Pg 472-507 Chapter 15 March 13/10
Social Psychology the branch of psychology that studies our social nature how the actual,
imagined or implied presence of other influences our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Social cognition the process involved in perceiving, interpreting and acting on social
Impression formation the way in which we integrate information about anothers traits into a
coherent sense of who the person is.
Schema a mental framework or body of knowledge that organizes and synthesizes information
about a person, place or thing.
Central traits personality attributes that organize and influence the interpretation of other
traits. Ex: (1)witty, smart, warm (2) witty, smart, cold overall, those who heard the list with
warm formed more positive impressions about the character of the imaginary person that did
those who heard the trait cold.
Primacy effect the tendency to form impressions of people based on the first information we
receive about them. Ex: intelligent industrious, critical, stubborn. When these words are read in
this order the person is interpreted as a smart, productive person. When the words are read in
reverse the person is seen to have problems.
People may generate trait labels from observing a persons behaviour. These labels then
become automatically associated in memory with whatever stimulus happens to have been
around at the same time. Ex: see a firefighter save someone relate it to bravery. Next time you
see him in life you will associate him with bravery. However, if you are eating a banana at the
time of seeing the firefighter save someone, you may not also associate the banana with
Self concept self identity. Ones knowledge, feelings and ideas about oneself.
Self a persons distinct individuality
Self schema a mental framework that represents and synthesizes information about oneself; a
cognitive structure that organizes the knowledge, feelings and ideas that constitute the self-
People that had a bad life experience reported themselves as currently sad, worried or
depressed. Nonetheless, they had different views on their future selves: people that had gotten
over the traumatic event said they could see themselves happy soon, people that didnt get over
the event said they would be unhappy and lonely forever. Thus, thinking of ourselves only in
terms of who we are at present does not accurately reflect how we will think of ourselves in the
future or the kind of person we might become.
Cross cultural psychology a branch of psychology that studies the effects of culture on
The term culture traditionally referred to a group of people who live together in a common
environment, who share customs and religious beliefs and practices, and who often resemble
each other genetically. Within a broadly defined culture, we can identify subcultures based on
ethnicity, age, political beliefs and other characteristics by which people define themselves. Pg 472-507 Chapter 15 March 13/10
If similar studies performed with members of different cultures produce similar results, we can
be more confident that we have discovered a general principle that applied broadly to members
of our species.
Cultures differ with respect to 3 major classes of variables: biological and ecological. Biological
include diet, genetics, etc. Ecological include climate, religions, population density, etc.
Behavioural differences among people of different cultures result from differences in biological
and ecological variables.
The independent construal emphasizes the uniqueness of the self, its autonomy from others
and self reliance. The interdependent construal emphasizes the interconnectedness of people
and the role that others play in developing an individuals self concept. What other people think
of the individual matters. Ex: American children define themselves as more dissimilar to others
and children from India define themselves are more similar to others.
Clarity refers to how confident people are that they posses particular attributes, how sharply
defined they believe those attributes are and how internally and temporally consistent they
think their attributes are. High self concept clarity more closely matches and independent
construal of self than an interdependent construal.
The independent construal of self corresponds to a self view of ones traits and abilities as
relatively stable and difficult to change. The interdependent construal of self, on the other
hand, should yield a self view of traits and abilities as relatively malleable to the extent that they
must be responsive to relationship demands. Ex: Canadian children were more likely to persist
on a task after a success than after a failure. Japanese students were more likely to persist after
a failure. If you believe that abilities are difficult to change, then perhaps you focus on your
strengths and push for more successes. If you believe that change is possible, then perhaps you
work to correct your perceived deficiencies in the hope of becoming more successful.
Well being and satisfaction among Eastern students have been found to be strongly associated
with interpersonal behaviours and socially engaged emotions such as friendliness. In contrast,
well being and satisfaction among Western students are more strongly associated with
individual achievement and self reflective emotions such as pride.
Attribution the process by which people infer the causes of other peoples behaviour
External factors people, events and other stimuli in an individuals environment that can affect
his/her thoughts, feelings, attitudes and behaviours
Internal factors an individuals traits, needs and intentions which can affect his/her thoughts,
feelings, attitudes and behaviours
Once we learn that in certain situations most people act in a specific way, we develop schemata
for how we expect people to act in those situations. As we get to know other people, we also
learn what to expect from them as individuals by observing their behaviour in a variety of
We attribute the behaviour of other people to external (situational) and internal (personal)
causes on the basis of three types of information: consensus, distinctiveness and consistency.
Consensual behaviour behaviours that is shared by many people; behaviour that is similar
from one person to the next. To the extent that people engage in the same behaviour, theirPg 472-507 Chapter 15 March 13/10
behaviour is consensual. Ex: Bill is promoting a club. If everyone is saying the club is good, you
will be tempted to understand Bills praise as caused by the qualities of the club (external
attribution). If everyone says the club is bad, you may think Bill has no taste (internal
attribution) You are tempted to reflect something personal about him.
Distinctiveness the extent to which a person behaves differently toward different people,
events and other stimuli. Ex: If Bill doesnt often praise clubs then the fact that he is praising a
club may show the high quality of the club itself (external attribution). If he always praises clubs
as highly as he praises this one, you will have an internal perception that maybe he is easily
entertained or unperceptive.
Consistency the extent to which a persons behaviour is consistent across time toward
another person, an event or a stimulus. Low consistency creates the same type of confusion
when consensus and distinctiveness information point to an internal attribution. Ex: if Bill says
he loves the club and then next week he says he hates it and the following week he says he
loves it it leads to confusion. Consistency must be high in order to support both internal and
Fundamental attribution error the tendency to overestimate the significance of internal
factors and underestimate the significance of external factors in explaining other peoples
behaviours. Ex: goalie misses a save and we conclude that the goalie lacks skill rather than his
sightlines were blocked.
The bias toward dispositional attribution is remarkably potent. Even when evidence indicates