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Chapter 16: Social Behavior. Social Psychology. the branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others. Person Perception: Forming Impressions of Others. Effects of physical appearance:

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Social Psychology

  • the branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others.


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Person Perception:Forming Impressions of Others

  • Effects of physical appearance:

  • Good looking people are seen as being more sociable, friendly, poised, warm and well-adjusted.

  • Baby-faced (large eyes, smooth skin, rounded chin) seen as more trustworthy.


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Social Schemas: organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and people.

Stereotypes: Widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group.

In group: the group one belongs to.

Out group:

We see the in-group as superior.

Schemas & Stereotypes


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Figure 16.1 Examples of social schemas of social events and people.


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Attribution Processes: Explaining Behavior of social events and people.

  • Internal Attributions: due to personal dispositions, traits, abilities and feelings

  • External attributions: due to situational demands and environmental constraints.


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Attribution Processes: Explaining Behavior of social events and people.

  • Self-serving bias: tendency to attribute our successes to personal factors, and our failures to situational factors.

  • Fundamental attribution error: using internal attributions to explain other’s behavior.

  • Defensive attribution error: tendency to blame victims for their misfortune (so that we feel less likely to be victimized in the same way).



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Close Relationships: Liking and Loving attribution error

  • Key factors in attraction

    • Physical attractiveness

    • Matching hypothesis

    • Similarity

    • Reciprocity

    • Romantic Ideals


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Close Relationships: Liking and Loving attribution error

  • Matching hypothesis: males and females of approximately equal physical attractiveness are likely to select each other as partners

  • Reciprocity: we like people who show that they like us


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Close Relationships: Liking and Loving attribution error

Passionate love: complete absorption in another that includes sexual feelings and the agony and ecstasy of intense emotion.

Companionate love: warm, trusting, tolerant affection for another whose life is deeply intertwined with one’s own.


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Close Relationships: Liking and Loving attribution error

  • Intimacy: warmth, closeness, and sharing

  • Commitment: intent to maintain a relationship in spite of difficulties.



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Attitudes and Attitude Change attribution error

  • 3 components

    • cognitive, affective, and behavioral

  • Factors in changing attitudes

    • source, message, and receiver

  • Theories of attitude change

    • Learning theory

    • Dissonance theory

    • Self-perception theory

    • Elaboration likelihood model






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Yielding to Others: Conformity study

  • Conformity – Solomon Asch (1950s)

    • Classic experiment

      • Group size

      • Group unanimity


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Yielding to Others: Obedience study

  • Obedience – Stanley Milgram (1960s)

    • Controversial landmark experiment

    • “I was just following orders”

      • presence of a dissenter


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Behavior in Groups: studyThe Influence of Other People

  • The bystander effect - Darley and Latane (1968)

    • Diffusion of responsibility

  • Group productivity and social loafing

  • Decision making in groups

  • Polarization

  • Groupthink





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Figure 16.23 Bias in the attributions used to explain success and failure by men and women


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