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actor—observer effect:  The tendency to attribute our own behavior mainly to situational causes but the behavior of others mainly to internal (dispositional) causes.

additive tasks:  Tasks for which the group product is
the sum or combination of the efforts of individual members.

affect:  A person’s emotional state–feelings and moods.

affect-centered model of attraction:  A conceptual framework in which attraction is assumed to be based on positive and negative emotions. These emotions can be aroused directly by another person, simply associated with that person, and/or mediated by cognitive processes.

aggression:  Behavior directed toward the goal of harming another living being who is motivated to avoid such treatment.

aggression machine:  Apparatus used to measure physical aggression under safe laboratory conditions.

altruism:  Behavior that reflects an unselfish concern for the welfare of others.

altruistic personality:  A combination of dispositional variables associated with prosocial behavior. Among the many components are empathy, belief in a just world, acceptance of social responsibility, and having an internal locus of control.

androgynous:  Characterized by the possession of both traditional masculine characteristics and traditional feminine ones.

appearance anxiety:  Apprehension or worry about whether one’s physical appearance is adequate and about the evaluations of other people.

assumed similarity:  The extent to which two people believe they are similar in certain respects, as opposed to the extent to which they are actually similar.

attachment style:  The degree of security experienced in interpersonal relationships. Differential styles are initially developed in infancy, but attachment differences appear to affect interpersonal behavior throughout life.

attitude ambivalence:  Refers to the fact that we often have positive and negative evaluations of the same attitude object; thus, our attitude toward it is ambivalent.

attitude polarization:  The tendency to evaluate mixed evidence or information in such a way that it strengthens our initial views and makes them more extreme.

attitude similarity:  The extent to which two individuals share the same attitudes about a range of topics. In practice, the term also includes similarity of beliefs, values, and interests.

attitude-to-behavior process model:  A model of how attitudes guide behavior that emphasizes the influence of both attitudes and stored knowledge of what is appropriate in a given situation on an individual’s definition of the present situation. This definition, in turn, influences overt behavior.

attitudes:  Evaluations of various aspects of the social world.

attribution:  The process through which we seek to identify the causes of others’ behavior and so gain knowledge of their stable traits and dispositions.

augmenting:  The tendency to attach greater importance to potential causes of behavior if the behavior occurs despite the presence of other, inhibitory causes.

authentic dissent:  A technique for improving the quality of group decisions in which one or more group members actively disagree with the group’s initial preference without being assigned this role.

automatic processing:  This occurs when, after extensive experience with a task or type of information, we reach the stage where we can perform the task or process the information in a seemingly effortless, automatic, and nonconscious manner.

availability heuristic:  A strategy for making judgments on the basis of how easily specific kinds of information can be brought to mind.


balance theory:  The formulation that specifies the relationships among (1) an individual’s liking for another person, (2) his or her attitude about a given topic, and (3) the other person’s perceived attitude about the same topic. Balance results in a positive emotional state, imbalance results in a negative emotional state, and nonbalance leads to indifference.

bargaining (negotiation):  A process in which opposing sides exchange offers, counteroffers, and concessions, either directly or through representatives.

Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BSRI):  Bem’s measure of the extent to which an individual’s self-description involves traditional masculine characteristics, traditional feminine characteristics, both (androgyny), or neither (undifferentiated).

benevolent sexism:  Views suggesting that women deserve protection, are superior to men in various ways (e.g., they are more pure, have better taste), and are truly necessary for men’s happiness (e.g., no man is truly fulfilled unless he has a woman he adores in his life).

biased assimilation:  The tendency to evaluate information that disconfirms our existing views as less convincing or reliable than information that confirms these views.

Big Five dimensions of personality:  Basic dimensions of personality; where individuals stand along these dimensions (for example, extroversion, agreeableness, neuroticism) is often apparent in their behavior.

blank-lineup control:  A procedure in which a witness views a police lineup that does not include a suspect. If a witness does not identify a suspect, this increases confidence in his or her testimony. If the witness does identify an innocent person, he or she is is told of the mistake and cautioned to be more careful. In either instance, witness accuracy is increased.

body language:  Cues provided by the position, posture, and movement of others’ bodies or body parts.

bona fide pipeline:  A technique that uses priming to measure implicit racial attitudes.

