Social Psychology - Part V: Content Review for the AP Psychology Exam

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Social Psychology
Part V: Content Review for the AP Psychology Exam

Social psychology refers to the study of psychology within the context of social or interpersonal interactions. Sociology is the study of cultures and societies, and these have a large effect on an individual’s environment, which can influence cognition and behavior. Here are a few theories and important concepts of sociology and how they relate to the intersecting discipline of social psychology.

A Quick Definition

Social psychology is the study of people in interaction with each other.


Societies, organizations of individuals, have a shared culture, a common set of beliefs, behaviors, values, and material symbols. Therefore, identities begin to form as collective social identities that are placed upon individuals from others, and individuals form their own personal identities about themselves. Personal identities are generally words that describe personality, such as kind, generous, thoughtful, insightful, etc., while social identities are how individuals are seen in the context of their society. Social identities can be related to religion, work, appearance, disability, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, or any other label that societies have come to understand through their shared culture. For instance, someone’s social identities might be lawyer, young adult, Muslim, and female. These traits do not have anything to do with personality traits, yet they are factors of how individuals are seen by others in society, which may color social interactions. These identities can give some individuals an inherent advantage in some societies while other identities can be a disadvantage. For instance, those who have citizenship in a certain country have more power and rights than those who are considered immigrants, noncitizens, or undocumented. Similarly, in the United States, adults tend to hold more power in society than children or the very elderly. Individuals hold multiple social identities, and the effects and nature of these overlapping identities is referred to as intersectionality. Someone who identifies as female, Latina, and bisexual can provide a window into each of these social identities and how they intersect and create complexity when combined.

The closest group that individuals create with one another is called the primary group, which usually consists of family and close friends. These relationships are generally long-lasting and emotionally deep. Individuals spend time with others in their primary groups for the sake of spending quality time with them, not for any other gain. Most others fall into a secondary group, a group of friends and acquaintances who perhaps have shared interests or values. For instance, a person may take classes at school with classmates who have a shared interest in the material or take part in a running group with others who share that passion for running. Within societies, these identities form the idea of sameness and difference, which generate in-groups and out-groups. In-groups refer to groups of individuals with a shared identity. For example, teachers share an in-group with other teachers, while accountants would be considered an out-group.

While this example is harmless, in- and out-groups can create harmful situations when one group believes it is superior to another. Ethnocentrism refers to holding values or beliefs of one’s own in-group as better than those of another’s, which can lead to conflict, prejudice, and more. On the other hand, cultural relativism is the idea that the beliefs and values of one’s in-group may be different than those of another, but that they are not necessarily better or worse: just different. Sometimes, individuals try to enter a new in-group through assimilation, a process of taking on another’s culture in order to fit in to a new society. Assimilation is common amongst immigrants and individuals settling into a new culture. Individuals who do not shed their former identities, but rather keep elements of their own culture and take on elements of their new culture show multiculturalism.

As individuals immigrate or emigrate, study abroad, or even visit other societies and cultures, they may experience culture shock or cultural lag. Culture shock refers to the way in which behaviors and values can be seen differently across cultures. Language barriers are common examples of culture shock, as are small social faux pas that get lost in translation or contain different meanings across cultures. Cultural lag refers to the time it takes for cultures to catch up to technological innovations or practices.

Individuals play roles within groups and societies, some of which may change or conflict with each other over the course of a lifetime. Someone could have roles of father, husband, son, and teacher simultaneously. Role conflict occurs when two or more of these roles are at odds with each other: imagine the man described receives a phone call at work to say that his child went home from school sick. Does he stay at work and fulfill his role as a teacher or does he leave work early to tend to his child? Similarly, role strain can occur within the same role: college students are in college to study, but are also at school to meet friends from around the world and learn to take care of themselves on their own. The balance of study and experience can create strain within that role. Role exit occurs when a person leaves behind a role to take on another: graduating from college and starting off in the workforce means the person leaves the role of student and takes on the role of employee.


