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    Example and Directions
    Words (or words that have the same definition) The definition is case sensitive (Optional) Image to display with the definition [Not displayed in Glossary, only in pop-up on pages] (Optional) Caption for Image (Optional) External or Internal Link (Optional) Source for Definition
    (Eg. "Genetic, Hereditary, DNA ...") (Eg. "Relating to genes or heredity") The infamous double helix CC-BY-SA; Delmar Larsen
    Glossary Entries
    Word(s) Definition Image Caption Link Source
    accommodation The process that occurs when existing schemas change on the basis of new information.        
    actor-observer difference The tendency to make more personal attributions for the behavior of others than we do for ourselves and to make more situational attributions for our own behavior than for the behavior of others.        
    additive task A task in which the inputs of each of the group members are added together to create the group performance.        
    Affect The feelings we experience as part of our everyday lives.        
    aggression Behavior intended to harm another individual who does not wish to be harmed.        
    Altruism Behavior that is designed to increase another person’s welfare, particularly if the behavior does not seem to provide a direct reward to the person who exhibits it.        
    altruistic or prosocial personality An individual difference variable that relates to the likelihood of helping others across many different situations.        
    amygdala The region in the limbic system that is primarily responsible for regulating our perceptions of, and reactions to, aggression and fear.        
    anchoring and adjustment The tendency to weight initial information too heavily, insufficiently moving our judgment away from it.        
    anxiety A psychological disorder that may be accompanied by a number of physical symptoms, including diarrhea, upset stomach, sweaty hands, shortness of breath, poor concentration, and general agitation.        
    Arbitration A type of third-party intervention that avoids negotiation as well as the necessity of any meetings between the parties in conflict.        
    arousal The changes in bodily sensations caused by the activation of the sympathetic nervous system, including increased blood pressure, heart rate, perspiration, and respiration.        
    assimilation The process that occurs when existing knowledge influences new information in a way that makes the conflicting information fit with existing knowledge, thus reducing the likelihood of change.        
    Associational learning Learning that occurs when an object or event comes to be associated with a natural response, such as an automatic behavior or a positive or negative emotion.        
    attachment style Individual differences in how people relate to others in close relationships.        
    attitude Knowledge that includes primarily a liking or disliking of a person, thing, or group.        
    attitude consistency The principle that for any given attitude object, the ABCs (affect, behavior, and cognition) of the attitude are normally in line with each other.        
    attitude strength The importance of an attitude, as assessed by how quickly it comes to mind.        
    Attributional style The type of attributions that people tend to make for the events that occur to them.        
    Authoritarianism An individual difference variable characterized by a tendency to prefer things to be simple rather than complex and to hold traditional values.        
    Automatic cognition Thinking that occurs out of our awareness, quickly, and without taking much effort.        
    availability heuristic The tendency to make judgments of the frequency of an event or the likelihood that an event will occur according to the ease with which examples of the event can be retrieved from memory.        
    bait-and-switch technique A persuasion attempt in which the target is offered one product at a very low price—for instance, in a newspaper ad—and yet the product at the low price is not actually available.        
    base rates The likelihood that events occur across a large population.        
    basic emotions The emotions of anger, contempt, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness, and surprise that are based primarily on the arousal produced by the SNS and that do not require much cognitive processing.        
    Behavioral measures A measure designed to directly measure an individual’s actions.        
    BIRGing The process of improving our self-esteem by “basking in the reflected glory” of other people and groups.        
    black sheep effect Strong negative responses to ingroup members who threaten the positive image and identity of the ingroup.        
    blaming the victim Interpreting the negative outcomes that occur to others internally so that it seems that they deserved them.        
    brainstorming A technique designed to increase the effectiveness and creativity of group sessions.        
    catharsis The idea that engaging in less harmful aggressive actions will reduce the tendency to aggress later in a more harmful way.        
    causal attribution The process of trying to determine the causes of other people’s behavior.        
    central traits The traits warm and cold, which have a very strong influence on our impressions of others.        
    Charismatic leaders Enthusiastic, committed, and self-confident people who tend to talk about the importance of group goals at a broad level and who make personal sacrifices for the group.        