bullying:  A pattern of behavior in which one individual is chosen as the target of repeated aggression by one or more others; the target person (the victim) generally has less power than those who engage in aggression (the bullies).

bystander effect:  The fact that the likelihood of a prosocial response to an emergency is affected by the number of bystanders who are present. As the number of bystanders increases, the probability that any one bystander will help decreases and the amount of time that passes before help occurs increases.


catharsis hypothesis:  The view that providing angry persons with an opportunity to express their aggressive impulses in relatively safe ways will reduce their tendencies to engage in more harmful forms of aggression.

central route (to persuasion):  Attitude change resulting from systematic processing of information presented in persuasive messages.

classical conditioning:  A basic form of learning in which one stimulus, initially neutral, acquires the capacity to evoke reactions through repeated pairing with another stimulus. In a sense, one stimulus becomes a signal for the presentation or occurrence of the other.

close friendship:  A relationship in which two people spend a great deal of time together, interact in a variety of situations, exclude others from the relationship, and provide mutual emotional support.

cognitive dissonance:  An unpleasant internal state that results when individuals notice inconsistency between two or more of their attitudes or between their attitudes and their behavior.

cohesiveness:  (1) All forces (factors) that cause group members to remain in the group. (2) With respect to conformity, the degree of attraction felt by an individual toward an influencing group.

collective effort model:  An explanation of social loafing suggesting that perceived links between individuals’ effort and their outcomes are weaker when they work together with others in a group. This, in turn, produces tendencies toward social loafing.

common in-group identity model:  A theory suggesting that to the extent that individuals in different groups view themselves as members of a single social entity, positive contacts between them will increase and intergroup bias will be reduced.

communal behavior:   Benevolent acts in a relationship that "cost" the one who performs those acts and benefit the partner and the relationship itself.

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

compliance:  A form of social influence involving direct requests from one person to another.

conflict:  A process in which individuals or groups perceive that others have taken or will soon take actions incompatible with their own interests.

conformity:  A type of social influence in which individuals change their attitudes or behavior in order to adhere to existing social norms.

consensus:  The extent to which other persons react to some stimulus or even in the same manner as the person we are considering.

consideration:  (person-orientation). A key dimension of leader behavior. Leaders high on this dimension focus on establishing good relations with their subordinates and on being liked by them.

consistency:  The extent to which an individual responds to a given stimulus or situation in the same way on different occasions (i.e., across time).

consummate love:  In Sternberg’s triangular model of love, a complete and ideal love that combines intimacy, passion, and decision/commitment.

contact hypothesis:  The view that increased contact between members of various social groups can be effective in reducing prejudice between them. Such efforts seem to succeed only when contact takes place under specific, favorable conditions.

cooperation:  Behavior in which groups work together to attain shared goals.

coping:  Responding to stress in a way that reduces the threat and its effects; includes what a person does, feels, or thinks in order to master, tolerate, or decrease the negative effects of a stressful situation.

correlational method:  A method of research in which a scientist systematically observes two or more variables to determine whether changes in one are accompanied by changes in the other.

correspondence bias (fundamental attribution error):  The tendency to explain others’ actions as stemming from dispositions, even in the presence of clear situational causes.

correspondent inference (theory of):  A theory describing how we use others’ behavior as a basis for inferring their stable dispositions.

counterfactual thinking:  The tendency to imagine other outcomes in a situation than the ones that actually occurred–to think about "what might have been."

cultures of honor:  Cultures in which strong social norms condone violence as a means of answering an affront to one’s honor.


deadline technique:  A technique for increasing compliance in which target persons are told that they have only limited time to take advantage of some offer or to obtain some item.

debriefing:  Procedures at the conclusion of a research session in which participants are given full information about the nature of the research and the hypothesis or hypotheses under investigation.

deception:  A technique whereby researchers withhold information about the purposes or procedures of a study from persons participating in it.

decision/commitment:  In Sternberg’s triangular model of love, the cognitive elements involved in the decision that you love the other person and the commitment to maintain the relationship.

decision making:  Processes involved in combining and integrating available information in order to choose one of several possible courses of action.

dependent variable:  The variable that is measured in an experiment.

descriptive norms:  Norms that simply indicate what most people do in a given situation.

devil’s advocate technique:  A technique for improving the quality of group decisions in which one group member is assigned the task of disagreeing with and criticizing whatever plan or decision is under consideration.