In societies, there are a variety of social institutions designed to promote and transmit social norms to its members through a variety of constructs.

Family, religion, government, economy, politics, health, medicine, and education are all social institutions and have an impact on the way individuals interact with each other and within their respective societies. Family is an important institution that provides kinship and belonging within a society, while religion provides belonging as well as a sense of purpose and connection to the supernatural. Governments create laws to maintain order in societies, and various structures of governments can directly affect individuals’ quality of life. Economies manage transactions between individuals, organizations, and groups. Health and medicine are interesting institutions that can change dramatically from culture to culture, especially with regard to mental health. Some cultures may treat a condition as a sickness, while other cultures may not recognize that same condition as abnormal. Finally, education is an institution that transmits knowledge from generation to generation and teaches individuals about the values of that country.

Even though education is free for all, not everyone has the same opportunities, depending on where individuals live. Institutionalized discrimination is a particular type of discrimination that refers to unfair treatment of certain groups by organizations. Zoning laws, government, and other organizations can create rules that, unintentionally or intentionally, put certain groups at a social disadvantage. Institutionalized discrimination can lead to unequal opportunities for access to quality education and healthcare, as well as suppressed attainment of wealth.

Closely related to institutionalized discrimination are the concepts of availability and accessibility. Availability refers to whether something even exists for a person to use. If, for example, a low-income housing complex does not have any grocery stores within 5 miles, this would be an issue of availability, in which it might be more difficult for people who live there to be able to get to the grocery stores. This particular scenario of not having good grocery stores (except maybe convenience stores that sell chips and candy) is called a food desert. Because people may not have cars or ways of reaching these grocery stores, healthy food is not available to them, and this can have resounding health consequences. Accessibility refers to whether a person can actually use the tools and resources that are available to them. For instance, a class uses a particular textbook for readings, but one student is visually impaired. Even though that book is available to the student for purchase, it is not usable to him or her as is. The book would have to be made accessible, either through braille or voice-over computer programs.


Group dynamics is a general term for some of the phenomena we observe when people interact. For example, social facilitation is an increase in performance on a task that occurs when that task is performed in the presence of others. You may have experienced this effect if you play sports. The opposite effect is called social inhibition, which occurs when the presence of others makes performance worse. Many people experience social inhibition when they give speeches. People experience social facilitation when they find a task to be easy or well-practiced, and they suffer from social inhibition when a task is overly difficult or novel.

Another effect that occurs when people interact in groups is social loafing, or the reduced effort group members put into a task as a result of the size of the group. For example, when you are assigned a group project, you may put in less effort than you would if it were an individual project, hoping that the other group members will pick up some of your slack. People are prone to social loafing when they believe their performance is not being assessed or monitored.

Another interesting effect of being in groups is the exaggeration of our initial attitudes. This effect is known as group polarization. Group polarization occurs when a judgment or decision of a group is more extreme than what individual members of the group would have reached on their own. For example, if people with negative racial attitudes are placed into a group and told to discuss racial issues, those who started off the experiment with high prejudice often end up with an even higher prejudice after the discussion.

Research has been conducted on the resolution of conflicts within groups. The most effective method to resolve a conflict between two groups is to have them cooperate toward a superordinate goal. For example, in the Robbers Cave experiment, campers who had been feuding for weeks were able to overcome their differences when they cooperated to solve problems, such as a water leak that threatened the whole camp. Another effective technique is GRIT (Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction). This approach encourages groups to announce intent to reduce tensions and show small, conciliatory behaviors, as long as these reduced tensions and behaviors are reciprocated.

