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Transcript
Social Psychology
CHAPTER 18
Attributing Behavior to Persons or Situations
 Attribution Theory: Fritz
Heider (1958) suggested
that we have a tendency
to give causal
explanations for
someone’s behavior, often
by crediting either the
situation or the person’s
disposition

Is my friend a jerk because
they are a bad person or
just had a bad day
Fundamental Attribution Error
 The tendency to
overestimate the impact
of personal disposition
and underestimate the
impact of the situations in
analyzing the behaviors of
others leads to the
fundamental attribution
error

When you start a romance,
you assume that they agree
with your world
views….honeymoon period
Effects of Attribution
How we explain someone’s behavior affects
how we react to it
Social Effects of Attribution
Political Effects of Attribution
Attitudes
 A belief and feeling that
predisposes a person to
respond in a particular
way to objects, other
people, and events
Attitudes and Actions
 Our attitudes predict our
behaviors imperfectly
because other factors,
including the external
situation, also influence
behavior

Tests or Math 
Actions Can Affect Attitudes
 Not only do people stand
for what they believe in
(attitude), they start
believing in what they
stand for


Cooperative actions can
lead to mutual liking
(beliefs)
Can also cause the end of
friendships
Small Request—Large Request
 Foot-in-the-Door
Phenomenon: The
tendency for people
who have first agreed
to a small request to
comply later with a
larger request

Example?
Zimbardo’s Prison Study
• Showed how we
deindividuate AND
become the roles we are
given.
• Philip Zimbardo has
students at Stanford U play
the roles of prisoner and
prison guards in the
basement of psychology
building.
• They were given uniforms
and numbers for each
prisoner.
• What do you think
happened?
Actions Can effect Attitudes Con’t
 Why do actions affect
attitudes?

Leon Festinger: When our
attitudes and actions are
opposed, we experience
tension. This is called
cognitive dissonance

To relieve ourselves of this
tension we bring our
attitudes closer to our
actions
Social Influence
 The study of attitudes,
beliefs, decisions, and
actions and the way they
are molded
Conformity and Obedience
 Behavior is contagious,
modeled by one followed by
another

We follow behavior of others
to conform
 Other behaviors may be an
expression of compliance
(obedience) toward
authority
 Chameleon Effect
 Adjusting one’s behavior
or thinking to coincide
with a group standard
Asch’s Study of Conformity
Conditions that Strengthen Conformity
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
One is made to feel incompetent or insecure.
The group has at least three people.
The group is unanimous.
One admires the group’s status and
attractiveness.
One has no prior commitment to a response.
The group observes one’s behavior.
One’s culture strongly encourages respect for a
social standard.
Reasons to Conform
 Normative social
influence

To avoid rejection or gain
social approval
 Informational social
influence

Uses information to make
a decision
Obidence
 Stanley Milgram’s
experiments