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Social Psychology. I. Social Cognition and Perception: refers to the mental processes that help us to collect and remember information about others, and to form beliefs and attitudes and make judgments based on that information .

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I. Social Cognition and Perception: refers to

the mental processes that help us to collect

and remember information about others, and to

form beliefs and attitudes and make judgments

based on that information.

A. Interpersonal Primacy Effect:the first information learned

about someone will be a more powerful influence on our

perceptions than any later information will be.

B. Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: expectations that change one’s

own behavior in such a way as to increase the probability of

the predicted event.


C. Stereotype:a generalized belief or expectation about a

group of people.

D. Prejudice:an attitude or feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or group of people, prior to, or not based on, actual experience.

E. Discrimination: actual behaviors based on prejudice.

F. Symbolic Racism:unintentionally discriminating against

some groups while expressing a belief that all people are equal.

G. Contact Hypothesis: the idea thatdiscrimination and

prejudice will decline as we have more contact with people who

we would have discriminated against.

1) Robbers Cave


H. Internal Attributions:explanations based on an individual’s

perceived stable characteristics, such as attitudes, personality

traits, or abilities.

I. External Attributions:explanations based on the current

situation and events that would influence all people.

1) Consensus Information:how an individual’s behavior

compares with other people’s behavior in a given situation.

2) Consistency Information:how an individual’sbehavior

varies over time in a given situation.

3) Distinctiveness:how an individual’sbehavior varies

between situations.


J. Fundamental Attribution Error:the tendency to make

internal attributions for another person’s behavior despite the

presence of possible external influences.

K. Actor-Observer Effect:the tendency to make external

attributions for our own behaviors (especially negative ones)

and internal attributionsfor the behaviors of others.

L. Self-Serving Biases:attributions that we use to optimize

our perception of ourselves.

M. Self-Handicapping Strategies: we intentionally put

ourselves at a disadvantage to provide an excuse for an

expected defeat or failure.


II. Attitudes and Persuasion

A. Attitude:a like or dislike that influences our behavior toward

a person or thing.

B. Persuasion:any attempt to change your attitudes and thus

your behavior.

C. Central Route to Persuasion:serious decisions; invest time

and effort in evaluating the evidence.

D. Peripheral Route to Persuasion: decisions of little

importance; attend to superficial aspects (speaker’s appearance

or amount of evidence rather than quality of evidence.)


E. Sleeper Effect:delayed persuasion by an initially rejected


F. Minority Influence:those who hold an unpopular opinion

eventually change the attitudes of those who hold the majority


G. Strategies for resisting persuasive messages.

1) Inoculation: you give people counter-arguments to

prepare them for people trying to change their attitudes.

2) Forewarning: people know ahead of time what the topic

and method of persuasion will be and can be mentally

prepared to avoid being taken advantage of.


H. Strategies for increasing the power of persuasive


1) Distraction: people’s attitudes are more easily changed

when they are distracted enough from developing

counterarguments, but not so distracted that they don’t

receive / understand the message.

2) Rumination: if you get people to simply think about the

reasons why they feel the way they do about something, that

in and of itself leads to attitude strengthening.

I. Some common strategies of persuasion.

1) Norm of Reciprocity (pre-giving):giving the persuadee

something in advance before asking for compliance.

2) The Foot in the Door Tactic:making a small request first,

& once it is agreed to, following it with a second larger request.


3) The Door in the Face Tactic:making a request so large

that it is turned down, and then following it up with a second

smaller request.

4) The That's Not All Tactic:adding additional incentives to

the original offer (sweetening the deal).

5) The Lowball Tactic:making a deal that is too good to

refuse, and then, after the initial deal is agreed to, changing it

to one that is not as attractive.

6) The Bait and Switch Tactic:luring customers with an

attractive product and then trying to get them to purchase a

similar but different product.

J. Cognitive Dissonance: a state of tension that exists when

an individual holds contradictory attitudes or exhibits behavior

that is inconsistent with their attitudes.


III. Interpersonal Attraction

A. Proximity:we are likely to develop relationships with people

who live near us and become familiar to us.

1) Mere Exposure Effect:the more often we see someone

or something the more likely we are to start to like that person

or thing.

B. Similarity

C. Exchange / Equity Theories:we seek people with whom we

feel we can make equitable transactions of goods and services.

D. Physical Attractiveness

1) frequency of dating

2) feelings of popularity

3) others’ initial impressions of their personalities


Desired Number of

Sexual Partners

Over the Course

of One’s Lifetime


IV. Interpersonal Influence

A. Conformity:the maintenance or alteration of one’s behavior

to match the behavior and expectations of others.

1) Sherif’s Research

2) Asch’s Research

The Ally Effect:if you introduce a dissenter into the group

(i.e. someone who takes the side of the real subject), then

the real subject’s likelihood to conform drops significantly.

B. The Bystander Effect: people are less likely to offer help in

an emergency situation when other people are present; the

greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any

one of them will help.


C. Diffusion of Responsibility: we tend to feel less

responsibility to act when other people nearby are equally

able to act.

D. Pluralistic Ignorance:people will sometimes assume in

the absence of information that others have a different and

better-informed opinion.

E. Social Loafing:the tendency to “loaf” or to do less work

when sharing work with other people.

F. Group Decision-Making

1) Group Polarization: if most members of a group already

have a strong opinion on a matter then a group discussion

will move the group as a whole even further in that direction.

2) Groupthink: group members may suppress doubts about

a decision in fear of making trouble or being criticized.


V. The Power of the Social Situation

A. Behavior Traps:situations in which conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing its self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behaviors.

1) The Prisoner’s Dilemma:

a situation in which a person

must choose between

a cooperative act and

an act very beneficial

only to himself or

herself and most likely

hurtful to others.


2) TheCommons Dilemma: people who share a common

resource tend to overuse it and therefore make it unavailable

in the long run.

B. The Stanford Prison Study

C. Milgram’s Study of Obedience to Authority