The Power of Groupthink

Another interesting phenomenon that may occur when people are in groups is what Irving Janis has referred to as “groupthink.” Groupthink occurs when members of a group are so driven to reach unanimous decisions that they no longer truly evaluate the repercussions or implications of their decisions. Groupthink may be observed when the groups making decisions are isolated and homogeneous, when there is a lack of impartial leadership inside or outside the group, and when there is a high level of pressure for a decision to be made. Often, groups experiencing groupthink start to acquire feelings of invulnerability and omnipotence. They do not believe they can make a mistake and as a result, often do. A mindguard in the group may take on the responsibility of criticizing or even ostracizing members of the group who do not agree with the rest. The groupthink hypothesis has been applied to understand political situations, such as how political leaders can make decisions that seem, in retrospect, so obviously bad to people outside of the group.


Attribution refers to the way in which people assign responsibility for certain outcomes. Typically, attribution falls into two categories—dispositional (or individual) and situational. Dispositional attribution assumes that the cause of a behavior or outcome is internal. Situational attribution assigns the cause to the environment or external conditions. When students fail a test, they might attribute that failure to their own poor work habits or lack of intellectual abilities (a dispositional attribute), or they could attribute their failure to some external factor such as bad instruction (a situational attribute).

A self-serving bias sees the cause of actions as internal (or dispositional) when the outcomes are positive and external (or situational) when the results are negative. When a teacher’s class fails a test, that teacher blames the students for their lack of initiative and motivation. However, when the class does very well, the teacher attributes the students’ success to his or her superior teaching and motivational ability. When your class gets back a paper, think about how often you’ve heard fellow students say things like, “I got an A” but “He gave me a C.” A related concept is the fundamental attribution error. In this process of judging the behavior of others, people are more likely to overestimate the role of dispositional attributes and to underestimate the role of the situation. For example, if you are waiting for your friend to meet you at the movies and she is so late that the movie has already started, you would be more likely to blame your friend’s lateness on her laziness or procrastination than on a traffic jam or car accident. Your judgment exemplifies a fundamental attribution error.

Some attributions actually affect the outcome of the behavior, as in the case of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Because Person A expects Person B to achieve or fail, Person B is likely to do just that. This is especially true in education and is known as the Rosenthal Effect. When teachers are told that certain children are expected to achieve in the following year, those children tend to do better than others, even when there is actually no difference in ability levels.


Psychologists have studied interpersonal attraction, the tendency to positively evaluate a person and then to gravitate toward that person. Interpersonal attraction is obviously based on characteristics of the person to whom we are attracted, but it may be subject to environmental and social influences, as well. Factors leading to interpersonal attraction include positive evaluation, shared opinions, good physical appearance, familiarity, and proximity of the individuals to each other. Positive evaluation refers to the fact that we all like to be positively evaluated, and therefore, we tend to prefer the company of people who think highly of us. Shared opinions as a basis for interpersonal attraction are typically thought of as a form of social reinforcement. If we are praised and rewarded by a person for our opinions, then we tend to prefer their company. It is important to note that similarity across other factors, such as age and race, also tends to be a good predictor of interpersonal attraction. The variability of proximity is an interesting factor. It has been shown that people are more likely to be attracted to those in close physical proximity to them. Studies have shown that apartment building residents are much more likely to have friends who live on their floor than they are to have friends who live on other floors. This is an example of the mere exposure effect, which states that people tend to prefer people and experiences that are familiar.

Q: What factors may lend themselves to interpersonal attraction?

See answer on this page.


Conformity is the modification of behavior to make it agree with that of a group. Solomon Asch performed studies on the nature of conformity. In these studies, participants thought that they were being evaluated on their perceptual judgments. Small groups of people sitting together were shown stimuli, such as lines of differing lengths. Each member of the group was to report which of several comparison lines matched a standard line in length. Each individual in the group was asked to respond orally in turn. The participants did not know that the other members of a given group were not naïve participants, but rather were confederates of the experimenter. The correct answers in the experiment were obvious. However, the confederates, pretending to be naïve participants, would purposely respond incorrectly. Asch found that, in general, the naïve participants agreed with the other members of the group, even though the answer they gave was obviously incorrect. Furthermore, Asch demonstrated that the participants knew that the answers they gave were wrong, but said them anyway.

