An Overall Evaluation About Some Aspect Of The World
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An Overall Evaluation About Some Aspect Of The World
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: focuses on how people perceive and think about other people (social
cognition) and interact in relationships and groups (social behavior)
SOCIAL COGNITION: the ways that people perceive the social world and how they attend to, store,
remember, and use information about other people and the social world
Attitude: an overall evaluation about some aspect of the world
- Affective: your feelings about the object / issue
- Behavioral: your predisposition to act in a particular way toward people, objects, issues
- Cognitive: what you believe or know about people, objects, issues
Attitudes play in important role in how we process information and remember events. In ambiguous
social situations, our attitudes determine what information we pay attention to, process, and
remember. This is how people in the same social situation can come away with different
interpretations of what occurred.
Attitudes influence behavior, but they don’t always lead you to behave in ways that are consistent
with them. Attitudes are more likely to shape behavior when they are strong, relatively stable,
directly relevant to the behavior, important, or easily accessed from memory.
Behavior can also affect attitudes. Repeatedly asserting an attitude can make the attitude stronger.
Cognitive dissonance: uncomfortable state that arises from a discrepancy between two attitudes,
beliefs, or behaviors; accompanied by heightened arousal, people are motivated to reduce this
dissonance by resolving the conflict
Festinger & Carlsmith (1959): people who were paid less to tell someone that a boring task was
enjoyable reported afterward that they enjoyed the task more than those who were paid a greater
- People who were paid little – to reduce the cognitive dissonance between their initial attitude
and their behavior, they changed their attitude about the task so they did not view it as boring.
- People who were paid a lot – didn’t feel cognitive dissonance; the money they received was
adequate compensation for telling someone that they liked the task
The less reason a person has to engage in a behavior that is counter to an attitude, the stronger the
Cognitive dissonance is only experienced when people believe that they have a choice and that they
are responsible for their course of action and thus for any negative consequences.
Methods of Reducing Dissonance:
- Indirect strategies – trying to feel good about ourselves in other areas of life
- Direct strategies – changing our attitudes / behavior
- Trivialize an inconsistency between 2 conflicting attitudes as being unimportant, thereby
making it less likely to cause cognitive dissonance
Attempts to reduce dissonance can help explain why people who are generally not immoral may act
immorally • change how they understand their immoral act; minimize responsibility for it; disregard
the negative consequences; blame / dehumanize the victims
Persuasion: attempts to change people’s attitudes
Elaborate likelihood model of attitude change – 2 routes of persuasion:
- Central – paying close attention to the content of the argument
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- Peripheral – attempts to sway opinions based on the quantity or attractiveness and expertise
of the sources… i.e.: celebrity endorsements
Mere exposure effect: the change – generally favorable – in attitude that can result from simply
becoming familiar with something (ex: political campaigns)
Characteristics of Persuasive People – identity, fast talking, seems honest
You are more likely to be persuaded if the message arouses strong emotions (ex: fear) and if it
includes specific advice about what you can do to bring about a more positive outcome. This does not
always bring about long-term changes in behavior. Ex: AIDS ads
When and where the message is delivered always affects how persuasive it is.
- If you are not paying full attention to an attempt at persuasion, you are less likely to be
persuaded by a rational argument that requires you to think deeply. But you are more likely to
be persuaded by a simplistic argument because your inattention makes you less able to
develop a counterargument.
Social cognitive neuroscience: attempts to understand social cognition by specifying the cognitive
mechanisms that underlie it and by discovering how those mechanisms are rooted in the brain
Lieberman et al. (2001) – Do people need to be consciously aware of cognitive dissonance in order to
be motivated to reduce it? NO.
- Even amnesic patients – who immediately forgot having to make the choice – became more
positive about the chosen object and more negative about the rejected one.
Stereotype: belief (or set of beliefs) about people in a particular category
Because stereotypes assign social information to a category, they can serve as useful cognitive
shortcuts. But stereotypes are often caricatures, sometimes incorrect
We are less likely to process, attend to, encode, remember information that is inconsistent with our
stereotypes. We tend to discard such information and preserve our stereotype.
