Chapter 18 (1) Summary

Chapter 18 (1) Summary - C HAPTER 18 (SUMMARY): SOCIAL...

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CHAPTER 18 (SUMMARY): SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Overview Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. In thinking about others’ behavior and its possible causes, we tend to underestimate the influence of the situation, thus committing the fundamental attribution error. Our attitudes predict behavior when other influences are minimized, when the attitude is specifically relevant to the behavior, and when we are aware of our attitudes. Our actions can also modify our attitudes, especially when we feel responsible for those actions. Research on social influence indicates that when we are unsure about our judgments, we are likely to adjust them toward the group standard. Sometimes, social influences are even strong enough to make people conform to falsehoods or capitulate to cruelty. The presence of others can arouse individuals, boosting their performance on easy tasks but hindering it on difficult ones. When people pool their efforts toward a group goal, individuals may free-ride on others’ efforts. Sometimes, group experiences arouse people and make them anonymous, and thus less self-aware and self-restrained. Within groups, discussions can enhance members’ prevailing attitudes and produce groupthink. A minority committed to a position can, however, influence a majority. Prejudice still often arises from social inequalities, social divisions, and emotional scapegoating. Research shows that stereotypes are a by-product of our natural ways of simplifying the world. Aggression is a product of nature and nurture. In addition to genetic, neural, and biochemical influences, aversive events heighten people’s hostility. Aggressive behavior is also learned through rewards and by observing role models and media violence. Conflicts are fueled by social traps and mirror-image perceptions. Geographical proximity, physical attractiveness, and similarity of attitudes and interests influence our liking for one another. Passionate love is an aroused state we cognitively label as love. Companionate love often emerges as a relationship matures and is enhanced by equity and self-disclosure. The presence of others at an emergency can inhibit helping. Many factors also influence our willingness to aid someone in distress, including cost-benefit analysis and social expectations. Enemies become friends when they work toward superordinate goals, communicate clearly, and reciprocate conciliatory gestures. Social Thinking The importance of attribution in social behavior; Dangers of the fundamental attribution error. Attribution theory states that we tend to give a causal explanation for someone’s behavior. Our attributions—either to the person or to the situation—play an important role in shaping our social attitudes. Underestimating situational influences (the fundamental attribution error) can lead us to unwarranted conclusions about others’ personality traits. For example, we may blame the poor and the unemployed for their own misfortune.
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When attitudes have a strong impact on actions. Attitudes have a strong impact on actions when (1) outside influences on what we say and do are
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Chapter 18 (1) Summary - C HAPTER 18 (SUMMARY): SOCIAL...

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