The study of the relations between people and groups.
Define: Social Cognition
how we interpret social events. Usually depends on what we are currently thinking about, as well as what beliefs and categories we usually use to make sense of things.
Define: Contrast Effect
When any object is contrasted with something similar but not as good, that object is judged to be better.
a procedure based on the notion that ideas that have recently been encountered or frequently activated are more likely to come to mind, and thus will be used in interpreting social events.
Define: Framing Effects
whether a problem or decision is presented in such a way that it appears to represent the potential for loss or gain.
Define: Primacy Effect
a cognitive bias that results from disproportionate salience of initial stimuli or observations. For example, a subject who reads a sufficiently long list of words is more likely to remember words toward the beginning than words in the middle.
Define: Dilution Effect
the tendency for neutral or irrelevant information to weaken a judgement or impression
attempting to present ourselves to others as having positive attributes
a term used to reflect a person's overall evaluation or appraisal of his or her own worth.
Encompassed beliefs (I am competent or I am incompetent) and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride, and shame.
Can apply specifically to a particular dimension (I am a good writer, and proud of that in particular)
Or have global extent (I feel I am a good person, and feel proud of myself in general)
Usually regarded as an enduring personality characteristic (trait), though normal short term variations (state) also exist.
Self-esteem is distinct from self-confidence and self-efficacy, which involve beliefs about ability and future performance.
Define: Social Comparison Theory
suggests that people compare themselves to others because for many domains and attributes there is no objective yardstick to evaluate ourselves against, and other people are therefore highly informative
Define: Self-evaluation maintenance model
this perspective suggests that to maintain a positive view of ourselves., we distance ourselves from others who perform better than we do on valued dimensions and move closer to others who perform worse than us. This view suggests that doing so will protect our self-esteem.
Define: Interdependent Self-Construal
Regarding group decision making: members are concerned for cooperation of the group members and others; the decision is secondary
Define: Independent Self-Construal
In regards to group decision making: members emphasize the quality of the decision and are not primarily interested in relationships among members
Define: Representative Heuristic
when we focus on the similarity of one object to another to infer that the first object acts like the second
Define: Attitude Heuristics
a stored evaluation -good or bad- of an object. Is a way of making decisions and problem solving.
Define: Halo Effect
a general bias in which favorable or unfavorable general impression of a person effects our inferences and further expectations about a person
Define: False Consensus Effect
the (not necessarily true) assumption that others like what we like and do what we prefer to do
Define: Self-Fulfilling Prophesy
occurs when we act on our impressions of others
Define: Illusory Correlation
an effect of categorization when a relationship between two entities is perceived to be related- but in face are not. Often used to confirm stereotypes.
Define: Social Identity Theory
primary method of defining individuals when it is important to distinguish between different levels or types of identity. i.e. when looking at an individual's various group identities as separate from the personal identities.
Define: Upward Social-Comparison
a comparison of the self to another who does batter than or is superior to us
Define: Analytic and Holistic Cognition
Analytic- involving detachment of object from its context, a tendency for focus on attributes of the object to assign it to categories, and a preference for using rules about the categories to explain and predict the object’s behaviour , use formal logic and avoidance of contradiction
Holistic- involving an orientation to the context or field as a whole, including attention to relationship s between a focal events on the basis of such relationships, experienced based knowledge
Define: Fundamental Attribution Error
the tendency to over-value dispositional or personality based explanations for the observed behaviors of others while under-valuing situational explanations for those behaviors
Define: Actor-Observer Bias
hypothesis that an "actor" tends to attribute the causes of their behavior to situational force, while an "observer" is likely to attribute the "actors" behavior to stable dispositions
a type of thought within a deeply cohesive in-group whose members try to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas.
a change of action or opinion based on real or imagined influences of other people
prominent, conspicuous, or striking
a thought, belief, attitude foremost in the mind.
See Social Identity Theory
Define: Downward Social Comparison Theory
a comparison of the self to another who does less well than or is inferior to us
Explain: Reference Points and Contrast Effects
An object can appear to be better or worse than it is, depending on what we compare it with.
Example: Real estate broker takes you house shopping, and starts off showing you a tiny dilapidated house with a big asking price (decoy) before showing you the next average house. Decoys exercise a powerful impact on our decisions by influencing the way the alternatives look. Decoys create a clear preference.
Experiment: Pratkanis et al- Nutri burger, Tasti burger, and Bummer burger (decoy led to boost in tasti burger sales).
