1) Introduction to Social Psychology 8/20/2013 3:34:00 AM
Social psychology: the scientific study of the way in which people’s
thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined
presence of other people.
The power of social interpretation
Construal: the way in which people perceive, comprehend, and
interpret the social world.
Some alternative ways of understanding social influence
People are not aware of origins of their own responses (that’s why
they join cults/ inflict pain on themselves)
Folk wisdom/common sense. Disagree with each other. Birds fly
together. Opposite attract. Mostly wrong/oversimplified.
Hypothesis: educated guesses.
Social psychology compared with sociology.
Social psychologist: level of analysis is the individual in the context
of social situation. Why people hurt each other: social psychologist
focuses on processes that trigger aggression.
Sociology concerned with broad societal factors that influence
events in a given society. Social class/structure/institutions.
Difference: sociology- rather than focus on psychology focus on
macro-large society. Level of analysis reflects another difference
between disciplines-what they are trying to explain.
The goal of social psychology is to identify universal properties of
human nature that make everyone susceptible to social influence,
regardless of social class/culture. –laws governing
Social psychology is cross-cultural research.
Similarity: sociology interested in aggressive behavior, but
concerned with society that produces the different levels/ type of
aggression. Psychologist would ask: is frustration needed?
Sociologist would ask; why is US more higher aggression than
Social psychology compared with personality psychology.
Individual differences: aspects of people’s personalities that
make them different from other people.
Sociology; PROVIDES GNEERAL LAWS AND THEORIES ABOUT
SOCIETIES, NOT INDIVIDUAL Social psychology: studies the psychological processes people have
in common with one another that make them susceptible to social
Personality psychology: studies the characteristics that make
individual unique and different form one another.
Social psychology shares with sociology: interest in
situational/societal influences on behavior but focus on
psychological rather than social.
Social psychology shares with personality psychology: psychology
of individual but rather than focus on what makes people different,
focus on psychological processes shared by most people that make
them susceptible to social influence
The power of social influence.
Fundamental attribution error: tendency to overestimate the
extent to which people’s behavior stems from internal, dispositional
factors and to underestimate the role of situational factors- explain
people’s behavior in personality trait and underestimating social
Underestimating the power of social influence
When we underestimate social influence, we feel false security.
Solar temple-where priest told people to drink acid to kill himself or
herself. We would believe this could never happen. But by not
understanding the power, we oversimplify and decrease our
understanding of social forces. Eg2: Wall Street game vs.
community game. Same game different name. Where you can
choose to compete the money or split with friend.
Social and environmental situation are powerful effect on people.
Wall street game: more people compete. Community game: more
The subjectivity of social situation
Behaviorism: school of psychology maintaining that to understand
human behavior one need only consider the reinforcing properties
of the environment-that is, how positive and negative events in the
environment are associated with specific behaviors. Children learn
better when praised. Skinner: rewards/punishment. Does not deal
with cognition/thinking/feeling. Because too vague. Gestalt psychology: school of psychology stressing the importance
of studying the subjective way in which an object appears in
people’s mind rather than objective physical attributes of the
object. How people look at a painting. By Kurt koffka/wolfgang
kohler/max Wertheimer-how are you feeling
Social psychology does need cognition/thinking/feeling.
Where construal’s come from: basic human motives
The need to accurate and the need to feel good about ourselves
Opposite direction: we perceive to face up to fact that we behave
Leon fastener=social psychologist: 2 motives are tug in opposite
direction of human heart and mind.
The self-esteem approach: the need to feel good about ourselves
Self-esteem; people’s evaluation of their own self=worth. Extent
to which they view themselves as good/competent/decent
Justifying past behavior: often taken option: put a different spin to
fact. E.g. divorce because wife accused to cheat. Roger views
Suffering and self-justification. Jean-François hazing. Human beings
are motivated to maintain a positive picture of themselves, in part
by justifying their past behavior and that under certain specific
conditions, this leads them to do things that at first glance might
seem surprising- e.g. they may prefer people/things for whom they
have suffered over people and things associate with pleasure.
The social cognition approach: the need to be accurate
It is impossible to observe cognitive development of a child without
Social cognition: how people think about themselves and the
social world, more specifically, how people select, interpret,
remember, and use social information. Begin with assumption that
people try to view the world as accurately as possible. –Lucky
charm or natural cereal is better for health? Judging by cover,
natural cereal, and truth lucky charm.