    Close relationships Relationships between people that are characterized by loving, caring, commitment, and intimacy.        
    Coercive power Power that is based on the ability to create negative outcomes for others, for instance, by bullying, intimidating, or otherwise punishing.        
    Cognitive accessibility The extent to which knowledge is activated in memory and thus likely to be used in perception.        
    cognitive dissonance The discomfort that occurs when we behave in ways that we see as inappropriate, such as when we fail to live up to our own expectations.        
    cognitive heuristics An information-processing rule of thumb that enables us to think in ways that are quick and easy but may sometimes lead to error.        
    Collective action Attempts on the part of one group to change the social status hierarchy by improving the status of their own group relative to others.        
    collectivism Cultural norms, common in Eastern countries, that indicate that people should be more fundamentally connected with others and thus oriented toward interdependence.        
    Commitment The feelings and actions that keep partners working together to maintain the relationship.        
    common ingroup identity The experience of social identity that occurs when differences in social grouping at one level are reduced by perceived similarities on a second, superordinate category.        
    Common-causal variables In a correlational design, a variable that is not part of the research hypothesis but that causes the variables of interest to be correlated, thus producing a correlation between them.        
    companionate love Love that is based on friendship, mutual attraction, common interests, mutual respect, and concern for each other’s welfare.        
    compensatory (averaging) task A task in which the group input is combined such that the performance of the individuals is averaged rather than added.        
    conditioning The ability to connect stimuli (the changes that occur in the environment) with responses (behaviors or other actions).        
    confirmation bias The tendency for people to favor information that confirms their expectations, regardless of whether the information is true.        
    conflict A situation in which it is perceived by the parties involved that gains made by others decrease their own chances of gaining rewards and thus that the desires of the parties are incompatible.        
    conformity The change in beliefs, opinions, or behaviors as a result of our perceptions about what other people believe or do.        
    conjunctive task A task in which the group’s performance is determined by the performance of the worst group member.        
    consensus information The perception that a situation is creating the same response in most people. When we perceive consensus information, we are likely to make an attribution to the situation.        
    contact hypothesis The idea that intergroup contact will reduce prejudice.        
    contingency model of leadership effectiveness A model of leadership effectiveness that focuses on both person variables and situational variables.        
    contributions dilemma A social dilemma that occurs when the short-term costs of a behavior lead individuals to avoid performing it, which may prevent the long-term benefits that would have occurred if the behaviors had been performed.        
    controlled cognition Deliberate, effortful thinking about a topic.        
    correlational research Research that involves the measurement of two or more relevant variables and an assessment of the relationship between the variables.        
    cortisol A stress hormone that releases sugars into the blood to help prepare the body to respond to threat.        
    counterfactual thinking The tendency to think about events according to “what might have been.”        
    covariation principle The principle that when making causal attributions, a behavior is seen to more likely have been caused by the situation if that behavior systematically changes across situations.        
    criterion task A task in which the group can see that there is a clearly correct answer to the problem that is being posed.        
    culture A group of people, normally living within a given geographical region, who share a common set of social norms, including religious and family values and moral beliefs.        
    culture of honor. The social norm that condones and even encourages responding to insults with aggression.        
    daily hassles Our everyday interactions with the environment that are essentially negative.        
    deindividuation The loss of self-awareness and individual accountability in groups.        
    dependent variable In an experiment, the variable that is measured after the manipulations have occurred.        
    Depression An affective disorder in which people experience sadness, low self-esteem, negative thoughts, pessimism, and apathy.        
    desensitization The tendency to become used to, and thus less influenced by, a stimulus.        
    Diffusion of responsibility The perception that others will take action and therefore we do not need to take action ourselves.        
    discrimination Unjustified negative behaviors toward members of outgroups based on their group membership.        
    disjunctive task A task in which the group’s performance is determined by the performance of the best group member.        
    Displaced aggression Aggression that occurs when negative emotions caused by one person trigger aggression toward a different person.        
    distributive fairness Judgments about whether or not a party is receiving a fair share of the available rewards.        
    dominant response The action that we are most likely to emit in any given situation.        
