Study Guide Midterm 3 (*book only, central topics in bold)
Social Psychology: the scientific study of how we think about, influence, and relate to one
I. Social Influence
a. Attitudes and actions
Attribution 歸歸 theory: the theory that we explain someone’s behavior by crediting either the
situation or the person’s disposition 歸歸.
Fundamental attribution error: the tendency for observers to underestimate the impact of the
situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition.
People attributed one’s behavior to one’s personal disposition even when told that one’s
behavior was situational.
Western countries are more likely to attribute behavior to people’s dispositions.
Attitudes: feelings often influenced by our beliefs that predispose our reactions to objects,
people, and events.
Central route persuasion: occurs when people are naturally analytical or involved in the issue. It
is more likely to influence behavior.
Peripheral route persuasion: a faster persuasion that doesn’t engage systematic thinking and
occurs when people are influenced by incidental cues.
EX: speaker’s attractiveness
Foot-in-the-door phenomenon: tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to
comply later with a larger request.
EX: attitudes follow behavior: Chinese and prisoners: succumb to a temptation and you
will find the next temptation harder to resist
Doing becomes believing.
How do they influence one another (cognitive dissonance)
Cognitive dissonance 歸歸歸歸: when we become aware that our attitudes and actions don’t coincide,
we often bring our attitudes into lines with our actions. EX: participants who were paid one
dollar rated the experiment as more exciting than those who were paid 20 dollars in order to
justify lying to the confederate and the cognitive dissonance that resulted from it.
Power of role-playing (Stanford Prison Experiments)
Role: a set of expectations about a social position, defining how those in the position ought to
Abu Ghraib Prison: US military guards subjecting prisoners to sleep deprivation,
humiliation, and extreme stress.
b. Conformity: adjusting one’s behavior or thinking to coincide with a group standard.
Chameleon effect: natural mimics (mood contagion)
EX: shootings increase after Colorado’s High School shooting
Suicide rate after Marilyn Monroe’s suicide
Asch’s line perception test: more than 1/3 of the time people will go along with the group
by stating the wrong answer.
Factors that influence conformity
1. One feels incompetent or insecure
2. Group has at least 3 people 3. Group is unanimous (uniform)
4. One admires the group’s status and attractiveness
5. One has made no prior commitment to any response
6. Others in the group observe one’s behavior
7. One’s culture strongly encourages respect for social standards.
Normative social influence: influence resulting from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid
Informational social influence: influence resulting from one’s willingness to accept others’
opinion about reality.
People rarely conformed when the task was easy, but they conformed half the time when the
task was difficult. If we are unsure of what is right, and if being right matters, we are
receptive to others’ opinions.
歸 Milgram Studies: teacher and student shocking experiment.
63 percent complied fully, right up to the last switch.
Holocaust: German police still do it. Only 20% dissent.
Factors that influence conformity
1. The person giving orders was perceived to be a legitimate authority figure.
2. The authority figure was supported by a prestigious institution.
3. The victim was depersonalized or at a distance, or another room.
4. There were no role models for defiance; that is, no other participants were seen disobeying
Those who resisted usually did so early. A moral person corrupted by an evil situation.
II. Social Relations
a. Prejudice: an unjustifiable attitude toward a group and its members. Prejudice generally
involves stereotypes (beliefs), negative feelings (emotions), and a predisposition to
歸 Components of prejudice
歸 Conscious and subconscious influences
Implicit racial associations: black/white names vs happy/angry, Anthony Greenwald.
Unconscious patronization: women grading a flawed essay given that it is written by a
black/white student, standard for black is much lower. Inflated praise and insufficient
criticism could hinder minority student achievement.
Race-Influenced perceptions: shoot or not shoot. Black associated with hand tool
misperceive as a gun.
Seeing Black: Black faces looked more criminal to police officers.
Reflexive bodily responses: implicit prejudice, measure the activation of their amygdala and
the facial muscle responses.