diffusion of responsibility:  The proposal that the amount of responsibility assumed by bystanders to an emergency is shared among them. If there is only one bystander, he or she has total responsibility. If there are two bystanders, each has 50 percent of the responsibility. If there are one hundred bystanders, each has only 1 percent of the responsibility. The more bystanders, the less any one of them feels responsible to act.

discounting:  The tendency to attach less importance to one potential cause of some behavior when other potential causes are also present.

discrimination:  Negative behaviors directed toward members of social groups who are the object of prejudice.

disease-prone personality:  A personality characterized by negative emotional reactions to stress, ineffective coping strategies, and unhealthy behavior patterns. Among the correlates are a higher incidence of illness and a shorter life span.

dismissing attachment style:  In Bartholomew’s model, a style characterized by high self-esteem and low interpersonal trust. It is usually described as a conflicted and somewhat insecure style in which the individual feels that he or she "deserves" a close relationship but mistrusts potential partners. The result is the tendency to reject the other person at some point in the relationship in order to avoid being the one who is rejected.

displaced aggression:  Aggression against someone other than the source of strong provocation; displaced aggression occurs because the persons who perform it are unwilling or unable to aggress against the initial source of provocation.

distinctiveness:  The extent to which an individual responds in the same manner to different stimuli or events.

distraction—conflict theory:  A theory suggesting that social facilitation stems from the conflict produced when individuals attempt, simultaneously, to pay attention to other persons and to the task being performed.

distributive justice (equity):  Refers to individuals’ judgments about whether they are receiving a fair share of available rewards–a share proportionate to their contributions to the group (or to any social relationship).

door-in-the-face technique:  A procedure for gaining compliance in which requesters begin with a large request and then, when this is refused, retreat to a smaller one (the one they actually desired all along).

downward social comparison:  Comparing yourself to someone who is worse off than you with respect to a particular attribute.

drive theories (of aggression):  Theories suggesting that aggression stems from external conditions that arouse the motive to harm or injure others. The most famous of these is the frustration—aggression hypothesis.

drive theory of social facilitation:  A theory suggesting that the mere presence of others is arousing and increases the tendency to perform dominant responses.


egoism:  An exclusive concern with one’s own personal needs and welfare rather than with the needs and welfare of others. See self-interest.

elaboration likelihood model (of persuasion):  A theory suggesting that persuasion can occur in either of two distinct ways, which differ in the amount of cognitive effort or elaboration they require.

empathic joy hypothesis:  The proposal that prosocial behavior is motivated by the positive emotion a helper anticipates experiencing as a the result of having a beneficial impact on the life of someone in need.

empathy:  A complex affective and cognitive response to another person’s emotional distress. Empathy includes being able to feel the other person’s emotional state, feeling sympathetic and attempting to solve the problem, and taking the perspective of the other person. One can be empathetic toward fictional characters as well as toward real-life victims.

empathy—altruism hypothesis:  The proposal that prosocial behavior is motivated solely by the desire to help someone in need.

estrogen:  The female "sex hormone."

evaluation apprehension:  Concern over being evaluated by others. Such concern can increase arousal and so contribute to social facilitation.

evolutionary psychology:  A new branch of psychology that seeks to investigate the potential role of genetic factors in various aspects of human behavior.

excitation transfer theory:  A theory suggesting that arousal produced in one situation can persist and intensify emotional reactions occurring in later situations.

experimentation (experimental method):  A method of research in which one or more factors (the independent variables) are systematically changed to determine whether such variations affect one or more other factors (dependent variables).

experimenter effects:  Unintended effects on participants’ behavior produced by researchers.

extended contact hypothesis:  A view suggesting that simply knowing that members of one’s own group have formed close friendships with members of an out-group can reduce prejudice against that group.

external validity:  The extent to which findings of an experiment can be generalized to real-life social situations and perhaps to persons different from those who participated in the research.

fearful—avoidant attachment style:  In Bartholomew’s model, a style characterized by low self-esteem and low interpersonal trust. This is the most insecure and least adaptive style of attachment.


fitness:  Being in good physical condition as indicated by endurance and strength.

foot-in-the-door technique:  A procedure for gaining compliance in which requesters begin with a small request and then, when this is granted, escalate to a larger one (the one they actually desired all along).