    Downward social comparison Social comparison with those we perceive as worse off than we are.        
    dual-concern model of cooperation and competition The proposal that individuals will relate to social dilemmas or other forms of conflict in different ways, depending on their underlying personal orientations.        
    electroencephalography (EEG) A technique that records the electrical activity produced by the brain’s neurons through the use of electrodes that are placed around the research participant’s head.        
    Emotional or impulsive aggression Aggression that occurs with only a small amount of forethought or intent and that is determined primarily by impulsive emotions.        
    Emotions A brief, but often intense, mental and physiological feeling state.        
    Empathy An affective response in which the person understands, and even feels, the other person’s distress, and when he or she experiences events the way the other person does.        
    empirical Based on the collection and systematic analysis of observable data.        
    Entitativity The perception, either by the group members themselves or by others, that the individuals are a group.        
    exchange relationships A relationship in which each of the partners keeps track of his or her contributions to the partnership.        
    experimental confederate A person who is actually part of the experimental team but who pretends to be another participant in the study.        
    Experimental research designs Research that includes the manipulation of a given situation or experience for two or more groups of individuals who are initially created to be equivalent, followed by a measurement of the effect of that experience.        
    expert power Power based on the possession of valid and accurate information and that leads to private acceptance in followers.        
    extended-contact hypothesis The prediction that people who have friends from other social groups will be more accepting of all members of those groups.        
    Factorial research designs An experimental research design that uses two or more independent variables.        
    false consciousness The acceptance of one’s own low status as part of the proper and normal functioning of society.        
    false consensus bias The tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people are similar to us.        
    falsifiable When the outcome of the research can demonstrate empirically either that there is support for the hypothesis (i.e., the relationship between the variables was correctly specified) or that there is actually no relationship between the variables or that the actual relationship is not in the direction that was predicted.        
    field experiments Experimental research that is conducted in a natural environment, such as a school or a factory.        
    fight-or-flight response An emotional and behavioral reaction to stress that increases the readiness for action.        
    fitness The extent to which having a given characteristic helps the individual organism to survive and to reproduce at a higher rate than do other members of the species who do not have the characteristic.        
    forewarning Reminding an individual that an attempt to persuade may be forthcoming, with the expectation that the reminder will reduce persuasion.        
    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) A neuroimaging technique that uses a magnetic field to create images of brain structure and function.        
    fundamental attribution error (correspondence bias) The tendency when explaining the behavior of others to overestimate the role of personal factors and overlook the impact of situations.        
    general adaptation syndrome The three distinct phases of physiological change that occur in response to long-term stress: alarm, resistance, and exhaustion.        
    Group polarization An outcome that occurs when, after discussion, the attitudes held by the individual group members become more extreme than they were before the group began discussing the topic.        
    group process The events that occur while the group is working together on the task.        
    groupthink An outcome that occurs when a group, as a result of a flawed group process and strong conformity pressures, makes a very poor decision.        
    harm-based morality The principle that harming others, either physically or by violating their rights, is morally wrong.        
    harvesting dilemma A social dilemma that leads people to overuse an existing public good.        
    hindsight bias The tendency to think that we could have predicted something that we probably would not have been able to predict.        
    illusion of group effectivity The tendency to overvalue the productivity of groups.        
    Implicit Association Test (IAT) A procedure designed to elicit more honest, implicit beliefs. Participants are asked to classify stimuli into one of two categories by pressing one button with their left hand and another button with their right hand. The categories are arranged such that the responses to be answered with the left and right buttons either match the stereotype or mismatch the stereotype.        
    incremental theorists People who believe that personalities tend to change over time and who therefore are more likely to make situational attributions for events.        
    individualism Cultural norms, common in Western countries, that focus primarily on self-enhancement and independence.        
    Informational conformity The change in opinions or behavior that occurs when we conform to people whom we believe have accurate information.        
    ingroup Other people whom we view as being similar and important to us and with whom we share close social connections.        
    ingroup favoritism The tendency to respond more positively to our ingroups than we do to outgroups.        
    inoculation A mild attack on the attitude position designed to help the potential target create counterarguments to the potential persuasive attempt, with the expectation that subsequent persuasion will be reduced.        
