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Social Psychology

-The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one another


Fritz Heider

-Attribution Theory
-We explain someone's behavior by crediting either the situation or the person's disposition (personality)
-Situational vs. Dispositional attribution
-Ex: Friend doesn't say hi in the hallway
-Situational: in a hurry, didn't see you
-Dispositional: personality= mean, rude


Fundamental Attribution Error

-Overestimate the influence of personality and underestimate the influence of situations
-Ex: Waitress is making mistakes
-Blame her character flaws, when really the waitress is the only one who showed up, busy
-Ignoring both parts= error
-Especially strong in individualistic Western societies
-Look more towards personality



-Feelings, often influenced by our beliefs, that predispose us to respond in a particular way to objects, people, and events
-Believe someone is mean, feel disliked, act unfriendly


Attitudes Affecting Actions

-As our attitudes toward climate change has shifted, our public policy has followed suit
-2 ways to effect (bring about) an attitude change
-Central route persuasion
-Peripheral route persuasion


Central Route Persuasion

-Attitude change path in which interested people focus on the arguments and respond w/ favorable thoughts
-One is analytically involved in something
-Ex: Convince someone climate change is bad by pointing to research/ evidence, and convince someone


Peripheral Route Persuasion

-Attitude change path in which people are influenced by incidental cues, such as a speaker's attractiveness
-Not systemic thinking
-Snap judgement based on incidental cues
-Ex: Jonas bothers sing about climate change--> you thinking climate change is bad


Central vs. Peripheral

-More durable
-More likely to influence behavior


Actions Affect Attitudes

-What we do can impact how we feel
-Ex: power posing
-People can be induced to act against their beliefs, thus affecting their attitude


Foot-In-The-Door Phenomenon

-Tendency for people who have 1st agreed to a small request to comply later w/ a larger request
-Prisoners of war: running errand--> writing note home--> sending video home
-Surveys: spreading out questions so you keep going
-Samples: more likely to buy when sample first
-In-app-purchases: free app--> purchasing more


Door-in-the-face phenomenon

-Lead w/ larger request, get denied, ask for something smaller
-Ex: ask parents to stay out all night--> ask for 1 extra hour of curfew



-Stanford Prison Experiment
-College students randomly assigned to "prisoners" or "guards"
-Clothing and facility provided
*Ex of how role playing affects mood


How did the people behave in Zimbardo's experiment?

-Guards adopted control tactics (sadistic)
-Push ups
-Loss of bedding
-Toilet privileges
-Stripped prisoners
-Prisoners assigned #s
-Lose sense of individuality (easier to commit inhumane acts)
-36 hours--> prisoner suffers emotional breakdown
-Prisoners tell each other they can't leave
-Visiting hours
-Parents work w/in system to get their child out


Loss of Objectivity

-Zimbardo views himself as warden
-Attempts to stop escape w/ real jail
-Manipulates instead of observes
-Loses sight of end goal
-Plan to run for 2 weeks, ended in 6 days
-Only 1 outside observer ever objected (Research assistant)


Criticism of Zimbardo Experiment

1. Zimbardo= too transparent about what he expected
-Told them what to do, too artificial
2. Unethical
-Abused people physically and emotionally


How/ why does role-playing affect behavior?

-Small acts--> bigger ones
-Cognitive Dissonance


Leon Festinger

-Cognitive Dissonance
-Thoughts and actions that combat
-We act to reduce discomfort we feel when we feel 2 of our thoughts are inconsistent
-Awareness that our attitudes and actions clash: change attitudes
-Ex: Smoker is aware that smoking is unhealthy, continue to do so (rationalize)
-"Stress relief"
-Ex: Someone who dislikes country music, constantly exposed to it, ends up liking it



-A set of expectations (norms) about social position, defining how those in a position ought to behave