Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
*Note: Information summarized from Professor Bigg’s powerpoint slides. No copyright infringement
intended. For study purposes only.
Social Facilitation theory (Zajonc, 1965) – Task difficulty in a social context
o In front of others, people perform better on simple tasks, but worse on complex tasks.
Social norms: shared experiences about how people should think, feel, and behave
Social Roles: A set of norms for how a person in a social position ought to behave.
Informational social influence: conform because belief that others are right
Normative social influence: conform to be accepted by others.
Social Learning model – imitation of “sex-appropriate” behaviour
o Eg. imitating parent of the same sex
o Behaviour can be enhanced by positive reinforcement / diminished by disapproval
o Argues morality is acquired in this way (as opposed to cognitive approach)
Eriksons’s Theory of personality – social interactions expected at each stage
Asch’s Conformity Study (1951) – Group size and presence of a dissenter affect conformity
Milgram’s Obedience experiment
o Factors affecting obedience: remoteness of victim, closeness of authority figure, diffusion of
responsibility (obedience increases)
Deindividuation: a decrease in self-awareness that leads to disinhibited behaviour
Social loafing: people exert less effort when working in a group than alone
o More likely to occur when: participant doesn’t think individual performance is being monitored,
task/ group is of less value to the participant, task is easy and they wouldn’t make a big diff.
Group polarization: group of like-minded people gets more extreme
Groupthink: tendency to not use critical judgement because of desire to reach an agreement
o Likely under: high stress, insulation, directive leader, highly cohesive group
Cognitive Dissonance theory (Festinger, 1957) – people strive for consistency in their cognitions; this
occurs when an attitude and behaviour are inconsistent (eg. people forced to act a certain way which is
against their beliefs). Creates anxiety; known attitudes.
Self-perception theory (Bem, 1972) – make inferences about attitudes by observing own behaviour.
Does not create anxiety because you are self-monitoring behaviour; attitudes are inferred (eg. I’m only
behaving this way to avoid a worse thing).
Persuasion Tactics Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
o Norm of reciprocity – when others treat you well, you respond with kindness
o Door-in-the-face – start by making a big request, then follow with a smaller request
o Foot-in-the-door – start with a small request and then work your way to the larger
o Lowballing – commit to an action and then raise the costs
Kelly’s Model of personal and situational attributes – three types of information assessed
o Consistency (is behaviour consistent over time?), distinctiveness (is behaviour unique to
situation?), consensus (is behaviour shared by others)
o In class example:
Fundamental attribution error: underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate role of
personal factors. (eg. He was late for work because he is an irresponsible person).
Self-serving bias: personal attributions for success, situational attributions for failure. (eg. I was late for
work because of traffic, not my fault).
Primacy effect: tendency to attach more importance to first impression
Recency effect: attach more importance to latest information
Stereotype: generalized belief about a group of people
Self-fulfilling prophecy: expectations lead someone to act towards the other in a way that brings about
the expected behaviour.
Social comparison theory (Festinger, 1954) – Comparison of our beliefs, feelings, behaviour with those
of others to determine whether our responses are “normal”.
Mere exposure effect: repeated exposure to a stimulus increases our liking for it
Similarity-attraction relationship: tendency to be attracted to people like us
Evolutionary theory – Evolutionary mating preferences based on producing healthy offspring
Social roles theory – men and women have different mating preferences because of differences in social
Social penetration theory – over time, interactions become deeper. Self-disclosure plays an important
Social exchange theory – relationship is based on a balance of rewards and costs; outcome determined
by comparison levels with alternatives. Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
Triangular theory of love (Sternberg, 1988, 97)
Cognitive-Arousal model of Love – high
physiological arousal + attributions for arousal to
another person (you associate the arousal w the
presence of that person) = LOVE
Prejudice: negative attitude toward people based
on their membership in a group.
Discrimination: refers to treating people unfairly
because of their membership in a group.
In-group favouritism: tendency to favour in-
group members and give benefit of the doubt for their behaviour.
Out-group homogeneity bias: tendency to believe that out-group members are more similar to each
other than members of in-group with each other.
Roots of prejudice
o Realistic conflict theory (Tajfel, 1974) – Competition for limited resources fosters prejudice
o Social identity theory – prejudice stems for need to enhance own self-esteem
Kin selection theory – evolutionary basis for helping. We help those whom we are most closely related.