Social roots of prejudice*
Inequalities, social divisions, and emotional scapegoating are partly responsible. Ironically, we often reserve our most intense dislike for outgroup rivals most like us.
Animosities formed around small differences.
EX: Japan vs China, South German vs North German, Englishman vs Scot.
Us: the ingroup; them: the outgroup. Ingroup bias: a favoring of one’s own group.
Cognitive roots of prejudice*
Other-race effect: the tendency to recall faces of one’s own race more accurately than faces of
other races, usually emerges during infancy. Aka cross-race effect and the own-race bias.
Vivid (violent) cases are readily available to our memory and therefore influence our
judgments of a group.
Just-world phenomenon: good is rewarded and evil is punished. The tendency for people to
believe the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what
Those who succeed must be good and those who suffer must be bad.
Hindsight bias: blame the victim: women being raped been sentenced to sever
punishment for conducting adultery.
b. Altruism: the unselfish regard for the welfare of others.
The bystander effect: the tendency for any given bystander to be less likely to give aid if other
bystanders are present. We will help only if the situation enables us first to notice the incident,
then to interpret it as an emergency, and finally to assume responsibility for helping.
When more people share responsibility for helping, any single listener was less likely to
No matter how people are cheered, they become more generous and more eager to help.
The norms for helping?
III. Motivation: a need or desire that energizes behavior and directs it toward a goal.
a. Four Perspectives on Motivation
1. Instinct Theory (replaced by the evolutionary perspective): genetically predisposed
A. Instinct 歸歸: a complex behavior that is rigidly patterned throughout a species and is
i. EX: the return of salmon to their birthplace.
ii. EX: infants’ innate reflexes for rooting and sucking
iii. Instinct theory failed to explain human motives.
2. Drive-Reduction Theory (drives & incentives): how our inner pushes and external pulls
interact. The idea that a physiological need creates an aroused tension state (a drive) that
motivates an organism to satisfy the need.
A. Homeostasis 歸歸歸歸: the physiological aim of drive reduction that maintain a steady
internal state. (pushed by our needs)
i. EX: body’s temperature-regulation system
ii. Internal (physiological)
B. Incentives 歸歸: a positive or negative environmental stimulus that motivates behavior.
(pulled by incentives)
i. EX: the aroma of good food.
ii. External (environmental)
3. Arousal歸歸 Theory (Yerkes-Dodson law): finding the right level of stimulation A. Well-fed animals will leave their shelter to explore and gain information for no need-
i. EX: monkeys trying to figure out how to unlock a latch.
ii. Infant investigates every accessible corner of the house.
B. Human motivation aims not to eliminate arousal but to seek optimim levels of
4. Hierarchy of Motives (hierarchy of needs): how some of our needs take priority over
A. At the self-actualization 歸歸 level, people seek to realize their own potential.
B. At the self-transcendence 歸歸 level, people strive for meaning, purpose, and
communion that is beyond the self.
C. Physiological needs 歸 safety needs 歸belongingness and love needs 歸 esteem needs
歸self-actualization needs 歸 self-transcendence needs
b. What motivates us?
歸 4Fs: Food, Fight, Flight, Sex
Achievement motivation: a desire for significant accomplishment for mastery of things, people,
or ideas; for rapidly attaining a high standard.
Self-discipline has been a better predictor of school performance, attendance, and
graduation honors than intelligence scores have been.
At least 10 years of hard work, 40 hours a week for 50 weeks a year.
IV. Stress: the process by which we perceive and respond to certain events, called stressors, that
we appraise as threatening or challenging.
Behavioral medicine: an interdisciplinary field that integrates behavioral and medical knowledge
and applies that knowledge to health and disease.