    Instrumental or cognitive aggression Aggression that is intentional and planned and that is aimed at hurting someone to gain something.        
    insufficient justification The perception that a threat or reward that is in fact sufficient to get the person to engage in or avoid a behavior is not sufficient.        
    integrative outcomes A potential solution that benefits all the parties involved in a conflict.        
    interdependent In a close relationship, relying to a great degree on each other to meet goals.        
    internal validity The extent to which changes in the dependent variable in an experiment can confidently be attributed to changes in the independent variable.        
    interpersonal attraction The strength of our liking or loving for another person.        
    jigsaw classroom An approach to learning in which students from different racial or ethnic groups work together, in an interdependent way, to master material.        
    judgmental task A group task in which there is no clearly correct answer to the problem.        
    just world beliefs The belief that people get what they deserve in life.        
    kin selection Strategies that favor the reproductive success of one’s relatives, sometimes at a cost to the survival of the individual.        
    leadership The ability to direct or inspire others to achieve goals.        
    learned helplessness The tendency to continually make external, stable, and global attributions for one’s behavior.        
    learning Relatively permanent change in knowledge that is acquired through experience.        
    Legitimate power Power vested in those who are appointed or elected to positions of authority.        
    maximizing task A task in which performance is measured by how rapidly the group works or by how much of a product they are able to make.        
    Mediation A process used to help create compromise by using a third party who is knowledgeable about the dispute and skilled at negotiation.        
    Member characteristics The relevant traits, skills, or abilities of the individual group members.        
    Mere exposure The tendency to prefer stimuli (including, but not limited to, people) that we have seen frequently.        
    meta-analysis A statistical procedure in which the results of existing studies are integrated to draw new conclusions about a research hypothesis.        
    minority influence Influence that occurs when the beliefs held by the smaller number of individuals in the current social group prevail.        
    Misattribution of arousal The incorrect labeling of the source of the arousal that we are experiencing.        
    Mood The positive or negative feelings that are in the background of our everyday experiences.        
    morality beliefs The set of social norms that describe the principles and ideals, as well as the duties and obligations, that we view as appropriate and that we use to judge the actions of others.        
    Narcissism A personality trait characterized by overly high self-esteem, self-admiration, and self-centeredness.        
    Need for cognition An individual difference measure of the tendency to think carefully and fully about people and situations.        
    Negotiation A process in which two or more parties formally work together to attempt to resolve a divergence of interest in order to avoid or resolve social conflict.        
    Nonphysical aggression Aggression, such as criticizing or spreading rumors, that does not involve physical harm to the other.        
    nonverbal behavior Any type of communication that does not involve speaking.        
    Normative conformity Conformity that occurs when we express opinions or behave in ways that help us to be accepted or that keep us from being isolated or rejected by others.        
    observational learning (modeling) Learning that occurs through exposure to the behavior of others.        
    observational research Research that involves making observations of behavior and recording those observations in an objective manner.        
    operant learning The principle that experiences that are followed by positive emotions (reinforcements or rewards) are likely to be repeated, whereas experiences that are followed by negative emotions (punishments) are less likely to be repeated.        
    operational definition The method that social psychologists use to measure a conceptual variable.        
    other-concern The motivation to affiliate with, accept, and be accepted by others.        
    outgroup homogeneity The tendency to view members of outgroups as more similar to each other than we see members of ingroups.        
    Overjustification The viewing of our behavior as caused by the situation, leading us to discount the extent to which our behavior was actually caused by our own interest in the activity.        
    oxytocin A hormone that is important in female reproduction and that also influences social behaviors, including the development of long-term romantic attachments.        
    parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) The division of the autonomic nervous system that is involved in resting, digesting, relaxing, and recovering.        
    passionate love The kind of love that we experience when we are first getting to know a romantic partner.        
    person perception The process of learning about other people.        
    Personal distress The negative emotions that we may experience when we view another person’s suffering.        
    Personality theories of leadership Explanations of leadership based on the idea that some people possess personality characteristics that make them effective leaders.        
    physical attractiveness stereotype The tendency to perceive attractive people as having positive characteristics, such as sociability and competence.        
