Chapter 15 – Social Psychology
Social Psychology – A field of psychology that includes how individuals perceive and think
about other people, as well as how the presence of other people can influence behaviour.
▯ Norms and Roles
Social Norms – Are the (usually unwritten) guidelines for how to behave in social contexts.
Public behaviour and manners
Types of clothing that are deemed appropriate
Social Roles – Specific set of behaviours that are associated with a position within a group.
Ex. Stanford prison study
Participant were prescreened and randomly assigned a role as either a prisoner or a prison
Participants were virtually identical in personality, mental health, and intelligence.
Behaved in a way to what they believed were the proper behaviours for their assigned role.
▯ Mimicry and Conformity
Mimicry Occurs when one person copies another’s behaviour.
Chameleon Effect– Mimicking another’s behaviour without meaning to or realizing they are doing
Conformity – Refers to change in behaviour to fit in with a group.
Unlike the chameleon effect conformity can be and often is a conscious decision.
▯ Social Loafing and Social Facilitation
Working with a group can both make you work better or worse.
Social Loafing – Occurs when an individual working in a group reduces their efforts.
Can occur because:
1) Because individual feels they are incapable of doing well, they wont be helping the group
by doing work.
2) If no one else is doing anything.
3) The benefits are not worth doing the work.
4) Efforts wont make a difference the groups work as a whole. Social Facilitation – Occurs when an individual’s performance is better while working in a
group rather than alone.
Two heads are not always than one.
Groupthink – A decision in which group members avoid arguments and strive for agreement.
Does not always promote good decisionmaking.
3 main problems occur:
Group can become over confident
May minimize and ignore potential problems
May apply social pressure on individuals who are not in full support of an idea.
Almost always have a “directive leader”
The more the group has in common the more likely they are to fall into the pattern of groupthink.
▯ Obedience and Authority
Obedience – Complying with instructions or orders from an individual in a position of authority.
Authority can be situational
Whenever the figure of authority is weakened, obedience is greatly reduced.
▯ Attitudes and Actions
Bias Blind Spot – We tend to be blind to social influences on our beliefs.
Group Polarization – Occurs when members of a group discuss characteristics attitudes of
their group and as a result their views become stronger
When it happens in 2 competing groups, their opinions become polarized, become further apart in
Seems to fade away after discussion.
▯ Cognitive Dissonance
Our actions, beliefs, and attitudes are not single entities, they are dynamically.
Cognitive Dissonance – Occurs when an individual has 2 thoughts (cognitions) that are
inconsistent with each other (dissonance) and as a result experience motivation to reduce
discrepancy. Ex. After pursuing law school someone doesn’t get in and reduces tension by claiming, “ there are
too many of them anyways.”
Change in a behaviour or change an attitude.
Footinthedoor Technique – Involves making a simple request by a more substantial
Door intheface Technique – Begins with a large request that is likely to be turned down,
followed by a smaller request that is likely to be accepted.
2 step sequences for requests
Probably have limited effects
▯ Central and Peripheral Routes to Compliance
Central Route (to persuasion) – Individuals take time, evaluate evidence, and use valid
logic and arguments.
Peripheral Route (to persuasion) – Quick judgments are made on limited evidence,
emotions and vague impressions are used more than logic.
When a topic is very important using central route is more persuasive.
In a less important situation peripheral route is more persuasive.
▯ Cognitive Psychology
Intuitive Thought – Quick, effortless, automatic thinking.
Deliberative Thought – More careful, effortful and rational process.
Intuitive thinking PRECEDES deliberative
▯ Personal Perception
Personal Perception – Refers to the process by which individuals form judgments and
categorize other people.
Begins immediately in our social interactions.
Guided by past experiences, and first impressions. Schemas – Clusters of knowledge and expectations about individuals in a group.
Gender, race, style etc. activate schemas.
▯ Thin Slices of Behaviour
Thin Slices – Basing judgments of others on very limited information.
Tells us how quick we are to size people up.
Demonstrates how quickly impressions are formed.
▯ Selffulfilling Prophecies and Other Effects of First Impressions
SelfFulfilling Prophecy – Occurs when a first impression affects the observer’s behaviour
and as a result the first impression comes true.
Older students are less susceptible, and being in familiar setting reduced effects.
Small to moderate effect.
The explanation we make about the cause of behaviour.
Automatic, intuitive explanations.
2 main types:
1) Internal Attributions – Observer explains the persons behaviour as due to some
2) External Attributions – Observer explains the persons behaviour as a result of the
Most behaviours are a complex blend.
Fundamental Attribution Error – A tendency to ma