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Unformatted text preview: Chapter 18: Social Psychology Social Thinking Social psychology is the study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Attributing Behavior to Persons or to Situations We generally explain people’s behavior by attributing it either to internal dispositions or to external situations. In accounting for others’ actions, we often underestimate the influence of the situation, thus committing the fundamental attribution error. When we explain our own behavior, however, we more often point to the situation and not to ourselves. Attitudes and Actions Attitudes predict behavior only under certain conditions, as when other influences are minimized, when the attitude is specific to the behavior, and when people are aware of their attitudes. Studies of the foot-in- the-door phenomenon and of role playing reveal that our actions can also modify our attitudes, especially when we feel responsible for those actions. Cognitive dissonance theorists explain that behavior shapes attitudes because people feel discomfort when their actions go against their feelings and beliefs; they reduce the discomfort by bringing their attitudes more into line with what they have done. Conformity and Obedience As suggestibility studies demonstrate, when we are unsure about our judgments, we are likely to adjust them toward the group standard. Solomon Asch found that under certain conditions people will conform to a group’s judgment even when it is clearly incorrect. We may conform either to gain social approval (normative social influence) or because we welcome the information that others provide (informational...
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- Spring '08
- Social Psychology, normative social influence, Informational social influence, behavior shapes attitudes, Social Psychology Social