Instead of changing the stereotype, we will create a new subtype within it to bridge the conflict
between the stereotype and the actual behavior of someone in the stereotyped group.
If you are motivated to be accurate and willing to exert extra cognitive effort, you can minimize the
impact of stereotypes by not assuming that a stereotype applies to a particular person.
You can change a stereotype when you think that a person’s behavior results from his / her
characteristics, not the situation.
Prejudice: an attitude (generally negative) towards members of a group
- Cognitive prejudice – beliefs, expectations about the group
- Emotional prejudice – negative feelings toward the group
Information inconsistent with a prejudice is less likely to be attended to and remembered accurately;
prejudices are self-perpetuating
Discrimination – effect of prejudiced behavior; negative behavior toward individuals from a specific
group that arises from unjustified negative attitudes about that group; based on anything that
Becoming aware of the discrepancy between attitudes and behavior leads to the discomfort of
cognitive dissonance, which can be reduced through changing future behaviors
Why Does Prejudice Exist?
Realistic Conflict Theory – competition for scarce resources leads to increasingly negative views of the
other groups; prejudices dissipate when competition is eliminated
- Ex: Robber’s Cave study
Social categorization theory – cognitive operation that leads people to sort others automatically into
categories of “us” vs. “them”
- Social identity theory – social categorization is important because people usually think of their
own group (ingroup) favorably and usually think about the other group (outgroup)
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o People not only dislike members of the outgroup, but also assume that they possess
more undesirable traits
- The ingroup is actively favored, and the outgroup is actively disfavored.
- Social categorization is efficient because once we’ve made an “us” vs. “them” distinction, we
can then use our stereotypes about “us” vs. “them” to interpret people’s behavior. This spares
us the effort of paying close attention to other people and of actively processing our
observations of their behavior.
- Social categorization perpetuates prejudice because once we classify an individual as a
member of an outgroup, we induce that person to act according to our stereotypes about the
Social Leaning theory – once a prejudicial attitude is established, it can be spread and passed through
generations as a learned stereotype
Increased contact / contact hypothesis – increased contact between different groups will decrease
prejudice between them
- Both groups are more likely to become aware of similarities between the groups, which can
deemphasize differences, enhance mutual attraction
- When faced with enough inconsistent information or exceptions to the stereotypes, people can
change the stereotypes that give rise to their prejudice
- Increased change can shatter the illusion that the outgroup is homogeneous
Recategorization: shifting the categories of “us” and “them” so that the 2 groups are no longer
Mutual interdependence – each member’s contribution is a piece of the whole, each person depends on
others (ex: jigsaw classroom)
Attributions: explanations for the causes of events or behaviors
- Internal attributions (aka dispositional attributions): explain a person’s behavior in terms of
their preferences, beliefs, goals or other characteristics
- External attributions (aka situational attributions): explain a person’s behavior in terms of the
Attributional biases: tendencies to make certain types of attributions; generally occurs outside of
conscious awareness; function as shortcuts to reduce the cognitive load required to make sense of the
- Fundamental Attribution Error (aka correspondence bias) – strong tendency to interpret other
people’s behavior as arising from internal causes rather than external ones
- Ex: juries who hear that the defendant confessed to the crime after many hours of
tough, coercive questioning by police – even if judge throws out confession, jurors are
more likely to vote guilty than those who had not heard the testimony. The jurors can’t
just erase their attributions from their memories.
- Helps perpetuate discrimination because fault is attributed to the person, not to the
- Once a fundamental attribution error affects your understanding of why a person
behaved a certain way, you are likely to continue to make internal, rather than external,
attributions and to ignore situational factors that give rise to future behaviors •
- Fundamental attribution errors also apply to yourself as well.
- Self-serving bias: a person’s inclination to attribute his/her own failures to external causes
and own successes to internal causes, but to attribute other people’s failure to internal causes
and their successes to external causes
- Belief in a just world: assumes that people get what they deserve
- Ex: rape cases – victims deserved it 3
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Relationship – Why are you attracted to some people and not others?