Explain: Priming and Construct Accessibility
a procedure based on the notion that ideas that have been recently encountered or frequently activated are more likely to come to mind and thus will be used in interpreting social events.
Experiment: Higgins, Rholes, and Jones illustrates the role of priming in the formation of impressions about other people. In this experiment, subjects were asked to participate in two "different" research projects-- one on perception and one on reading comprehension. The first experiment served to prime different trait categories, some subjects asked to remember positive traits (adventurous, self-confident, independent, and persistent), some subjects asked to remember negative trait words (reckless, conceited, aloof, and stubborn). Then they read an ambiguous paragraph about a fictitious person named Donald, and are asked to describe him in their own words. The results showed how they were primed influenced their impressions of Donald. Cues too subtle for us to notice can color our judgements about other people's behavior as well as our own.
Explain: Framing the Decision
framing- whether a problem or decision is presented in such a way that it appears to represent the potential for a loss or for a gain.
People dislike losses and seek to avoid them.
Example: Framing can play a major role in determining whether people are willing to commit several hundred dollars to insulate their homes to conserve energy. Save money vs. lose money- homeowners in the "loos" condition were twice as likely to invest the money insulate their homes as those in the "save" condition.
Explain: Primacy and Impression Formation
"Put your best foot forward" "First Impressions"
Example: Asch's demonstration on the power of the primacy effect on impression formation. Subjects received descriptive sentences and were asked to rate the person.
a. Steve is intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn, and envious
b. Steve is envious, stubborn critical, impulsive, industrious, and intelligent.
Positive attributes (a) listed first will create a more positive impression than negative traits listed first (b)
Explain: Amount of Information and the Dilution Effect
"if only I had more information"
Although having more information may sometimes be helpful, it can also change how an object is perceived and evaluated through what is called the dilution effect--the tendency for neutral and irrelevant information to weaken a judgement or impression.
Example: Politicians talking about their birthplace and family values, religious views etc. to make themselves seem more similar to others distracts (dilutes) from the impact of relevant information.
Explain: Judgmental Heuristics
a mental shortcut; it is a simple, often only approximate, rule or strategy for solving a problem.
Example: If a particular food item is found in a health food store, it must be good for you.
Heuristics require very little thought--just the selection of the rule (which may not be the correct one to use) and a straightforward application to the issue at hand.
See: representative heuristic, availability heuristic, and attitude heuristic
Explain: Representative Heuristic
when we focus on the similarity of one object to another to infer that the first object acts like the second one.
Example: We know that high-quality products are expensive; therefore, if something is expensive, we might infer that it is really good. The more expensive the wine the better the wine.
Explain: Availability Heuristic
judgements based on how easy it is for us to bring specific examples to mind.
Example: If you're asked a question that you've never really thought about, you will rely on how quickly and easily an example might come to mind. "Am I assertive?" you will base your answer on which memory comes to mind- the time you stopped the person from cutting in line vs. the time you got talked into buying something you didn't want or need.
Explain: Attitude Heuristic
a way of making decisions and solving problems based on one's attitude assigned to objects- favorable or unfavorable. People's attitudes can be used to make sense of the social world, and a person's attitude play a major role in determining what he or she "knows" to be true.
Example: If John dislikes former President Reagan, then, when John thinks about the current federal deficit, he is apt to attribute its cause to the "charge card" economic policies Reagan employed in the 80's. He's also more likely to believe that Reagan never achieved above a C average at Eureka College than that he maintained an A average.
Explain: When do we use Heuristics?
Heuristics are most likely to be used when we don't have time to think carefully about an issue, or when we are so overloaded with information that it becomes impossible to process the information fully, or when the issues at stake are not very important. Also used when we have little solid knowledge or information to use in making a decision.
Explain: Stereotypic Knowledge and Expectations
Specific data (stereotypes) guide our expectations about future interactions on the accompanying stereotypes.
Example: Seeing an individual in different environments will affect your expectations for their behavior (a young girl in a posh park vs. a ghetto park later taking an exam. how will she fare on the exam?)
See: self fulfilling prophesy- the process by which expectations or stereotypes lead people to treat others in a way that makes them confirm their expectations.
Explain: The Illusory Correlation
Seeing relationships where there are none
Example: in informal surveys, people consistently overestimate the extent to which lesbians are likely to contract the AIDS virus. The knowledge that male homosexuals have high rates of HIV infection coupled with the categorization of a woman as homosexual leads to the mistaken judgment that lesbians are likely to have AIDS.
Regardless of the setting, the illusory correlation does much to confirm our original stereotypes; our stereotype leads us to see a relationship that then seems to provide evidence that the original stereotype is true.
