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Social Psychology book cover
Social Psychology, 7/e
David G Myers, Hope College


acceptance  conformity that involves both acting and believing in accord with social pressure.
adaptation-level phenomenon  the tendency to adapt to a given level of stimulation and thus to notice and react to changes from that level.
aggression  physical or verbal behavior intended to hurt someone. In laboratory experiments, this might mean delivering electric shocks or saying something likely to hurt another's feelings. By this social psychological definition, one can be socially assertive without being aggressive.
altruism  a motive to increase another's welfare without conscious regard for one's self-interests.
arbitration  resolution of a conflict by a neutral third party who studies both sides and imposes a settlement.
attitude  a favorable or unfavorable evaluative reaction toward something or someone, exhibited in one's beliefs, feelings, or intended behavior.
attitude inoculation  exposing people to weak attacks upon their attitudes so that when stronger attacks come, they will have refutations available.
attractiveness  having qualities that appeal to an audience. An appealing communicator (often someone similar to the audience) is most persuasive on matters of subjective preference.
attribution theory  the theory of how people explain others' behavior; for example, by attributing it either to internal dispositions (enduring traits, motives, and attitudes) or to external situations.
autokinetic phenomenon  self (auto) motion (kinetic). The apparent movement of a stationary point of light in the dark. Perhaps you have experienced this when thinking you have spotted a moving satellite in the sky, only to realize later that it was merely an isolated star.
availability heuristic  an efficient but fallible rule-of-thumb that judges the likelihood of things in terms of their availability in memory. If instances of something come readily to mind, we presume it to be commonplace.
bargaining  seeking an agreement through direct negotiation between parties to a conflict.
behavioral confirmation  a type of self-fulfilling prophecy whereby people's social expectations lead them to act in ways that cause others to confirm their expectations.
behavioral medicine  an interdisciplinary field that integrates and applies behavioral and medical knowledge about health and disease.
belief perserverance  persistence of one's initial conceptions, as when the basis for one's belief is discredited but an explanation of why the belief might be true survives.
bogus pipeline  a procedure that fools people into disclosing their attitudes. Participants are first convinced that a machine can use their psychological responses to measure their private attitudes. Then they are asked to predict the machine's reading, thus revealing their attitudes.
bystander effect  the finding that a person is less likely to provide help when there are other bystanders.
catharsis  emotional release. The catharsis view of aggression is that aggressive drive is reduced when one "releases" aggressive energy, either by acting aggressively or by fantasizing aggression.
central route to persuasion  persuasion that occurs when interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts.
channel of communication  the way the message is delivered-whether face to face, in writing, on film, or in some other way.
clinical psychology  the study, assessment, and treatment of people with psychological difficulties.
co-actors  co-participants working individually on a noncompetitive activity.
cognitive dissonance  tension that arises when one is simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions. For example, dissonance may occur when we realize that we have, with little justification, acted contrary to our attitudes or made a decision favoring one alternative despite reasons favoring another.
cohesiveness  a "we feeling"; the extent to which members of a group are bound together, such as by attraction for one another.
collectivism  giving priority to the goals of one's groups (often one's extended family or work group) and defining one's identity accordingly.
companionate love  the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined.
complementarity  the popularly supposed tendency, in a relationship between two people, for each to complete what is missing in the other. The questionable complementarity hypothesis proposes that people attract those whose needs are different, in ways that complement their own.
compliance  conformity that involves publicly acting in accord with social pressure while privately disagreeing. Obedience is acting in accord with a direct order.
confederate  an accomplice of the experimenter.
confirmation bias  a tendency to search for information that confirms one's preconceptions.
conflict  a perceived incompatibility of actions or goals.
conformity  a change in behavior or belief as a result of real or imagined group pressure.
correlational research  the study of the naturally occurring relationships among variables.
counterfactual thinking  imagining what might have happened, but didn't.
credibility  believability. A credible communicator is perceived as both expert and trustworthy.
crowding  a subjective feeling of not having enough space per person.
cult (also called new religious movement)  a group typically characterized by (1) distinctive ritual and beliefs related to its devotion to a god or a person, (2) isolation from the surrounding "evil" culture, and (3) a charismatic leader. (A sect, by contrast, is a spinoff from a major religion.)
culture  the enduring behaviors, ideas, attitudes, and traditions shared by a large group of people and transmitted from one generation to the next.
