference between prejudice and discrimination
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prejudice: attitude (mostly unconsious) discrimination: action
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why does prejudice arise?
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social inequalities (haves and have nots) social divisions (us v. them – ingroup and outgroup; ingroup bias) emotional scapegoating (blaming one in order to vent one’s frustrations; ex: blaming Arab-Am after 9/11)
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cognitive roots of prejudice
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categorization (stereotypes) vivid cases (generally few) just-world phenomenon (those who enjoy social and economic superiority attempt to justify the status quo by blaming the victim)
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biological influences on aggression
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genetic neural: limbic system (amygdala) and frontal lobe are involved biochemical: presence/lack of testosterone affects aggression
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psychological factors that affect aggression
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dealing with adverse events (misery likes company) positive reinforcement (bullying w/o consequences) observing models of aggression (television) acquiring social scripts (input seen beforehand is recalled later when a situation arises)
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frustration-aggression principle
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frustration (caused by the blocking of an attempt to achieve a desired goal) creates anger, which can generate aggression
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environment
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as temperature increases, so does aggression
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aggression and catharsis hypothesis
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rather than feeling better when venting emotions, experiences that promote violence only increase aggression
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components of attraction
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proximity (mere exposure effect – see example with penguins) physicial attractiveness (historical basis) similarity
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equity
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condition in which people receive from a relationship in proportion to what they give; component of companionate love
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altruism
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unselfish regard for the well-being of others
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bystander effect
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the tendency for any given bystander to an emergency to be less likely to give aid if other bystanders are present
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enemy perceptions
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people in conflict with one another form diabolical images of one another
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superordinate goals
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shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation
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Graduated & Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction (GRIT)
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this is a strategy designed to decrease international tensions. One side recognizes mutual interests and initiates a small conciliatory act that opens the door for reciprocation by the other party