Explain: Ingroup/Outgroup Effects
One of the most common ways of categorizing people is to divide them into two groups: those in "my" group and those in the outgroup. Us vs. Them. My school vs. yours, my sports team vs the opponent, Americans vs foreigners, my ethnic group vs yours, those who sit at my lunch table vs the rest of you.
When we divide the world into two such realities, two important consequences occur: the homogeneity effect and ingroup favoritism.
The homogeneity effect refers to the fact that we tend to see members of outgroups as more similar to one another than to the members of our own group- the ingroup.
Example: Sororities- the women perceived more similarity between members of other sororities than within their own. One expl. for this effect is that when the women thought of members in their own group, they had knowledge of them as individuals, when thinking of outgroup members they lacked such individualizing information so they considered them in terms of a group label and saw them all as similar to this identity.
See: minimum group paradigm used to study ingroup favoritism
Explain: Why We Conform
2 goals: being correct, or staying in the good graces of other people by living up to their expectations.
fMRI scans indicate that going against the group is painful in that the amygdala shows a great deal of activity when an individual does not conform.
Individuals may become convinced in the face of the judgment of the unanimous majority that their opinion is wrong
To go along with the crowd (while inwardly believing their initial judgments) in order to be accepted by the majority or to avoid being disliked for disagreeing.
Explain: Factors that Increase or Decrease Conformity
Unanimity- a crucial factor that determines one's likelihood to conform. If you are a lone dissenter more so, if even one other person joins you likelihood to conform drops dramatically.
Commitment- decreases likelihood to conform to group pressure by inducing an individual to commit to his/her initial judgment. i.e. publicly committing themselves to a judgement through verbal statements.
Accountability- under most conditions, the need to justify you decision to other members of your group is likely to increase conformity. Cooperation vs. accuracy- accuracy makes the best decision. Suggests that most people will go along to get along unless they know that they will be held accountable for a dumb, compliant decision.
The Person and Culture- individuals who have generally low self-esteem are far more likely to yield to group pressure than those with high self-esteem. If they are led to believe they have little or no aptitude for the task their tendency to conform increases. How secure one feels in a particular group- more secure less likely to conform. Also, conformity is more prevalent in collectivist societies than in individualistic societies.
Group Exerting Pressure- a group is more effective at inducing conformity if (1) it consists of experts, (2) the members are of high social status, or (3) the members are comparable with the individual in some way.
Explain: Conformity used to Gather Information
There are many situations in which we conform to the behavior of others because their behavior is our only guide to appropriate action. We often rely on other people as a means of determining reality.
In an ambiguous situation, other people can induce conformity by providing us with information suggestive of what people generally do in a given situation.
Example: You're at a dinner party in a strange country, the other guests start burping loudly and the host seems pleased. You might infer that in this place and time it is a sign of gratitude and respect to the host.
Explain: Conformity and Belonging
People have a powerful need to belong. Acceptance and rejection are among the most potent rewards and punishments for social animals.
Explain: Obedience to Authority
For most people, only legitimate authority can command high obedience, not just any person assuming the role of authority.
See: Milgram Electro Shock Experiments and their various conditions- valid authority in smart laboratory, iffy authority in run down laboratory, assistant as substitute for authority, co-team of dissenters to authority
Explain: Bystander Effect
A victim is less likely to receive help if a large number of people are witness to their distress.
If others don't react and respond as if something is an emergency, one is less likely to interpret the situation as an emergency. The presence of another bystander tends to inhibit action.
Also there is the fear of redundant reaction in which the bystander fears their reaction will cause confusion- diffusion of responsibility.
Contrasted by situations that give groups of people a "feeling of common fate" or where there are in a face-to-face situation with the victim from which there is no immediate escape.
one common method by which we attempt to gain self-knowledge-- looking inwardly to assess and understand why we do what we do.
mistaken results can occur if we do not have conscious access to the factors that actually influenced our responses, although after the fact we can and do construct explanations that seem plausible to us.
Example: The stocking study in which participants were asked to choose their preferred stocking choice and then explain why. They chose any number of criteria for their preferred choice (color, texture, quality, etc.) while naive to the fact that the stockings were all exactly the same.
Explain: Self From Other's Perspective
an attempt to learn about ourselves by taking an "observer" perspective on our own past.
In doing so we tend to describe ourselves more in consistant trait terms, as observers do, rather than varying with situations
Example: role playing a dinner party at age 14; method acting-fewer consistent traits, observer-acting- more consistent traits
Explain: Personal vs Social Identity
according to Social Identity Theory, we can perceive ourselves differently at any given moment in time, depending on where we are on the personal-versus-social identity continuum.