forensic psychology:  Psychological research and theory that deals with the effects of cognitive, affective, and behavioral factors on legal processes.

forewarning:  Advance knowledge that one is about to become the target of an attempt at persuasion. Forewarning often increases resistance to the persuasion that follows.

frustration—aggression hypothesis:  The suggestion that frustration is a very powerful determinant of aggression.

fundamental attribution error (correspondence bias):  The tendency to overestimate the impact of dispositional cues on others’ behavior.


gender:  The attributes, behaviors, personality characteristics, and expectancies associated with a person’s biological sex in a given culture. Gender differences can be based on biology, learning, or a combination of the two.

gender consistency:  The concept that gender is a basic, enduring attribute of each individual. A grasp of gender consistency usually develops between the ages of four and seven.

gender identity:  That part of the self-concept involving a person’s identification as a male or a female. Consciousness of gender identity usually develops at about the age of two.

gender-role identification:  The degree to which an individual identifies with the gender stereotypes of his or her culture.

gender stereotypes:  Stereotypes concerning the traits supposedly possessed by females and males, and that distinguish the two genders from each other.

general affective aggression model:  A modern theory of aggression suggesting that aggression is triggered by a wide range of input variables; these influence arousal, affective stages, and cognitions.

generativity:  An adult’s concern for and commitment to the well-being of future generations.

genetic determinism model:  The proposal that behavior is driven by genetic attributes that evolved because they enhanced the probability of transmitting one’s genes to subsequent generations.

glass ceiling:  Barriers based on attitudinal or organizational bias that prevent qualified women from advancing to top-level positions.

great person theory:  A view of leadership suggest-
ing that great leaders possess certain traits that set
them apart from most human beings, traits that are possessed by all such leaders no matter when or where they lived.

group:  A collection of persons who are perceived to be bonded together in a coherent unit to some degree.

group polarization:  The tendency of group members, as a result of group discussion, to shift toward more extreme positions than those they initially held.

groupthink:  The tendency of the members of highly cohesive groups to assume that their decisions can’t be wrong, that all members must support the group’s decisions strongly, and that information contrary to it should be ignored.

health psychology:  The study of the effects of psychological factors in the development, prevention, and treatment of physical illness.


heuristic processing:  Processing of information in a persuasive message that involves the use of simple rules of thumb or mental shortcuts.

heuristics:  Simple rules for making complex decisions or drawing inferences in a rapid and seemingly effortless manner.

hostile aggression:  Aggression in which the prime objective is inflicting some kind of harm on the victim.

hostile attributional bias:  The tendency to perceive hostile intentions or motives in others’ actions when these actions are ambiguous.

hostile sexism:  The view that women, if not inferior to men, have many negative traits (e.g., they seek special favors, are overly sensitive, or seek to seize power from men that they don’t deserve to have).

hyperfemininity:  An extreme gender-role identification that consists of an exaggerated version of the traditional female role. Included are the beliefs that relationships with men are of central importance in one’s life, that attractiveness and sexuality should be used to get a man and keep him, and that it is reasonable to sometimes say no but mean yes.

hypermasculinity:  An extreme gender-role identification that consists of an exaggerated version of the traditional male role. Included are callous sexual attitudes toward women, the belief that violence is manly, and the enjoyment of danger as a source of excitement.

hypocrisy:  Publicly advocating some attitudes or behavior but then acting in a way that is inconsistent with these attitudes or behavior.

hypothesis:  An as yet unverified prediction based on a theory.


illusion of out-group homogeneity:  The tendency to perceive members of out-groups as more similar to one another (less variable) than the members of one’s own in-group.

illusory correlations:  The perception of a stronger association between two variables than actually exists because each is a distinctive event and the co-occurrence of such events is readily entered into and retrieved from memory.

impression formation:  The process through which we form impressions of others.

impression management (self-presentation):  Efforts by individuals to produce favorable first impressions on others.

incompatible response technique:  A technique for reducing aggression in which individuals are exposed to events or stimuli that cause them to experience affective states incompatible with anger or aggression.

independent variable:  The variable that is systematically changed (i.e., varied) in an experiment.

individuation:  The need to be distinguishable from others in some respects.

induced or forced compliance:  Situations in which individuals are somehow induced to say or do things inconsistent with their true attitudes.

