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Chapter 16

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Normative Social Influence, Fundamental Attribution Error, Cognitive Dissonance

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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-Attribution: judgments about the causes of our own and other people’s behaviour and
Personal vs. Situational Attribution
-personal (internal) attributions: people’s behaviour is caused by their characteristics
-situational (external) attribution: aspects of the situation cause a behaviour
-Kelley 3 types of information to determine the attribution type:
oconsistency, distinctiveness, consensus
-when all are high we tend to make a situational attribution
-when consistency is high, and the others are low we tend to make a personal attribution
Attributional Biases
-Fundamental attribution error: underestimating the impact of the situation and
overestimating the role of personal factors when explaining other peoples behaviours
-Self-serving bias: making relatively more personal attributions for successes and more
situational attribution for failures
Forming and Maintaining Impressions
Primacy vs. Recency
-Primacy effect: refers to our tendency to attach more importance to the initial
information that we learn about a person
owe tend to be most alert to info we first receive, and initial info may shape how
we perceive later info
-Recency effects: may occur when we are asked to avoid making snap judgments and
carefully consider the evidence
Mental sets and schemas
-Stereotype: generalized belief about a group or category of people
-Self-fulfilling prophecies: when people’s erroneous expectations lead them to act toward
others in a way that brings about the expected behaviours, confirming original impression
-Attitudes: positive or negative evaluative reaction toward a stimulus (person, action,
object, etc.)
Do Our Attitudes Influence Behaviour?
-3 factors that explain attitude-behaviour relationships:
1. attitudes influence behaviour more strongly when they do not go against our own
inner convictions
Theory of planned behaviour: our intention to engage in a behaviour is
strongest when we have a positive attitude toward that behaviour
2. attitudes have a greater influence on behaviour when we are aware of them and
when they are strongly held
3. general attributes are better at predicting general classes of behaviour and
specific attitudes are better at predicting specific behaviours

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Does our Behaviour Influence Our Attitudes?
-Theory of cognitive dissonance: people strive for consistency in their cognitions.
oWhen 2 or more cognitions contradict one another the person experiences an
uncomfortable state of tension called cognitive dissonance, and the person must
change their cognitions or add new cognitions
-counterattitudinal: behaviour that is inconsistent with our attitudes
-self-perception theory: we make inferences about our own attitudes by observing how
we behave
-Both these theories predict that counterattitudinal behaviour will produce a change in
The communicator:
-commuicator message audience
-Communicator credibility: how believable the communicator is
oBased on expertise and trustworthiness
-communicators who are attractive, likeable and similar to us are more effective
The message:
-Two-sided refutational approach: most effective especially when an audience initially
disagrees with a message or is aware that there are two sides to the issue (less bias)
The audience:
-Central route to persuasion: occurs when people think carefully about the message and
are influenced because they find the arguments compelling (lasts longer, deeper
foundation and better predictor of future behaviour)
-Peripheral route to persuasion: occurs when people do not scrutinize the message, but
are influenced mostly by other factors such as attraction or emotional appeal
The Mere Presence of Others:
-the presence of others energizes performance, except for on learning tasks
-Social facilitation: increased tendency to perform one’s dominant response (what we
usually do) in the mere presence of others
odifficult and complex tasks: make errors
osimple and better learned: perform correctly
Social Norms
-social norms: shared expectations about how people should think, feel, and behave
-social role: norms that characterizes how ppl in a given social position should behave
Conformity and Obedience
-conformity: the adjustment of individual behaviour/thought to a group standard
-Informational social influence: we follow opinions or behaviour of other people
because we believe they have accurate knowledge and what they are doing is right
-Normative social influence: conformity motivated by gaining social acceptance and
avoiding social rejection
Factors the Affect Conformity
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