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13.2: Glossary

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    Accommodation When existing schemas change on the basis of new information

    Actor-observer bias or difference When we tend 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 where the inputs of each group member are added together to create the group performance, and the expected performance of the group is the sum of group members’ individual inputs

    Adjourning stage When group members prepare for the group to end

    Affect heuristic The tendency to rely on automatically occurring affective responses to stimuli to guide our judgments of them

    Affect The feelings we experience as part of our everyday lives

    Affective forecasting Our attempts to predict how future events will make us feel

    Aggression Behavior that is intended to harm another individual who does not wish to be harmed

    Agreeableness A tendency to be good natured, cooperative, and trusting

    Altruism Any behavior that is designed to increase another person’s welfare, and particularly those actions that do not seem to provide a direct reward to the person who performs them

    Altruistic or prosocial personality An individual difference variable that relates to the likelihood of helping others across many different situations

    Anchoring and adjustment The tendency to weight initial information too heavily and thereby insufficiently move our judgment away from it

    Anxious/ambivalent attachment style When children become overly dependent on the parents and continually seek more affection from them than they can give

    Arbitration A type of third-party intervention that avoids negotiation as well as the necessity of any meetings between the parties in conflict

    Assimilation A process in which our existing knowledge influences new conflicting information to better fit with our existing knowledge, thus reducing the likelihood of schema change

    Associational learning 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 is a knowledge representation that includes primarily our liking or disliking of a person, thing, or group

    Attitude strength The importance of an attitude, as assessed by how quickly it comes to mind

    Attribution The process of assigning causes to behaviors

    Attributional style The type of attributions that we tend to make for events that occur to us.

    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

    Autonomy-oriented help The belief that, given the appropriate tools, recipients can help themselves

    Availability heuristic The tendency to make judgments of the frequency of an event, or the likelihood that an event will occur, on the basis of the ease with which the event can be retrieved from memory

    Avoidant attachment style When children are unable to relate to the parents at all, becoming distant, fearful, and cold

    Bait-and-switch technique A persuasion attempt in which the target is offered one product at a very low price and yet the product at the low price is not actually available

    Base rates The likelihood that events occur across a large population

    Basking in the reflected glory When we use and advertise our ingroups’ positive achievements to boost our self-esteem

    Behavioral measures Measures designed to directly assess what people do

    Bias blind spot The tendency to believe that our own judgments are less susceptible to the influence of bias than those of others

    Black sheep effect The strong devaluation of 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

    Bogus pipeline procedure A procedure, designed to elicit more honest responses, in which an experimenter first convinces participants that they have access to their “true” beliefs

    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 people’s behavior

    Central traits Characteristics that have a very strong influence on our impressions of others

    Charismatic leaders Leaders who are enthusiastic, committed, and self-confident; who tend to talk about the importance of group goals at a broad level; and who make personal sacrifices for the group

    Coercive power The ability to dispense punishments

    Cognitive accessibility The extent to which a schema is activated in memory and thus likely to be used in information processing

    Cognitive dissonance The discomfort that occurs when we respond in ways that we see as inconsistent

    Cognitive heuristics Information-processing rules of thumb that enable us to think in ways that are quick and easy but that may sometimes lead to error

    Cognitive reappraisal Altering an emotional state by reinterpreting the meaning of the triggering situation or stimulus

    Collective action The 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 that indicate that people should be more fundamentally connected with others and thus are more 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

    Communal relationships Close relationships in which partners suspend their need for equity and exchange, giving support to the partner in order to meet his or her needs, and without consideration of the costs to themselves

    Companionate love Love that is based on friendship, mutual attraction, common interests, mutual respect, and concern for each other’s welfare

    Compensatory (or averaging) task A task where the group input is combined such that the performance of the individuals is averaged rather than added

    Competition The attempt to gain as many of the limited rewards as possible for ourselves, while reducing the likelihood of success for the other parties

