Gen Psych Lectures/Social Psychology SCC

Definition-a branch of psychology that
studies how a person’s thoughts,
feelings, and behavior are influenced
by the presence of other people and by
the social and physical environment.
*Self serving bias
*Physical attraction
Social Psychology
Self Serving Bias
tendency to perceive
oneself favorably
Do you know people who see themselves as a “great
person” even though their actions indicate they are not?
• People accept credit when told they succeeded-I
earned that “A” from really studying!
• People attribute failure to external forces-wow,
those questions were tough, I have bad luck!
• During divorces people typically blame their
partners for the break-up.
–Question: Don’t we all maintain our positive
self images by associating ourselves with
successes and distancing ourselves from our
•Example-”I earned an “A” in that class
because I worked hard, read the book
and studied”
•Example-”The professor gave me a “D”
on the class, I just had some bad
breaks in class”
•We even deny we use self serving bias
but say that other people always use
• People perceive themselves as more intelligent,
better looking and less prejudiced that the
average person.
• Most drivers, even those hospitalized for traffic
accidents, believe themselves to be safer and
more skilled than the average driver.
• Some people use “unrealistic optimism” to
justify behavior-”I know that over 50% of those under
25 years old who get married will get divorced but I
know my marriage will be an enduring joy!”
*What do we seek in a potential date?
Sincerity? Humor? Hot body? Intelligent?
Question: What do you seek?
*Can you judge a book by its cover?
*Appearance does matter!!! A woman’s
physical attractiveness is a good
predictor of how often she dates.
Same is for men!
*Matching phenomenon-people often approach
someone whose attractiveness roughly matches
(or not too greatly) exceeds their own
*Physical attractiveness stereotype-what is
beautiful is good! We learn this as children
through stories such as: Snow White &
Cinderella. Both were beautiful and kind. The
wicked people were ugly!
Evolution and Attractiveness-this approach
explains human preference to reproductive
**Attractive women tend to marry high status
males who either have fame or fortune. Men
try to attain fame and/or fortune if they lack
equal or greater attractiveness.
**When women are ovulating they tend to wear
more revealing outfits!
**Ovulating lap dancers double their average
tips from $35 to $70 an hour. Why?
*Definition-a motive to increase another’s
welfare without conscious regard for one’s
self interest.
*Question-do you give to charity?
Donate your time
or money to help others? Stop and help others on
the street or at work?
*The bystander effect-people are less likely
to provide help when there are other
*Question: Have you ever stopped and
helped others in need?
• Social Exchange Theory-we help others after doing a
cost-benefit analysis. Helpers aim to maximize their
rewards and minimize their costs.
• Reciprocity norm-this theory states that we should
return help to help those who have helped us.
• Question-do you feel awkward or even obligated to buy
a gift for someone during the holidays if they give you
a gift first?
Helping others increases if:
*We are not in a hurry
*There are few other bystanders
*The victim is similar to us
*The victim appears to need help
*We are located in a small town or rural area
*We are in a good mood
*We feel guilty for not helping
*We are deeply religious
*We all use self-serving bias on occasion to feel
better about ourselves.
* What we find attractive today, may become unattractive tomorrow. Maybe we all should look
closer into what is in each others hearts and
souls, appearances can be deceiving.
*Is there true altruism or do we do good deeds to
make ourselves feel better? In the end, maybe
everyone wins, maybe both of us feel better?