PSYCH 221 (Exam 1)

Social Influence

the effect that the words, actions, or mere presence of other people have on our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behaviors

Social Psychology

the scientific study of the way in which people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people


the way in which people perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world

Individual Differences

the aspects of people's personalities that make them different from other people

Fundamental Attribution Error

the tendency to overestimate the extent to which people's behavior is due to internal, dispositional factors, and to underestimate the role of situational factors


a school of psychology maintaining that to understand human behavior, one need only consider the reinforcing properties of the environment - that is, how positive and negative events in the environment are associated with specific behaviors

Gestalt Psychology

school of psychology stressing the importance of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in people's minds rather than the objective, physical attributes of the object


people's evaluations of their own self-worth - that is, the extent to which they view themselves as good, competent, and decent

Social Cognition

how people think about themselves and the social world; more specifically, how people select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make judgments and decisions

Hindsight Bias

the tendency for people to exaggerate how much they could have predicted an outcome after knowing that it occurred

Observational Method

technique whereby a researcher observes people and systematically records measurements or impressions of their behavior


the method by which researchers attempt to understand a group or culture by observing it from the inside, without imposing any preconceived notions that they might have

Interjudge Reliability

level of agreement between two or more people who independently observe and code a set of data; by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the same observations, researchers ensure that the observations are not the subjective, distorted

Archival Analysis

form of the observational method in which the researcher examines the accumulated documents, or archives, of a culture (e.g., diaries, novels, magazines, newspapers)

Correlational Method

technique whereby two or more variables are systematically measured and the relationship between them (i.e., how much one can be predicted from the other) is assessed

Correlational Coefficient

statistical technique that assesses how well you can predict one variable from another - for example, how well you can predict people's weight from their height


research in which a representative sample of people are asked (often anonymously) questions about their attitudes or behavior

Random Selection

a way of ensuring that a sample of people is representative of a population by giving everyone in the population an equal chance of being selected from the sample

Experimental Method

method in which the researcher randomly assigns participants to different conditions and ensures that these conditions are identical except for the independent variable (the one thought to have a causal effect on people's responses)

Independent Variable

variable the researcher changes or varies to see if it has an effect on some other variable

Dependent Variable

variable a researcher measures to see if it is influenced by the independent variable; the researcher hypothesizes that the dependent variable will depend on the level of the independent variable

Random Assignment to Conditions

process ensuring that all participants have an equal chance of taking part in any condition of an experiment; through random assignment, researchers can be relatively certain that differences in the participants' personalities or backgrounds are distribut

Probability Level (p-level)

number calculated with statistical techniques that tells researchers how likely it is that the results of their experiment occurred by chance and not because of the independent variable or variables; the convention in science, including social psychology,

Internal Validity

making sure that nothing besides the independent variable can affect the dependent variable; this is accomplished by controlling all extraneous variables and by randomly assigning people to different experimental conditions

External Validity

extent to which the results of a study can be generalized to other situations and people

Mundane Realism

extent to which experiment is similar to real-life situations

Psychological Realism

extent to which the psychological processes triggered in an experiment are similar to psychological processes that occur in everyday life; can be high even if mundane realism is low


epeating a study, often with different subject populations or in different setting


statistical technique that averages the results of two or more studies to see if the effect of an independent variable is reliable

Cross-Culture Research

research conducted with members of different cultures, to see whether the psychological processes of interest are present in both cultures or whether they are specific to the culture in which people were raised

Field Experiment

experiments conducted in natural settings rather than in the laboratory; good way of increasing external validity

Basic Research

studies that are designed to find the best answer to the question of why people behave as they do and that are conducted purely for reasons of intellectual curiosity

Applied Research

studies designed to solve a particular social problem

Informed Consent

agreement to participate in an experiment, granted in full awareness of the nature of the experiment, which has been explained in advance


misleading participants about the true purpose of a study or the events that will actually transpire

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

group made up of at least one scientist, one nonscientist, and one member not affiliated with an institution that reviews all psychological research at that insituttion and decides whether it mets ethical guidelines; all research must be approved by the I


explaining to participants, at the end of an experiment, the true purpose of the study and exactly what transpired

Automatic Thinking

thinking that is nonconscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless


mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects and that influence the information people notice, think about, and remember


the extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of people's minds and are therefore likely to be used when we are making judgments about the social world


the process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept

Perseverance Effect

the finding that people's beliefs about themselves and the social world persist even after the evidence supporting these beliefs is discredited

Self-Fulfilling Prophesy

he case whereby people have an expectation about what another person is like, which influences how they act toward that person, which causes that person to behave consistently with people's original expectations, making the expectations come true.

Judgement Heuristics

mental shortcuts people use to make judgments quickly and efficiently

Availability Heuristic

a mental rule of thumb whereby people base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind

Representative Heuristic

a mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case

Base Rate Information

information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population

Controlled Thinking

thinking that is conscious, intentional, voluntary, and effortful

Counterfactual Thinking

mentally changing some aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have been

Thought suppression

the attempt to avoid thinking about something we would prefer to forget

Overconfidence Barrier

the fact that people usually have too much confidence in the accuracy of their judgments