    Conceptual variables The characteristics that we are trying to measure

    Conditioning The ability to connect stimuli (things or events in the environment) with responses (behaviors or other actions)

    Confirmation bias The tendency for people to seek out and favor information that confirms their expectations and beliefs

    Conflict When parties are involved in violence and hostility

    Conformity The change in beliefs, opinions, and behaviors as a result of our perceptions about what other people believe or do

    Conjunctive task When the group performance is determined by the ability of the group member who performs most poorly

    Conscientiousness A tendency to be responsible, orderly, and dependable

    Consensus information When a situation seems to be the cause of a behavior if the situation creates the same behavior in most people

    Consistency information When a situation seems to be the cause of a behavior if the situation always produces the behavior in the target

    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 When the short-term costs of a behavior lead individuals to avoid performing it, and this may prevent the long-term benefits that would have occurred if the behaviors had been performed

    Controlled cognition When we deliberately size up and think about something; for instance, another person

    Cooperation Behavior that occurs when we trust the people or groups with whom we are interacting and are willing to communicate and share with the others

    Correlational research Research designed to search for and test hypotheses about the relationships between two or more variables

    Correspondence bias When we attribute behaviors to people’s internal characteristics, even in heavily constrained situations

    Counterfactual thinking The tendency to think about events according to what might have been

    Covariation principle When a given behavior is more likely to have been caused by the situation if that behavior covaries (or changes) across situations

    Cover story A false statement of what the research was really about

    Criterion task A task where 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 A social norm that condones and even encourages responding to insults with aggression

    Cyberbullying Aggression inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices

    Defensive attribution When we make attributions that defend ourselves from the notion that we could be the victim of an unfortunate outcome, and often also that we could be held responsible as the victim

    Deindividuation The loss of individual self-awareness and individual accountability in groups

    Dependency-oriented help When the recipient feels that the implication of the helping is that he or she is are unable to care for himself or herself

    Dependent variable The variable that is measured after the manipulations have occurred

    Depressive realism The tendency for people who are depressed to make social judgments about the future that are less positively skewed and often more accurate than those who do not have depression

    Desensitization The tendency to become used to, and thus less influenced by, a stimulus

    Devil’s advocate An individual who is given the job of expressing conflicting opinions and forcing the group (in a noncombative way) to fully discuss all the alternatives

    Diffusion of responsibility When we assume that others will take action and therefore we do not take action ourselves

    Discrimination Unjustified negative behaviors toward members of outgroups based on their group membership

    Disjunctive task When the group’s performance is determined by the best group member

    Disorganized attachment style A blend of anxious and avoidant attachment styles

    Displaced aggression When negative emotions caused by one person trigger aggression toward a different person

    Distinctiveness information When a situation seems to be the cause of a behavior if the behavior occurs when the situation is present but not when it is not present

    Distributive fairness Our judgments about whether or not a party is receiving a fair share of the available rewards

    Divisible task When each of the group members working on the job can do a separate part of the job at the same time

    Dominant response The action that we are most likely to emit in any given situation.

    Door-in-the-face technique A persuasion tactic that involves making an unreasonably large request before making the (intended) smaller request

    Downward social comparison When we attempt to create a positive image of ourselves through favorable comparisons with others who are worse off than we are

    Dual-concern model of cooperation and competition A model of individuals relating to social dilemmas, or other forms of conflict, in different ways, depending on their underlying personal orientations or as influenced by the characteristics of the situation that orient them toward a given concern

    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 Brief, but often intense, mental and physiological feeling states

    Empathy An affective response in which a person understands, and even feels, another person’s distress and 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 people together are a group

    Entity theorists People who tend to believe that others’ traits are fundamentally stable and incapable of change

    Evolutionary adaptation The assumption that human nature, including much of our social behavior, is determined largely by our evolutionary past

    Exchange relationships Relationships 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 Research designs that include 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

