Social Psychology: How People Behave in Groups

Social Psychology: How People Behave in Groups

What is social psychology?

The field of psychology that studies the nature and causes of people’s thoughts and behavior in social situations

What are attitudes?
An enduring mental representation of a person, place, or thing that evokes an emotional response and related behavior

Do people do as they think (vote their consciences, etc.)?
A-B problem: the issue of how well we can predict behavior on the basis of attitudes
Stereotype: a fixed, conventional idea about a group
specifity, strength of attitudes, vested interest, accessibility

Where do attitudes come from?
Cognitive processes, cognitive appraisal

Can you really change people? – Their attitudes and behavior, that is?
Elaboration likelihood model: the view that persuasive messages are evaluated (elaborated) on the basis of central and peripheral cues
Fear appeal: a type of persuasive communication that influences behavior on the basis of arousing fear instead of rational analysis of the issues
Selective avoidance: diverting one’s attention from information that is inconsistent with one’s attitudes
Selective exposure: deliberately seeking and attending to information that is consistent with one’s attitudes
Foot-in-the-door technique: a method for inducing compliance in which a small request is followed by a larger request

What is cognitive-dissonance theory?
The view that we are motivated to make our cognitions or beliefs consistent
Attitude-discrepant behavior: behavior inconsistent with an attitude that may have the effect of modifying an attitude
Effort justification: in cognitive-dissonance theory, the tendency to seek justification (acceptable reasons) for strenuous efforts

Do first impressions really matter? What are the primacy and recency effects?
Social perception:
a subfield of social psychology that studies the ways in which we form and modify impressions of others
Primacy effect: the tendency to evaluate others in terms of first impressions
Recency effect: the tendency to evaluate others in terms of the most recent impression

What is attribution theory? Why do we assume that other people intend the mischief that they do?
Attribution: a belief concerning why people behave in a certain way
Attribution process: the process by which people draw inferences about the motives and traits of others
Dispositional attribution: an assumption that person’s behavior is determined by internal causes such as personal attitudes or goals
Situational attribution: an assumption that a person’s behavior is determined by external circumstances such as the social pressure found in a situation
Fundamental attribution error: the assumption that others act predominantly on the basis of their dispositions, even when there is evidence suggesting the importance of their situations
Actor-observer effect: the tendency to attribute our own behavior to situational factors but to attribute the behavior of others to dispositional factors
Self-serving bias: the tendency to view one’s successes as stemming from internal factors and one’s failures as stemming from external factors
Consensus: general agreement

What is body language?
Nonverbal language, the meanings we infer from the ways in which people carry themselves and the gestures they make
Touching, gazing & staring

Why will so many people commit crimes against humanity if they are ordered to do so (why won’t they refuse)?
Social influence: the area of social psychology that studies the ways in which people influence the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of others
socialization, lack of social comparison, perception of legitimate authority, foot-in-the-door technique, inaccessibility of values, buffers
Conform: to change one’s attitudes or overt behavior to adhere to social norms
Social norms: explicit and implicit rules that reflect social expectations and influence the ways people behave in social situations

Why do so many people tend to follow the crowd?
Belonging to a collectivist rather than an individualistic society
The desire to be liked by other members of the group
Low self-esteem
Social shyness
Lack of familiarity with the task

Do we run faster when we are in a group?
Social facilitation: the process by which a person’s performance is increased when other members of a group engage in similar behavior
Evaluation apprehension: concern that others are evaluating our behavior
Diffusion of responsibility: the spreading or sharking of responsibility for a decision or behavior within a group

How do groups make decisions?
Social decision schemes: rules for predicting the final outcome of group decision making on the basis of the members’ initial positions
Majority-wins scheme, truth-wins scheme, two-thirds majority scheme, first-shift rule

Are group decisions more risky or more conservative than those of the individual members of the group? Why?
Polarization: in social psychology, taking an extreme position or attitude on an issue
Risky shift: the tendency to make riskier decisions as a member of a group than as an individual acting independently

What is groupthink?
A process in which group members are influenced by cohesiveness and a dynamic leader to ignore external realities as they make decisions
feelings of invulnerability, the group’s belief in its rightness
discrediting of information contrary to the group’s decision, pressures on group members to conform, stereotyping of members of the out-group

Do mobs bring out the beast in us? How is it that mild-mannered people commit mayhem when they are part of a mob?
Deindividuation: the process by which group members may discontinue self-evaluation and adopt group norms and attitudes
Altruism: unselfish concern for the welfare of others

Why do people sometimes sacrifice themselves for others and, at other times, ignore people who are in trouble?
More likely to help in good mood, more empathic, believe that an emergency exists, assume responsibility to act, know what to do, more likely to help people they know, more likely to help people who are similar to themselves
Gender roles persist more strongly in the South

What is environmental psychology?
The field of psychology that studies the ways in which people and the environment influence each other

What are the effects of noise on behavior and mental processes?
High noise levels stressful, can lead to health problems such as hypertension, neurological and intestinal disorders, and ulcers

What are the effects of temperature on our behavior and mental processes?
Extremes can sap our ability to cope, high temperatures are connected with aggressive behavior

What are the effects of air pollution on behavior and mental processes?
Lead in auto fumes may impair children’s intellectual functioning in the same way that eating lead paint does

Carbon monoxide decreases the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood, impairs learning ability and perception of the passage of time, may also contribute to highway accidents

When are we too close for comfort? What are the effects of crowding on behavior and mental processes?
Psychological moderators of the impact of high density, some effects of city life
Personal space: a psychological boundary that surrounds a person and serves protective functions