Norm of reciprocity: we should help others when they are kind to us
Norm of social responsibility: we should contribute to society’s welfare
Kitty Genovese case – Helping behaviour, bystander intervention (or lack thereof)
o Bystander intervention if: notice the situation, engage in social comparison, assume
responsibility to intervene (or diffusion), self-efficacy, perceived costs of helping vs. not.
o In this case, people noticed the situation, however diffusion of responsibility occurred and they
may have felt powerless against strong men
Frustration-aggression model – all aggression is the result of frustration; likely wrong b/c it means that
people don’t have the coping tools to deal w the frustrating situation.
Attribution of intentionality: did someone provoke you purposely or by mistake? If believed to be
intentional, more aggression towards them.
TV and antisocial behaviour studies:
o Observational content analyses: Liebert, Sprafkin & Davidson (1982) violence in daytime and
weekend shows – 80% of all shows contain violence including 90% of kids’ shows. Williams,
Zabrack & Joy (1977) – viewers aged 5-15 will witness death of ~13,400 characters.
o Case studies: Stanley & Riera (1977) direct imitations from TV, violent shows – seven year old
imitates putting glass in food, bank robbery with explosives had 5 imitations. Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
o Experimental Lab studies (to make more representative of population vs. case studies):
Drabman & Thomas (1974) willingness of children to intervene in belligerent actions of younger
kids – Those who watched Untouchables waited until behaviour was potentially very serious to
o Experimental field studies – Parke & colleagues (1977) studied incarcerated Belgian and
American adolescent boys. Each group split into one half viewing violent films and other half
viewing non-violent films. Violent group showed significantly more violent behaviour.
o Correlational Studies (useful to make predictions) – Eron, Huesmann… (1972) (1983)
longitudinal study found positive correlation btwn preference for violent entertainment and
o Phillips (1986) mass media portrayals and fluctuation in suicide and homicide rates.
TV and social behaviour
o Vicarious catharsis: explains why depressed people became less depressed after watching a
tragedy. However, studies have shown that it is more of a social learning model for aggression.
o Moriarty & McCabe (1977) prosocial behaviour in sports after watching altruistic shows.
Results: Hockey and lacrosse players showed increased prosocial behaviour after watching, but
o O’Connor (1969) social interaction patterns and TV programs. Took low interacting
preschoolers, showed them a film with kids having positive interactions. Increased the avg.
number of interactions of those preschoolers.
o Freidrich & Stern (1973) kids shown various TV shows ; obedience lowered by aggressive shows.
o Greenberg (1982) occupational portrayals of police as positive.
o Berry & Mitchell-Kernan (1982) – majority in TV shows were young, white, middle class
Personality: Key word is “organized/ organization”. This allows for “multiple personalities” eg.
personality at a funeral vs. for a sporting event. Can make predictions based on past behavioural
patterns. Defined as distinctive and relatively enduring ways of thinking, feeling, acting.
Humanistic psychology: recognition that a person’s constant awareness of themself uses a “recycling”
technique to produce changes in themselves.
***Bugental’s 6 points of Humanistic Psychology (summarized)
1. Misleading descriptions of human experience based on subhuman species. Animal experiments
miss points on the human experience eg. how we use language. So use the data, but don’t rely
on it as a description of the human being.
2. Meaning is more important than method. If something gives meaningful info, you need to find a
way to examine it, not to dismiss it just b/c it doesn’t fit into your ideal type of analysis.
3. Primary concern to subjective experience and secondary to actions. Subjective experience is
important to understand motivations roots of behaviour. Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
4. Constant interaction btwn science and application, separation of the two is handicapping to
both. Eg. people applying findings in replication.
5. Studies the individual, exceptions, and unpredicted vs. just the regular. To be aware of and able
to predict your own behaviour in a situation.
6. Seeks to enrich human experience and rejects “nothing-but” thinking. “If this happens then
nothing-but this can happen” is a flawed thinking.
Hadley Cantril – says that people need survival and security needs met, crave order, enrich experiences,
are creatures of hope, need to make choices, have own identity, seek value.
Maslow (1954, 1970) Hierarchy of needs – Regression if lower needs are not met, progression if lower
needs are satisfied.
Carl Rogers – says we have needs for self-consistency and congruence.
Positive self-regard: we have to feel good about ourselves to take on challenges.