inferential statistics:  A special form of mathematics that allows us to evaluate the likelihood that a given pattern of research results occurred by chance alone.

information overload:  Instances in which our ability to process information is exceeded.

informational social influence:  Social influence based on individuals’ desire to be correct–to possess accurate perceptions of the social world.

informed consent:  A procedure in which research participants are provided with as much information as possible about a research project before deciding whether to participate in it.

ingratiation:  A technique for gaining compliance in which requesters first induce target persons to like them, then attempt to change their behavior in some desired manner.

in-group:  The social group to which an individual perceives herself or himself as belonging ("us").

in-group differentiation:  The tendency to perceive members of our own group as showing much larger differences from one another (as being more heterogeneous) than do those of other groups.

initiating structure:  (production-orientation). A key dimension of leader behavior. Leaders high on this dimension are primarily concerned with getting the job done (that is, with production).

injunctive norms:  Norms specifying what ought to be done–what is approved or disapproved behavior in a given situation.

instrumental aggression:  Aggression in which the primary goal is not harm to the victim but attainment of some other goal, such as access to valued resources.

instrumental conditioning:  A basic form of learning in which responses that lead to positive outcomes or that permit avoidance of negative outcomes are strengthened.

intense indoctrination:  A process through which individuals become members of extreme groups and come to accept the beliefs and rules of the groups in a totally unquestioning way.

interactional (interpersonal) justice:  The extent to which persons who distribute rewards explain or justify their decisions and show considerateness and courtesy to those who receive the rewards.

interdependence:  The characteristic common to all close relationships–an interpersonal association in which two people influence each other’s lives and engage in many joint activities.

interpersonal attraction:  A person’s attitude about another person. Attraction involves an evaluation along a dimension that ranges from strong liking to strong disliking.

interpersonal trust:  A dimension underlying styles of attachment that involves the belief that other people are trustworthy, dependable, and reliable versus the belief that others are untrustworthy, undependable, and unreliable.

intimacy:   In Sternberg’s triangular model of love, the closeness felt by two partners–the extent to which they are bonded.


job satisfaction:  Attitudes concerning one’s job or work.


leading questions:  Questions designed to elicit specific answers rather than simply to elicit information.

less-leads-to-more effect:  The fact that offering individuals small rewards for engaging in counterattitudinal behavior often produces more dissonance, and so more attitude change, than offering them larger rewards.

loneliness:   The unhappy emotional and cognitive state that results from desiring close relationships but being unable to attain them.

love:  A combination of emotions, cognitions, and behaviors that can be involved in intimate relationships.

lowball technique:  A technique for gaining compliance in which an offer or deal is changed (made less attractive) after the target person has accepted it.


magical thinking:  Thinking involving assumptions that don’t hold up to rational scrutiny–for example, the belief that things that resemble one another share fundamental properties.

media violence:  Depictions of violent actions in the mass media.

mental contamination:  A process in which our judgments, emotions, or behaviors are influenced by mental processing that is unconscious and uncontrollable.

meta-analysis:  A statistical technique for combining data from independent studies in order to determine whether specific variables (or interactions between variables) have significant effects across these studies.

microexpressions:  Fleeting facial expressions lasting only a few tenths of a second.

mood congruence effects:  Our tendency to store or remember positive information when in a positive mood and negative information when in a negative mood.

mood-dependent memory:  The fact that what we remember while in a given mood may be determined, in part, by what we learned when previously in that mood.

moral hypocrisy:  The motivation to appear moral while doing one’s best to avoid the costs involved in actually being moral.

moral integrity:  The motivation to be moral and actually to engage in moral behavior.

multicultural perspective:  A focus on understanding the cultural and ethnic factors that influence social behavior.


narcissism:  A personality disposition in which the individual goes beyond high self-esteem, and also feels superior to most people, seeks admiration, is sensitive to criticism, lacks empathy for others, and is exploitative.

need for affiliation:  The basic motive to seek and maintain interpersonal relationships.

negative—state relief model:  The proposal that prosocial behavior is motivated by the bystander’s desire to reduce his or her own uncomfortable negative emotions.

negativity bias:  Refers to the fact that we show greater sensitivity to negative information than to positive information.

noncommon effects:  Effects produced by a particular cause that could not be produced by any other apparent cause.