Health psychology: a sub field or psychology that provides psychology contribution to
a. Stress versus Stressors (definition)
Stressor: the dangerous truck ride
Stress: the process by which one related to the threat.
b. Stress response and adaptation (General Adaptation Syndrome)
Stress response: one’s physical and emotional responses.
c. Stress and susceptibility to disease
Women more often respond to stress by nurturing and banding together which attributes
partly to oxytocin, a stress-moderating hormone associated with pair-bonding in animals
and released by cuddling, massage, and breastfeeding in humans.
General adaptation syndrome (GAS): Body’s adaptive response to stress in three states- alarm,
Increase in cardiac arrest is best representative of the effects of Exhaustion.
歸 Heart disease (what factors are related)
Elevated blood pressure, smoking, obesity, physical inactivity, and a high-fat diet.
Psychological factors of stress and personality also play a big role.
Coronary heart disease: the clogging of the vessels that nourish the heart muscle; the leading
cause of death in many developed countries.
Type A: Competitive, hard-driving, impatient, verbally aggressive, and anger-prone people. Type B: Easygoing, relaxed people.
The negative emotions contribute the most to the toxic component of the Type A.
Depression, anger, pessimism can be lethal.
Psychophysiological illness: “Mind-body” illness; any stress-related physical illness, such as
hypertension 歸歸歸 and some headaches.
Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI)歸歸歸歸歸歸歸: the study of how psychological, neural, and endocrine
processes together affect the immune system and resulting health.
Lymphocytes: the two types of white blood cells that are part of the body’s immune system.
1. B lymphocytes: form in the bone marrow and release antibodies that fight bacterial
2. T lymphocytes: form in the thymus and other lymphatic tissue and attack cancer cells
viruses, and foreign substances.
Two other important agents of the immune system are
1. Macrophage (big eater): identifies, pursues, and ingests harmful invaders and worn-out cells
2. Natural killer cells: pursue diseased cells such as those infected by viruses or cancer.
Age, nutrition, genetics, body temperature, and stress all influence the immune system
Social disrupted monkeys experienced weakened immune systems. Stress similarly
depresses the immune system of humans.
EX: surgical wounds heal more slowly in stresses animals and humans.
Stress does not make us sick, but it does alter our immune functioning, making us less able
to resist infection and more prone to heart disease.
d. Behavioral Medicine & Promoting Health
We need to learn to cope with the stress: alleviate stress using emotional, cognitive, or
1. Problem-focused coping: address stressors directly by changing the stressor or the way
we interact with that stressor.
i. EX: Go directly to someone and work things out.
ii. We tend to use this method when we feel a sense of control over a situation and
think we can change the circumstances or change ourselves.
2. Emotion-focused coping: avoiding or ignoring a stressor and attending to emotional
needs related to one’s stress reaction.
i. EX: Reaching out to friends to help address our own emotional needs.
ii. We tend to use this method when we cannot change a situation.
iii. Keep oneself busy with things to avoid thinking about an old addition.
iv. EX: Students go to party to get the worries of not keeping up with the reading in
class off their mind.
歸 Importance of perceived control
The three rats experiment: the helpless rat becomes more susceptible to ulcers and lowered
immunity to disease.
EX: a bacterial infection often combines with uncontrollable stress to produce the most
People who have more control over activities tend to experience less stress, thus live longer.
Losing control provokes an outpouring of stress hormones. Crowding in dorm is another source of diminished feelings of control.
V. Emotions: a response of the whole organism, involving (1) physiological arousal (heart
pounding), (2) expressive behaviors (quickened pace), and (3) conscious experience(is this a
a. Theories of emotion (you do need to remember these)
James-Lange Theory: the theory that our experience of emotion is our awareness of our
physiological responses to emotion-arousing stimuli. Feeling comes after body’s responses/
Cannon-Bard Theory: the theory that an emotion-arousing stimulus simultaneously triggers (1)
physiological responses and (2) the subject experience of emotion. Feeling and physiological
arousal occur at the same time.
歸 Two-factor Theory: the Schachter-Singer theory that to experience emotion one must (1) be
physically aroused and (2) cognitively label the arousal. Like JL theory, our experience of
emotion grows from our awareness of our body’s arousal. Like CB theory, emotions are
b. How can we decide which theory is better?