Expectations about social world. Our expectation gets in the way of
accurate perception. Robert Rosenthal/leonore Jacobson made self- fulfilling prophecy: if you encourage/praise student, student
believes and succeeds.
Other motives; ensuring our survival and coping with mortality. 2 major
source of construal
1 Self esteem approach: positive view of ourselves
2 Social cognition approach: view the world accurately
Ensuring our survival: evolutionary psychology- attempt to
explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that evolved
around time according to principles of natural selections. Human
behavior driven by biology alone, and not environment. But the
evolutionary theories now do involve environment.
Terror management theory: realization that we are going to die
produces fear and people do great length to reduce this feeling.
Social psychology and social problems
Does fear-inducing approach help? AIDS for protected sex. Does
not help because people do not want to think of dying while sex. 2) Methodology:
How social psychologists do research. 8/20/2013 3:34:00 AM
Social psychology: empirical science
A fundamental principle of social psychology is that many social
problems, such as causes of reactions to violence, can be studied
Hindsight bias: people exaggerate how much they could have
predicted an outcome after knowing that it occurred. 20/20: by
oese and Olson. If I told you that a doctor saved a patient and ask:
what is the outcome, you would say doctor saved patient.
3 methods: observational, correlational, and experimental.
Formulating hypotheses and theories
Theory: organized set of principles that can be used to explain
Hypothesis: testable statement or idea bout the relationship
between two or more variables.
Observational/archival: description: what is the nature of
Correlation; description: what is the relationship between X and Y?
Experimental: causality: is X cause of Y?
Kitty Genovese’s case: diffusion of responsibility: assume someone
else would have acted/ called police.
The observational method
Observational method: technique whereby a researcher observes
people and systematically records measurements of their behavior.
Observer actively participates in scene.
Operational definition: precise specification of how variables are
measured/manipulated. Pepler and Craig define bullying as power
imbalance because of height/age/weight
Ethnography: method by which researcher attempt to understand
a group/culture by observing it from the inside without imposing
notions. Goal is to understand richness of group by observing
action. Ethnography used by cultural anthropology-study of human
cultures/society. Social psychology broadens focus by studying
social behavior of ethnography.
Interjudge reliability: level of agreement between two or more
people who independently observe and code a set of data; by showing that two or more judges independently come up with the
same observations, researchers ensure that observations are not
the subjective impressions of one individual. Used to observe
children’s behavior or playground of cult behavior.
Archival analysis: form of observational method, whereby the
researcher examines the accumulated documents/ archives of
culture/diary/novel/magazine/newspaper. Model bodies.
The correlational method
Correlational method: the technique whereby researchers
systematically measures two or more variables and assess the
relation between them (how much one can predict form the other)
E.g. aggression vs. TV.
Correlation coefficient: statistical technique that assesses how
well you can predict one variable based on another (how well you
can predict weight form height). -1 to +1. 0 means no
Survey: research in which representative sample of people are
asked questions about their attitudes or behavior. E.g. used to
judge difficult to observe relationship- sex protection. Ability to
sample representative segments. Random selection is good.
Straightforward question is bad.
Correlational techniques are ideal for answering questions about
whether two variables are related and strength o relation. E.g. how
much time to donate/ amount of time spent is good? Bad
Limits of correlational method: correlation does not equal causation.
The experimental method: answering causal questions
Experimental method: method in which researcher randomly
assigns participants to different conditions and ensure that these
conditions are identical except for independent variable (the one
thought to have causal effect on people’s response)
Independent and dependent variables
Independent variable: variable researcher changes/ varies to see
effect on other variable
Dependent variable; variable researcher measure to see influence
by independent variable. Hypothesize dependent depend on independent. Latane and Darley believed that people helped by
number of bystanders present.
Internal validity in experiments
Internal validity: change only independent variable.
Random assignment to condition: process where all participants
have equal change of taking part of condition experiment.
P value: probability level: number, calculated with statistical
techniques that tells researcher how likely it is that results of
experiment occurred by chance and not because of independent
variable. P <0.05 = results attribute to chance factors and not
independent variable. P value tells us how confident we can be to
the difference –like coin toss.
Internal validity: ensuring that nothing other than the
independent variable can affect dependent variable. Control
extraneous variable/ and assign randomly. Get control group
Only experimental method can answer casual questions.