nonverbal communication:  Communication between individuals that does not involve the content of spoken language. It relies instead on an unspoken language of facial expressions, eye contact, and body language.

normative focus theory:  A theory suggesting that norms will influence behavior only to the extent that they are focal for the persons involved at the time the behavior occurs.

normative social influence:  Social influence based on individuals’ desire to be liked or accepted by other persons.

norms:  Rules within a group indicating how its members should or should not behave.

obedience:  A form of social influence in which one person simply orders one or more others to perform some action(s).

objective self-awareness:  An organism’s capacity to be the object of its own attention, to be aware of its own state of mind, and to know that it knows and remember that it remembers.


observational learning:  A basic form of learning in which individuals acquire new forms of behavior or thought through observing others.

optimistic bias:  Our predisposition to expect things to turn out well overall.

organizational citizenship behavior (OCB):  Prosocial behavior occurring within an organization that may or may not be rewarded by the organization.

out-group:  Any group other than the one to which individuals perceive themselves belonging.


paradoxical self-esteem:  Unrealistically high or unrealistically low self-esteem.

passion:  In Sternberg’s triangular model of love, the sexual motives and sexual excitement associated with a couple’s relationship.

passionate love:  An intense and often unrealistic emotional response to another person. The person experiencing this emotion usually interprets it as "true love," whereas outside observers are more likely to label it as "infatuation."

peripheral route (to persuasion):  Attitude change that occurs in response to persuasion cues–information concerning the expertise or status of would-be persuaders.

perseverance effect:  The tendency for beliefs and schemas to remain unchanged even in the face of contradictory information.

persuasion:  Efforts to change others’ attitudes through the use of various kinds of messages.

physical attractiveness:  The combination of characteristics that are evaluated as beautiful or handsome at the most attractive extreme and unattractive at the other extreme.

pique technique:  A technique for gaining compliance in which target persons’ interest is piqued (stimulated) by unusual requests. As a result, they do not refuse requests automatically, as is often the case.

planning fallacy:  The tendency to make optimistic predictions concerning how long a given task will take for completion.

playing hard to get:  A technique that can be used for increasing compliance by suggesting that a person or object is scarce and hard to obtain.

pluralistic ignorance:  The tendency of bystanders in an emergency to rely on what other bystanders do and say, even though none of them is sure about what is happening or what to do about it. Very often, all of the bystanders hold back and behave as if there is no problem, and use this "information" to justify their failure to act.

possible selves:  Mental representations of what we might become, or should become, in the future.

prejudice:  Negative attitudes toward the members of specific social groups.

preoccupied attachment style:  In Bartholomew’s model, a style characterized by low self-esteem and high interpersonal trust; usually described as a conflicted and somewhat insecure style in which the individual strongly desires a close relationship but feels that he or she is unworthy of the partner and thus vulnerable to being rejected.

priming:  Increased availability of information in memory or consciousness, resulting from exposure to specific stimuli or events.

procedural justice:  The fairness of the procedures used to distribute available rewards among group members.

proportion of similar attitudes:  The number of topics on which two individuals hold the same views divided by the total number of topics on which they compare their views.

prosocial behavior:  A helpful action that benefits other people without necessarily providing any direct benefits to the person performing the act, and may even involve a risk for the person who helps.

provocation:  Actions by others that tend to trigger aggression in the recipient, often because they are perceived as stemming from malicious intent.

proximity:  In attraction research, the closeness between two individuals’ residences, classroom seats, work areas, and so on. The closer the physical distance, the greater the probability that the two people will come into repeated contact and thus experience repeated exposure.

psychoneuroimmunology:  The research field that explores the relationships among stress, emotional and behavioral reactions, and the immune system.

punishment:  Procedures in which aversive consequences are delivered to individuals when they engage in specific actions.


random assignment of participants to experimental conditions:  A basic requirement for conducting valid experiments. According to this principle, research participants must have an equal chance of being exposed to each level of the independent variable.

reactance:  Negative reaction to threats to one’s personal freedom. Reactance often increases resistance to persuasion.

realistic conflict theory:  The view that prejudice sometimes stems from direct competition between various social groups over scarce and valued resources.

recategorization:  Shifts in the boundary between an individual’s in-group ("us") and some out-group ("them"). As a result of such recategorization, persons formerly viewed as out-group members may now be viewed as belonging to the in-group.