Conformity Factors

Factors influencing conformity include group size, the cohesiveness of the group opinion, gender, social status, culture, and the appearance of unanimity.

Generally speaking, three or more members of a group are sufficient for conformity effects to occur. The desire to conform seems higher if the participants see themselves as members of a cohesive group. In general, women are more likely to conform than are men. People who view themselves as being of medium or low social status are more likely to conform than are those who perceive themselves as being of high social status. The cultural influence on conformity is interesting; people in more collective societies tend to conform more than do those in individualistic societies. Finally, unanimity is important. A participant is much less likely to conform if even one other person in the group did not conform.

Compliance is the propensity to accede to the requests of others, even at the expense of your own interests. One method of eliciting compliance is justification, in which you present reasons why a person should comply. Another method is reciprocity, which involves creating the appearance that you are giving someone something in order to induce that individual to comply with your wishes. Salespeople have perfected the foot-in-the-door phenomenon, which involves making requests in small steps at first (to gain compliance), in order to work up to big requests. The opposite of this phenomenon is called the door-in-the-face phenomenon, in which a large request is made first, making subsequent smaller requests more appealing. The likelihood of compliance to a particular request also depends on our regard for the person making the request. Generally speaking, the more highly we regard the person making the request, the more likely we are to comply with the person’s request. In general, there are two reasons why people will resist compliance. One reason is because people have been exposed to a weak version of an argument and are, therefore, inoculated to further attempts to get them to comply. This theory is known as the inoculation hypothesis. Another reason people resist is because they feel that they are being forced against their will to comply, which is known as psychological reactance.

Obedience was studied by Stanley Milgram in a series of famous experiments. The basic paradigm was as follows: participants were led to believe that their job was to administer shocks of increasing intensity to another participant if that participant performed poorly on a given learning task. The other participant was actually a confederate, intentionally performing badly, so that the real participant would be obliged to administer shock. The confederate also acted as if the shocks were painful, pleading with the participant to stop. (In fact, no shocks were given.) The participant was instructed by the experimenter to continue the shocks, despite the obvious pain the “other participant” was enduring. You might think that you would not administer painful shocks in this paradigm, but a very high percentage of people did just that. Through additional studies, Milgram found that several factors were critical to whether or not the person would obey. The first was the perceived authority of the test administrator. For example, when the person overseeing the experiment introduced himself as a graduate student instead of as a scientist, the subject was much less likely to comply. Another factor was physical distance. If the subject was forced to sit in the room with the person receiving the shocks, his level of obedience dropped; the subject was also less likely to obey if the experimenter communicated the commands by phone instead of in person. Obedience also tended to go down if the subject was told that he was responsible for the outcome, if the subject witnessed someone else disobeying the experimenter, and if the experimenter instructed the subject to immediately apply a high level of voltage to the “learner.” The major conclusion from this study was that people tended to be obedient to a figure of authority, but only if certain criteria were met. It also demonstrated that people are much less likely to obey when they feel that they have an ally in standing up to the pressure.


Attitudes are combinations of affective (emotional) and cognitive (perceptual) reactions to different stimuli. The affective component is the emotional response an item or issue arouses, whereas the cognitive component is what we think about the item or issue. Attitudes are acquired, in part, by vicarious conditioning. If, for example, we observe a person being bitten by a dog, we form an attitude about that dog. In this case, the affective component might be fear, and the cognitive component might be the understanding that this particular dog bites.

Cognitive dissonance occurs when attitudes and behaviors contradict each other. Generally, such tension is not pleasant, and people tend to change in order to achieve cognitive consistency. Leon Festinger studied this phenomenon and came to the conclusion that people are likely to alter their attitude to fit their behavior. For example, law-abiding citizens speed frequently. A cognitive conflict exists. Which is going to change—their attitude toward the law or their over-the-limit driving? Generally, people adjust their attitudes and continue their behavior. Cognitive dissonance tends to occur only when the person feels that he has a choice in the matter. If someone feels that he is being forced to speed, his attitude will remain intact.