External validity in experiments
External validity: extent to which results of study can be
generalized to other situations and to other people.
2 generalization are at issue:
o Extent to which we can generalize from the situation
constructed by an experimenter to real life situations
o Extent to which we can generalize from people who
participated in experiment to people in general (generalizing
Generalizability across situations: mundane realism: extent to which
experiment is similar to real-life situation. Psychological realism: extent to
which psychological processes triggered in an experiment are similar to
psychological process that occur to everyday life. Psychological is high in
experiment even if mundane realism is low. If the experiment decision is
similar to real life decision. Cover story: purpose is different from true
purpose to maintain psychological realism.
Generalizability across people: psychological process differs in culture.
Replication: repeating a study with different subject population/ setting
/method. Meta analysis: statistical technique that averages result of 2 or more
studies to see if the effects of independent variable are reliable. When
Cross-cultural research: research conducted with members of different
cultures to see whether psychological processes of interest are present
across cultures/whether they are specific to culture.
The basic dilemma of social psychologist.
Having enough control over the situation to ensure that no
extraneous variables influence results. Random assignment. Results
can be generalized to everyday life.
Field experiment: experiment conducted to natural settings rather
than in lab. Real life setting. Lateen/Darley beer theft study:
customer reports theft less with others in store than alone.
Basic dilemma of social psychology: tradeoff between
internal/external validity. TV violence and aggression. External
validity: maximized by playing floor hockey in school after TV.
Aggression may be high in internal but lack external. Internal
validity: controlling TV show. Most prefer internal control.
Basic verses applied research
Basic research. Studies that are designed to find the best answer
as to why people behave the way they do and conduct pure reasons
for intellectual curiosity. Aren’t trying to solve a specific
Applied research: studies designed specifically to solve social
problem; build theory of behavior is usually secondary to solve
specific problem. Solving problem like racism, violence.
Ethical issues in social psychology.
Informed consent: procedure whereby researchers explain the
nature of experiment to participants before it begins to obtain
Deception: procedure where participants are misled about true
purpose of study.
Debriefing: process of explaining purpose of study. 3) Social Cognition 8/20/2013 3:34:00 AM
2 different kinds of social cognition.
Automatic: we classify object as chair. Involuntary
Controlled thinking: important decisions over hours like:
On automatic pilot; Low-effort thinking
Automatic thinking: thinking that is nonconscious, unintentional,
People as everyday theorists: automatic thinking with schemas
Relate situation with prior experience.
Schemas: mental structures that organize our knowledge about
social world through themes/subjects that influence the information
people notice, think about, and remember. Librarian /specific
events –eat meal in restaurant.
Schemas example: garden and Londe describe characteristics of
male/female. Male were impatient. Fill in the blank schemas to
describe a person. Label people.
Stereotypes about race and weapons, stereotypes: schemas applied to
members of social group such as gender or race. Race of face influence
people’s perception of whether they saw gun/tool.
The function of schemas: why do we have them? Schemas used to help
organize and fill in gap of knowledge. Think of Kevin chapel: smart guy who
could only recognize face after car crash. He had Korsakov syndrome:
difficulty-forming schemas. It is important to help continuity and relate new
experiences with past.
Schemas as memory guides. Schemas tend to resist change.
Which schemas are applied? Accessibility and priming? Accessibility: extent
to which schemas and concepts are at forefront of people’s minds and are
likely to be used when making judgments about social world.
Schemas are accessible for 3 reasons. 1. Schemas are chronically
accessible due to past experience. Constantly active/ready to use.
Ex) if your family is alcoholic, you tend to go to that idea. 2.
Schemas are related to current goal. You need it for exams. 3.
Schemas can be temporary because of recent experience.
Schema/trait happens right before you think of it. Priming: the
process by which recent experience increase accessibility of schema/trait/concept. Read a book about alcohol, saw crazy guy,
must be alcohol.
So: 1) past experience 2) goal/exam 3) recent experience.
Thoughts have to be accessible and applicable before they will be
primed. Priming is a good example of automatic thinking because it
occurs quickly unintentionally.
The persistence of schemas after they are discredited. Perseverance effect:
finding that people’s beliefs about themselves and social world persist even
after evidence supporting these beliefs is discredited. People believe they are
right even when they were told they were wrong.
Making our schemas come true: the self-fulfilling prophecy: the case
whereby people have an expectation about what another person is like which
influences how they act toward that person which cause person to behave
consistently with their original expectation.
