PY 372 Exam 1 Study Guide
Population = pop
Independent variable = IV
Dependent variable = DV
Group = grp
1. Random sampling (connection to external validity)
External validity: generalizable to overall pop
random sampling: assures any member of pop has equal likelihood of inclusion in sample external validity
2. Random assignment (connection to internal validity)
Internal validity: IV predicts DV
Random assignment prevents confounding variables from interfering with interpretation of causality
3. Psychology vs. common sense:
MAIN DIFFERENCE: Psychology uses the scientific method to test ideas Can seem like common sense in hindsight
BUT opposite ideology can also seem like common sense
Ex. Absence makes the heart fonder? V. Out of sight, out of mind? Problems with common sense, but not psychology:
1) Not critically analyzed; need to test ideas
we have tendency to accept info as true w/o careful inspection
part of inherently social nature
2) Not stated with specified conditions
prone to hindsight bias—only looks like common sense in hindsight • a.k.a.: the “I knew it all along” phenomenon If you want to learn more check out Why do most cells have the same properties?
We also discuss several other topics like what are the Three key roles/financial decisions of a financial manager?
3) Stated ambiguously – horoscopes and psychics demonstrate Barnum Effect cultural stereotypes stated in general terms
ex. “women so emotional” but men more emotional
considered by audience as true/ accurate BUT actually BS
human tendency to see patterns as meaningful
perception of someone as “expert”
4. Understand the definitions for the terms we used in connection to research methods: theory: An integrated set of statements that describes, predicts or explains behavior.
• Ex. Venting frustration makes one feel better
Hypothesis: specific, testable and disconfirmable statement about the behavior we want to study OR the theory we want to test.
Ex. Writing an angry letter to one’s boss will result in a positive mood.
If __________, then ____________ is true. Don't forget about the age old question of What is the role of Antigen?
Operationalization: Defines a construct in terms of the way it is measured or manipulated (i.e., makes the construct concrete). We also discuss several other topics like Why do animals salivate when food is in their mouths?
If you want to learn more check out In Syracuse, we get cold, cold winters. Which direction is the Earth's axis tilted in relevance to the Sun during these freezing winters?
o Ex. Writing an angry letter to the boss and experiencing positive mood o Writing angry letter operationalizes “venting”
o Positive mood operationalizes “feeling better”
Construct: The conceptual representation of behaviors; the phenomenon around which research is based If you want to learn more check out What are the Right to Counsel?
• Venting Frustration and Feeling well are constructs
construct validity: extent to which the measured variables in research successfully represent the constructs of theoretical interest
o I.e., Is writing an angry letter “venting”?
o Is experiencing a positive mood “feeling well”?
Control Group: grp in study that does not receive the experimental manipulation o The control group allows for comparison with the experimental condition
Control Variable: variable held constant btwn groups to ensure internal validity
demand characteristics: Cues in the experiment that tell the participant what behavior is expected
5. Goals of science: be able to distinguish examples of research designated to describe, predict, and understand
6. Methods that may be used in service of these goals:
Describe via descriptive research: Used to describe characteristics in a population: Apply to representative sample, NOT to entire population
• E.g., “What percentage of adults vent their anger?”
“What percentage of adults report being happy with life?”
One can use several different methods to describe behavior:
– Selfreport (e.g., a survey)
– Observational methods (e.g., naturalistic observation)
o Set up situation then see what happens
– Physiological methods (e.g., skin conductance)
Predict via correlational research: Determines how much two preexisting variables are related/ associated; i.e. how much one variable predicts the other
(descriptive to a lesser extent)
explained by Correlation coefficient (r)
Describes linear trends ONLY
2 things Used to describe and predict behavior
o Directionality (a.k.a. Valence): positive, negative
• Valence of relationship— +/ determines direction
∙ negative or positive sign
Negative= inverse; As one variable increases in value, the other decreases in value
∙ Ex. bills and disposable income
Positive = parallel; As one variable increases in value, the other increases in value
∙ Ex. class attendance and final grade
∙ Height and weight
o Strength: strong, moderate, weak, none
Range: 1 to +1
∙ Indicated by the absolute value of the number
∙ The closer to 1 (or 1), the stronger the relationship
∙ Correlations close to zero are weak
∙ In psychology, anything over .3 is relatively strong…
Explain via experimental research: ONLY way to establish causal relationship – Manipulate one or more variables while controlling others (holding them constant)
– Used to explain behavior (The only method to discover the causal relationship between constructs)
– Ex. watching violent TV increased violence?