A: Interpersonal attraction may occur as a result of positive evaluation, shared opinions, good physical appearance, familiarity, or proximity.

Persuasion is the process by which a person or group can influence the attitudes of others. The efficacy of persuasion derives in part from the characteristics of the persuader. People who have positions of authority or who appear to be experts on a given topic are more likely to be viewed as persuasive. The motive of the persuader is also critical. If an author tries to convince you that authors are poor, and that you should donate five dollars to the poor authors’ fund, you probably would not believe the author. Your disbelief would stem from your confidence that the author’s motive is selfish. However, if an author asks for five dollars for disaster relief, you might be more likely to be persuaded because the motive seems more altruistic.

An additional factor affecting persuasive ability is interpersonal attractiveness. More attractive, likeable, trustworthy, and knowledgeable people are viewed as more persuasive. Most people are also swayed by the presentation of facts. Another factor influencing the persuasion process is the nature of the message. Repetition is an effective technique for achieving persuasion, which is why the same advertisements run so frequently. Fear is another motivator of attitudinal change. A prime example of the use of fear in persuasive attempts is the practice of putting cars wrecked in DWI (driving-while-intoxicated) accidents on display. The idea is that seeing the result of such an accident will induce an attitudinal change about drunk driving.

Marketing and Persuasion

Market researchers refer to the use of facts as the central route to persuasion.

The elaboration likelihood model explains when people will be persuaded by the content of a message (or the logic of its arguments), and when people will be influenced by other, more superficial characteristics like the length of the message, or the appearance of the person delivering it. Because persuasion can be such a powerful means for influencing what people think and do, much research has gone into studying the various elements of a message that might have an impact on its persuasiveness.

The three key elements are message characteristics, source characteristics, and target characteristics.

1. The message characteristics are the features of the message itself, such as its logic and the number of key points in the argument. This category also includes more superficial things, such as the length and grammatical complexity.

2. The source characteristics of the person or group delivering the message, such as expertise, knowledge, and trustworthiness, are also of importance. People are much more likely to be persuaded by a major study described in the New England Journal of Medicine than by something in the pages of the local supermarket tabloid.

3. Finally, the target characteristics of the person receiving the message (such as self-esteem, intelligence, and mood) have an important influence on whether a message will be perceived as persuasive. For instance, some studies have suggested that those with higher intelligence are less easily persuaded by one-sided messages.

The two cognitive routes that persuasion follows under this model are the central route and the peripheral route. Under the central route, people are persuaded by the content of the argument. They ruminate over the key features of the argument and allow those features to influence their decision to change their point of view. The peripheral route functions when people focus on superficial or secondary characteristics of the speech or the orator. Under these circumstances, people are persuaded by the attractiveness of the orator, the length of the speech, whether the orator is considered an expert in his field, and other features. The elaboration likelihood model then argues that people will choose the central route only when they are both motivated to listen to the logic of the argument (they are interested in the topic) and they are not distracted, thus focusing their attention on the argument. If those conditions are not met, individuals will choose the peripheral route, and they will be persuaded by more superficial factors. Messages processed via the central route are more likely to have longer-lasting persuasive outcomes than messages processed via the peripheral route.

Finally, some people can be influenced to change their attitudes more easily than others. In general, people with high self-esteem are less easily persuaded than are those with low self-esteem. Thus, many hate groups recruit people who are considered outsiders or who have few friends. These people with low self-esteem are susceptible to having their attitudes on issues, such as race, changed to match those of the hate group.


While there are many factors that lead to attraction between individuals, there are three main factors: proximity, similarity, and physical attractiveness. It has been found in research that people who are in close proximity with each other are more likely to be attracted to one another. They are more often exposed to one another and therefore can more readily develop attraction. Proximity can also lead people to places of shared interest. These shared interests create similarities that the individuals have in common, and this also can lead to attraction. Finally, physical attractiveness is the most salient of the three components. The halo effect is a term that correlates physical attractiveness to other good traits that do not have anything to do with physicality. According to the halo effect, a person who is more physically attractive is often assumed to also be kind, honest, and caring.


