Social Psychology
• Which one of these guys
would you date and
Person Perception
The research demonstrates….
• - New research seems to demonstrate that
the taller you are (men) the more money
you may make
• - Each inch of height is apparently worth
$789 more in salary per year
• - What was the research?
• People perceived as beautiful or
handsome generally make more money
and get more promotions
• The study demonstrated that a person
who is 6 feet tall could earn about
$166,000 more over a 30-year career than
someone 5’5”
Halo Effect
• The ‘halo effect’ appears to be alive and
well. The ‘halo effect’ is the belief by
people that ‘what is beautiful is good’
• This means that people ultimately seem to
judge others by their appearance on a
conscious and even unconscious level
Factors that add to person
• Person perception, the process by which
we use our schema to form impressions of
others can be formulated by:
– A person’s physical appearance
– How you act towards each individual
– Effects of race
– These are physical traits
• Attributions help us to better understand
our own and other’s behavior
• For instance, you call up your best friend
on a Friday night and ask her to go out.
She tells you she already has plans to go
out with other people. What goes through
your mind?
Internal vs. external attributions
• Internal attributions – when we tend to look at
the characteristics or the character of a person
to judge their behavior (ours or others)
• External attributions – when we make
judgments about behaviors based on the
situation occurring
If the other
person is
perceived to be:
A success
A failure
Like me
Not like me
• Fundamental attribution error – when we
look at another’s behavior, we tend to
focus on the person’s disposition or
personality traits and overlook the situation
• Actor-observer bias – when we look at
other’s behavior, we tend to look at
internal attributions but when we look at
our own behavior, we tend to look at
external attributions
• Self-serving bias – when we are
successful, we tend to look at internal
attributions. When we fail, we tend to look
at external attributions.
• Defensive attributions – tendency to blame
the victim for the crime
Foot-in-the-door phenomenon
• When someone asks
for a small favor first
then a larger favor
– Ask someone for 1
hour of community
service and they are
likely to comply
– Go back later and ask
for more time
Door-in-the-face phenomenon
• When you ask
someone for a large
request, you then go
back that you know
they will refuse, then
go back and ask for a
smaller request
• Attitudes are beliefs of opinions about an
object, person or event that range from
negative to positive thinking.
• Attitudes predispose us to behave in a
certain way and are often ingrained within
us and difficult to change.
• Attitudes are often subject to cognitive
dissonance, in which we are in a state of
unpleasant psychological tension which
causes us to work to reduce that tension.
– We may:
• Change our attitudes
• Develop and add new attitudes
• Change our behavior
• Solomon Asch study –
conformity in thinking
and behavior – when
people give in to group
pressure even though
pressure may not be a
direct request from
Asch study findings
• Approximately 35% of the people in the
study were willing to agree with the group
• With 5 or more people most were willing to
• After 7 people, it was insignificant how
many people were in the group, you really
did not see more than 35% conform
• If there was one dissenting vote, people
were less likely to conform
Compliance vs. Obedience
• Compliance - Kind of conformity in which
we give in to actual social pressure in
which there may only be a social
• Obedience – performing some behavior in
response to a request by an authority
Milgram Study
• Stanley Milgram
– Conducted in the early 1960s
– 65% of the people were willing to deliver 450
volt shocks
– Repeated in different countries with similar
– People less likely to conform when not in the
presence of authority – i.e., when instructions
given in a different room/building
– Determined that people are likely to obey
authority because they are used to doing so in
their daily lives
– Although some question the ethical
implications of Milgram’s study, there aim
appeared to be no long-term psychological
damage done to people
Zimbardo Prison Study
Demonstrates how the behavior of the
individual can be shaped by the demands
of the environment.