o 2 groups: 1 watch violent tv, 1 watch nonviolent tv
o both groups are irritated after
o measure aggression in response
• Key Ingredients:
– Independent Variable (IV)
(random assignment is IMPORTANT)
ONLY difference btwn groups is IV
The experimental factor
OR variable manipulated in the experiments by the researchers
• Called the condition group
– Group Control
o A group in a study that does not receive the experimental manipulation o The control group allows for comparison with the experimental condition – Dependent variable
o The variable that is measured in an experiment and is expected to change as a result of the experimental manipulation
– Random Assignment
o Process of assigning participants to the experimental conditions (levels of the independent variable), such that each participant has the same chance of being in a given condition.
o Minimizes individual differences; equalizes preexisting differences o The “Great Equalizer”
7. What can we learn from a correlation?
See # 6
8. Benefits and disadvantages of…
– If done well, you CAN conclude CAUSE and EFFECT
– ONLY type of study that establishes causality, not just a relationship • Disadvantages:
– Weak: Generalizability (external validity)
o Not like “real world”; sterile lab enviro
– Demand Characteristics
o Cues in the experiment that tell the participant what behavior is expected – ***Ethical concerns
– – Deception (e.g., Milgram’s Prison Study)
predict important outcomes
Efficient You can study things that you cannot manipulate
(gender) AND should not manipulate (no contact in infancy; brain
Cannot assert causality.
• Regular breakfasts correlated w/ later virginity loss
strong correlation but NOT cause
confounding variable: breakfast rel to consistency in
Bottom line: CORRELATION DOES NOT EQUAL CAUSATION!!!!!!!!!!
o Helps us generate hypotheses
o Helps inform policy decisions
Cannot make causal conclusions
9. More terms related to biases/ heuristics:
Fundamental attribution error and the actorobserver bias
fundamental attribution error (a.k.a. ) correspondence bias: tendency for observers to underestimate situational / overestimate dispositional influences on others’ behavior
– attribute behavior to person’s nature, even though explained by environment
reason for the fundamental attribution error:
Actorobserver difference / Actorobserver bias: Tendency to explain others’ behavior as due to dispositions and our own behavior as due to the situation we often consider our nature less predicable; consider others’ more 1D
Availability heuristic: Used to evaluate the frequency or likelihood of an event on the basis of how quickly examples are readily available in your memory Assumed frequency correlated with ease of recall
Often true, BUT
Less news reports on car crashes than plane crashes than car crashes overestimation of plane crasheswrong idea how to protect self
More reporting of violent crime
reduction in perceived safety despite increase in actual safety
Hindsight bias: the tendency to exaggerate, AFTER learning an outcome, one’s ability to have foreseen how something turned out
a.k.a. the “I knew it all along” effect
Confirmation bias: Tendency to search for information that confirms our preconceptions.
Running away from disconfirmation
Ex. listening to news and politics through a particular filter
Base rate fallacy: tendency to ignore baserate information [usually presented as a statistic]
Higher likelihood of believing/ remembering vivid personal account than statistic Reason why testimonials so effective in advertising
Optimistic bias (a.k.a comparative optimism): Tendency to believe that we are less likely than others to experience negative events and more likely than others to experience positive events
– ex. 50% marriages divorce… but most couples think that won’t be their fate Major exception to optimistic tendency: Bracing for the worst
Representativeness heuristic: Used to estimate the extent to which a person (or thing) is representative of the average person (or thing) in the category
“If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.”
BUT…Sometimes we call guy w/ long hair “ma’am”
Categorizations socially negotiated, so mistakes are often correctedFluid process
Regression toward the mean: Misunderstanding the statistical tendency for extreme behavior to return toward one’s average
– after amazing act, the next thing is likely to be normal/ a letdown – Ex. Sports Illustrated cover jinx; “effectiveness” of punishments for poor perfomance
Illusion of transparency: tendency for people to overestimate the degree to which their personal mental state is known by others
Illusory correlation: Overestimating relationship between two variables (where none actually exists)
evolutionary advantage to rapid prediction
eagerness to predict overdoing perceived associations
ex. plane crashes—90% survivors listen dur safety briefing, so imp to listen flaw: we don’t what % of dead people paid attention
relevant to stereotypes
need to consider alternate group
10. Terms related to the Self/ SelfConcept/ SelfKnowledge
False consensus effect: Tendency to overestimate the incidence or commonality of one’s undesirable traits or unsuccessful behaviors
∙ Ex. “We all get ‘dumped’ at some time”
False uniqueness effect: endency to underestimate the commonality of one’s desirable traits or successful behaviors
∙ Ex. giving to charity
∙ Commonality diminishes unique value in group
Selfserving bias: attributing more responsibility to the self for positive behaviors than negative behaviors
∙ attributing negative behaviors to external factors, with respect to self, but not others
Selfhandicapping: Protecting one’s selfimage by creating a handy excuse for failure
Selfpresentation: Controlling, regulating, and monitoring information about the self – One kind of impression management
– Presenting a desired but plausible identity to others
– Audience may be external, imaginary, or self
Selfmonitoring: personality trait that refers to ability to regulate behavior to accommodate social situations and others’ impressions
High selfmonitors are skilled at this selfadaptation
Selfreference effect: info better recalled when can relate back to self ∙ We have so many cues to that info, bc we’re experts on ourselves
Selfperception theory (Bem): examining own actions to see if they support a given aspect of selfconcept
What do my actions say about me?