    Pluralistic ignorance The belief that others in our environment have information that we do not have.        
    post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) A medical syndrome that includes symptoms of anxiety, sleeplessness, nightmares, and social withdrawal.        
    postdecisional dissonance The feeling of regret that occurs after we make an important decision.        
    prefrontal cortex The part of the brain that lies in front of the motor areas of the cortex and that helps us remember the characteristics and actions of other people, plan complex social behaviors, and coordinate our behaviors with those of others.        
    primacy effect The tendency for information that we learn first to be weighted more heavily than is information that we learn later.        
    priming The technique of temporarily bringing information into memory through exposure to situational events.        
    prisoner’s dilemma game A laboratory simulation that models a social dilemma in which the goals of the individual compete with the goals of another individual (or sometimes with a group of other individuals).        
    private acceptance Real change in opinions on the part of the individual.        
    Private self-consciousness The tendency to introspect about our inner thoughts and feelings.        
    Procedural fairness Beliefs about the fairness (or unfairness) of the procedures used to distribute available rewards among parties.        
    process gain A situation in which a group performs better than we would expect, given the characteristics of the members of the group.        
    process loss A situation in which a group performs more poorly than we would expect, given the characteristics of the members of the group.        
    Processing fluency The ease with which we can process information in our environments.        
    psychological reactance A strong motivational state that prevents conformity.        
    Public conformity A superficial change in behavior (including the public expression of opinions) that is not accompanied by an actual change in one’s private opinion.        
    Public goods A benefit that is shared by a community at large and that everyone in the group has access to, regardless of whether or not they have personally contributed to the creation of the good.        
    Public self-consciousness The tendency to focus on our outer public image and to be particularly aware of the extent to which we are meeting the standards set by others.        
    random assignment to conditions The most common method of creating equivalence among the experimental conditions before the experiment begins.        
    Realistic group conflict A situation in which groups are in actual competition for scarce resources.        
    reciprocal altruism The mutual, and generally equitable, exchange of benefits between people.        
    reciprocal self-disclosure The tendency to communicate frequently, without fear of reprisal, and in an accepting and empathetic manner.        
    reciprocity norm A social norm that indicates that if someone helps us, then we should help them in the future, and we should help people now with the expectation that they will help us later if we need it.        
    referent power Power based on the ability to influence others by leading those others to identify with the power-holder.        
    replication The repeating of research.        
    representativeness heuristic The tendency to base our judgments on information that seems to represent, or match, what we expect will happen while ignoring more informative base-rate information.        
    research hypothesis A specific and falsifiable prediction regarding the relationship between two or more variables.        
    Reward power Power that occurs when a person is able to influence others by providing them with positive outcomes.        
    salient Attracting attention—for instance, things that are unique, negative, colorful, bright, or moving.        
    secondary emotions Emotions that provide us with more complex feelings about our social worlds and that are more cognitively based—for example, guilt, shame, and embarrassment.        
    self Our sense of personal identity and of who we are as individuals.        
    self-complexity The extent to which individuals have many different and relatively independent ways of thinking about themselves.        
    self-consciousness Self-awareness as a result of our concerns about being observed and potentially judged by others.        
    self-efficacy The belief in our ability to carry out actions that produce desired outcomes.        
    Self-esteem The positive or negative evaluations that we make of ourselves.        
    self-fulfilling prophecy An effect that occurs when our expectations about others lead us to behave toward those others in ways that make those expectations come true.        
    Self-handicapping Making statements or engaging in behaviors that help us create a convenient external attribution for potential failure.        
    Self-monitoring The tendency to be both motivated and capable of regulating our behavior to meet the demands of social situations.        
    Self-perception The process of using our perceptions of our behavior to help us determine our attitudes toward an attitude object.        
    self-presentation The tendency to portray a positive self-image to others, with the goal of increasing our social status.        
    self-reference effect The ability to well remember information that relates to the self.        
    self-regulation The process of setting goals and using our cognitive and affective capacities to reach those goals.        
