AP Psychology: Social Psychology Notes

Key Takeaways: Social Psychology

  1. Social phenomena can affect individuals in a variety of ways, including in the attitudes they form, the attributions they make, the people they find attractive, and the prosocial and antisocial behaviors they perform.
  2. Being in a group influences members’ behavior in a variety of ways that are caused by the presence of other group members, expectations within the group, and the tendency for groups to be more extreme than their individual members.
  3. Social and cultural categories such as gender, race, and ethnicity play important psychological roles, both for individuals and groups.
  4. Human beings often distinguish between in-groups and out-groups, which can lead to the development of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. One technique for counteracting these is the adoption of superordinate goals.

Key Terms: Social Psychology

Intrapersonal Social Phenomena

  • Attitudes: Beliefs and feelings that predispose people to respond in particular ways to situations and other people.
  • Central route to persuasion: A method of persuasion in which you are convinced by the content of the message.
  • Peripheral route to persuasion: A method of persuasion in which you are convinced by something other than the message’s content.
  • Mere-exposure effect: The tendency to like new stimuli more when you encounter it more frequently.
  • Foot-in-the-door technique: A persuasive technique that begins with a small request to encourage compliance with a larger request.
  • Door-in-the-face technique: A persuasive technique that begins with an outrageous request in order to increase the likelihood that a second, more reasonable request is granted.
  • Cognitive dissonance: An uncomfortable state of mind arising when you recognize inconsistencies in your beliefs and/or behaviors.
  • Attribution theory: A theory that describes how people explain their own and others’ behavior.
  • Dispositional attribution: A type of attribution in which you assign responsibility for an event or action to the person involved.
  • Situational attribution: A type of attribution in which you assign responsibility for an event or action to the circumstances of the situation.
  • Stable attribution: An attribution in which you believe a cause to be consistent and relatively constant over time.
  • Unstable attribution: An attribution that credits a one-time source as the cause of an event.
  • Fundamental attribution error: The tendency to make dispositional attributions instead of situational attributions for other people’s behavior.
  • Self-serving bias: The tendency to make dispositional attributions about your successes and situational attributions about your failures.
  • Just-world hypothesis: The belief that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people.
  • Attraction: The ways in which you take interest in and feel positively towards others (romantically or platonically).
  • Physical attractiveness: The possession of outward physiological characteristics deemed to be appealing.
  • Matching hypothesis: The tendency for people to pick partners who are roughly equal in level of attractiveness to themselves.
  • Proximity: The tendency to like people geographically close to you.
  • Similarity: The tendency to be attracted to people who share characteristics with you.
  • Reciprocal liking: The tendency to like people who like you.
  • Altruism: Prosocial behaviors that benefit other people at a cost to yourself.
  • Kin selection: An evolutionary explanation for altruism proposing that people are altruistic to family members to ensure the continuation of their genes.
  • Reciprocity: The tendency to help people who help you, which helps to explain altruistic behavior towards non-family members.
  • Sexual selection: The tendency for genes that increase reproductive fitness to perpetuate. Altruism may be sexually selected because people find kindness attractive.
  • Aggression: Any type of behavior, physical or verbal, that is intended to harm or destroy.
  • Instrumental aggression: “Cold” aggressive behaviors that are carried out to attain a certain goal.
  • Hostile aggression: “Hot” aggressive behaviors that aim to inflict pain or harm.
  • Frustration-aggression model: Proposes that, when a desired goal is unmet, a person becomes frustrated, which can lead to aggressive behaviors.

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