At the personal end of this continuum, we think of ourselves primarily as individuals.
At the social end, we think of ourselves as members of specific social groups.
We do not experience all aspects of our self-concept simultaneously; where we place ourselves on this continuum at any given moment will influence how we think about ourselves.
This momentary salience--the part of our identity that is the focus of our attention--can affect much in terms of how we perceive and respond to others.
Explain: Individual vs Group Comparisons
Individual- Self evaluation maintenance model perspective suggests that to maintain a positive view of ourselves, we distance ourselves from others who perform better than we do on valued dimensions and move closer to others who perform worse than us. This view suggests that doing so will protect our self-esteem
Group- Social comparison theory suggests that people compare themselves to others because for many domains and attributes there is no objective yardstick to evaluate ourselves agains, and other people are therefore highly informative
Example: HS valedictorians going to Harvard experience a drop in state self-esteem when they find themselves to be "average"
Explain: Measurement of Self Esteem
The most common method is a general trait-like self-evaluation using the ten-item Rosenberg scale (explicit measurement).
Implicit measures assess the strength of the positive or negative associations between ourselves and stimuli associated with us, including trait terms
Explain: Implicit vs. Explicit Self-Esteem
Explicit- self report, how do we feel about ourselves
Implicit- subconscious feelings towards ourselves, largely influenced by the amount of nurturing we received as a child, is based on associations between ourselves and stimuli associated with us, including trait terms such as warm and honest.
Explain: Pros and Cons of High Self-Esteem
Pros- less likely to conform to group pressure, good self image
Cons- high explicit but low implicit self-esteem means you're more likely to respond with violence and aggression when your superior self views are threatened
See: Social Comparison Theory- suggests that people compare themselves to others because for many domains and attributes there is no objective yardstick to evaluate ourselves agains, and other people are therefore highly informative
Explain: Analytic vs. Holistic Cognition
Analytic- Western society is largely analytic in its cognition in that individuals often perceive themselves and objects as being independent of their social environment.
Holistic- East Asian society is largely holistic in its cognition in that individuals often perceive themselves and objects as being interdependent and context dependent in their social environment.
Example: Western- careers largely independent, fishing, trade, etc.-- Eastern- careers largely interdependent, farming. Western babies sleep alone, Eastern babies sleep with their parents and are rarely away from their family members
Explain: Culture and Self-Perception
Interdependence vs Independence- Westerners tend to describe themselves more individually with personality traits and attitudes, whereas Easterners are more inclined to mention relationships.
Example: When told to pick the pen of their choosing as a keepsake, Westerners chose the rarest color pen while Easterners chose the most common colored pen. Fitting in vs standing out
Chinese are situation-centered. They are obliged to be sensitive to their environment. Americans are individual-centered. They expect their environment to be sensitive to them.
Explain: Categorization (Culture and Cognition)
People from Asian cultures have been found to classify objects and events on the basis of relationships and family resemblance
Americans classify on the basis of rule-based category membership
Example: pen, notebook, magazine; Asians- pen and notebook b/c the pen writes in the notebook, Western- notebook and magazine b/c they both have pages
Explain: Field Dependence
when one is inclined to focus their attention simultaneously on the object and the field, then might find it more difficult to make a separation between an object and the field in which it appears
Example: Rod and Frame Test- participant looks down a long box, at the end of which is a rod whose orientation can be changed and a frame around the rod that can be moved independently of the rod. Participant's task is to judge when the rod is vertical. Participants are deemed "field dependent" to the extent that their judgements of verticality of the rod are influenced by the orientation of the frame. Chinese participants were more influenced by the position of the frame than were American participants.
Define: Field Dependence
when one is inclined to focus their attention simultaneously on the object and the field, then one might find it more difficult to make a separation between an object and the field in which it appears
Explain: Change Blindness
When a picture of a scene and a somewhat altered version of it are presented sequentially, with just a brief pause in between, people can find it very difficult to detect changes that are completely obvious when the two versions are shown side by side.
Explain: Cultural Contexts and Perceptual Processes
Exposure to environment affects perception process.
Westerners pay more attention to focal objects, and Ease Asians pay more attention to the field.
Attention to the object encourages categorization of it, application of rules to it, and casual attribution in terms of it.
Attention to the field encourages noticing relationships and similarities and prompts casual attribution to take into account context and distal forces.
compliance with commands given by an authority figure