    External validity The extent to which relationships can be expected to hold up when they are tested again in different ways and for different people

    Factorial research designs Experimental designs that have two or more independent variables

    False consensus bias The tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people hold similar views to our own

    False consciousness The acceptance of one’s own low status as part of the proper and normal functioning of society

    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

    Feelings of social identity The positive self-esteem that we get from our group memberships

    Field experiments Experimental research studies that are conducted in a natural environment

    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

    Fixed-sum outcome When a gain for one side necessarily means a loss for the other side or sides

    Foot-in-the-door technique A persuasion attempt in which we first get the target to accept a rather minor request, and then ask for a larger request

    Forewarning Reminding an individual that an attempt to persuade may be forthcoming, with the expectation that the reminder will reduce persuasion

    Forming stage When the members of the group come together and begin their existence as a group

    Framing effects occur when people’s judgments about different options are affected by whether they are framed as resulting in gains or losses.

    Frustration The emotion that results from feeling that we are not obtaining the important goals that we have set for ourselves

    Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) A neuroimaging technique that uses a magnetic field to create images of brain structure and function

    Fundamental attribution error When we tend to overestimate the role of person factors and overlook the impact of situations in explaining a behavior

    Global attributions Those attributions that we feel apply broadly

    Group attribution error The tendency to make attributional generalizations about entire outgroups based on a very small number of observations of individual members

    Group polarization 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

    Group-serving bias (or ultimate attribution error) The tendency to make internal attributions about our ingroups’ successes, and external attributions about their setbacks, and to make the opposite pattern of attributions about our outgroups

    Groupthink When a group that is made up of members who may actually be very competent and thus quite capable of making excellent decisions nevertheless ends up making a poor one as a result of a flawed group process and strong conformity pressures

    Halo effect The influence of a global positive evaluation of a person on perceptions of their specific traits

    Harm-based morality The belief that harming others, either physically or by violating their rights, is 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 level of productivity of our ingroups

    Implicit Association Test (IAT) A procedure designed to elicit implicit beliefs and attitudes

    Incremental theorists People who believe that personalities change a lot over time and who therefore are more likely to make situational attributions for events.

    Independent variable The situation that is created by the experimenter through the experimental manipulations

    Individualism Cultural norms, common in Western societies, that focus primarily on self-enhancement and independence

    Informational social influence The change in opinions or behavior that occurs when we conform to people who we believe have accurate information

    Ingroup favoritism The tendency to respond more positively to people from our ingroups than we do to people from outgroups

    Ingroup Those we view as being similar and important to us and with whom we share close social connections

    Injunctive norms Rules that specify how group members are expected to behave.

    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

    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 outcome When a solution can be found that benefits all the parties

    Intellective task A task that involves the ability of the group to make a decision or a judgment

    Interdependence A state in which the group members depend on each other for successful performance of the group 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

    Internalized prejudice When individuals turn prejudice directed toward them by others onto themselves

    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 task for which there is no clearly correct answer to the problem

    Just world belief The belief that people get what they deserve in life

    Just world hypothesis The tendency to make attributions based on the belief that the world is fundamentally just

    Kin selection Strategies that favor the reproductive success of one’s relatives, sometimes even at a cost to the individual’s own survival

    Labeling bias When we are labeled, and others’ views and expectations of us are affected by that labeling

    Leadership The ability to direct or inspire others to achieve goals

    Learned helplessness The tendency to continually make external, stable, and global attributions for our behavior

    Learning The relatively permanent change in knowledge that is acquired through experience

    Legitimate power Authority that comes from a belief on the part of those being influenced that the person has a legitimate right to demand obedience

    Looking-glass self When part of how we see ourselves comes from our perception of how others see us

    Lowball technique A persuasion attempt in which the persuader promises the target something desirable, with the intention of getting the target to imagine himself or herself engaging the desired behavior, before indicating that the desirable offer is actually not possible