1) You have an expectancy/social theory about another person. 2
You behave the expectancy/social theory to another person. 3
Target respond to your expectancy/social theory. 4 You see
person’s behavior as proof that your expectancy was right and don’t
realize you caused this response. I don’t like you, so I treat you
bad. Friend: why is he mean? I’ll treat him mean. You: so he was
mean! I was right. (don’t realize that you caused this scenario).
Ex2) teachers believed in bloomer students are better.
Self-fulfilling prophecy is autonomic thinking. Reign of error: cite
actual course of event as proof that they were right from the
beginning. Ex) last year boys are better than girls. So this yea,
boys are better than boys
Cultural determinants of schemas: other cultures remember our culture.
Culture form mental structure.
Autonomic schemas: 1 way is to reduce information and separate
information. 2 way is to use rules/shortcut on our thinking. They can be
Mental strategies and shortcuts; heuristics
Judgmental heuristics: mental shortcuts people use to make
judgments quickly and efficiently: to discover: do not guarantee to
make accurate thinking. Most of the time heuristic is functional and
good. How easily does it come to mind? The availability heuristic. Availability
heuristic: mental shortcut whereby people base a judgment on ease with
which they can bring something to mind. Tversky and Kahneman studied
naming famous/non famous people. More famous people named. Nicole CT
scan, brain wave test, blood test with insomnia, slurred words. Acute
intermittent porphyria: blood problem. Doctor used: availability heuristic
because she just read a book about the blood problem. Availability and
assertiveness: people who were asked to think of 6 times they behaved
assertively and 12 times they behaved assertively. 6 times were assertive
people. If couldn’t think 12 times then unassertive people. Result show that
people base judgment on availability/how easily they can bring information
Availability heuristic: the ease in which they bring example to mind
–making judgment on themselves and other people.
How similar is A to B? Representative heuristic: mental shortcut whereby
people classify something according to how similar it is to a case. (She
speaks French, must be from Quebec) Base rate information: information
about the frequency of members of different categories in the population.
(How many people are actually from Quebec in Toronto?)
The pervasiveness of automatic thinking
Cocktail party phenomenon: in party where you hear your name.
The power of unconscious thinking: immediate condition:
immediately decision. Conscious condition: 3 minute decision.
Unconscious condition: distracted and 3 minute decision. Best
Controlled social condition: high effort thinking.
Racial profiling: action toward people based on race/nationality
rather than behavior. 911
Controlled thinking; thinking that is conscious, intention, voluntary,
effortful. They can turn on /off this thinking. We can think about
what we ate/or not think.
Thinking about what might have been: counterfactual reasoning: mentally
changing some aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have
been. If only I studied, I would have done well. Counterfactual reasoning
lead to paradoxical effect. Bronze happier than silver place. Self-
improvement: writing down things is improved. Self-enhancement: what they could do to make themselves feel better to prevent counterfactual
Thought suppression and ironic processing.
Thought suppression: attempt to avoid thinking about something a
person would prefer to forget. 2 process; automatic and controlled.
Automatic: monitoring process: search evidence that unwanted
thought is about to intrude on conscious. Once unwanted thought
detected, opening process: controlled part, where one distracts
Cognitive load: thoughts will spill out unchecked.
Emotional/physical coast to thought suppression. More suppress
A portrayal of social thinking.
2 mode of social cognition: automatic/controlled. Mental
contamination: kinds of biases that are pervasive everyday. Blind to
Improving human thinking. Overconfidence barrier: barrier that results when
people have too much confidence in accuracy of their judgments. Teach
basic method/statistic. 4) Social perception:
How we come to understand other
People 8/20/2013 3:34:00 AM
Social perception: the study of how we form impressions of and make
inferences about other people. Nonverbal behavior-facial/body/tone of voice
Nonverbal communication: the way in which people
communicate, intentionally or unintentionally without words. Facial
expression, tone of voice, gesture, body position and movement,
the use of touch, eye gaze. Mirror neurons respond to action and
we see someone else perform the same action. When we see
someone cry, we cry ourselves.
Facial expressions of emotion.
Darwin’s research on facial expression. Encode: express or emit
nonverbal behavior such as smiling or patting someone on the
back. Decode: interpret the meaning of nonverbal behavior such as
patting on back is condolence, not kindness. Encode: emit. Decode:
Paul Ekman/walter friesen 6 emotion: anger, happiness, surprise,
fear, disgust, and sadness. Contempt added by Paul Ekman.
