116 Key Terms for Social Psychology

actor-observer bias
phenomenon of explaining other people’s behaviours are due to internal factors and our own behaviours are due to situational forces
prejudice and discrimination toward individuals based solely on their age
seeking to cause harm or pain to another person
humans’ desire to help others even if the costs outweigh the benefits of helping
Asch effect
group majority influences an individual’s judgment, even when that judgment is inaccurate
evaluations of or feelings toward a person, idea, or object that are typically positive or negative
explanation for the behaviour of other people
a person, often an adolescent, being treated negatively repeatedly and over time
bystander effect
situation in which a witness or bystander does not volunteer to help a victim or person in distress
central route persuasion
logic-driven arguments using data and facts to convince people of an argument’s worthiness
cognitive dissonance
psychological discomfort that arises from a conflict in a person’s behaviours, attitudes, or beliefs that runs counter to one’s positive self-perception
collectivist culture
culture that focuses on communal relationships with others such as family, friends, and community
companionate love
type of love consisting of intimacy and commitment, but not passion; associated with close friendships and family relationships
person who works for a researcher and is aware of the experiment, but who acts as a participant; used to manipulate social situations as part of the research design
confirmation bias
seeking out information that supports our stereotypes while ignoring information that is inconsistent with our stereotypes
when individuals change their behaviour to go along with the group even if they do not agree with the group
consummate love
type of love occurring when intimacy, passion, and commitment are all present
repeated behaviour that is intended to cause psychological or emotional harm to another person and that takes place online
diffusion of responsibility
tendency for no one in a group to help because the responsibility to help is spread throughout the group
negative actions toward individuals as a result of their membership in a particular group
describes a perspective common to personality psychologists, which asserts that our behaviour is determined by internal factors, such as personality traits and temperament
capacity to understand another person’s perspective—to feel what he or she feels
foot-in-the-door technique
persuasion of one person by another person, encouraging a person to agree to a small favour, or to buy a small item, only to later request a larger favour or purchase of a larger item
fundamental attribution error
tendency to overemphasize internal factors as attributions for behaviour and underestimate the power of the situation
group polarization
strengthening of the original group attitude after discussing views within the group
group members modify their opinions to match what they believe is the group consensus
tendency for people to form social networks, including friendships, marriage, business relationships, and many other types of relationships, with others who are similar
prejudice and discrimination against individuals based solely on their sexual orientation
hostile aggression
aggression motivated by feelings of anger with intent to cause pain
group that we identify with or see ourselves as belonging to
in-group bias
preference for our own group over other groups
individualistic culture
culture that focuses on individual achievement and autonomy
informational social influence
conformity to a group norm prompted by the belief that the group is competent and has the correct information
instrumental aggression
aggression motivated by achieving a goal and does not necessarily involve intent to cause pain
internal factor
internal attribute of a person, such as personality traits or temperament
just-world hypothesis
ideology common in the United States that people get the outcomes they deserve
justification of effort
theory that people value goals and achievements more when they have put more effort into them
normative social influence
conformity to a group norm to fit in, feel good, and be accepted by the group
change of behaviour to please an authority figure or to avoid aversive consequences
group that we don’t belong to—one that we view as fundamentally different from us
peripheral route persuasion
one person persuades another person; an indirect route that relies on association of peripheral cues (such as positive emotions and celebrity endorsement) to associate positivity with a message
process of changing our attitude toward something based on some form of communication
negative attitudes and feelings toward individuals based solely on their membership in a particular group
prosocial behaviour
voluntary behaviour with the intent to help other people
prejudice and discrimination toward individuals based solely on their race
give and take in relationships
romantic love
type of love consisting of intimacy and passion, but no commitment
act of blaming an out-group when the in-group experiences frustration or is blocked from obtaining a goal
person’s knowledge about the sequence of events in a specific setting
sharing personal information in relationships
self-fulfilling prophecy
treating stereotyped group members according to our biased expectations only to have this treatment influence the individual to act according to our stereotypic expectations, thus confirming our stereotypic beliefs
self-serving bias
tendency for individuals to take credit by making dispositional or internal attributions for positive outcomes and situational or external attributions for negative outcomes
prejudice and discrimination toward individuals based on their sex
describes a perspective that behaviour and actions are determined by the immediate environment and surroundings; a view promoted by social psychologists
social exchange theory
humans act as naïve economists in keeping a tally of the ratio of costs and benefits of forming and maintain a relationship, with the goal to maximize benefits and minimize costs
social facilitation
improved performance when an audience is watching versus when the individual performs the behaviour alone
social loafing
exertion of less effort by a person working in a group because individual performance cannot be evaluated separately from the group, thus causing performance decline on easy tasks
social norm
group’s expectations regarding what is appropriate and acceptable for the thoughts and behaviour of its members
social psychology
field of psychology that examines how people impact or affect each other, with particular focus on the power of the situation
social role
socially defined pattern of behaviour that is expected of a person in a given setting or group
stanford prison experiment
Stanford University conducted an experiment in a mock prison that demonstrated the power of social roles, social norms, and scripts
specific beliefs or assumptions about individuals based solely on their membership in a group, regardless of their individual characteristics
triangular theory of love
model of love based on three components: intimacy, passion, and commitment; several types of love exist, depending on the presence or absence of each of these components


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Introduction to Psychology & Neuroscience (2nd Edition) Copyright © 2020 by Edited by Leanne Stevens, Jennifer Stamp, & Kevin LeBlanc is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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