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Writing Assignment 5 - Introductory Psychology Writing...

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Introductory Psychology Writing Assignment 5: Social Psychology in Action
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The purpose of this assignment is two-fold. First, we want you to think about the basic concepts in social psychology as described in the book. The second concerns demonstrating how we are subtly influenced by the words of others. Before getting to the demonstration, here are the concepts you were asked about: 1. Fundamental attribution error (or FAE) . This is the tendency to assume that other people’s behaviors are the result of their personalities but our own behaviors are the result of the situations we are in. The FAE is important because we tend to ignore the situational influences on others’ behaviors. We also ignore that some of our own behaviors may be caused by our own personality. 2. Social facilitation . Social facilitation is a tendency for people to perform relatively simple or well-learned tasks better when others are watching them. However, they tend to perform complicated or new tasks worse in the presence of others. 3. Cognitive dissonance . People want to believe that their thoughts and behaviors are consistent. When we become aware of inconsistent cognitions, we become anxious and are driven to change one or more of our beliefs so that everything is again consistent in our minds. 4. Interpersonal attraction . In general, we are attracted to people who are most like us -- especially in terms of basic beliefs, attitudes, and backgrounds. The only case where opposites can sometimes attract is in dealing with cases where two people might have personalities or skills that complement us. Some shy people like to hang around with outgoing people and vice versa, for example. Linguistic Style Matching: Subtle Forms of Social Influence There was a second purpose to this writing assignment. Did you notice that the questions you were asked differed in the ways they were written? Some were written very formally and others extremely informally. Most people naturally adapt to the questions they are asked by writing and thinking in the same ways. This is called Linguistic Style Matching or LSM. To see if you showed LSM, compare each of the four questions with your answers: Question 1 (academic style): The first question you answered was on the Fundamental Attribution Error. It was written in a straight, standard academic tone. It started out, " One of the main themes this semester has been human irrationality. People often make assumptions... " This is the style most people are familiar with. Now, look at how you answered the question below. Pay attention to the way you answered it. Was it similar in writing style to the original
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