Embarrassment added by dacher keltner.
Are facial expressions of emotion universal? Not all theorists agree with 6
expressions. Conduct that all facial expression are same in different cultures.
Why is decoding sometimes inaccurate: affect blends: facial expression in
which one part of face is registering one emotion while another part is
Culture and nonverbal communication. Display rule: culturally
determined rules about which nonverbal behaviors are appropriate to
display. Ex. Men don’t cry. Eye contact, personal space
Emblem; nonverbal gestures that have well understood definitions
within a given culture; they usually have direct verbal translations-
okay sign. Hang gestures.
Gender and nonverbal communication.
Social role theory: the theory that sex differences in social
behavior derive from society’s division of labor between the sexes; this division leads to different gender roles expectations and sex
typed skills. Both of which are responsible for differences in
men/women social behavior. Men work outside/women in kitchen.
Problem; gender role arise and they have different sets of attitude.
Women less powerful.
You can learn attitude, emotion, and personality trait from
Implicit personality theories: filling in the blanks.
Implicit personality theory: schema people use to group various
kinds of personality traits together. Egg. Many people believe if
someone is kind, he is generous.
Culture and implicit personality theories.
Implicit personality theories tied to culture. Chinese artist do not
Casual attribution: answering the why question.
Attribution theory: a description of the way in which people
explain the causes of their own and other behavior.
The nature of attribution process. Fritz heider: father of attribution theory.
Internal attribution: person is behaving because of something about his
attitude/character/personality. Ex. Father yells because bad parenting.
External attribution: person behaves because of situation, assumption
that most people would respond the same way; situation/not personality.
E.g. beggar is poor because his own fault-internal. Beggar is poor because
he lost his job-external. Another contribution is people prefer internal than
external attribution because we look at the people more/overlook situation.
The covariation model: internal VS external attribution.
Covariation model: theory stating that in order to form an
attribution about what caused a person’s behavior we note pattern
between presence of possible causal factors and whether the
behaviors occurs. E.g. does your friend normally lend cars/does
she lends to others? 3 types
o Consensus information: information about extent to which
other people behave the same way as the actor does in same
stimulus. Do other people at work also yell at her? o Distinctive information: information about one actor
behaves the same way to different stimuli. Does the boss yell
at other employee?
o Consistency information: information which behavior
between one actor and one stimulus is the same across
time/circumstances. Does boss yell regularly whether store is
o Internal attribution-consensus and distinctive act are low.
Consistency high. Boss bitch personality
o External attribution-
consensus/distinctiveness’s/consistency are high.
o External/situational attribution-consistency low. Unusual with
circumstance. Boss saw something upsetting.
o Covariation model is logic. Attributions can be biased when
people use mental shortcuts. People do what they do because
of people, not situation.
The correspondence bias: people as personality psychologist.
Correspondence bias: tendency to infer that people’s behavior
corresponds to or matches their disposition (personality).
Fundamental attribution error: overestimate behavior is
attributable to internal/dispositional factors/ underestimate
situational factors. Correspondence bias often called fundamental
attribution error. But social situation have impact on behavior.
Fundamental attribution underestimate
The role of perceptual salience in fundamental attribution error. Perceptual
salience: information that is focus on people’s attention; people tend to
overestimate causal role of perceptually silent information. People, not
situation have perceptual salience. People are what we see/hear. It shows
why fundamental attribution error is widespread. When seat A or B is better.
We think A is better because its closer, when it’s simply just the situation is
still the same.
The two step process of making attributions: analyzing another peron’s
behavior first by making an automatic internal attribution and only then
thinking about possible situational reasons for behavior, after which one may
adjust the original internal attribution. 1) Internal attribution 2) look
situation. Consequences of fundamental attribution error: tendency to blame others.
More people blame mothers with birth problem who had access to health
care than mother without access.
Culture and fundamental attribution error. Westerns blame people (bad
worker). Chinese blame situation (poor management/training).
The actor/observer difference: tendency to see other people’s behavior
as dispositional caused while focusing more on role of situational factors
when explaining own behavior. We see a woman yelling: we think woman
mean. Woman thinks sleep deprives. People think more consistency.
Perceptual salience revisited: why is actor observer attribution so different?
