Psychology 360:  Introduction to Social Psychology

Study Guide for Midterm 1--Fall 2007

Note:  Topics marked with a * are primarily or exclusively from lecture or outside sources


Foundations of Social Psychology (Chpt. 1)


1.           What is social psychology?  What are the similarities and differences between social psychology and the study of sociology, clinical psychology, personality psychology, and *behaviorism? 


2.*        What is the hindsight bias?  What does the hindsight bias say about the need for social psychology research?  Note: This is not in the textbook; google it and read the Wikipedia entry


3.           According to the text, what was the first social psychology experiment about?  How did Adolph Hitler influence the development of the field of social psychology? 


4. *       Describe Lewin's field theory.  What is the life space?  What is a region in the life space?  Give an example of a conflict in the life space.   


5. *       What are the three concepts that Kurt Lewin contributed to social psychology? 

               Thought question:  Give an example of a research finding that illustrates each.


6.           What was the focus of the debate in social psychology during the 1960s-1970s?  How was the debate solved?  What were the 2 sources of pluralism that characterized research in the field from the mid 70s - 1990s?  How are social psychologists integrating divergent concepts today?  


Methodology:  How We Do Social Psychology (Chpt 2)


1.           *Identify and describe three levels of analysis in social psychological research.  According to the text, what is the difference between basic and applied research?  Define an operational definition and construct validity.


2.           What is descriptive research?  Name 3 examples.  What is the purpose of a survey?  What is random sampling and how does it determine the accuracy of a survey?


3.           What is the purpose of correlational research?  How is it conducted?  What does a positive, negative, and zero correlation coefficient tell us?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of correlational studies?


4.           What is the purpose of experimental research?  What is the difference between the independent and dependent variable?  What is random assignment to experimental condition and why is it so important for interpreting the results of an experiment?  What are the strengths and weaknesses of experimental research?


5.           What does "statistical significance" convey?  What is internal and external validity?  What is mundane versus experimental realism in an experiment?  Can both be high in an experiment? 


6.           How do we determine whether a study is ethical?  What are the considerations?  What is the IRB? What purpose does informed consent serve?  What is post-experimental debriefing and when is it used?

Social Self-Concept and Self-Serving Biases (Chpt. 3)


The Social Self


1.           What is the self-concept?  What is a self-schema?  *What are possible and feared selves? 


2.           According to the text, what are the first two steps toward developing a self-concept?  What role does introspection play?  What is affective forecasting?  What is self-perception theory and how does it explain emotional and motivational states?  How do social comparison processes influence our self-concept?  What is the two factor theory of emotion?   


3.           How does culture influence the self-concept?  How are individualistic cultures different from collectivistic cultures?  How is an independent self-concept different from an interdependent self-concept? 


4.           According to the paper by Fryberg & Markus, how does the self-concept of American Indians (AI) relate to the differences between individualistic and collectivistic cultures?  What was the purpose of study 1 and what did the results show?  In study 2, what differences emerged between AI and EA possible and feared selves?  In what way did age matter?  Finally, what was the surprising empirical finding in study 3?  According to the general discussion, what do the results of these studies tell us about the self-concept of AI's, and more broadly, about how culture influences the development of the self-concept?


5. *       What is self-esteem?  How is it typically measured in social psychology?  What are some of the problematic assumptions with the typical approach? 


6. *       According to Objective Self-Awareness Theory, what do people often see when they focus on themselves?  What effect does this have on them?  Give an example of a study that illustrates the effects of Objective Self-Awareness.  What kinds of people are more self-focused than others? 


7.           What is self-regulation and how does it relate to perceptions of control?  How is the ability to self-regulate a limited resource?  How does choking under pressure reveal a limit to self-regulation?  What are ironic processes and how do they influence self-regulation? 


Mechanisms of Self-enhancements


1.           What are self-serving cognitions?  What evidence suggests that people make self-serving explanations for success and failure?  Or suffer from unrealistic optimism about the future?  How do these distortions help us enhance our self-esteem?


2.           What is self-handicapping?  How does it help us maintain self-esteem in the face of failure?  How does it also enhance self-esteem should we succeed?  Are some people more prone to self-handicap compared to others? 


3.           What does it mean to BIRG and CORF in order to enhance self-esteem?  How do we use social comparison processes to maintain self-esteem?  


4.*        According to Tesser's self-evaluation maintenance model, what three factors determine how our self-esteem will be affected when another person performs well on a task?  What factors determine the comparison process?  The reflection process?  When another person outperforms us on an important task, by what strategies can we maintain our self-esteem? 


5.*        Why do people want to have high self-esteem?  Based on the Solomon et al. paper, describe Terror Management Theory (TMT).  According to TMT, what psychological function does high self-esteem serve?  What is a cultural worldview and why is it important to defend it?  In what ways has the research shown that people will defend their cultural worldview when mortality is salient?


6.           What two goals are served by self-presentation?  What is self-monitoring and how does it influence self-presentation behavior?   


Perceiving Persons:  Attribution and Social Judgment (Chpt. 4)


1.           How do we use information about persons, situations, and behavior for perceiving and understanding others?  How do we use nonverbal behavior, like facial expression, to understand other people?  How well do people distinguish truth from deception?  Explain your answer. 


Attribution theory


1.           What is an attribution?  What are the different types of attributions we make for behavior?  What is the theory of correspondent inferences?


2. *       According to Kelley's Covariance Model of Attribution, what three sources of information are necessary for us to explain behavior?  Under what conditions are we most likely to make a dispositional attribution?  A situational attribution?


3. *       What is the discounting principle?  Is it over or under used in our everyday attributions?  Describe a study to illustrate your answer. 


4.           What is the fundamental attribution error?  How does it operate in the Ross, Amabile, & Steinmetz quiz show experiment described in the text?


5. *       What is the actor-observer difference?  How does the need for prediction and control, perceptual salience, and cognitive busyness contribute to the actor-observer bias?  Are there cultural differences in these processes? 


Social Judgment Processes


1.*        Define the normative and descriptive models of human judgment?  How is the relationship between these two models used to investigate errors in social judgment? 


2.           What is a cognitive heuristic?  What is the availability heuristic?  What is the false consensus effect?  *What is the representativeness heuristic?  Give an example of each.  How does the base-rate fallacy relate to these errors in judgment? 


3. *       What is counterfactual thinking?  How do acts of commission differ from acts of omission in counterfactual thought?  Which type leads to more regret?


4.*        What is an anchor effect?  What is the difference between assimilation and contrast in judgment?


5.           Describe information integration theory and what the research shows about how people form impressions of others.  How do perceiver characteristics, priming effects, target characteristics and implicit theories of personality impact impression formation? 


6.           Describe how belief perseverance and confirmatory hypothesis testing contribute to errors in judgment.


7.           Describe the self-fulfilling prophecy.