deindividuation  loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension; occurs in group situations that foster responsiveness to group norms, good or bad.
demand characteristics  cues in an experiment that tell the participant what behavior is expected.
dependent variable  the variable being measured, so-called because it may depend on manipulations of the independent variable.
depressive realism  the tendency of mildly depressed people to make accurate rather than self-serving judgments, attributions, and predictions.
disclosure reciprocity  the tendency for one person's intimacy of self-disclosure to match that of a conversational partner.
discrimination  unjustifiable negative behavior toward a group or its members.
displacement  the redirection of aggression to a target other than the source of the frustration. Generally, the new target is a safer or more socially acceptable target.
door-in-the-face technique  a strategy for gaining a concession. After someone first turns down a large request (the door-in-the-face), the same requester counteroffers with a more reasonable request.
dual attitudes  differing implicit (automatic) and explicit (consciously controlled) attitudes toward the same object. Verbalized explicit attitudes may change with education and persuasion; implicit attitudes change slowly, with practice that forms new habits.
egoism  a motive (supposedly underlying all behavior) to increase one's own welfare. The opposite of altruism, which aims to increase another's welfare.
empathy  the vicarious experience of another's feelings; putting oneself in another's shoes.
equal-status contact  contact on an equal basis. Just as a relationship between people of unequal status breeds attitudes consistent with their relationship, so do relationships between those of equal status. Thus, to reduce prejudice, interracial contact should be between persons equal in status.
equity  a condition in which the outcomes people receive from a relationship are proportional to what they contribute to it. Note: Equitable outcomes needn't always be equal outcomes.
ethnocentrism  a belief in the superiority of one's own ethnic and cultural group, and a corresponding disdain for all other groups.
evaluation apprehension  concern for how others are evaluating us.
evolutionary psychology  the study of the evolution of behavior using principles of natural selection.
experimental realism  degree to which an experiment absorbs and involves its participants.
experimental research  studies that seek clues to cause-effect relationships by manipulating one or more factors (independent variables) while controlling others (holding them constant).
explanatory style  one's habitual way of explaining life events. A negative, pessimistic, depressive explanatory style attributes failures to stable, global, and internal causes.
false consensus effect  the tendency to overestimate the commonality of one's opinions and one's undesirable or unsuccessful behaviors.
false uniqueness effect  the tendency to underestimate the commonality of one's abilities and one's desirable or successful behaviors.
field research  research done in natural, real-life settings outside the laboratory.
foot-in-the-door phenomenon  the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request.
free riders  people who benefit from the group but give little in return.
frustration  the blocking of goal-directed behavior.
fundamental attribution error  The tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and overestimate dispositional influences upon others' behavior. (Also called correspondence bias, because we so often see behavior as corresponding to a disposition.).
gender  in psychology, the characteristics, whether biological or socially influenced, by which people define male and female. Because "sex" is a biological category, social psychologists sometimes refer to biologically based gender differences as "sex differences."
gender role  a set of behavior expectations (norms) for males and females.
GRIT  acronym for "graduated and reciprocated initiatives in tension reduction"-a strategy designed to de-escalate international tensions.
group  two or more people who, for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as "us."
group polarization  group-produced enhancement of members' preexisting tendencies; a strengthening of the members' average tendency, not a split within the group.
group-serving bias  explaining away outgroup members' positive behaviors; also attributing negative behaviors to their dispositions (while excusing such behavior by one's own group).
groupthink  "The mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence-seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive in-group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action." -Irving Janis (1971).
health psychology  a subfield of psychology that provides psychology's contribution to behavioral medicine.
heuristic  a rule-of-thumb strategy that enables quick, efficient judgments.
hindsight bias  the tendency to exaggerate, after learning an outcome, one's ability to have foreseen how something turned out. Also known as the I-knew-it-all-along phenomenon.
hostile aggression  aggression driven by anger and performed as an end in itself (also called affective aggression).
hypothesis  a testable proposition that describes a relationship that may exist between events.
illusion of control  perception of uncontrollable events as subject to one's control or as more controllable than they are.
illusory correlation  (1) Perception of a relationship where none exists, or perception of a stronger relationship than actually exists. (2) A false impression that two variables correlate.
independent variable  the experimental factor that a researcher manipulates.
individualism  giving priority to one's own goals over group goals and defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group identifications.
informational influence  conformity occurring when people accept evidence about reality provided by other people.