It also demonstrates how the study of
psychology can shed light not only on
questions about individual behavior, but
also on questions of practical concern to
Zimbardo cont’d
• One disturbing implication of the research looks at the
parallels between what occurred in the mock prison and
daily experiences in our own lives
• It is felt that:
“The physical institution of prison parallels the mind that
all of us daily create, populate and perpetuate. We speak
here of the prisons of racism, sexism, despair, shyness,
"neurotic hang-ups" and the like. The social convention
of marriage, as one example, becomes for many couples
a state of imprisonment in which one partner agrees to
be prisoner or guard, forcing or allowing the other to play
the reciprocal role - invariably without making the
contract explicit.”
Jim Jones
• “Dissent was unthinkable…
Offenders sweltered in "The
Box," a 6-by-4-foot (1.8-by-1.2meter) underground enclosure.
Misbehaving children were
dangled head-first into the well
late at night. Loudspeakers
broadcast Jones' voice at all
• Deborah Layton – escaped
from Jonestown
• Brainwashing is a forced attitude change
that requires a captive audience
• POW’s often subjected to brainwashing
• Patricia Hearst
• Physical and psychological aspects of
– Physical abuse
– Lack of sleep
– Humiliation
– Isolation
– Giving hope
– Fear
• Cults often look for people who socially
isolate themselves from friends and family
• They then work to further isolate them and
make them initially feel like the cult is their
• Jim Jones used sedatives to calm people
and armed guards to keep people in line
• People who join cults
often do so because
of the personality of
the leader, not
necessarily what they
believe in
• Often see leader as
• They often follow
leader without
• Often used guilt,
deception, fear, and
Group behavior
• Group cohesion –
when groups bond
strongly together due
to common attitudes
• Group norms –
unwritten rules that
may be spoken or
simply understood
about behavior of the
How do we form groups?
• Maslow cites the need for love and
• Schacter cites the need for affiliation
• Festinger cites the social comparison
theory – which states that humans are
compelled to compare themselves to
others in group to determine correct beh.
• Mullen & Cooper cite the fact that people
like to join task-oriented groups – where
every member has specific tasks to
complete. Makes people feel needed
– People are more willing to work hard if there
is a group cohesion
• Others cite the fact that people join groups
that are socially oriented
How do crowds affect behavior?
• Crowds consist usually of a large group of
people with most being people that we do
not know
• Social facilitation – when we increase our
performance in a group situation
• Social inhibition – when we decrease our
performance in a group situation
• Deindividuation –
– When people act irrationally or perform
behaviors they normally would not simply
because they are in the presence of a group
– Takes away personal identity
– Sports events – why do crowds behave so
badly sometimes?
Bystander effect
• States that people may feel inhibited to
help others when in a crowd
– May be due to two reasons:
• Informational influence theory – says that we use
the reactions of others to judge the seriousness of
the situation
• Diffusion of responsibility – in the presence of
others, people feel less personal responsibility and
are less likely to help when it is required
Are groups good for business?
• Risky shift – when the group is able to
swing an individual’s judgment
• Group polarization – after group
discussion the majority’s point of view
shifts to a more extreme position
• Groupthink – when group decisions
abandon critical thinking when making a
judgment in favor of other factors
• Social loafing – when in groups, some
people allow others to take charge and
they sit back and do nothing. You should
try to assign specific roles for people.
• Central Route – Adds in
facts, logic and strong
• Peripheral Route –
Emphasizes emotional
appeal, focuses on
personal traits and
generates positive
• Three components –
source, message and
• Source – We are more likely to believe sources
that appear honest, trustworthy, have expertise
and credibility and are attractive.
• Message – messages using a central route are
convincing and understandable, however, the
peripheral route may appeal to people more.
Fear tends to be a good technique.
• Audience – audiences who want the facts should
be given the central route, others the peripheral.
Know your audience and their attitudes
Other ways in which we form
impressions of others
these are only
are behaviors that
may affect others
Factors in interpersonal attraction
1. Physical
attractiveness –
matching hypothesis
2. Similarity
3. Reciprocity
4. Proximity
5. Romeo and Juliet

Social Psychology - Modules 56-59