It’s because of perceptual salience where we look at others.
The role of information availability in actor/observer difference. Actors have
more information about themselves. Actor have more
Self-serving attributions: explanation for one’s success that credit
internal/dispositional factor and failure that blame external/situational
factors. Internal attribution: success. External attribution: failure.
Defensive attribution: explanations for behavior that avoid feelings of
vulnerability and mortality.
Unrealistic optimism: defensive attribution where person think of
good things always happen to them, and bad things happen less.
Belief in a just world; defensive attribution where people assume
bad things happen to bad people, good things happen to good
How accurate are our attributions and impressions. First impressions
are not accurate because of fundamental attribution error: people attribute
to people rather than situation. Girl may be friendly in party, so I think she’s
friendly. But situation is in a party, so she is friendly maybe because of
party. 5) Self-Knowledge and the Need to
Maintain self-esteem 8/20/2013 3:34:00 AM
The nature of self.
Self-concept: the contents of the self that is, our knowledge about
who we are.
Self-awareness: act of thinking about ourselves.
Babies have self-concept at age of 2. Using a mirror.
Functions of self. Why do we have self-concept?
Organizational function of the self.
Self-schemas: mental structures that people use to organize their
knowledge about themselves and that influence what they notice
think about, and remember about themselves. Self-reference
effect: tendency for people to remember information better if they
relate it to themselves.
Self-regulation: executive function. Self-regulatory resource model: self-
controls limited resource gets tired.
Cultural differences in defining the self.
Independent view of self: defining oneself in terms of own
thoughts/feelings and not others. Interdependent view of the self;
defining ones relationship with others. Thoughts/feelings determine
by others. Asian community is interdependent.
Gender differences in defining the self. Collective interdependence: defining
based on sense of relational such as sport teams.
Knowing ourselves through introspection
Introspection: process people look inward and examine own
Focusing on the self: self-awareness theory.
Self-awareness theory: idea that when people focus their attention
on themselves, they evaluate and compare behavior with
standards/values. Self awareness can be good (matches what you
think/who you are) or bad (no match, not perfect)
Judging why we feel the way we do: telling more than we can know.
Causal theories: theories about the causes of one’s own feelings
and behaviors: typically, we learn theories from culture. I feel bad
because I slept 4 hours. Because it’s Monday.
Knowing ourselves by observing our own behavior. Self-perception theory: theory that when our attitudes and feelings
are uncertain we infer states by observing behavior/situation. I like
music because I chose pop. I don’t like music because my
roommate chose pop.
Intrinsic versus extrinsic motivation.
Intrinsic motivation: desire to engage in activity because we enjoy
it, not because of reward/ pressure
Extrinsic motivation: we engage in activity because of
reward/pressure, not because I like it.
The over justification effect: case where people view their behaviors as
caused by extrinsic reason making them underestimate extent to which
behavior was caused by intrinsic. At first I play piano because I like it, not I
play because parents pay me reward. This makes them think they have no
Preserving intrinsic interest
Task contingent reward: reward that is given for performing a task
regardless how well task is done.
Performance contingent reward: reward given for how well task
Knowing ourselves through social interaction
Seeing ourselves through the eyes of others: looking glass self; the idea that
we see ourselves through others and their views is our self-concept
Knowing ourselves by comparing ourselves to others.
Leon festingers social comparison theory: idea that we learn about
our own abilities/attitudes by comparing with others. I tell you that
you are 70/100 sensitive compared to others. I tell you that you are
The need to feel good about ourselves
Social comparison revisited
Downward social comparison: process where we compare ourselves
with people who are worse. May not be good: read about a first
year doing well but in 4 year fails.
Upward social comparison: process we compare with people better.
Social comparison and culture. Western does better with positive role model.
Asian do better with negative role model Self-discrepancy theory: theory that we become distressed our sense of who
we truly are-actual self is discrepant from personal standards or desired self-
concepts. Promotional oriented: motivated to achieve goals/attain positive
outcome. Prevention oriented-channel energy to avoid negative
Self-discrepancies and culture.
Self-evaluation: biased or accurate?
Self-enhancement: wanting to feel good about ourselves, regardless of facts
Self-enhancement; unrealistically positive view of oneself.
Self-enhancement and culture: self-effacement: established at
young age: hold negative view of oneself.