    Macbeth effect The observation that people tend to want to cleanse themselves when they perceive that they have violated their own ethical standards

    Majority influence When the beliefs held by the larger number of individuals in the current social group prevail

    Maximizing task A task that involves performance that is measured by how rapidly the group works or how much of a product they are able to make

    Mediation Helping to create compromise by using third-party negotiation

    Mere exposure effect 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 combined to determine what conclusions can be drawn on the basis of all the studies considered together

    Mindguard Someone whose job it is to help quash dissent and to increase conformity to the leader’s opinions

    Minority influence When the beliefs held by the smaller number of individuals in the current social group prevail

    Misattribution of arousal When people incorrectly label the source of the arousal that they are experiencing

    Mood The positive or negative feelings that are in the background of our everyday experiences

    Mood congruence effects When we are more able to retrieve memories that match our current mood

    Mood-dependent memory The tendency to better remember information when our current mood matches the mood we were in when we encoded that information

    Moral reasoning The manner in which one makes ethical judgments

    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 and to guide our own behavior

    Narcissism A personality trait characterized by overly high self-esteem, self-admiration, and self-centeredness

    Need for cognition The tendency to think carefully and fully about our experiences, including the social situations we encounter

    Negative attributional style The tendency to explain negative events by referring to our own internal, stable, and global qualities

    Negotiation The process by which two or more parties formally work together to attempt to resolve a perceived divergence of interest in order to avoid or resolve social conflict

    Nonphysical aggression Aggression that does not involve physical harm

    Nonverbal behavior Any type of communication that does not involve speaking, including facial expressions, body language, touching, voice patterns, and interpersonal distance

    Normative social influence 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

    Norming stage When the appropriate norms and roles for the group are developed

    Not invented here bias When group members overvalue their own group’s ideas and products over those of other groups

    Observational learning When people learn by observing 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 particular method that we use to measure a variable of interest

    Optimistic bias The tendency to believe that positive outcomes are more likely to happen than negative ones, particularly in relation to ourselves versus others

    Optimistic explanatory style A way of explaining current outcomes affecting the self in a way that leads to an expectation of positive future outcomes

    Other-concern The motivation to affiliate with, accept, and be accepted by others

    Outcome bias A tendency to look at the outcome too much when we evaluate decision making

    Outgroup homogeneity The tendency to view members of outgroups as more similar to each other than we see members of ingroups

    Overconfidence bias The tendency to be overconfident in our own skills, abilities, and judgments

    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

    Passionate love The kind of love that we experience when we are first getting to know a romantic partner

    Pearson correlation coefficient A statistic used to summarize the association, or correlation, between two variables

    Performing stage When group members establish a routine and effectively work together

    Person perception The process of learning about other people

    Personal (or internal or dispositional) attribution When we decide that the behavior was caused primarily by the person

    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 are simply “natural leaders” because they possess personality characteristics that make them effective

    Personality traits The specific and stable personality characteristics that describe an individual

    Physical aggression Aggression that involves harming others physically

    Planning fallacy The tendency to overestimate the amount that we can accomplish over a particular time frame

    Pluralistic ignorance When people think that others in their environment have information that they do not have and when they base their judgments on what they think the others are thinking

    Positive attributional style Ways of explaining events that are related to high self-esteem, including a tendency to explain negative events experienced by referring to external, unstable, and specific qualities

    Postdecisional dissonance The feeling of regret that may occur after we make an important decision

    Pre-giving technique A persuasion tactic that relies on the norm of reciprocity

    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

    Prejudice An unjustifiable negative attitude toward an outgroup or toward the members of that outgroup

    Prescriptive norms Rules which tell the group members what to do

    Primacy effect The tendency for information that we learn first to be weighted more heavily than is information that we learn later

    Priming A technique in which information is temporarily brought into memory through exposure to situational events, which can then influence judgments entirely out of awareness

