Chapter 1 – Introducing Social Psychology
Social Psychology – scientific discipline that attempts to understand and explain how the
thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied
presence of others.
Two noteworthy parts of this definition:
1. Psychology is about people. Social psychology in particular is studying people in
relation to other people.
2. That which causes one to be affected doesn’t have to be real; rather, it can be implied
The power of the situation
Situations can have a powerful influence on how individuals feel, think, and behave.
Situations can often have a more powerful influence on an individual’s behavior than
What examples from class show that situations can influence behavior?
An example is the people who fell on the program, “What Would You Do?”
Self-fulfilling prophecy – process by which someone’s expectations about a person or group
leads to the fulfillment of those expectations.
Step 1: Perceiver forms expectations about the target.
Step 2: Perceiver acts towards the target based on the expectations.
Step 3: Target interprets the perceiver’s actions and responds so that his or her behavior
is consistent with the perceiver’s expectations.
What is an example from the text of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
An example of a self-fulfilling prophecy from the text is that of an experiment conducted in 1968
in a San Francisco elementary school. In the study, the researchers gave IQ tests to children and
then met with their teachers to share the results. At these information sessions, teachers were told
that the tests identified certain students in their classroom as potential “late bloomers” who
should experience substantial IQ gains during the remaining school year. In reality, this
information was false. The children identified as potential late bloomers had been randomly
selected by the researchers and did not differ from their classmates. Eventually, the potential late
bloomers not only exhibited improved schoolwork but also showed gains in their IQ scores that
were not found among the non-labeled students due to the teachers tending to only those who
What is the self? It is a symbol-using social being who can reflect on his or her own behavior.
Self-serving bias is the tendency to: take credit for positive outcomes but deny responsibility for
negative outcomes in our lives.
Interactionism: an important perspective in social psychology that emphasizes the combined
effects of both personality psychology (which stresses differences among people) and 2
traditional social psychology (which stresses differ