Some psychologists are interested in altruism and helping behavior. Research into these topics emerged in part as a result of the case of Kitty Genovese, a woman who was murdered outside of her apartment complex. According to media reports, between 15 and 41 neighbors saw or heard part of the attack, but many did not intervene or contact the police. Psychologists refer to this failure to act as the bystander effect. It occurs as a result of diffusion of responsibility. Simply put, each person assumes that someone else will (or should) help or call the police.

Q: What is the bystander effect?

See answer on this page.

Altruism can help reduce the tendency toward the bystander effect. Altruism is selfless sacrifice, and it occurs more frequently than it might appear. Altruism has been explained in terms of an empathic response to the plight of others. People place themselves in the position of others in distress, and they act toward others as they would like others to act toward them.


This area of social psychology deals primarily with the workplace. The equity theory proposes a view whereby workers evaluate their efforts versus their rewards. Job satisfaction is often based on this concept. Human factors research deals with the interaction of person and machine. Many job-related accidents are caused by design flaws in equipment related to the expectancy of the worker. The Hawthorne effect indicates that workers being monitored for any reason work more efficiently and productively. This was demonstrated in an experiment that took place in a Western Electric plant. The study was intended to test whether levels of light increased or decreased worker productivity. The outcome, however, showed that worker productivity increased at all levels of light simply because of the presence of the monitors.


Antisocial behavior, behavior that is harmful to society or others, can be divided roughly into two kinds: prejudice and aggression.

Prejudice is a negative attitude toward members of a particular group without evidentiary backing. Quite literally, prejudice is the result of prejudging members of a group. Note that bias and prejudice are not the same. Bias simply refers to a tendency or preference, and biases are not necessarily negative. Whereas prejudice refers to a belief, discrimination refers to an action. That is, discrimination involves treating members of a group differently from members of another group.

The Contact Hypothesis

Attempts to understand how to reduce prejudice and stereotyping have included the contact hypothesis, which posits that groups with stereotypes about each other would lose these stereotypes if the groups were exposed to each other. This hypothesis has not been supported by data because contact can also serve merely to reinforce existing stereotypes. Factors such as the different social status of the two groups or a lack of common interests may stand in the way of groups reducing stereotypes through contact. These factors are also illustrated in the Robbers Cave experiment, discussed previously.

People tend to categorize things into groups based on common attributes. One theory of this phenomenon is that classification occurs when people compare new stimuli or people to preexisting prototypes in order to determine the group to which the novel stimuli belong. Stereotypes are prototypes of people. Although stereotypes can be useful for categorization, they can be harmful by leading us from incorrect assumptions to incorrect conclusions. One assumption we tend to make is outgroup homogeneity, that is, that every member of a group other than our own is similar. A false conclusion is illusory correlation, in which we tend to see relationships where they don’t actually exist. An example of illusory correlation is noticing that people of a certain ethnic group are apprehended for crimes while ignoring that people of the same ethnic group also do positive things for the society.

Aggression is behavior directed toward another, with the intention of causing harm. Aggression occurs for multiple reasons. Hostile aggression is emotional and impulsive, and it is typically induced by pain or stress. Instrumental aggression, in contrast, is aggression committed to gain something of value. For example, a child pushing another child on a playground to get a prized toy is an example of instrumental aggression.

Biological factors play a role in aggression in all species, including humans. Aggression is sensitive to hormonal fluctuations, particularly fluctuations of the androgen testosterone, which increases aggressive tendencies. Steroid abusers, who use large quantities of synthetic hormones, may experience uncontrollable aggression.

