Social Psychology Exam 2

Social cognition

The study of how people think about the social world; how we perceive, remember, and interpret information about ourselves and others


T or F: The objects you perceive can affect the way perception (and cognition) works

Firsthand information

Information that comes from your own personal experience

Snap judgement

Inferring personality from physical appearance


In terms of height, taller people are considered more ________________ than shorter people


Stereotypes about heavy people are more ____________ than those about light people

Heavier people

Does warm hearted, agreeable, dependent, and trusting describe traits of heavy or light people?


Snap judgments might not be very accurate but they are ____________

Pluralistic ignorance

Misperception of a group norm that results from observing people who are acting at odds with their private beliefs out of a concern for the social consequences; people have different private beliefs than the group norm but go along with the group norm

Self fulfilling prophecy

The tendency for people to act in ways that bring about the very thing they expect to happen

Mechanism, given expectation

If a prophecy is to be self fulfilling, there must be some _____________ that translates a ________________________ into action that would tend to confirm the prophecy

Self fulfilling prophecy

The study that told teachers certain students were going to bloom intellectually and led the teacher to invest more time into those certain students is an example of what?

Secondhand information

Information that comes from sources other than personal experience

People may believe they are more at risk of victimization than they really are

What are the effects of the bad news bias?

Primacy effect

A type of order effect: the disproportionate influence on judgement by information presented first in a body of evidence

Recency effet

A type of order effect: the disproportionate influence on judgement by information presented last in a body of evidence

Framing effects

The influence on judgement resulting from the way information is presented

Order effect

the order of presenting the treatments affects the dependent variable (the information is the same!!)

Spin framing

Varying the content of what is presented

Positive and negative framing

Negative information draws more attention than positive information; information framed in negative ways will elicit stronger responses

Construal level theory

Distant events are thought about in abstract terms events that are close at hand are thought about in concrete terms

Confirmation bias

The tendency to test an idea by searching for evidence that would support it

Motivated confirmation bias

Confirmatory information is sought because people want to maintain a certain belief

Top down processing

the use of preexisting knowledge to organize individual features into a unified whole

Bottom up processing

analysis that begins with the sense receptors and works up to the brain's integration of sensory information


Mental frameworks that bundle knowledge together in an organized way

What information we attend to, how we interpret information, and what we remember

What do schemas determine?


T or F: We are more likely to remember something if it is consistent with our schemas


The tendency for recently used words or ideas to come to mind easily and influence subsequent thoughts, judgements, or behaviors

Spreading activation

When activation of one thought activates related thoughts


T or F: Anything humans can do, think, or feel, can potentially be primed at some level

Rational system

Slower and more controlled system, based on rules and deduction, and performs its operations one at a time

Intuitive system

Rapid responses based on associations that come automatically to mind


Intuitive mental operations performed quickly and automatically, that provide efficient answers to judgements and decision making; "mental shortcuts

Availability heuristic

The process whereby judgements of frequency or probability are based on how readily pertinent instances come to mind

Bad news bias, biased estimates of contributions to joint projects

What are examples of the availability heuristic?


The feeling of ease associated with processing information

Representative heuristic

The process whereby judgements of likelihood are based on assessments of similarity between individuals and group prototypes


An explanation people give for the behavior of others

Attribution theories

Describe how people explain the causes of behavior

Fritz Heider's attribution theory

The theory that we explain someone's behavior by crediting either the situation or the person's disposition

Dispositional or personal attribution

Behavior reflects internal characteristics of the actor

Situational attribution

Behavior reflects factors external to an actor


The more expected the behavior, the ________ the dispositional attribution


Behavior that is _____________ is more informative than behavior that is expected


T or F: The more positive effects of a behavior, the less certain you can be about why the person produced the behavior

Discounting principle

We are less likely to attribute an effect to any particular cause if more than one potential cause is present; when there are multiple reasons for behavior, our faith in any single reason as a cause is diminished

Augmentation principle

Principle that more weight should be given to a particular cause of behavior if the other causes present would have produced an opposite result

Explanatory style

a person's habitual way of explaining events

Internal/external, stable/unstable, and global/specific

What are the three dimensions of explanatory style?

Internal versus external

Degree that cause is linked to the self or to the external situation

Stable versus unstable

Degree that the cause is seen as fixed or as something that is temporary

Global versus specific

Degree that the cause is seen as affecting other domains in life or is restricted to affecting one specific domain

Pessimistic attribution style

Internal, stable, global attributions habitually made for negative events

Optimistic attribution style

External, unstable, specific for negative events

Covariation principle

The idea that behavior should be attributed to potential causes that occur along with the behavior; helps us figure out if something is due to internal or external factors


What most people would do in a given situation

Behavior most others wouldn't do

Low consensus is what?

Consensus, distinctiveness, consistency

What 3 types of information are a part of covariation principle?


Whether the behavior is unique to a particular situation or occurs in all situations

Behavior occurs in many situations

Low distinctiveness is what?


Whether next time, under the same circumstance, the person would behave the same or differently

Behavior varies across the same situation over time

Low consistency is what?

Self serving attributional bias

The tendency to attribute our failures and other bad events to external circumstances, and to attribute success and other good events to ourselves

The actor observer difference

Difference in attribution based on who is making the causal assessment; actor = situational attributions, observer = dispositional attributions

Counterfactual thinking

Once we have an idea why something happened, we wonder what might have been; "if only" thoughts

Emotional amplification

More intense emotion if it's easier to imagine the event not happening

Fundamental attribution error

The tendency to attribute actions to disposition and overlook the impact of situations

When the writers were forced to write the essay instead of no conclusion being made people still attributed that they either liked or disliked Castro

Fidel Castro experiment where was the difference?


Eastern cultures focus more on _________________ in fundamental attribution error

Need for control and belief in just world

What are the motivational reasons for the fundamental attribution error?

Just world

The belief that there is justice in the world; that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people; this is one of the most powerful beliefs that people have