Ex. Am I selfless?
Can we prove it with actions?
Donate to charity?
Help a friend?
Can be applied to attitudes in general—see #16
Selfaffirmation theory: 1 of theories as to why we need selfesteem—it allows us to cope with specific failures; it is a general anxiety buffer
∙ we do strive for selfesteem as means of progressing towards our goals Can be applied to attitudes in general—see #16
Selffulfilling prophecy: expectation about a subject affects our behavior toward it expectation more likely to be realized
∙ we are stimuli in our own environment
∙ Rosenthal’s study of expectancy effects (selffulfilling prophecy) o Expectancy effects on IQ scores
o Elementary school students given IQ (TOGA) test w/o predictive ability of future academic development
o Randomly assigned group told that scored in top 20% were “ready to bloom”
o Retested at end of yr—“ready to bloom” students had greater score gains Only true, appreciably, for youngest group
Counterfactual thinking: thinking about a past that did not happen Human tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that already occurred ∙ “if only” “what could have been”
Confirmation bias: (see above#9)
Belief perseverance: Persistence of one’s initial conceptions, even in the face of opposing evidence
ex.William Hayes: believes in mermaids, not dinos (even after shown dino bones)
Learned helplessness: Hopelessness and resignation resulting from lack of control over bad events
– Seligman (1975) – Learned helplessness in dogs ; linked to depression o Shocking dogs that can escape v. dogs that are restrained
o Restrained dogs eventually fear conditioned stimulus and don’t
attempt to prevent the shock or escape
They have learned that they are helpless
Bracing for the worst: Tendency to provide pessimistic estimates when expecting an imminent potentially negative outcome
o To protect selves from feeling let down
Ex. people w/ low expectations generally happier
We KNOW this; try to seek it out
Planning fallacy: Tendency to set unrealistic time tables
Upward and downward social comparison
∙ Upward social comparison (Collins ‘96): comparing self with individuals you perceive are better
o Motivating if people believe that the standard is attainable (e.g., a college professor)
o Demotivating if the standard is not viewed as attainable (Einstein) ∙ Downward social comparison(Wills ‘81): compare to people “beneath” you on a trait/ dimension
o Boosts our selfesteem if people think they will not experience the same misfortune as the standard (“that will never be me”)
o Hurts selfesteem when people think they can experience the same misfortune (“I fear I am heading down that same road”)
o Typically positive mood and complacency
o Preferred by most people (prioritize mood repair > motivation)
Kelley’s attribution theory
∙ ’67 covariation model—used to determine if their particular action should be attributed to extrinsic (environmental) or intrinsic (dispositional) factors ∙ using observation of one person across time in different situations ∙ 3 types of causal info that influences judgments
o if “high” factor, external; if “low” factor, internal
o 1. Consensus: extent to which other people behave in the same way in a similar situation.
Ex. Anna drinks alcohol when out w/ friend.
∙ Friend drinks too? Consensus = highextrinsic;
∙ Friend doesn’t drink? Concensus = low—intrinsic
o 2. Distinctiveness: extent to which the person behaves in the same way in similar situations.
∙ Anna only drinks when out with friends? Distinctiveness =
∙ Anna drinks in any company and/or by herself?