reciprocity:  A basic rule of social life suggesting that individuals tend to treat others as these persons have treated them.

regulatory focus theory:  A theory suggesting that in regulating their own behavior in order to attain desired goals, individuals adopt one of two different perspectives: a promotion focus, in which they emphasize the presence and absence of positive outcomes; or a prevention focus, in which they emphasize negative outcomes.

repeated exposure:  Frequent contact with a stimulus. According to Zajonc’s theory, repeated exposure to any mildly negative, neutral, or positive stimulus results in an increasingly positive evaluation of that stimulus.

representativeness heuristic:  A strategy for making judgments based on the extent to which current stimuli or events resemble other stimuli or categories.

repressed memory:  A form of psychogenic amnesia; forgetting the details of a traumatic event as a way of defending oneself from having to deal with the anxiety and fear associated with the event.

repulsion hypothesis:  Rosenbaum’s provocative but partially inaccurate proposal that attraction is not increased by similar attitudes but only decreased by dissimilar attitudes.

roles:  Sets of behaviors that individuals occupying specific positions within a group are expected to perform.

schemas:  (1) Cognitive frameworks developed through experience that affect the processing of new social information. (2) Mental frameworks centering around a specific theme that help us to organize social information.


secure attachment style:  In Bartholomew’s model, a style characterized by high self-esteem and high interpersonal trust; usually described as the most successful and most desirable attachment style.

selective avoidance:  A tendency to direct attention away from information that challenges existing attitudes. Such avoidance increases resistance to persuasion.

self-concept:  One’s self-identity, a basic schema consisting of an organized collection of beliefs and attitudes about oneself.

self-efficacy:  A person’s belief in his or her ability or competency to perform a given task, reach a goal, or overcome an obstacle.

self-esteem:  The self-evaluation made by each individual; one’s attitude toward oneself along a positive—negative dimension.

self-focusing:  The act of directing one’s attention toward oneself as opposed to toward one’s surroundings.

self-fulfilling prophecies:  Predictions that, in a sense, make themselves come true.

self-healing personality:  A personality characterized by effective coping with stress. Self-healing individuals are energetic, responsive to others, and positive about life.

self-interest:  The motivation to engage in whatever behavior provides the greatest satisfaction. See egoism.

self-monitoring:  Regulation of one’s behavior on the basis of the external situation, such as how other people react (high self-monitoring), or on the basis of internal factors, such as beliefs, attitudes, and values (low self-monitoring).

self-reference effect:  The effect on attention and memory that occurs because the cognitive processing of information relevant to the self is more efficient than the processing of other types of information.

self-serving bias:  The tendency to attribute positive outcomes to internal causes (e.g., one’s own traits or characteristics) but negative outcomes or events to external causes (e.g., chance, task difficulty).

sex:  Maleness or femaleness as determined by genetic factors present at conception that result in anatomical and physiological differences.

sexism:  Prejudice based on gender.

sex typing:  Comprehension of the stereotypes associated with being a male or a female in one’s culture.

sexual self-schema:  Cognitive representations of the sexual aspects of oneself.

slime effect:  A tendency to form very negative impressions of others who "lick upward but kick downward"; that is, persons in a work setting who play up to their superiors but treat subordinates with disdain and contempt.

social categorization:  The tendency to divide the social world into two separate categories: our in-group ("us") and various out-groups ("them").

social cognition:  The manner in which we interpret, analyze, remember, and use information about the social world.

social comparison:  The process through which we compare ourselves to others in order to determine whether our view of social reality is or is not correct.

social decision schemes:  Rules relating the initial distribution of members’ views to final group decisions.

social dilemmas:  Situations in which each person can increase his or her individual gains by acting in one way, but if all (or most) persons do the same thing, the outcomes experienced by all are reduced.

social facilitation:  Effects upon performance resulting from the presence of others.

social identity:  A person’s definition of who he or she is, including personal attributes and attributes shared with others, such as gender and race.

social identity theory:  A theory suggesting that individuals seek to enhance their own self-esteem by identifying with specific social groups.

social influence:  Efforts by one or more individuals to change the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions, or behaviors of one or more others.

social learning:  The process through which we acquire new information, forms of behavior, or attitudes from other persons.

social learning view (of prejudice):  The view that prejudice is acquired through direct and vicarious experience in much the same manner as other attitudes.

