Social Psychology Study Uide

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Chapter 16: Social Psychology
Social Thinking
1.Social psychology studies what 3 aspects of our social world?

1. How we think about our social world (social thinking)
2. How other people influence our behavior (social influence)
3. How we relate toward other people (social relations)

Attribution: The Causes of Behavior
2.Distingush between personal (internal) attributions and situational (external) attributions.

Personal internal attributions infer that people’s characteristics cause their behavior. EX: “Bill insulted Linda because he is ride” or “My A on my midterm exam reflects my high ability. Situational external attributions infer that aspects of the situation cause a behavior. EX: “Bill was provoked into insulting Linda.” Or “I received an A because the test was easy.”

3. According to Harold Kelley, how does the consideration of consistency, distinctiveness, and consensus impact whether we make an internal or external attribution about someone’s behavior? (Check out Fig. 17.3!)

Consistency is when a person is asked if she/he likes something and they say it is terrible and a few weeks later you ask again and they have the same answer. The consistency is high. If a person dislikes only one course then distinctiveness is high, but if they think that all of their courses are terrible, then distinctiveness is low. If other people agree with the same person that something is terrible, then the consensus is high, but if they disagree with them, then the consensus is low.

4.What is the Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE)? Give two examples of the FAE described in the textbook. What circumstances reduce the likelihood that we will show the FAE?

Fundamental Attribution Error is when we underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate the role of person factors when explaining other people’s behavior. EX 1: if an assignment in a class is about physician-assisted suicide and you had the choice to either be for or against it, then your classmates will assume that your views are reflect your paper. EX 2: Your professor assigns you to either write a paper for or against physician-assisted suicide, you have no choice. Your classmates will still assume that your views reflect your paper even though they could be opposing what you HAD to write about.

5.What is the self-serving bias? How does self-serving bias relate to self-esteem? How does depression impact self-serving bias?

Self-serving bias is the tendency to make personal attributions for success and situational attributions failures. Mezulis and coworkers found that depressed individuals are much less likely than most people to display a self-serving bias. Indeed depressed people often display the opposite pattern- taking too little credit for successes and too much credit for failures-which helps keep them depressed.

6. How does the FAE differ between people in India vs. America?

Indians made more situational attributions, whereas Americans made more personal attributions

7. How do Asians differ from Americans in self-serving bias and the complexity of their views about the causes of behavior?

Asians living in their homelands are less likely to display self-serving attributions bias than are Americans or other Westerners. Modesty, for example, is highly valued in China’s collective culture, and Chinese college students take less personal credit for successful social interactions and accept more responsibility for their failures than do American students.

Forming & Maintaining Impressions
8. What is the “primacy effect”? Why does new information have to work harder to change our opinion about someone once we’ve formed an impression of them?

Primacy Effect refers to our tendency to attach more importance to the initial information that we learn about a person. Information has to “work harder” to change our opinion when we have formed a impression of them because, one we tend to be most alert...
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