Distinctiveness = low
o 3. Consistency: frequency with which person performs this particular behavior in this particular situation
If Anna you see Anna drinking only when out with friend,
consistency = high/ extrinsic
If special occasion, consistency = low/ intrinsic
Spotlight effect: people tend to believe they are noticed more than they really are ∙ Ex. feel like everyone is staring at you
11. Theories of purpose for Selfesteem:
1. Terror Management Theory: byproduct of desire to feel impermanent ∙ (Greenberg et al.)
∙ not really striving for selfesteem
∙ Assures us of our value in the world, decreases fear of death
∙ Want to leave legacy; contribute to culture (more permanent than our lives) ∙ “symbolic immortality”
2. Sociometer Theory: Evolutionary purpose, protects against isolation ∙ measure of social inclusion/exclusion (Leary)
∙ not really striving for selfesteem
∙ selfesteem is a measure, not a goal
∙ evidence: selfesteem highly correlated w/ sense of connectedness o inversely correlated with isolation
3. SelfAffirmation Theory: Allows us to cope with specific failures; it is a general anxiety buffer
∙ we do strive for selfesteem
o as means of progressing towards our goals
12. Lewin’s equation:
B = f (P, E)
F: “function of”
Behavior is a function of the person (disposition and traits) and the environment Ex. when trying to determine motive, quickly attribute to person’s nature BUT social psych tends to take environmental effects on individual into account
13. IV v. DV
Dependent variable (DV) what is measured in an experiment
Independent variable (IV) – what is manipulated in an experiment
15. Langer and Rodin’s famous nursing home study
∙ Langer 1975: nursing home patients who felt greater sense of control requested fewer painkillers
∙ Langer and Rodin 1976: seeing if debilitated condition of many nursing home patients was linked to decisionfree environment; reversible?
o 2 similar groups of nursing home patients, on separate floors
o experimental group: given talk about their responsibility for selves + responsibility for taking care of plant
o control group: given talk about staff’s responsibility for them + staff member takes care of their plant
o 48% residents reported feeling happier in experimental group (v. 25% in control group);
o nurses working on both floors reported behavior consistent w/ greater perceived control and satisfaction in 93% residents in exp grp v. 21% control grp residents
o conclusion: greater sense of personal responsibility improvement
14. Four qualities of automaticity (Bargh)
– Controllability – Ability to stop or alter process that has already been started o Opposite: UNcontrollable (inability to stop if want to)
i.e. blushing, pupils dilating in response to attraction
– Intentionality – Control over whether process is started
o Opposite: UNintentional (no conscious will to start)
i.e. same as above
– Awareness – Of stimulus, processing, and/or influential factors o Opposite: lack of awareness (you don’t know it’s happening)
i.e. developing accent, change in phone voice
– Efficiency – Degree to which process requires cognitive resources o Doesn’t use up cognitive capacity
o Consciousness messing up process
Ex. walking, breathing
o Occurs thru practice/ proceduralization
Not all the same actions are automatic for everyone
15. Theory of reasoned action (Fishbein & Ajzen)
–Three predictors of behavior:
1. Attitudes toward the behavior
2. Subjective norms: How would it look? How would others react? 3. Both of these result in the construction of a behavioral intention… which is the BEST predictor of behavior
16. ABC’s of attitudes
• Affect (feelings)
• Cognition (thoughts)
multidirectional—A can cause B, and vice versa
17. When will an attitude predict behavior and, conversely, when will a behavior cause an attitude?
• 1. When we assess a “true” attitude rather than social desirability. – Bogus Pipeline (Jones & Sigall, 1971): Fake liedetector test better predictions
• 2. When attention is focused on the attitude.
– Make attitude salient
• Snyder & Swann (1976)
(affirmative action and gender discrimination)
– Make people privately reflective
• Diener & Wallbom (1976) cheating study (mirror v. no mirror)
• 3. When the attitude is formed by active experience.
– Fazio et al. (1977) sleeping on a cot study
Cognitive dissonance: people motivated by need to be consistent
consistency desirable btwn thoughts/ theories/ behavior
– Festinger (1957) Dissonance is a tension that arises when one is simultaneously aware of two inconsistent cognitions.
o to relieve the tension, must either change our attitude or our behavior o easier to change our attitude
Ways to reduce dissonance:
– 1. Change your cognitions.
– 2. Add new cognitions.
– 3. Change the importance of relevant cognitions.
Postdecisional dissonance (a.k.a. “buyer’s remorse”): A state of psychological dissonance that often occurs after making an important decision (Brehm 1956)
Selfpresentation: the need to maintain a desired selfimage
– We want to appear consistent to others and ourselves in our attitudes and behaviors
Selfaffirmation (the need to assert selfadequacy)
– People do not have a need for consistency
– Inconsistency feels foolish
– Bothered by meaning of the inconsistency; not the inconsistency, itself
– Selfperception Theory: (Bem, 1972): We simply interpret our attitudes from our behavior.
o just like we would make inferences based off anyone else’s behavior Primarily a theory of attitude formation
o whereas Cognitive dissonance is primarily a theory of attitude change.