Repeated contact – leads you to think more positively about that person
Similarity – in attitudes, activities, styles of communication attraction
Love ≠ very strong liking
Companionate love: altruistic type of love characterized by expending time, attention, and resources
on behalf of another person (ex: parents love for their children)
Passionate love: intense, often sudden feeling of being “in love,” which typically involves sexual
attraction, a desire for mutual love and physical closeness, arousal, and a fear that the relationship
Triangular model of love: theory that love has 3 dimension – passion; intimacy, commitment
Attachment styles – manner of behaving with and thinking about a partner
3 types for adults:
- Secure (59%)– adults seek closeness and interdependence in relationships, are not worried
about possibly losing the relationship because they feel secure in it
- Avoidant (25%) – uncomfortable with intimacy, closeness
- Anxious-ambivalent (11%) – adults who want, but simultaneously fear a relationship
Evolutionary Reasons for Mate Selection
Men physical attractiveness: women with well-proportioned bodies, symmetrical features signal
Women attractive men can protect and nourish them and their children (i.e.: good earning
Romantically popular men were seen as confident, outgoing, trend-setting; but were not seen as likely
to succeed financially or as being the best leaders (evolutionary favored qualities)
When women achieve economic power, their preference in maters is more similar to men’s – physical
attractiveness becomes more important.
Culture: what are considered attractive body types change with time
Group: social entity characterized by regular interaction among members, some emotional connection,
a common frame of reference, and a degree of interdependence
- Norms: rules that implicitly or explicitly govern members of a group; shared beliefs that are
enforced through the group’s use of sanctions (penalties); can change (ex: attitudes about
drugs, alcohol, sex)
Roles: behaviors that members in different positions in a group are expected to perform
Stanford Prison Experiment – we can slip into a role without intending to do so
Students assigned to be either guards or prisoners.
- “Prisoners” quickly began to behave passively, as if they realized that because they had no
control over what happened to them, they should stop trying
- “Guards” began to act as if they had genuine power over the prisoners, explored the limits of
- Prisoners eventually staged a rebellion, Guards responded with force / put prisoners in
Students slipped easily and quickly into their opposing roles.
Assuming a role in a group can have profound effects!
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Conformity: change in beliefs or behavior in order to follow a group’s norms
- Informational social influence: we conform to others because we believe that their views are
correct or their behavior is appropriate for the situation
- Occurs most often when: situation is ambiguous, there is a crisis, task is very difficult,
other people are experts ’s views / behavior because we want to be right and we
believe that they are correct
- Normative social influence: we conform because we want to be liked or thought of positively
- Solomon Asch – you are in a group with 5 confederates; they give you the wrong
answer, what do you do?
- 76% went along with confederates at least once; overall, 33% of the total
responses conformed with the obviously wrong majority
- Participants wanted the sense of belonging to the group, and didn’t like to
contradict other group members publicly.