Self-verification: wanting to know truth about ourselves. Self-
verification theory: theory suggesting that people have a need to
seek confirmation of their self-concept, whether the self-concept is
positive or negative. In some circumstances, this tendency can
conflict with desire to uphold a favorable view of oneself.
Sometimes we prefer positivity than accuracy such as feedback
from teacher/attractive partner. –Self-enhancement needs. Vs.
truth accuracy-friends/family. 6) Attitudes and Attitude Change:
Influencing thoughts, feelings, and
Behavior 8/20/2013 3:34:00 AM
The nature and origin of attitudes
Attitude: evaluation of a person/object/idea
3 parts of attitude
o Affective component: emotional reactions towards attitude. I
hate foreign cars.
o Cognitive component: thoughts/beliefs about attitude object.
I admire the engine to be fuel-efficient.
o Behavioral component: actions / observable behavior toward
the attitude object. Do I buy the car?
Where do attitudes come from? Not all attributes are created equally.
Affectively based attitudes: an attitude based on people’s emotions and
feelings about attitude object.
Don’t discuss politic/sex/religion in dinner.
They do not result from a rational examination of the issue. They
are not governed by logic. They are often linked to people’s values,
so trying to change them challenges those values
Cognitively based attitudes: attitude based on person’s beliefs bout
properties of an attitude object. Purpose is to classify the plus/minus of an
object (advantage/disadvantage). I like the vacuum cleaner because of the
dirt/cleanliness. Not because it’s sexy1
Behaviorally based attitude: attitude based on observation of how one
behaves toward an attitude object. Self-perception theory: people don’t
know how they feel until they see how they behave. Ex0 how much do you
like exercising? Well a little because I sometimes go to the gym.
Comparing affective/cognitive/behavioral based attitudes. Negative towards
a group: cognitively based. Symbolic belief: beliefs that group threatens
their value system (cognitive). Positive attitude toward social groups are
affective because it’s our feelings towards the group.
Explicit VS implicit attitude.
Explicit attitude: attitude that we consciously endorse and report.
Implicit attitude: attitude that is involuntarily, uncontrollable,
unconscious. You can have implicit and explicit at the same time
When will attitudes predict behavior
People’s attitudes are poor predictors of behavior. The theory of planned behavior: theory that the best predictors of a person’s
planned behavior are the person’s attitude toward specific
behavior/subjective norm/ perceives behavioral control.
Yale attitude change approach: study of the conditions in which
people are likely to change attitude in response to persuasive
messages; researcher focus on who said what to whom. Source of
communication/nature of communication/ nature of audience.
Central and peripheral routes to persuasion. Heuristic systematic
persuasion model: theory that there are 2 ways in which persuasive
communication can cause attitude change: people process the merit
of argument-systematic processing or are swayed by factors that
are peripheral to the message itself such as: experts are always
right heuristic processing. Elaboration likelihood model: t theory
that there are 2 way in persuasive communication; control route
occurs when people are motivated and have ability to pay attention
to argument/ peripheral route when people do not pay attention to
argument but are sway by surface characteristic-who gave the
o Both theories state that people are motivated to pay attention
to facts /logic. Systematic processing: carefully thinking
/processing content. Petty and cacioppo call central route to
persuasion for logic thinking. Heuristic processing: peripheral
route to persuasion: person is attractive/expert. Central route
when topic is interesting/attention/clear. Peripheral route
when argument is complicated/boring/tired/jargon language.
o Peripheral cues: attitude toward specific behavior/subjective
norms/perceived behavioral control
o Specific attitude: only specific attitudes toward behavior can
predict behavior. So specific questions can lead to predict
behavior. (Ask woman would you use birth control now? In 2
o Subjective norm: their beliefs about how the people they care
about will view the behavior. E.g. A doesn’t like concert. But B
likes concert. So based on subjective norm-her belief of her
friendship, we might make different prediction about A going
to concert because of B o Perceived behavioral control; ease people believe they can
perform the behavior. If I think it’s easy, I can do it. If I think
it’s hard to perform, I will not have strong intention.
Intention-attitudes toward specific behavior/subjective
norm/perceived behavioral control.
Theory of planned behavior: implication for safer sex.
Why do some people have positive attitude toward sex but not use
Subjective norms. People’s belief of how others view their behavior.
Friends use condom, we use condom. Partner likes condom, we like
Perceived behavioral control. Embarrassing talking/buying condom.
