- Social Psychology -
        Social psychology is the scientific discipline that attempts to understand & explain how the thought, feeling,
behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.     

        Social psychology: A broad field whose goals are to understand & explain how our thoughts, feelings, perceptions, 
& behaviors are influenced by interactions with others. It includes the study of stereotypes, prejudices, attitudes, 
conformity, group behaviors, & aggression.     

        Person perception refers to seeing someone & then forming impressions & making judgments about that person’s 
likeability & the kind of person he or she is, such as guessing his or her intentions, traits, & behaviors.    

The following four things influence your judgment of others:   

•  physical appearance - initial impressions & judgments of a person are heavily influenced & biased by a person’s 
physical appearance 

•  need to explain - explain why a person looks, dresses, or behaves in a certain way 
•  influence on behavior - first impressions will influence how you would like or interact with a person 
•  effects of race - members of one race generally recognize faces of other races     

Physical appearance: Attractiveness - for better or for worse, a person’s looks matter, since people who 
are judged to be more physically attractive, generally make more favorable impressions     

Stereotypes are widely held beliefs that people have certain traits because they belong to a particular group, 
they are often inaccurate & frequently portray the members of less powerful, less controlling groups, more 
negatively, than members of more powerful or controlling groups     

Schemas are mental categories that, like computer files, contain knowledge about people, events, & concepts          

Four Kinds of schemas:          

  1. Person schemas include our judgments about the traits that we & others possess 
  2. Role schemas based on the jobs people perform or the social positions they hold 
  3. Event schemas, also called scripts, contain behaviors that we associate with familiar activities, events, 
or procedures 
  4. Self-schemas contain personal information about ourselves, & this information influences, modifies, & distorts 
what we perceive & remember & how we believe          

Schemas - disadvantages:        

•  schemas may restrict, bias, or distort what we attend to & remember & thus cause us to overlook important 
•  schemas are highly resistant to change because we generally select & attend to information that supports 
our schemas and deny any information that is inconsistent with them          

Schemas: advantages        

•  contain information about how people think & behave 
•  help people analyze & respond appropriately in a particular social situation 
•  provide guidelines for how to behave in various social events (event schemas) & help us explain the social 
behavior of others (role schemas)


    Attributions are the things we point to as the cause of events, other people’s behaviors, & our own behaviors.

    Internal Attributions are explanations of behavior based on the internal characteristics or dispositions of the person 
performing the behavior. 
    External Attributions are explanations of behavior based on the external circumstances or situations.
    The Covariation model says that, in making attributions, we should look for factors that are present when the 
behavior occurs & factors that are absent when the behavior does not occur.          
         Covariation factors: 
          Consensus means determining whether other people engage in the same behavior in the same situation. 
          Consistency means determining whether the person engages in this behavior every time he or she is in a 
          particular situation. 
          Distinctiveness means determining how differently the person behaves in one situation when compared 
          to other situations.
        Three major errors in making attributions: 
         1. Fundamental attribution error refers to our tendency, when we look for causes of a person’s disposition 
         or personality traits & overlook how the situation influenced the person’s behavior. 
         2. Actor-observer effect refers to the tendency, when you are behaving (or acting), to attribute your own 
         behavior to situational factors. However, when you are observing others, you attribute their behavior to their personality 
         traits or disposition. 
         3. Self-serving bias refers to explaining our successes by attributing them to our dispositions or personality 
         traits and explaining our failures by attributing them to the situations. 

          Attitudes are beliefs or opinions that includes an evaluation of some object, person, or event, along a continuum 
from negative to positive, that predisposes us to act in a certain way toward that object, person, or event.          

Three Components of Attitudes 
         1. The cognitive component (thoughts) includes both thoughts & beliefs that are involved in evaluating some 
object, person, or idea. 
         2. The affective component (feelings) involves emotional feelings that can be weak or strong, positive or negative. 
         3. The behavioral component (behaviors) involves performing or not performing some behavior.          