informed consent  an ethical principle requiring that research participants be told enough to enable them to choose whether they wish to participate.
ingratiation  the use of strategies, such as flattery, by which people seek to gain another's favor.
ingroup  "us"-a group of people who share a sense of belonging, a feeling of common identity.
ingroup bias  the tendency to favor one's own group.
instinctive behavior  an innate, unlearned behavior pattern exhibited by all members of a species.
instrumental aggression  aggression that is a means to some other end.
insufficient justification effect  reduction of dissonance by internally justifying one's behavior when external justification is "insufficient."
integrative agreements  win-win agreements that reconcile both parties' interests to their mutual benefit.
interaction  the effect of one factor (such as biology) depends on another factor (such as environment).
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.
kin selection  the idea that evolution has selected altruism toward one's close relatives to enhance the survival of mutually shared genes.
leadership  the process by which certain group members motivate and guide the group.
learned helplessness  the hopelessness and resignation learned when a human or animal perceives no control over repeated bad events.
locus of control  the extent to which people perceive outcomes as internally controllable by their own efforts and actions or as externally controlled by chance or outside forces.
low-ball technique  a tactic for getting people to agree to something. People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante. People who receive only the costly request are less likely to comply with it.
matching phenomenon  the tendency for men and women to choose as partners those who are a "good match" in attractiveness and other traits.
mediation  an attempt by a neutral third party to resolve a conflict by facilitating communication and offering suggestions.
mere-exposure effect  the tendency for novel stimuli to be liked more or rated more positively after the rater has been repeatedly exposed to them.
mirror-image perceptions  reciprocal views of one another often held by parties in conflict; for example, each may view itself as moral and peace-loving and the other as evil and aggressive.
misinformation effect  (1) incorporating "misinformation" into one's memory of the event, after witnessing an event and receiving misleading information about it. (2) Witnessing an event, receiving misleading information about it, and then incorporating the "misinformation" into one's memory of the event.
moral exclusion  the perception of certain individuals or groups as outside the boundary within which one applies moral values and rules of fairness. Moral inclusion is regarding others as within one's circle of moral concern.
mundane realism  degree to which an experiment is superficially similar to everyday situations.
naturalist fallacy  the error of defining what is good in terms of what is observable. For example: What's typical is normal; what's normal is good.
natural selection  the evolutionary process by which nature selects traits that best enable organisms to survive and reproduce in particular environmental niches.
need to belong  a motivation to bond with others in relationships that provide ongoing, positive interactions.
non-zero-sum games  games in which outcomes need not sum to zero. With cooperation, both can win; with competition, both can lose. (Also called mixed-motive situations.)
normative influence  conformity based on a person's desire to fulfill others' expectations, often to gain acceptance.
norms  rules for accepted and expected behavior. Norms prescribe "proper" behavior. (In a different sense of the word, norms also describe what most others do-what is normal.)
outgroup  "them"-a group that people perceive as distinctively different from or apart from their ingroup.
outgroup homogeneity effect  perception of outgroup members as more similar to one another than are ingroup members. Thus "they are alike; we are diverse."
overconfidence phenomenon  the tendency to be more confident than correct to overestimate the accuracy of one's beliefs.
overjustification effect  the result of bribing people to do what they already like doing; they may then see their action as externally controlled rather than intrinsically appealing.
own-race bias  the tendency for people to more accurately recognize faces of their own race.
passionate love  a state of intense longing for union with another. Passionate lovers are absorbed in one another, feel ecstatic at attaining their partner's love, and are disconsolate on losing it.
peripheral route to persuasion  persuasion that occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker's attractiveness.
personal space  the buffer zone we like to maintain around our bodies. Its size depends on our familiarity with whoever is near us.
persuasion  the process by which a message induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors.
physical-attractiveness stereotype  the presumption that physically attractive people possess other socially desirable traits as well: What is beautiful is good.
pluralistic ignorance  a false impression of how other people are thinking, feeling, or responding.
possible selves  images of what we dream of or dread becoming in the future.
prejudice  a negative prejudgment of a group and its individual members.
primacy effect  other things being equal, information presented first usually has the most influence.
priming  activating particular associations in memory.
prosocial behavior  positive, constructive, helpful social behavior; the opposite of antisocial behavior.
proximity  geographical nearness. Proximity (more precisely, "functional distance") powerfully predicts liking.