Unconditional positive regard: we don’t think or do things unless there’s a reason for it. So worthwhile
to help a human being no matter what they’ve done.
Self-verification: people motivated to maintain self-consistency and congruence (see Carl Rogers)
Self-enhancement: tendency to gain and preserve a positive self-image
Measurement techniques of personality
o Idiographic: studies of individuals
o Nomothetic: studies of groups (shared characteristics)
Typed personalities (early philosophers)
o Melancholic: sad, gloomy
o Choleric: short-tempered
o Phlegmatic: dull, sluggish, boring
o Sanguine: cheerful, easygoing
o Sheldon (1942) biological approach, body shapes
Endomorphs (soft and round) – visceratonia= social, aggregable
Mesomorphs (hard and square) – somatonia= dominance, aggressive
Ectomorphs (thin and fragile) – cerebretonia= self-conscious, over-reactive
Supported by some, but not much, evidence
Trait theories (predisposition to act a certain way)
o Allport’s trait theory – trait is a readiness to respond in a specific way. Based on frequency of
occurrence, intensity of behaviour, range of situations, and reliability of measurement.
Idiographic. Secondary traits are preferences and don’t have a broad influence on behaviour (eg.
prefer vanilla to chocolate).
Cardinal traits: obsessed by these traits eg. someone who has neatness as a main trait would
have everything extremely organized and clean.
Central traits: consistent influence on behaviour eg. neatness Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
o Cattell’s Factor-Analytic trait theory – nomothetic
approach. Describes nuances of behaviour. KNOW
DIFFERENCE BTWN SURFACE & SOURCE
Surface traits: traits that to a casual observer seem to go
Source traits: basic underlying structures providing
coherence to personality (used to explain/ predict
Reduced Allport’s thousands of traits down to 46. Good
predictor of careers.
eg. surface trait would be altruism and source traits would be things that make up altruism
eg. unselfishness, sharing, etc.
The Big 5 Factors of personality, McCrae & Costa (1999) – Describes most important features of
personality; everyone has certain levels of each of these: Openness, conscientiousness, extraversion,
Eysenck’s Model of Personality – combined Type-Trait model; personality is hierarchal. Lowest level of
specific responses, next level of habitual responses, highest level is type. Nomothetic approach.
Provided physiological evidence – brains of introverts over-aroused, extraverts under-aroused.
Introversion vs. Extraversion KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
Reciprocal determinism: interaction between individual, environment, and behaviour
Personality and health
o Type A – competitive, aggressive; hostility component of personality related to coronary heart
o Type B – agreeable, less time urgency
o Type C – bottle up emotions; may be related to cancer proneness Psychology 1000 April Final Exam Definitions, Studies, Theories
o Pessimists at greater risk of depression, physical disease
o Conscientiousness related to physical health and longevity
Social Cognitive theories
o Self-efficacy: belief in one’s abilities. 4 determinants: previous performance, observational
learning, verbal persuasion (are you open to it, can you use it?), emotional arousal (don’t think
negatively when you don’t need to)
o Cognitive-affective personality system (Mischel & Shoda, 1999) – people respond consistently.
Variables: encoding strategies, expectancies, goals, affect, self-regulation
o Structured interviews
o Behavioural assessment – eg. probationary period for a job
o Remote behaviour sampling – not face-to-face; eg. personality test
o Projective tests – interpretation of ambiguous stimuli reveals projection of inner feelings
o Rorschach ink-blot test – compares normative responses to people’s responses
o Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) – looks for need for achievement
o Draw-a-person test
o Objective tests – use standard of questions and a scoring key eg. MMPI-II, EPQ, 16Pf
Stress, Health, and Coping
Early childhood interventions
o Head Start – initial results showed no difference in performance btwn kids with and without
o Abecedarian Program – Black children 6mos to 5yrs, focus on cognitive skills. Results: Higher IQs
and scores on standardized tests. Training from 5yrs to 8yrs had little effect.
o High/Scope Perry preschool program – African-American kids aged 2-5 or 3-6. Trained in logic,
math, music, language, initiative. Results: Lower crime rates, less welfare, better academic
performance, higher incomes
o Penn Optimism project, preventing teenage depression – helps kids identify negative self-
beliefs and replace with optimism. Results: incr. in depression for control group but not
Stages of Change model - 6 stages
o Precontemplation – problem not yet recognized
o Contemplation – problem recognized