Three Functions of Attitudes 
         1. Attitudes predispose - they guide or influence us to behave in specific ways. 
         2. Attitudes interpret - means that they provide convenient guidelines for interpreting & categorizing objects & 
events & deciding whether to approach or avoid them. 
         3. Attitudes evaluate - means that they help us stand up for those beliefs & values that we consider very 
important to ourselves          

Two Theories Of Why Attitudes Change: 
         1. Cognitive dissonance - refers to a state of unpleasant psychological tension that motivates us to reduce our 
cognitive inconsistencies by making our beliefs more consistent with each other. We may even take a public position 
that runs counter to our private attitude (counter attitudinal behavior) & as a result of this mind set adopt the public 
attitude as our private attitude. 
         2. Self-perception theory - we first observe or perceive our own behavior & then, as a result, we change our 
attitudes to match that behavior.          

Two routes for persuasion: 
         1. The Central route presents information with strong arguments, analyses, facts & logic. 
         2. The Peripheral route emphasizes emotional appeal, focuses on personal traits, & generates positive feelings.

Social & Group Influences 

 Conformity refers to any behaviors you perform because of group pressure, even though that pressure might 
not involve direct requests.          

 Hazing is part of a group’s initiation ritual, during which individuals are subjected to a variety of behaviors that 
range from: humiliating & unpleasant to potentially dangerous both physically & psychologically.          

 Compliance is a kind of conformity in which we give in to social pressure in our public responses but do not 
change our private beliefs           

  Obedience refers to performing some behavior in response to an order given by someone in a position of 
power or authority.          

  Prosocial Behavior also called helping, is any behavior that benefits others or has positive social consequences.          

  Altruism is a form of helping or doing something, often at a cost or risk, for reasons other than the expectation 
of a material or social reward. 

Why people Help Others 

          Empathy - they identify with what the victim must be going through. 
          Personal distress - they have feelings of fear, alarm, or disgust from seeing a victim in need. 
          Their Norms & values cause them to feel morally bound or socially responsible to help those in need.          

  Decision-stage model of helping - Five stages in deciding to help:         

         1. notice the situation 
          2. interpret it as one in which help is needed 
           3. assume personal responsibility (most people drop out here) 
            4. choose a form of assistance 
             5. carry out that assistance         

  The Arousal-cost-reward model of helping states that we make decisions to help by calculating the costs 
& rewards of helping. 

Group Dynamics 

    Groups are collections of two or more people who interact, share some common idea, goal, or purpose, 
& influence how their members think & behave.          

    Group cohesion a.k.a. group togetherness, is determined by how much group members perceive they 
share common attributes.           

    Group norms are defined by formal or informal rules about how group members should behave.         

    In a Task-oriented group members have a specific duties to complete.         

   In a Socially oriented group members are primarily concerned about fostering and maintaining social relationships 
among the members of the group.

Behavior in Crowds 

    A Crowd is a large group of persons who are usually strangers, that can facilitate or inhibit certain behaviors.          

    Social facilitation is the increase in performance of an individual in the presence of a crowd.          

    Social inhibition is the decrease in performance of an individual in the presence of a crowd.         

    Deindividuation in crowds refers to the increased tendency for subjects to behave irrationally or perform antisocial 
behaviors when there is less chance of being personally identified,         

   The bystander effect: an individual may feel inhibited from taking some action because of the presence of others.         

   The Informational influence theory states that we use the reactions of others to judge the seriousness of the situation.         

   The Diffusion of responsibility theory says that, in the presence of others, individuals feel less personal responsibility & 
are less likely to take action in a situation where help is required.          

   Group polarization is the phenomenon in which group discussion reinforces the majority’s point of view & shifts that view 
to a more extreme position. a.k.a. the risky shift phenomenon.           

   Groupthink refers to a group making bad decisions because the group is more concerned about reaching agreement 
& sticking together, than gathering the relevant information & considering all the alternatives


     Aggression is any behavior directed toward another that is intended to cause harm.          

    Social cognitive theory says that much of human behavior, including aggressive behavior, may be learned through 
watching, imitating, & modeling & does not require the observer to perform any observable behavior or receive any 
observable reward.         

   The modified frustration-aggressive hypothesis says that although frustration may lead to aggression, a number of 
situational & cognitive factors may override the aggressive response.

                                                              Social Psychology
                                                                Robert C. Gates