racism  (1) an individual's prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior toward people of a given race, or (2) institutional practices (even if not motivated by prejudice) that subordinate people of a given race.
random assignment  the process of assigning participants to the conditions of an experiment such that all persons have the same chance of being in a given condition. (Note the distinction between random assignment in experiments and random sampling in surveys. Random assignment helps us infer cause and effect. Random sampling helps us generalize to a population.)
random sample  survey procedure in which every person in the population being studied has an equal chance of inclusion.
reactance  (1) a motive to protect or restore one's sense of freedom. Reactance arises when someone threatens our freedom of action. (2) The desire to assert one's sense of freedom.
realistic group conflict theory  the theory that prejudice arises from competition between groups for scarce resources.
recency effect  information presented last sometimes has the most influence. Recency effects are less common than primacy effects.
reciprocity norm  an expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them.
regression toward the average  the statistical tendency for extreme scores or extreme behavior to return toward one's average.
relative deprivation  the perception that one is less well off than others to whom one compares oneself.
representativeness heuristic  the tendency to presume, sometimes despite contrary odds, that someone or something belongs to a particular group if resembling (representing) a typical member.
reward theory of attraction  the theory that we like those whose behavior is rewarding to us or whom we associate with rewarding events.
role  a set of norms that define how people in a given social position ought to behave.
self-awareness  a self-conscious state in which attention focuses on oneself. It makes people more sensitive to their own attitudes and dispositions.
self-concept  a person's answers to the question "Who am I?".
self-disclosure  revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others.
self-efficacy  a sense that one is competent and effective, distinguished from self-esteem, one's sense of self-worth. A bombardier might feel high self-efficacy and low self-esteem.
self-esteem  a person's overall self-evaluation or sense of self worth.
self-handicapping  protecting one's self-image with behaviors that create a handy excuse for later failure.
self-monitoring  being attuned to the way one presents oneself in social situations and adjusting one's performance to create the desired impression.
self-perception theory  the theory that when we are unsure of our attitudes, we infer them much as would someone observing us, by looking at our behavior and the circumstances under which it occurs.
self-presentation  the act of expressing oneself and behaving in ways designed to create a favorable impression or an impression that corresponds to one's ideals.
self-reference effect  the tendency to process efficiently and remember well information related to oneself.
self-schema  beliefs about self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information.
self-serving bias  the tendency to perceive oneself favorably.
sexism  (1) an individual's prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory behavior toward people of a given sex, or (2) institutional practices (even if not motivated by prejudice) that subordinate people of a given sex.
sleeper effect  a delayed impact of a message. Occurs when an initially discounted message becomes effective, as we remember the message but forget the reason for discounting it.
social comparison  evaluating one's abilities and opinions by comparing oneself to others.
social-exchange theory  the theory that human interactions are transactions that aim to maximize one's rewards and minimize one's costs.
social facilitation  (1) original meaning-the tendency of people to perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present (2) current meaning-strengthening of dominant (prevalent, likely) responses owing to the presence of others.
social identity  the "we" aspect of our self-concept. The part of our answer to "Who am I?" that comes from our group memberships. Examples: "I am Australian." "I am Catholic."
social learning theory  the theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating and by being rewarded and punished.
social loafing  the tendency for people to exert less effort when they pool their efforts toward a common goal than when they are individually accountable.
social psychology  the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another.
social representations  socially shared beliefs, and widely held ideas and values, including our assumptions and cultural ideologies. Our social representations help us make sense of our world.
social-responsibility norm  an expectation that people will help those dependent upon them.
stereotype  a belief about the personal attributes of a group of people. Stereotypes are sometimes overgeneralized, inaccurate, and resistant to new information.
stereotype threat  a disruptive concern, when facing a negative stereotype, that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype. Unlike self-fulfilling prophecies that hammer one's reputation into one's self-concept, stereotype threat situations have immediate effects.
subtyping  accommodating individuals who deviate from one's stereotype by splitting off a subgroup stereotype (such as "middle class Blacks" or "feminist women"). Subtyping protects stereotypes.
superordinate goal  a shared goal that necessitates cooperative effort; a goal that overrides people's differences from one another.
theory  an integrated set of principles that explain and predict observed events.
two-factor theory of emotion  arousal 3 label 5 emotion.
two-step flow of communication  the process by which media influence often occurs through opinion leaders, who in turn influence others.