Chapter 13 Social Psychology
Social psychology: study of the causes and consequences of sociality.
Only four have become ultra-social.
Form societies in which large numbers of individuals divide labor and cooperate for mutual
Four species are: hymenoptera (i.e., ants, bees, and wasps), the termites, the naked mole rats,
Of these four, we are the only one whose societies consist of genetically unrelated individuals
Aggression: behavior whose purpose is to harm another.
Frustration-aggression hypothesis or a principle: animals aggress when and only when their goals are
frustrated. Example: The robber wants the money (goal) but the teller has it all locked up (frustration), so
the robber threatens the teller with a gun (aggression)
Hypothesis maybe right, but some argue that the real cause of aggressive behavior is negative
affect, and that the inability to reach a goal is just one of many things that bring about negative
Both biology and culture play a role in determining if and when people will aggress
Biology and Aggression
Single best predictor of aggression is gender
Testosterone promotes aggression. Makes people feel concerned with their status, powerful, and
confident in their ability to prevail.
Testosterone also lowers people’s sensitivity to signs of threat. Men with unrealistically high self-
esteem are most prone to aggression. Such men are especially likely to perceive others’ actions as
a challenge as a sense of their own status
Culture and Aggression
Variation over time and geography shows that culture can play an important role in determining
whether our innate capacity for aggression will result in aggressive behavior.
People learn by example—which is why watching violent television shows and playing violent
video games makes people more aggressive and less cooperative
Cooperation: Behavior by two or more individuals that leads to mutual benefit.
Risk and Trust
o Cooperation is risky, and a simple game called the prisoner’s dilemma illustrates why.
o Players A and B receive benefits whose size depends on whether they independently
decide to cooperate.
o Mutual cooperation leads to a relatively moderate benefit to both players, but if only one
player cooperates, then the cooperator gets no benefit and the non-cooperator gets a large
First, you can learn how to spot a cheater.
o evidence suggests that people are able to spot cheaters quite well
One explanation is that human beings have a uniquely powerful capacity to
detect cheaters that surpasses their capacity for logical reasoning in general.
Second, you can react strongly when you detect someone cheating, and evidence suggests that
Groups and Favoritism
Group: collection of people who have something in common that distinguishes them from others.
Prejudice: positive or negative evaluation of another person based on their group membership.
Discrimination: Positive or negative behavior toward another person based on their group
membership. Simply knowing that “I’m one of us and not one of them” is sufficient to produce favoritism.
group members favor other group members, cooperation within the group is less risk
Groups don’t fully capitalize on the expertise of their members
Groups spend most of their time discussing information that is unimportant but known to
everyone and little time discussing information that is important but known to just a few
Members of groups like to maintain harmony and thus are reluctant to “rock the boat”
Deindividuation: when immersion in a group causes people to become less concerned with their
o People are most likely to consider their personal values when their attention is focused on
themselves, being assembled in group’s draws our attention to others and away from
o Less likely to consider our own personal values and instead adopt the group’s values
Diffusion of responsibility: individuals feel diminished responsibility for their actions because
they are surrounded by others who are acting the same way
o Belonging not just a source of psychological and physical well-being, also a source of
Groups cause us to misjudge and misbehave, seem to be key to our happiness and well-being.
Altruism: Behavior that benefits another without benefiting oneself.
o Any animal that promotes the survival of its relatives is actually promoting the survival
of its own genes
Kin selection: process by which evolution selects for individuals who cooperate with their
Reciprocal altruism: behavior that benefits another with the expectation that those benefits will
be returned in the future
Cultures can exaggerate, equalize, or even reverse those risks. Higher the risk, the more selective
people tend to be.
Attraction: this feeling is caused by a range of factors that can be roughly divided into the
situational, the physical, and the psychological
o Situational Factors: Proximity not only provides the opportunity for attraction but it also
provides the motivation
People work especially hard to like those with whom they expect to have
Get more familiar with the person (people) feel novel stimuli. Mere exposure
effect: the tendency for the frequency of exposure to a stimulus to increase liking
o Physical factors: they found that the partner’s physical appearance was the only
attribute that influenced the students’ feelings of attraction
Appearance is so powerful that it even influences how mothers treat their own
Mothers are more affectionate and playful when their children are attractive than
Argue that nature has designed us to be attracted to people who (a) have good
genes and (b) will be good parents
o Body Shape: body shape is an indicator of male dominance and female
o Symmetry: Both symmetry and averageness are signs of genetic health
may explain why people are so good at detecting them.
o Age: women prefer older men and men prefer younger women across a
wide variety of human cultures (Younger women are generally more fertile than older women whereas older men generally have more
resources than younger men)
Psychological Factors: People’s inner qualities—their personalities, points of view,
attitudes, beliefs, values, ambitions, and abilities—play an important role in
determining their sustained interest in each other,
o Research suggests that we are attracted to people who are generally similar to
us on most psychological dimensions
o Gender appears to be the only one for which the majority of people have a
consistent preference for dissimilarity
o First easy to interact with people who have same similarities. Second
someone shares our beliefs and attitudes feel more confident. Third being
liked is a powerful source of attraction
o Passionate love: an experience involving feelings of euphoria, intimacy, and intense sexual
Passionate love is what brings people together; it has a rapid onset, reaches i