• Overjustification effect People view their behavior as caused by compelling extrinsic reasons, making them underestimate the extent to which their behavior was caused by intrinsic reasons
– Greene, Sternberg and Lepper (1976) : kids and intrinsic/ extrinsic motivation
Behavior attitude: bottom line
18. Some theories to know
• Cognitive Dissonance Theory – People need to be consistent.
consistent in words and deeds.
• SelfPresentation Theory– People want to maintain an image of consistency • SelfAffirmation Theory– People want to feel good about themselves (not necessarily different from sp theory).
• SelfPerception Theory – Interpret attitudes from own behavior.
19. Distinguish between…
Conformity A change in behavior or beliefs to agree with others. Compliance Yielding to a request for certain behaviors or agreement to a particular point of view while privately disagreeing.
Obedience A change in behavior or beliefs as a result of the commands of others in authority.
20. Compliance/ Conformity/ Obedience Terms
Lowball technique: Tendency to comply with a large, unexpected request after having committed to an earlier request.
SAME request, but the price changes v. (1) request is upped
Ex. agree to pay $3k for car; price raised to $3.5 k
Footinthedoor technique: Tendency for people who have complied with a small request to be more willing to comply with a larger request later.
Ex. “Ugly Sign” study
Doorintheface technique: After a person turns down a large request, people are more likely to comply when the requester offers a more reasonable request. – Example Blood Donor Study
Reactance: motivational reaction in opposition to feeling that something/ or someone is taking away rights/ liberties/ alternatives
∙ Opponent process to conformity/ compliance/ obedience
21. Compliance/ Conformity/ Obedience Principles and Studies
When will people conform?
∙ 2 main influences:
o informative social influence: Conformity from accepting evidence provided by other people (Sherif)
motivated by desire to be right
o normative social influence: Conformity based on a desire to fulfill others’ expectations (Asch)
motivated by desire to be liked/ fit in
∙ other factors:
o Group size: larger groups more likely to conform
o Unanimity: individuals more likely conform when the rest of group’s decision is unanimous
o Cohesion: more likely to conform if feel more linked to group
o Status: if group is perceived as higherstatus, individual more likely to conform
o Public response: more likely to conform if have to respond publicly (as opposed to anonymously)
o Public commitment: more likely to commit to commit to an opinion if previously stated it publicly
o can work toward or against conformity, depending on nature of initial declaration
Sherif’s work on establishing group norms—demonstrates informational social influence on conformity
∙ Study on formation of group norms using autokinetic effect
o Autokinetic effect: stationary light on wall appears to be moving Really a result of movement of eyes in head
o Effect varies person by person; each person gages “motion” differently o Negotiation in groups consensus about false reality
Asch’s conformity research (1958)—demonstrates normative influence on conformity ∙ Participant given a linematching task w/ a clear right answer
∙ Majority of group (experimental confederates) gives clear wrong answer o 75% participants gave wrong answer at least once in presence of confederates (32% conformed on more than half of questions)
o compared to <1% of participants given the task in unpressured group ∙ participants didn’t really believe their conforming answers—didn’t want to ridiculed or thought strange
Understand the Milgram (1974) studies on obedience
∙ Fake study of “effect of punishment on learning” designed to study obedience ∙ Inspired by Nuremberg Trial’s exposure of compliance of Nazis n WWII o 40 men as “teachers” instructed by “scientist” to give patient a “shock” (fake) for every incorrect answer
o Machine: 15 volts to 450 volts (lethal shock)
o Each wrong answer higher voltage
o Actor pretending to be in greater pain w/ each shock
∙ 65% went all the way up to 450 V (all went to 300 (“danger”))
Zimbardo’s simulated prison experiment – what did this famous study suggest about human behavior?
∙ Stanford basement converted to “prison”; male college students established as stable randomly assigned to be “prisoners” or “guards”
∙ Prisoners went thru initial arrest and degrading procedures (stripping, delousing, removal of possessions)
∙ Guards given no specific instructions but to keep order
∙ Deindividuation promoted in both groups
o Patients and guards given different uniforms (same within each grp) o Prisoners referred to by ID # only
o Guards have mirrored sunglasses to mask identities/ expressions ∙ Guards started treating prisoners sadistically; prisoners became increasingly submissive
∙ Study terminated early after 6 days
∙ Conclusion: people tend to conform to social roles expected of them by society o Environment has huge role in behavior
o Effects heightened by deindividuation and learned helplessness