social loafing:  Reductions in motivation and effort when individuals work collectively in a group compared to when they work individually or as independent coactors.

social norms:  Rules indicating how individuals are expected to behave in specific situations.

social perception:  The process through which we seek to know and understand other persons.

social psychology:  The scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior and thought in social situations.

social self:  A collective identity that includes interpersonal relationships plus those aspects of identity that are derived from membership in larger, less personal groups based on race, ethnicity, and culture.

social support:  The physical and psychological comfort provided by one’s friends and family members.

staring:  A form of eye contact in which one person continues to gaze steadily at another regardless of what the recipient does.

status:  Position or rank within a group.

stereotypes:  Beliefs to the effect that all members of specific social groups share certain traits or characteristics. Stereotypes are cognitive frameworks that strongly influence the processing of incoming social information.

stereotype threat:  The concern on the part of persons who are the target of stereotypes that they will be evaluated in terms of this stereotype.

stigma:  A personal characteristic that at least some other individuals perceive negatively.

stress:  Any physical or psychological event perceived as potentially constituting physical harm or emotional distress.

subjective self-awareness:  The ability of an organism to differentiate itself, however crudely, from its physical and social environment.

subliminal conditioning (of attitudes):  Classical conditioning that occurs through exposure to stimuli that are below individuals’ thresholds of conscious awareness.

superordinate goals:  Goals that both sides to a conflict seek and that tie their interests together rather than drive them apart.

survey method:  A method of research in which a large number of persons answer questions about their attitudes or behavior.

symbolic self-awareness:  An organism’s ability to form an abstract concept of self through language. This ability enables the organism to communicate, form relationships, set goals, evaluate outcomes, develop self-related attitudes, and defend itself against threatening communications.

systematic observation:  A method of research in which behavior is systematically observed and recorded.

systematic processing:  Processing of information in a persuasive message that involves careful consideration of message content and ideas.


testosterone:  The male "sex hormone."

"that’s-not-all" technique:  A technique for gaining compliance in which requesters offer target persons additional benefits before they have decided whether to comply with or reject specific requests.

theories:  Frameworks constructed by scientists in any field to explain why certain events or processes occur as they do.

theory of planned behavior:  An extension of the theory of reasoned action, suggesting that in addition to attitudes toward a given behavior and subjective norms about it, individuals also consider perceived behavioral control–their ability to perform the behavior.

theory of reasoned action:  A theory suggesting that the decision to engage in a particular behavior is the result of a rational process in which behavioral options are considered, consequences or outcomes of each are evaluated, and a decision is reached to act or not to act. That decision is then reflected in behavioral intentions, which strongly influence overt behavior.

thought suppression:  Efforts to prevent certain thoughts from entering consciousness.

tokenism:  Instances in which individuals perform trivial positive actions for members of out-groups toward whom they feel strong prejudice. Such tokenistic behaviors are then used as an excuse for refusing more meaningful beneficial actions for these groups.

transactional leaders:  Leaders who direct their groups by rewarding them for desired behavior and by taking action to correct mistakes or departures from existing rules. Such leaders generally strengthen existing structures and strategies within an organization.

transformational (charismatic) leaders:  Leaders who exert profound effects on their followers and by doing so, change their organizations or societies.

triangular model of love:  Sternberg’s conceptualization of love relationships as encompassing three basic components: intimacy, passion, and decision/commitment.

trivialization:  A technique for reducing dissonance
in which the importance of attitudes and behaviors that are inconsistent with each other is cognitively reduced.

Type A behavior pattern:  A pattern consisting primarily of high levels of competitiveness, time urgency, and hostility.

Type B behavior pattern:  A pattern consisting of the absence of characteristics associated with the Type A behavior pattern.


ultimate attribution error:  The tendency to make more favorable and flattering attributions about members of one’s own group than about members of other groups.

unrequited love:  Love felt by one person for another who does not feel love in return.

upward social comparison:  Comparing yourself to someone who is better off than you with respect to a particular attribute.


voir dire:  A French term ("to see and to speak") used in law to mean the examination of prospective jurors in order to determine their competence to serve. The judge and the opposing attorneys may dismiss prospective jurors for specific reasons or, within limits, for no stated reason.


workplace aggression:  any form of behavior through which individuals seek to harm others in their workplace.