Glossary of Social Psych Ch. 4

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social perception
a general term for the process by which people come to understand one another
nonverbal behavior
behavior that reveals a person's feelings without words - through facial expressions, body language, and vocal cues
attribution theory
a group of theories that describe how people explain the causes of behavior
personal attribution
attribution to internal characteristics of an actor, such as ability, personality, mood, or effort
situational situation
attribution to factors external to an actor, such as the task, other people, or luck
covariation prinicple
a principle of attribution theory holding that people attribute behavior to factors that are present when a behavior occurs and absent when it does not
availability heuristic
the tendency to estimate the likelihood that an event will occur by how easily instances of it come to mind
false-consensus effect
the tendency for people to overestimate the extent to which others share their opinions, attributes, and behaviors
base-rate fallacy
the finding that people are relatively insensitive to consensus information presented in the form of numberical base rates
counterfactual thinking
a tendency to imagine alternative events or outcomes that might have occurred but did not
fundamental attribution error
the tendency to focus on the role of personal causes and underestimate the impact of situations on other people's behavior
actor-observer effect
the tendency to attribute our own behavior to situational causes and the behavior of others to personal factors
belief in a just world
the belief that individuals get what they deserve in life, an orientation that leads people to disparge victims
impression formation
the process of integrating information about a person to form a coherent impression
information integration theory
the theory that impressions are based on (1) perceiver dispositions and (2) a weighted average of a target person's traits
the tendency for recently used words or ideas to come to mind easily and influence the interpretation of new information
implicit personality theory
a network of assumptions people make about the relationships among traits and behaviors
central traits
traits that exert a powerful influence on overall impressions
primacy effect
the tendency for information presented early in a sequence to have more impact on impressions than information presented later
need for closure
a desire to reduce cognitive uncertainty, which heightens the importance of first impressions
confirmation bias
the tendency to sek, interpret, and create information that verifies existing beliefs
belief perseverence
the tendency to maintain beliefs even after they have been discredited
self-fulfilling prophecy
the process by which one's expectations about a person eventually lead that person to behave in ways that confirm those expectations

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