Social psychology

Study Outline: Social Psychology
Social psychology: The scientific study of how we think about, influence, and
relate to one another.
Social psychology is split into three main focuses
Social Thinking
 Attribution
o Attribution Theory: We tend to attribute behavior to people
based on situations they are in.
o Fundamental Attribution Error: When we overestimate the
influence of personality and underestimate the influence of
 Attitudes and Actions
o Attitudes: Feelings, based on our beliefs, that predispose our
reactions to objects, people, and events.
o Foot-in-the-Door Phenomenon: Tendency for people who agree
to a small action to comply later with a larger one.
o Role-playing can greatly affect behavior e.g. The Stanford
Prison Experiment
o Cognitive Dissonance Theory: Tendency for people to bring
their attitudes into line with their actions to relieve tension.
Social Influence
 Conformity and Obedience
o We tend to naturally mimic each other, this is known as the
chameleon effect.
o Doing this unconsciously is known as mood linkage.
 Group Pressure and Conformity
o Suggestibility is a subtle type of conformity; adjusting our
behavior or thinking toward some group standard.
 Reasons for Conformity
o Normative Social Influence: When we think and act similarly
to those in our group to gain social approval.
o Informational Social Influence: When we accept other’s
opinions about reality.
o Milgram’s Teacher Experiment
III. Group Influence
 Individual Behavior in the Presence of Others
o Social Facilitation is when one has a stronger performance in
the presence of others.
o Social Loafing when someone in a group feels less accountable
and worry less about what others think.
o Deindividuation is to be less self-conscious and restrained in a
 Effects of Group Interaction
o Group Polarization occurs when people within a group discuss an idea
that most either favor or oppose
o Groupthink is a phenomena where a group’s decision is clouded by
overconfidence, conformity, and group polarization.
o Social Control and Personal Control are how we as individuals affirm the
power of social influence.
o Minority Report is the power of one or two individual to sway majorities
Sources: Psychology 8th edition, Myers;;;