iii. When they had to write down their answers, participants gave the correct
response 98% of the time
- Social support – if another group member openly disagrees with the group consensus,
conformity is less likely
- Culture – collectivist cultures have higher levels of conformity
Compliance: a change in behavior prompted by a direct request rather than by social norms
- Friendship/liking – People are more likely to comply with a request from a friend than from a
- Commitment/consistency – people tend to be more likely to comply when the request is
consistent with an idea or goal that they’ve previously embraced
- Scarcity – people are more likely to comply with requests related to limited, short-term
opportunities, rather than open-ended opportunities
- Reciprocity – people tend to comply with a request that comes from someone who has
provided a favor
- Social validation – people are more likely to comply if they think that others similar to
themselves would comply
- Authority – people tend to comply with a request if it comes from someone who appears to be
Foot-in-the-door technique: achieves compliance by beginning with an insignificant request, which is
then followed by a larger request; works because people want to seem consistent
Lowball technique: getting someone to make an agreement and then increasing the cost of that
Door-in-the-face technique: someone makes a very large request, and then, when it is denied, as
expected, makes a smaller request (for what is actually desired); works because of reciprocity
Obedience: compliance with an order
The Milgram Study – you are the teacher, must administer increasing shocks to confederate student
when he incorrectly memorizes a list of pairs of common words
- Willingness of so many participants to obey orders to hurt others is disturbing ~
- Foot-in-the-door technique… teachers start out at trivial voltages
- People are more likely to obey a request if it comes from someone in authority (i.e.: obedience
fell to 20% if college student gave instructions, instead of white-coated experimenter)
- Proximity to the learner or experimenter also affected obedience [ex: applying electrode
directly to their skin decreased obedience; experimenter telephones commands •
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Decision Making in Groups:
Majority-win rule: If a group is not initially unanimous in favor of a particular decision, it is likely that
the view favored by the majority will prevail
Truth-win rule: the objectively correct answer
Group polarization: the tendency of group members’ opinions to become more extreme (in the same
direction as their initial opinions) after group discussion
- Some members of the group may give many very compelling reasons for their initial views
- Once a consensus is established, members take a more extreme position in accordance with the
group norm to increase their standing in the group or improve their view of themselves
- Group members who have more extreme positions take more turns in the discussion and
spend more time talking
Groupthink: group process that when people who try to solve problems together to accept one
another’s information and ideas without subjecting them to critical analysis
Groups tend to make poorer decisions when they are isolated from outside guidance, when the group
leader is vocal about his/her opinion and expects others to go along, and when the members like each
other and have a shared sense of identity. In such circumstances, members want to cooperate, and
refrain from asking questions or making comments that might lead to conflict or controversy.
Social loafing: occurs when some members don’t contribute as much to a shared group task as do
others, and instead let other members work proportionally harder than they do
To avoid: instill each person with a sense of importance, responsibility; make each member clearly
responsible for a particular task; make tasks attractive
Social facilitation: increase in performance that can occur simply as a result of being part of a group
or in the presence of other people (presence of others increases arousal); occurs for well-learned,
simple tasks; hinders performance on complicated, less well-learned tasks
Altruism: motivation to increase another’s welfare
Prosocial behavior: acting altruistically, which includes sharing, cooperating, comforting, and
Characteristics of helpers:
- High agreeableness, high need for approval, predisposition to take personal and social
responsibility, tendency to feel concerned for others, belief in a just world, less concern for our
We are more likely to help if helping is reinforced, we see others helping, we’re in a good mood.
We are more likely to help people we view as similar to ourselves, friends or people we like, people
we believe are not responsible for their predicaments or give socially acceptable justification for
We are more likely to help in situations where the cost of helping is relatively low, rewards of helping
are relatively high, there is an increased cost of not helping (ex: shame, guilt)
Bystander effect: the decrease in offers of assistance that occurs as the number of bystanders increases
Choice points / Steps of bystander intervention:
- Is an emergency actually noticed by the bystander?
- Is the bystander correctly perceiving the event as an emergency?
- Does the bystander assume responsibility to intervene?
- Does the bystander know what to do, how to be helpful?
- Is the bystander motivated enough to help, despite possible negative consequences?
Diffusion of responsibility: diminished sense of responsibility to help that each person feels as the
number of bystanders grows up
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The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
The background and significance of the problem and a clear statement of the research purpose is provided. The search history is mentioned.
Content is well-organized with headings for each slide and bulleted lists to group related material as needed. Use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. to enhance readability and presentation content is excellent. Length requirements of 10 slides/pages or less is met.
More depth/detail for the background and significance is needed, or the research detail is not clear. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is little integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are included. Summary of information presented is included. Conclusion may not contain a biblical integration.
Content is somewhat organized, but no structure is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects, etc. is occasionally detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met.
The background and/or significance are missing. No search history information is provided.
Review of relevant theoretical literature is evident, but there is no integration of studies into concepts related to problem. Review is partially focused and organized. Supporting and opposing research are not included in the summary of information presented. Conclusion does not contain a biblical integration.
There is no clear or logical organizational structure. No logical sequence is apparent. The use of font, color, graphics, effects etc. is often detracting to the presentation content. Length requirements may not be met
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