As Albert Bandura’s work has demonstrated, aggression has a strong learned component. If children see adults rewarded for aggression, it is likely that they will learn that aggression is an effective strategy for coping with problems. Additionally, pornography frequently depicts violence toward women. Again, vicarious learning theory tells us that watching pornographic films can lead to learning that might result in violence at a later time.

Environmental factors also can lead to aggression. Experiencing pain, being surrounded by aggressive behavior, discomfort, and frustration have all been shown to be possible causes of aggressive behavior. Additionally, we have the ability to view the victims of violence as somehow less than human, a process called dehumanization. This phenomenon was demonstrated in the famous Stanford Prison Experiment by Philip Zimbardo, which tested the effect of role-playing in the subject of obedience and conformity. In the experiment, he randomly selected participants to play “jailed” roles while others were randomly selected to act as guards. The prisoners had numbers, not names. The guards wore uniforms and mirrored glasses. Within a short period of time, the participants in each group began to act as though they hated the participants in the other group. The two groups, when stripped of their individual identities, turned to mob identity and violence. In effect, what started out as role-playing became serious identification with the roles. The experiment got out of hand and had to be stopped prematurely to preserve the participants’ well-being.

Research on reducing aggression has identified some successful techniques. Punishment, which is frequently used as a treatment for aggression, is not particularly effective in reducing aggression. Rather, the observation of nonaggressive models of conflict resolution or the diffusion of aggression with humor or empathy are more effective at disrupting violent behavior.

A: The bystander effect asserts that the more people there are witnessing a crime, the less likely any one of them is to help the victim.


Identities and Groups



social identity

personal identity


primary group

secondary group




cultural relativism



culture shock

cultural lag


role conflict

role strain

role exit

Social Institutions

social institutions

institutionalized discrimination



food desert

Group Dynamics

group dynamics

social facilitation

social inhibition

social loafing

group polarization

GRIT (Graduated and Reciprocated Initiatives in Tension-Reduction)

Irving Janis





dispositional attribution

situational attribution

self-serving bias

fundamental attribution error

self-fulfilling prophecy

Rosenthal Effect

Interpersonal Perception

interpersonal attraction

positive evaluation

shared opinions

mere exposure effect

Conformity, Compliance, Obedience


Solomon Asch



foot-in-the-door phenomenon

door-in-the-face phenomenon

inoculation hypothesis

psychological reactance


Stanley Milgram

Attitudes and Attitude Change


cognitive dissonance

Leon Festinger


elaboration likelihood model

central route

peripheral route

Altruism and Helping Behavior


helping behavior

bystander effect

diffusion of responsibility

Organizational Psychology

equity theory

human factors research

Hawthorne effect

Aggression/Antisocial Behavior

antisocial behavior





outgroup homogeneity

illusory correlation

hostile aggression

instrumental aggression

Albert Bandura

contact hypothesis


Philip Zimbardo


Chapter 18 Drill

See Chapter 19 for answers and explanations.

1.The “fundamental attribution error” phenomenon can best be seen in which of the following examples?

(A)John blames his failure to get a job on his lack of appropriate skills and ill-preparedness.

(B)Phyllis doesn’t get the lead in the school play and blames her drama teacher for this failure.

(C)Jane blames herself for forgetting that she has a term paper due in two days.

(D)Bill doesn’t hire John because he believes that John’s lateness is a result of John’s laziness and lack of respect for the job. In reality, John was late because he got a flat tire on the way to the interview.

(E)Karen understands that her friend is late because she was caught in rush-hour traffic.

2.In the Asch conformity experiments, which of these was NOT a consistent factor influencing the degree to which conformity to the group answer would be shown by the experimental subject?