More difficult to perform, less likely to use it
Behavioral intention. Bad mood/low self-esteem=no condom.
Persuasive communication and attitude change
Persuasive communication: communication-speech/TV
advertisement- supporting particular side of an issue. Factors: who
says what to whom/looking at the source of communication-how
attractive/expert speaker is / communication itself-quality of
argument, speaker presents both side / nature of audience-hostile
Fear and attitude change
Fear arousing communication: persuasive message that attempts to
change people’s attitude by arousing fear. Effective and produce
fear. If fear created and people believe/motivated to listen to
message on how to reduce the fear, they will change attitude
through central route. (Shown a film then a pamphlet=create fear
and information for change. If only film or only pamphlet=won’t
work). Humor is more effective than fear because deny fear
Advertising and attitude change.
Tailoring advertisements to people’s attitude.
Attitude object==cognitively based attitude. Change with rational
argument. How much usage it has. Emotion/value-affectively based attitude. Change emotion. Social
identity products: perfume/greeting cards change their
Cultural differences in advertising.
Subliminal advertising; a form of mind control?
Sublimal message: words/pictures that are not consciously
perceived but that supposedly influence people’s
judgments/attitudes/behavior. Coca cola drink/eat popcorn
Debunking the claims about subliminal advertisement; no effect. Participants
thought subliminal worked, even though they did not.
Evidence for subliminal influence in lab: subliminal message ineffecting for
advertisement. Even in labs, there is no evidence that it works. Ads are
more powerful when we consciously perceive them. Regular advertising is
more powerful than subliminal. We fear subliminal more than regular ads.
Resisting persuasive messages.
Attitude inoculation: process of making people immune to attempts to
change in attitude by initially exposing them to small does of argument
against position. Smaller dose helps resist the larger dose change/less
persuaded. While the ones without the small dose was susceptible to
Being alert to product placement.
Product placement: strategy place products in move/TV to persuade
us to buy it. BMW in mtv. It’s successful because we don’t realize
Changing our attitudes because of our behavior: the theory of cognitive
So we know people try to change us. Sometimes, we change us.
Cognitive dissonance: feeling of discomfort caused by realization
that one’s behavior is inconsistent with one’s attitudes or that one
holds two conflicting attitudes. Dissonance occurs when we do
something to make us feel stupid/ produce discomfort. E.g. we
don’t’ want class to start 6; 30 but when we write a paper on it we
may change our idea. So to change this dissonance/alleviate
dissonance: you change behavior-stop smoking/change
cognition/add cognition-smoke stats are liars.
Decisions, decisions, decisions Post decision dissonance: dissonance that is inevitably aroused
after a decision made; dissonance reduced by enhancing
attractiveness of chosen decision and devaluing rejected decision.
(Shit, did I make the wrong idea? Nahh, the other one was bad
anyway). Attractive decision has more dissonance than unattractive
decision. (You make more regrets if between 2 cake and 2 veggies).
The permanence of decision. The more permanent the more dissonance-e.g.
marriage. In a horse race, people more dissonant before paying bet than
after paying bet.
The decision to behave immorally. Cheat or not to cheat. Those who cheat
became lenient towards cheating. Those who didn’t cheat became harsher to
The justification of effort
Justification of effort: tendency for individuals to increase their
liking for something they have worked hard to attain. The club you
created suckuse justification of effortit’s not that bad…. People
are nice… Elliot aroson and Judson mill experiment between effort
and dissonance reduction. When someone works hard for
something they think it’s good.
The psychology of insufficient justification
External justification: person’s reason/explanation for dissonant
behavior that resides outside the individual-in order to receive
reward/avoid punishment. You lie to your friend that she looks
pretty because you don’t’ want to cause pain.
Counter attitudinal advocacy. Internal justification: reduction of dissonance
by changing something about onself0one’s attitude/behavior. When external
fails, you look internal. If she really looks ugly, maybe you can say she’s
nice. Counter attitudinal advocacy: person states an opinion/attitude that
runs counter to his private belief/attitude. Saying becomes believing. With
little external justification, we believe in the lie we told. Experiment: $20
given to students said that dull experiment was really boring. $1 given to
students said that dull experiment was really interesting. This shows that a
little external justification (small reward) could convince them of their own
Insufficient punishment. Bullies should be given severe punishment. Not
according to dissonance theory. Dissonance theory says bullies should be given mild p