Chapter 1: Introduction
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY - The scientific study of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors of
individuals in social situations.
DISPOSITIONS - Internal factors such as beliefs, values, personality traits, or abilities that
guide a person’s behavior.
FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR - The failure to recognize the importance of
situational influences on behavior, and the corresponding tendency to overemphasize the
importance of dispositions or traits on behavior.
CHANNEL FACTORS - Certain situational circumstances that appear unimportant on the
surface but that can have great consequences for behavior, either facilitating or blocking it
or guiding behavior in a particular direction.
CONSTRUAL - People’s interpretation and inference about the stimuli or situations they
GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY - Based on the German word gestalt, meaning “form” or
“figure,” this approach stresses the fact that people perceive objects not by means of some
automatic registering device but by active, usually unconscious interpretation of what the
object represents as a whole.
PRISONER’S DILEMMA - A situation involving payoffs to two people, who must decide
whether to “cooperate” or “defect.” In the end, trust and cooperation lead to higher joint
payoffs than mistrust and defection.
SCHEMA - A knowledge structure consisting of any organized body of stored information.
NATURAL SELECTION - An evolutionary process that molds animals and plants so that
traits that enhance the probability of survival and reproduction are passed on to subsequent
THEORY OF MIND - The understanding that other people have beliefs and desires.
PARENTAL INVESTMENT - The evolutionary principle that costs and benefits are
associated with reproduction and the nurturing of offspring. Because these costs and
benefits are different for males and females, one sex will normally value and invest more in
each child than will the other sex.
NATURALISTIC FALLACY - The claim that the way things are is the way they should
be. INDEPENDENT (INDIVIDUALISTIC) CULTURES - Cultures in which people tend to
think of themselves as distinct social entities, tied to each other by voluntary bonds of
affection and organizational memberships but essentially separate from other people and
having attributes that exist in the absence of any connection to others.
INTERDEPENDENT (COLLECTIVISTIC) CULTURES - Cultures in which people tend
to define themselves as part of a collective, inextricably tied to others in their group and
placing less importance on individual freedom or personal control over their lives.
Characterizing Social Psychology
Social psychology is the scientific study of the feelings, thoughts, and behaviors
of individuals in social situations.
o Explaining Behavior: example of Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad
o Zimbardo Study: 24 Stanford Students good kids but still prisoner, captive
The Power of the Situation
Social psychology emphasizes the influence of situations on behavior. People often find
it difficult to see the role that powerful situations can play in producing their own and
others’ behavior, and so are inclined to overemphasize the importance of personal
dispositions in producing behavior.
Arendt’s theory is that any one of us is capable of performing acts of brutality, also called
the “banality of evil (evil act does not require evil people, it comes from normal people)”.
Example of philosopher
Arendt explaining behavior of notorious architect: Adolf EchimannArendt said that this
normality is far more worst than all atrocities
Kurt Lewin, lots of forces pulling your behavior
Seminarians as Samaritans helping is more based on situation (church in hurry)
Fundamental Attribution Error: denying situational influences on behavior and
emphasizing personal dispositions.
Disposition: internal factors such as beliefs and values, personality traits or abilities that
guides a person behavior.
Channel Factors: situational cir