(A)Unanimity of group opinion

(B)Size of the group

(C)The subject’s perception of his/her social status compared with that of group members

(D)Age of the subject

(E)Gender of the subject

3.Students are randomly designated by experimenters as likely to experience significant jumps in academic test scores in the coming semester, and this designation is communicated to their teachers. When actual test scores are examined at the end of the semester, it is found that these randomly designated students did indeed tend to experience jumps in performance. This phenomenon is known as

(A)the Hawthorne effect

(B)the Kandel effect

(C)cognitive dissonance

(D)self-fulfilling prophecy

(E)the Ainsworth effect

4.An old woman carrying a number of packages trips and falls on a busy urban sidewalk and is having trouble getting back up. The fact that few people are likely to stop and offer her help is referred to by social psychologists as an example of

(A)illusory correlation

(B)diffusion of responsibility

(C)cognitive dissonance

(D)altruistic orientation

(E)just-world hypothesis

5.Which of the following would illustrate the “foot-in-the-door” technique of facilitating compliance with a request?

(A)A professional fundraiser, needing to get $10,000 from a foundation, first requests four times that amount, expecting to be turned down so that she can then ask for the lesser amount.

(B)A teenager, wanting to extend his curfew from 10:00 P.M. to midnight, first asks if it can be extended to 11:00 P.M. for a specific “special” occasion; he then plans to ask for the further extension at a later date after pointing out to his parents he was able to handle the 11:00 P.M. curfew.

(C)A mother wishing to get her twins to do their homework each day upon coming home from school and before other activities tells each of them separately that the other twin has agreed to do just that.

(D)An interviewee desperately needing to get a new job researches the mode of dress in each company he lands an interview with and always shows up at the meeting in that exact mode of dress.

(E)A teacher wishing all her students to get their assignments in on time promises her class extra grading points for turning them in early.

6.According to Attribution Theory, which of the following is an example of the self-serving bias?

(A)A man does not have health insurance, but is not worried because he is young and healthy.

(B)A woman knows a man who does not have insurance. That man gets into a car accident, and medical expenses cause him to lose his home. She wonders why he didn’t have insurance.

(C)A toddler builds a tall tower with blocks and says “Me good!” when she completes the tower. However, she bumps it and it falls down. She frowns and says, “Bad blocks!”

(D)Yuan’s teacher believes he is well prepared for his history exam and offers encouragement to him as he approaches the final. Yuan continues to study hard for the exam and gets an A on the final.

(E)A hurricane devastates an area of Mississippi and many residents seek grief counseling.

7.A group of five students and a group of three students, all roughly the same size and strength, engage in a game of tug of war. The game is equal for a long while, neither side immediately gaining an advantage. This is most likely an example of

(A)social loafing



(D)group polarization

(E)social facilitation

8.A child tries to get a raise on his weekly allowance. When he first approaches his parents, he asks for $100 per week. His parents scoff and tell him this is out of the question. Then, he asks for $50 per week, and receives the same reply. Finally, he asks for $10 per week and his parents agree. This is an example of

(A)foot-in-the-door phenomenon

(B)central route of persuasion

(C)peripheral route of persuasion

(D)door-in-the-face phenomenon

(E)elaboration likelihood model

9.Stanley Milgram’s study involving the “teacher,” “learner,” and “experimenter” tested which of the following principles?






10.Albert Bandura’s famous Bobo Doll experiment shows the power of



(C)hostile aggression


(E)instrumental aggression


Respond to the following questions:

· Which topics in this chapter do you hope to see on the multiple-choice section or essay?

· Which topics in this chapter do you hope not to see on the multiple-choice section or essay?

· Regarding any psychologists mentioned, can you pair the psychologists with their contributions to the field? Did they contribute significant experiments, theories, or both?

· Regarding any theories mentioned, can you distinguish between differing theories well enough to recognize them on the multiple-choice section? Can you distinguish them well enough to write a fluent essay on them?

· Regarding any figures given, if you were given a labeled figure from within this chapter, would you be able to give the significance of each part of the figure?

· Can you define the key terms at the end of the chapter?

· Which parts of the chapter will you review?

· Will you seek further help, outside of this book (such as a teacher, Princeton Review tutor, or AP Students), on any of the content in this chapter—and, if so, on what content?