歸 Evidence for physiological differences between emotions
Does physiological arousal influence emotion experienced?
The finger temperatures and hormone secretions that accompany fear and rafe do sometimes
Fear and joy stimulate different facial muscles.
Emotions differ much more in the brain circuits they use. They activate different areas of
the brain’s cortex. Negative emotions trigger more right hemisphere and positive emotions
to the left.
Left frontal lobe’s rich supply of dopamine receptors may help explain why.
A neural pathway called the nucleus accumbens increases dopamine levels runs from the
frontal lobes to a nearby cluster of neurons.
歸 Does cognition influence emotion experienced?
Arousal + label = emotion (two factor theory)
EX: get good news after exercising would make you feel more elated.
EX: The amount of juice drank after viewing a smiling or angry face.
Some emotions take the low road via neural pathways that bypass the cortex, this shortcut
enables our greased-lightning emotional response before our intellect intervenes. So speedy
is the amygdala reaction that we may be unaware of what’s transpired.
Much of our emotional life operates via the automatic, effortless, speedy low road. But even
instantaneously felt emotions require some sort of cognitive appraisal of the situation. EX:
We jump at the sound rustling bushes nearby, leaving the cortex to decide later whether the
sound was made by predator or just the wind.
c. Emotional expression
歸 Factors that influence our interpretations of emotion: eye contact.
We sense negative word, face faster.
Physically abused children were more likely than non-abused children to perceive the face
as angry. We cannot really spot lies. Only 54% of accuracy.
Introverts tend to excel at reading others’ emotions, although extraverts are generally easier
Women generally surpassed men at reading people’s emotional cues. Women’s nonverbal
sensitivity helps explain their greater emotional literacy.
But one exception: Anger strikes most people as a more masculine motion. People are
quicker to see anger on men’s faces. If smiling, it’s more likely to be perceived as female.
Most consistent findings- when we feel happy we more often help others.
Feel-good, do-good phenomenon: people’s tendency to be helpful when already in a good mood.
Subject well-being: Self-perceived happiness or satisfaction with life. Used along with measures
of objective well-being to evaluate people’s quality of life.
We overestimate the duration of our emotions and underestimate our capacity to adapt. For
example: romantic breakups.
Strong emotions are often short. Positive emotions are similarly hard to sustain.
How do we evaluate our own happiness?
What things DO influence happiness?
What things DON’T influence happiness?
Raising low incomes will do more to increase human well-being than raising high incomes.
Today’s happiness predicted tomorrow’s income better than today’s income predicted
Those who instead strive for “intimacy, personal growth, and contribution to the
community” experience a higher quality of life”.
VI. Personality: an individual’s characteristic pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting.
Freud’s psychoanalytic theory proposed that childhood sexuality and unconscious
motivations influence personality.
Humanistic approach focused on our inner capacities for growth and self-fulfillment.
a. Freud & Psychoanalysis
A. Free association: the method of exploring the unconscious in which the person relaxes
and says whatever comes to mind.
B. Psychoanalysis 歸歸: the theory of personality and the associated treatment techniques.
C. Iceberg: unconscious mind hidden and conscious awareness is like the visible part of
an iceberg floating on the surface.
D. Freud believed personality is the result of our efforts to resolve the conflict between
impulse and restraint.
1. Strives to satisfy basic drives to survive, reproduce, and aggress.
2. Operates on the pleasure principle: immediate gratification
3. Sacrifice today’s pleasure for future success and happiness: those who
smoke, drink, and do drugs.
1. Operates on the reality principle: seeks to gratify id’s impulses in realistic
ways that will bring long-term pleasure. 2. Contains our partly conscious perceptions, thoughts, judgments, and
1. The voice of our moral compass (conscience) that forces the ego to consider
not only the real but the ideal.
