Study Guide: Social Psychology Terms/Concepts

Attribution Theory
the theory that we tend to explain the behavior of others as an aspect of either internal dispositiion or the situation

Fundamental Attribution Theory
the tendency to attribute the behavior of others to internal dispositions rather than to situations

Situational Attribution
an assumption that a person’s behavior is determined by external circumstances such as the social pressure found in a situation

Dispositional Attribution
an assumption that a person’s behavior is determined by internal causes such as personal attitudes or goals

Self-Serving Bias
a readiness to perceive oneself favorably

Attitude
a belief and feeling that predisposes one to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events

Foot-In-The-Door Phenomenon
the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request.

Role
a set of expectations (norms) about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to behave

Cognitive Dissonance Theory
the theory that we act to reduce the discomfort we feel when two of our thoughts are inconsistent

Conformity
adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard

Obedience
the tendency to comply with order, implied or real, from someone percieved as an authority

Social Facilitation
improved perfrmance of tasks in the presence of others

Social Loafing
the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable

Deindividuation
the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occurring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity

Group Polarization
the enhancement of a group’s prevailing attitudes through discussion within the group

Groupthink
the mode of thinking that occurs when the desire for harmony in a decision-making group overrides a realistic appraisal of alternatives

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
a belief or expectation that helps to make itself true

Mere Exposure Effect
the phenomenon that repeated exposure to novel stimuli increases liking of them

Passionate Love
an aroused state of intense positive absorption in another, usually present at the beginning of a love relationship

Companionate Love
the deep affectionate attachment we feel for those with whom our lives are intertwined

Equity
a condition in which people receive from a relationship in proportion to what they give to it

Self-Disclosure
revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others

Altruism
unselfish concern and actions for the welfare of others

Bystander Effect
The tendency for a person to be less likely to give aid if other people are present

Prejudice
an unjustifiable (and usually negative) attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally involves stereotyped beliefs, negative feelings, and a predisposition to discriminatory action

Stereotypes
generalizations about a group of people in which the same characteristics are assigned to all members of a group

Discrimination
A behavior that treats others unequally because of their society norms and the difference between them. Examples could be name-calling, violence, even death for their culture.

Ingroup
people with whom one shares a common identity

Outgroup
those perceived as different or apart from one’s ingroup.

Ingroup Bias
the tendency to favor one’s own group

Scapegoat Theory
the theory that prejudice offers an outlet for anger by providing someone to blame

Other-Race Effect
the tendency to recall faces of one’s own race more accurately than faces of other races

Just-World Phenomenon
the tendency of people to believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get

Aggression
any physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt or destroy

Superordinate Goals
shared goals that override differences among people and require their cooperation

Social Psychology
scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another.

Bem’s Self-Perception Theory
when other sources fail us, we look to our own behavior for clues about our true attitudes

Chameleon Effect
Natural (unconscious) tendency to imitate other peoples speech, inflections & physical movements

Social Norms
rules within a group indicating how members should or should not behave

Minority Influence
the case where a minority of group members influences the behavior or beliefs of the majority

Reward Theory of Attraction
Theory that we will like those whose behavior is rewarding to us and that we will continue relationshps that offer more rewards than costs.

Matching Hypothesis
A prediction that most people will find friends and mates that are perceived to be about their same level of attractiveness

Expectancy-Value Theory
people decide whether to pursue a relationship by weighing the potential value of the relationship against their expectation of success in establishing the relationship.

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