    Self-report measures A measure in which individuals are asked to respond to questions posed by an interviewer or on a questionnaire.        
    self-schemas One of the many organized cognitive aspects of the self-concept.        
    Self-serving attributions Attributions that help us meet our desires to see ourselves positively.        
    serotonin A neurotransmitter that influences mood, appetite, and sleep and that inhibits aggression.        
    situational (or external) attribution The determination that a behavior was caused primarily by factors external to the person.        
    sleeper effect Attitude change that occurs over time when the content of a message is remembered but the source of the message is forgotten.        
    social categorization The natural cognitive process of placing individuals into social groups according to their social categories (e.g., men versus women, old people versus young people).        
    Social cognition Mental activity that relates to social activities and that helps us meet the goal of understanding and predicting the behavior of ourselves and others.        
    Social comparison The process of learning about our abilities and skills, about the appropriateness and validity of our opinions, and about our relative social status by comparing our own attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors with those of others.        
    Social conventional morality Norms that are seen as appropriate within a culture but that do not involve behaviors that relate to doing good or doing harm toward others.        
    Social creativity The use of strategies that allow members of low-status groups to perceive their group as better than other groups.        
    social dilemma A situation in which the goals of the individual conflict with the goals of the group.        
    Social dominance orientation (SDO) An individual difference measures that assesses the tendency to see and justify inequality among different social groups.        
    social exchange The sharing of goods, services, emotions, and other social outcomes among people.        
    social facilitation The tendency to perform tasks better or faster in the presence of others.        
    social fairness norms Beliefs about how people should be treated fairly.        
    social group A set of individuals who are together with a shared purpose and who normally share a social identity.        
    social identity The positive emotions that we experience as a member of an important social group.        
    Social identity The positive emotions that we experience as a member of an important social group.        
    social impact The increase in the amount of conformity that is produced by adding new members to the majority group.        
    social influence The processes through which other people change our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and through which we change theirs.        
    social inhibition The tendency to perform tasks more poorly or slower in the presence of others.        
    social loafing A group process loss that occurs when people do not work as hard in a group as they do when they are alone.        
    social neuroscience The study of how our social behavior both influences and is influenced by the activities of our brain.        
    social norms The ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving that are shared by group members and perceived by them as appropriate.        
    Social power The ability of a person to create conformity even when the people being influenced may attempt to resist those changes.        
    Social psychology The scientific study of how we feel about, think about, and behave toward the people around us and how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by those people.        
    social responsibility norm A social norm that indicates that we should try to help others who need assistance, even without any expectation of future payback.        
    social situation The people with whom we interact every day.        
    Social status The extent to which we are viewed positively and esteemed by others.        
    social support The comfort that we receive from the people around us—for instance, our family, friends, classmates, and coworkers.        
    spontaneous message processing The acceptance of a persuasion attempt that occurs when the focus is on whatever is most obvious, without much attention to the message itself.        
    stereotype threat Performance decrements that are caused by the knowledge of cultural stereotypes.        
    stress The physical and psychological reactions that occur whenever we believe that the demands of a situation threaten our ability to respond to the threat.        
    Subliminal advertising The presentation of a message to the consumer without the consumer being aware that a message has been presented.        
    tend-and-befriend response A behavioral reaction to stress that involves activities designed to create social networks that provide protection from threats.        
    testosterone The male sex hormone.        
    Thoughtful message processing The careful consideration of whether a persuasion attempt is valid or invalid.        
    tit-for-tat strategy A strategy for responding in negotiation in which a party first cooperates and then matches the cooperation or competition of the opponent.        
    triangular model of love An approach to defining love that is based on combinations of passion, intimacy, and commitment.        
    ultimate attribution error The tendency for competing groups to make causal attributions that maintain ingroup favoritism.        
    unitary task A task that has to be done all at once and cannot be divided up.        
    Unrealistic optimism The tendency to be overly positive about the likelihood that negative things will occur to us and that we will be able to effectively cope with them if they do.        
    upward social comparison Social comparison with those we perceive as better off than we are.        
    violence Aggression that has extreme physical harm, such as injury or death, as its goal.        
    well-being The sense of satisfaction with one’s everyday experience.        
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