2. Operates on how we ought to behave: strives for perfection.
Basic idea behind psychosexual development (don’t need to memorize stages)
Psychosexual stages: the childhood stages of development during which the id’s pleasure-
seeking energies focus on distinct erogenous 歸歸歸 zones.
A. Oral 歸歸
B. Anal 歸歸
C. Phallic 歸歸: Freud believed that boys seek genital stimulation
i. Oedipus Complex: a boy’s sexual desires toward his mother and feelings of
jealousy for their father.
ii. Identification process: the process by which children incorporate their parents’
values into their developing superegos.
iii. A person who had been either orally overindulged or deprived might fixate at the
oral stage, in which conflicts were unresolved.
D. Latency 歸歸
E. Genital 歸歸歸
歸 Defense mechanisms (you should know these specifically)
Defense mechanism: the ego’s protective methods of reducing anxiety by unconsciously
Repression 歸歸: Banish anxiety-arousing wishes from consciousness.
1. Repression underlies all the other defense mechanisms
2. Explains why we do not remember our childhood lust for our parent of the other sex.
3. Repression is often incomplete, but repressed urges seep out in dream symbols.
Regression 歸歸: an individual faced with anxiety retreats to a more infantile psychosexual
stage, where some psychic energy remains fixated.
1. Allows us to retreat to an earlier stage of development.
2. EX: a child may regress to the oral comfort of thumb-sucking when facing the anxious
first days of school.
3. EX: monkeys retreat to infantile clinging to their mothers when anxious.
4. EX: college students: homesick
Reaction formation: The ego unconsciously makes unacceptable impulses look like their
1. People may express feelings that are the opposite of their anxiety-arousing
2. I hate him becomes I love him. Timidity becomes daring. Feelings of inadequacy
1. Disguises 歸歸 threatening impulses by attributing them to others. 2. “He doesn’t trust me” may be a projection of the actual feeling “I don’t trust him”.
3. The idea of “The thief thinks everyone else is a thief”.
Rationalization 歸歸歸: offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening,
unconscious reasons for one’s actions.
1. We unconsciously generate self-justifying explanations to hide from ourselves the real
reasons for our actions.
2. EX: habitual drinkers may say they drink with their friends “just to be sociable”
3. EX: students who fail to study may rationalize “All work and no play makes Jack a
Displacement: Shifts sexual or aggressive impulses toward a more acceptable or less
threatening object or person.
1. EX: Children who fear expressing anger against their parents may displace it by
kicking the family pet.
2. Students upset over an exam may snap a roommate.
Denial: protects the person from real events that are painful to accept, either by rejecting a
fact or its seriousness.
1. Dying patients may deny the gravity of their illness.
2. Parents may deny their child’s misconduct.
3. Spouses may deny evidence of their partner’s affairs.
歸 evaluating Freud’s personality theory (strengths and weaknesses)
b. Humanistic Perspective
Humanistic psychologists focused on the ways “healthy” people strive for self-
determination and self-realization (contrast to Freud) and studied people through their own
self-reported experiences and feelings (contrast to behaviorism)
歸 Self-actualization 歸歸歸歸* : Maslow, one of the ultimate psychological needs that arises after basic
physical and psychological needs are met and self-esteem is achieved; the motivation to fulfill
Maslow believed that we are motivated by a hierarchy of needs.
People known for their productive lives are self-aware and self-accepting, open and
spontaneous, loving and caring, and not paralyzed by others’ opinions. Their interests are
problem-centered rather than self-centered.
c. Trait Perspective
Trait: people’s characteristic behaviors and conscious motives.
Gordon Allport: concerned less with explaining individual traits than with describing them.
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBIT): personality test that asks 126 questions such as “Do
you usually value sentiment more than logic, or value logic more than sentiment?”
Although taken by more than 2 million people per year, this test remains mostly a
counseling and coaching tool, not a research instrument.
Factor Analysis: the statistical procedure identifies clusters of test items that tap basic
components of intelligence.