    Principle of attitude consistency A principle that states that for any given attitude object, the ABCs of affect, behavior, and cognition are normally in line with each other

    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 When groups work better than we would expect, given the individuals who form them

    Process loss When groups perform 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

    Production blocking When only one person can speak at a time, and this can cause people to forget their ideas because they are listening to others, or to miss what others are saying because they are thinking of their own ideas

    Projection bias The tendency to assume that others share our cognitive and affective states

    Proscriptive norms Rules which tell the group members what not to do

    Proximity-liking The tendency for people to become better acquainted with, and more fond of, each other when the social situation brings them into repeated contact

    Psychological reactance The strong emotional response that we experience when we feel that our freedom of choice is being taken away

    Public compliance 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 Benefits that are 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 goods

    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 Determining separately for each participant which condition he or she will experience through a random process

    Realistic group conflict When groups are in competition for objectively scarce resources

    Recency effect When information that comes later is given more weight

    Reciprocal altruism A mutual, and generally equitable, exchange of benefits

    Reciprocity norm A social norm reminding us that we should follow the principles of reciprocal altruism

    Reconstructive memory bias When we remember things that match our current beliefs better than those that don’t and reshape those memories to better align with our current beliefs

    Referent power Influence based on identification with, attraction to, or respect for the power-holder

    Relational or social aggression Intentionally harming another person’s social relationships

    Representativeness heuristic When we base our judgments on information that seems to represent, or match, what we expect will happen, while ignoring more informative base-rate information

    Reputation management A form of long-term self-presentation, where individuals seek to build and sustain specific reputations with important audiences

    Research hypothesis A specific prediction about the relationship between the variables of interest and about the specific direction of that relationship

    Reward power The ability to distribute positive or negative rewards

    Role stress When individuals experience incompatible demands and expectations within or between the roles that they occupy, which often negatively impacts their ability to be successful in those roles

    Schema A knowledge representation that includes information about a person, group, or situation

    Secure attachment style When children perceive their parents as safe, available, and responsive caregivers and are able to relate easily to them

    Self Our sense of personal identity and of who we are as individuals

    Self-affirmation theory When people try to reduce the threat to their self-concept posed by feelings of self-discrepancy by focusing on and affirming their worth in another domain, unrelated to the issue at hand

    Self-awareness The extent to which we are currently fixing our attention on our own self-concept

    Self-awareness theory When we focus our attention on ourselves, the tendency for us to compare our current behavior against our internal standards

    Self-complexity The extent to which individuals have many different and relatively independent ways of thinking about themselves

    Self concept A knowledge representation that contains knowledge about us, including our beliefs about our personality traits, physical characteristics, abilities, values, goals, and roles, as well as the knowledge that we exist as individuals

    Self-concept clarity The extent to which one’s self-concept is clearly and consistently defined

    Self-concern The motivation to protect and enhance the self and the people who are psychologically close to us

    Self-consciousness When our self-concept becomes highly accessible because of our concerns about being observed and potentially judged by others

    Self-disclosure The tendency to communicate frequently, without fear of reprisal, and in an accepting and empathetic manner

    Self-discrepancy theory The tendency to experience distress when we perceive a discrepancy between our actual and ideal selves

    Self-efficacy The belief in our ability to carry out actions that produce desired outcomes

    Self-esteem The positive (high self-esteem) or negative (low self-esteem) feelings that we have about ourselves

    Self-evaluation maintenance theory When our self-esteem can be threatened when someone else outperforms us, particularly if that person is close to us and the performance domain is central to our self-concept

    Self-fulfilling prophecy A process that occurs when our expectations about others lead us to behave toward those others in ways that make our expectations come true

    Self-handicapping When we make statements or engage in behaviors that help us create a convenient external attribution for potential failure

    Self-labeling When we adopt others’ labels explicitly into our self-concept

    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 present a positive self-image to others, with the goal of increasing our social status

    Self-reference effect When information that is processed in relationship to the self is particularly well remembered

