Chapter 18: Social Psychology
Chapter 18 demonstrates the powerful influences of social
situations on the behavior of individuals. Central to this
topic are research studies on attitudes and actions,
conformity, compliance, and group and cultural influences.
The social principles that emerge help us to understand
how individuals are influenced by advertising, political
candidates, and the various groups to which they belong.
Although social influences are powerful, it is important to
remember the significant role of individuals in choosing
and creating the social situations that influence them.
The chapter also discusses how people relate to one
another, from the negative
developing prejudice, behaving
aggressively, and provoking conflict to the positive
attracted to people who are nearby and/or similar and
The chapter concludes with a discussion of techniques that
have been shown to promote conflict resolution.
Although there is some terminology for you to learn in this
chapter, your primary task is to absorb the findings of the
many research studies discussed. The chapter headings,
which organize the findings, should prove especially useful
to you here. In addition, you might, for each main topic
conformity, group influence, aggression, etc.
, ask yourself
the question, “What situational factors promote this
phenomenon?” The research findings can then form the
basis for your answers.
David Myers at times uses idioms that are unfamiliar to
some readers. If you do not know the meaning of any of
the following words, phrases, or expressions in the context
in which they appear in the text, refer to
for an explanation:
freeloaders; people often talk and act a different game;
egg spiral; heartening implications.
First, skim the section, noting headings and boldface items.
Then read the following objectives and, as you read the
text, search for the information that will enable you to
meet each objective.
1. Discuss attribution theory, focusing on the
fundamental attribution error, and describe some
possible effects of attribution.
2. Define attitude and identify the conditions under
which attitudes predict behavior.
3. Describe how actions influence attitudes, and explain
how cognitive dissonance theory accounts for this
Stepping Through the Section
After you have read the section, complete the sentences
and answer the questions. As you proceed, evaluate your
performance by consulting the answers. Do not continue
with the next section until you understand each answer. If
you need to, review or reread the section in the textbook
1. Psychologists who study how we think about,