Important Terms to Remember in Social Psychology


WIKIPEDIA defines social psychology as “a type of social science that is concerned with individuals’ thoughts, feelings and behavior as they affect or are affected by other individuals.”

Social Psychology and Sociology

While sociology put more weight on the behavior of a group, the goal of social psychology is to create a bridge between sociology and psychology (the scientific study of human behavior and mental processes). Kurt Lewin is the father of social psychology.

Important Terms in Social Psychology

1) SELF-PRESENTATION

Expressing oneself and behaving in ways designed either to create a favorable impression or an impression that corresponds to one’s ideals.

2) SELF-MONITORING

Being attuned to the way that one presents oneself in social situations and adjusting one’s performance to create the desired impression.

3) COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

State of discomfort whenever two related cognitions (thoughts and perceptions) are in conflict and inconsistent.

4) INSUFFICIENT JUSTIFICATION EFFECT

Reduction of dissonance by internally justifying one’s behavior when external inducements are insufficiently justified.

5) SELF-PERCEPTION THEORY

When we are unsure of our attitudes, we infer them as much as would someone who observes us by looking at our behavior and the circumstances under which it occurs.

6) IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT

We say what others want to hear.

7) ATTRIBUTION THEORY

The theory of how people explain other’s behavior.

8. INFORMATION INTEGRATION

Combining different pieces of information about a person into an overall impression.

9) FUNDAMENTAL ATTRIBUTION ERROR

Tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and overestimate dispositional influences upon other’s behavior.

10) ATTITUDE

Favorable or unfavorable evaluative reaction toward something or someone exhibited in one’s beliefs, feelings or intended behavior.

11 ) FOOT-IN-THE-DOOR PHENOMENON

The tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request.

12) LOW-BALL TECHNIQUE

A technique for getting people to agree to do something.


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