    Self-regulation The process of setting goals and using our cognitive and affective capacities to reach those goals

    Self-report measures Measures in which individuals are asked to respond to questions posed by an interviewer or on a questionnaire

    Self-schema A variety of different cognitive aspects of the self

    Self-serving attributions Attributions that help us meet our desire to see ourselves positively

    Self-serving bias The tendency to attribute our successes to ourselves, and our failures to others and the situation

    Self-verification theory The tendency for people to often seek confirmation of their self-concept, whether it is positive or negative

    Shared information bias When group members tend to discuss information that they all have access to while ignoring equally important information that is available to only a few of the members

    Situational attribution When we determine that a behavior was caused primarily by the situation

    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

    Social cognition An understanding of how our knowledge about our social worlds develops through experience and the influence of these knowledge structures on memory, information processing, attitudes, and judgment.

    Social comparison When we learn 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) A personality variable that refers to the tendency to see and to accept inequality among different groups

    Social exchange The idea that, if we help other people now, they will return the favor should we need their help in the future

    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 with a shared purpose and who normally share a positive social identity

    Social identity The sense of our self that involves our memberships in social groups

    Social identity theory The tendency to draw part of our sense of identity and self-esteem from the social groups that we belong to

    Social impact The increase in the amount of conformity that is produced by adding new members to the majority group

    Social influence The process 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 intelligence An ability to develop a clear perception of the situation using situational cues

    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 we should try to help others who need assistance, even without any expectation of future paybacks

    Social support refers to the comfort that we receive from the people around us—for instance, our family, friends, classmates, and coworkers

    Specific attributions Those attributions that we see as more unique to particular events.

    Spontaneous message processing When we focus on whatever is most obvious or enjoyable, without much attention to the message itself

    Stable attributions Those attributions that we think will be relatively permanent

    Stereotype The positive or negative beliefs that we hold about the characteristics of social group

    Stereotype threat Performance decrements that are caused by the knowledge of cultural stereotypes

    Storming stage When group members may attempt to make their own views known, expressing their independence and attempting to persuade the group to accept their ideas

    Sunk costs bias When we choose to stay in situations largely because we feel we have put too much effort in to be able to leave them behind

    Superordinate goals Goals that are very important and require the cooperative efforts and resources of more than one group to attain

    Principle of attitude consistency For any given attitude object, the ABCs of affect, behavior, and cognition are normally in line with each other

    Third variables Variables that are not part of the research hypothesis but that cause both the predictor and the outcome variable and thus produce the observed correlation between them

    Thoughtful message processing The careful consideration of whether a persuasion attempt is valid or invalid

    Tit-for-tat strategy Initially making a cooperative choice and then simply matching the previous move of the opponent (whether cooperation or competition)

    Trait ascription bias A tendency for people to view their own personality, beliefs, and behaviors as more variable than those of others

    Transactional leaders Leaders who work with their subordinates to help them understand what is required of them and to get the job done

    Transformational leaders Leaders who have a vision of where the group is going and attempt to stimulate and inspire their workers to move beyond their present status and to create a new and better future

    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

    Unstable attributions Those attributions that are expected to change over time

    Upward social comparison When we compare ourselves with others who are better off than we are

    Verbal aggression Yelling, screaming, swearing, and name calling

    Violence Aggression that has extreme physical harm, such as injury or death, as its goal

    What is beautiful is good stereotype The belief that external attractiveness signifies positive internal qualities


    Charles Stangor (University of Maryland), Rajiv Jhangiani (Kwantlen Polytechnic University), and Hammond Tarry (Adler School of Professional Psychology). The OpenStax name, OpenStax logo, OpenStax book covers, OpenStax CNX name, and OpenStax CNX logo are not subject to the creative commons license and may not be reproduced without the prior and express written consent of Rice University. For questions regarding this license, please contact

    13.2: Glossary is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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