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PSYC 1002 Study Guide - Fundamental Attribution Error, Stanley Milgram, Ethnic Stereotype

Course Code
PSYC 1002
Kim O' Neil

of 9
Social Psychology
Social psychology
-The area of study that attempts to explain how the actual, imagined, or implied presence
of others influences the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals.
-We need social environments. It doesn’t take long to see devastating results when
-Social psychology: The branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals'
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others.
Impression formation
-Primacy effect
Information you get 1st is the information that you retain/ impacts you.
First impressions are most enduring. We manage our impression every day. We
usually do it non-verbally (aka how you dress) and sometimes verbally (aka how you
talk, language style)
Recency effect is the information that we receive last that impacts us the most
Primacy effect sets us up for expectations and with expectations you keep them in
mind while you process ambiguous thoughts in a biased way because of the
previously set expectations.
-Social schemas = stereotypes
It takes less mental energy to lump people together into schemas and stereotypes.
Social schemas: Organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and
Mental map. Way we think
Stereotypes: Widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of
their membership in a particular group.
Most common are based on age, sex, ethnicity
Gender stereotype: women are emotional
Age stereotype: old people are slow and frigid
Ethnic stereotype: Germans are methodical
Occupational stereotype: lawyers are manipulative
Automatic. Saves time. Don’t need to get to know people individually
Good looking people are not convicted as harshly, they are also perceived as more
competent and smart, confident and sociable, more positive attributes (we rate them).
Tend to get better jobs, marks. Attractive people have an advantage.
-Attributions: Inferences that people draw about the causes of events, others' behavior, and
their own behavior.
-Attributions: to what do attribute success and failure – internal/external
The way in which you explain success and failure of yourself and others.
Internal attributions: yourself
Internal attributions: Ascribing the causes of behavior to personal dispositions,
traits, abilities, and feelings.
External attributions: environment
External attributions: Ascribing the causes of behavior to situational demands and
environmental constraints.
Don’t want to see internal attributes for failures and external attributes for success.
-Situational attributions: The person attributes behavior to some external cause or factor
operating with the situation.
Situational attributes are external attributes
-Dispositional attributions: The person attributes the behavior to some internal cause or
personal trait.
Dispositional attributes are internal attributes
-Actor-Observer Bias: The tendency to attribute our own shortcomings primarily to
situational factors and those of others to internal or dispositional factors.
Make shortcomings of others are internal and shortcomings of yourself are external.
Excuses you – ex: I failed the exam because of a dumb teacher
Protects our self-esteem, self worth to a certain point but if done constantly we’ll
never take responsibilities.
Fundamental attribution error
-Fundamental attribution error: Observers' bias in favor of internal attributions in
explaining others' behavior.
-Our overemphasis on internal factors and underestimation of external factors when we
explain other people’s behavior
-Criticizing someone else and saying they’re bad when you yourself did the same thing
last week
-We rate ourselves high than others
Self-serving bias
-Self-serving bias: The tendency to attribute one's successes to personal factors and one's
failures to situational factors.
-We attribute our successes to dispositional causes and failures to situational causes
Internal dispositional: I succeed
External dispositional: I fail
This is good sometimes but when done to the extreme you lose touch with reality.
Factors influencing attraction
-Proximity or geographic closeness
-Reciprocity or reciprocal liking
Reciprocity: Liking those who show that they like you.
Reciprocity norm: The rule that people should pay back in kind what they receive
from others.
-Physical Attractiveness
Matching hypothesis
Matching hypothesis: The idea that males and females of approximately equal
physical attractiveness are likely to select each other as partners.
Marry for love
Success, economic standing/status, good health
Marriage based on similarity are the most successful
Attachment and later relationships
-Parent’s care giving style; Warm/responsive, rejecting, inconsistent