Social Psychology 2

Table of Contents

Social Psychology 2
Social Psychology 2

First Paper: You will be assigned one 3-page paper, in which you will apply a concept or principle within the field of social psychology to discuss a scene from a movie, television show, or novel. You should include a clear definition of the concept, explain how the concept is illustrated by the fictional scene, and conclude with a testable hypothesis for a social psychological experiment related to the concept.  the movie will be jimcarrey liar liar

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

Social Psychology Ninth Edition

Elliot Aronson

Timothy D. Wilson

Robin M. Akert

Save Time On Research and Writing
Hire a Pro to Write You a 100% Plagiarism-Free Paper.
Get My Paper

Samuel R. Sommers

Boston Columbus Indianapolis New York City San Francisco Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai London Madrid Milan Munich Paris Montréal Toronto

Delhi Mexico City São Paulo Sydney Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Taipei Tokyo

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 1 28/05/15 1:47 AM

Credits and acknowledgments borrowed from other sources and reproduced, with permission, in this textbook appear on the appropriate page within the text or on pages 567–572.

Copyright © 2016, 2013, 2010 by Pearson Education, Inc. or its affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Printed in the United States of America. This publication is protected by copyright, and permission should be obtained from the publisher prior to any prohibited reproduction, storage in a retrieval system, or transmission in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise. For information regarding permissions, request forms and the appropriate contacts within the Pearson Education Global Rights & Permissions department, please visit

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Aronson, Elliot. Social psychology / Elliot Aronson, Timothy D. Wilson, Robin M. Akert, Samuel R. Sommers. — Ninth Edition. pages cm Revised editon of the authors’ Social psychology, 2013. ISBN 978-0-13-393654-4 (Student Edition) 1. Social psychology. I. Wilson, Timothy D. II. Akert, Robin M. III. Title. HM1033.A78 2016 302—dc23 2015016513

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Social Psychology 2

Student Edition ISBN-10: 0-13-393654-6 ISBN-13: 978-0-13-393654-4

Books à la Carte ISBN-10: 0-13-401239-9 ISBN-13: 978-0-13-401239-1

VP, Product Development: Dickson Musslewhite Senior Acquisitions Editor: Amber Chow Editorial Assistant: Luke Robbins Executive Development Editor: Sharon Geary Project Development: Piper Editorial Director, Project Management Services: Lisa Iarkowski Project Management Team Lead: Denise Forlow Project Manager: Shelly Kupperman Program Management Team Lead: Amber Mackey Program Manager: Diane Szulecki Director of Field Marketing: Jonathan Cottrell Senior Product Marketing Manager: Lindsey Prudhomme Gill Executive Field Marketing Manager: Kate Stewart Marketing Assistant, Field Marketing: Paige Patunas Marketing Assistant, Product Marketing: Frank Alarcon

Social Psychology 2

Operations Manager: Mary Fischer Operations Specialist: Diane Peirano Associate Director of Design: Blair Brown Interior Design: Kathryn Foot Cover Art Director: Maria Lange Cover Design: Pentagram Cover Art: Dan Jazzia/Shutterstock Digital Media Editor: Christopher Fegan Digital Media Project Manager: Pamela Weldin Full-Service Project Management and Composition: Lumina Datamatics Printer/Binder: RR Donnelley/Roanoke Cover Printer: Phoenix Color/Hagerstown Text Font: PalatinoLTPro 9.5/13

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 2 28/05/15 1:47 AM

Social Psychology 2

To my grandchildren: Jacob, Jason, Ruth, Eliana, Natalie, Rachel, and Leo. My hope is that your capacity for empathy and compassion will help make

the world a better place.


To my family, Deirdre Smith, Christopher Wilson, and Leigh Wilson


To my mentor, colleague, and friend, Dane Archer


To my students—past, present, and future—for making coming to work each morning fun, educational, and unpredictable.


A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 3 28/05/15 1:47 AM


1 Introducing Social Psychology 1

2 Methodology: How Social Psychologists Do Research 23

3 Social Cognition: How We Think About the Social World 51

4 Social Perception: How We Come to Understand Other People 84

5 The Self: Understanding Ourselves in a Social Context 119

6 The Need to Justify Our Actions: The Costs and Benefits of Dissonance Reduction 157

7 Attitudes and Attitude Change: Influencing Thoughts and Feelings 188

8 Conformity: Influencing Behavior 226

9 Group Processes: Influence in Social Groups 269

10 Interpersonal Attraction: From First Impressions to Close Relationships 303

11 Prosocial Behavior: Why Do People Help? 344

12 Aggression: Why Do We Hurt Other People? Can We Prevent It? 375

13 Prejudice: Causes, Consequences, and Cures 413

Social Psychology in Action 1 Using Social Psychology to Achieve a Sustainable and Happy Future 455

Social Psychology in Action 2 Social Psychology and Health 476

Social Psychology in Action 3 Social Psychology and the Law 496

Brief Contents

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 4 28/05/15 1:47 AM


Preface xi About the Authors xvii Special Tips for Students xix

1 Introducing Social Psychology 1 Defining Social Psychology 3 Try IT! How Do Other People Affect your Values? 3

Social Psychology, Philosophy, Science, and Common Sense 4 How Social Psychology Differs from Its Closest Cousins 6

Try IT! Social Situations and Shyness 7

The Power of the Situation 9 The Importance of Explanation 10 The Importance of Interpretation 12

Where Construals Come From: Basic Human Motives 15 The Self-Esteem Motive: The Need to Feel Good About Ourselves 16


The Social Cognition Motive: The Need to Be Accurate 17 ExpECTATioNS AbouT ThE SoCiAL WoRLD

Summary  20 • Test Yourself  21

2 Methodology: How Social Psychologists Do Research 23

Social Psychology: An Empirical Science 24 Try IT! Social Psychology Quiz: What’s your Prediction? 25

Formulating Hypotheses and Theories 25 iNSpiRATioN fRoM EARLiER ThEoRiES and ReSeaRch  •  hYpoTheSeS BaSed  oN pERSoNAL obSERvATioNS

Research Designs 27

The Observational Method: Describing Social Behavior 28 eThnogRaphY  •  aRchival analYSiS  •  limiTS  of ThE obSERvATioNAL METhoD

The Correlational Method: Predicting Social Behavior 30 SuRveYS  •  limiTS of The coRRelaTional meThod:  CoRRELATioN DoES NoT EquAL CAuSATioN

Try IT! Correlation and Causation: Knowing the Difference 33

The Experimental Method: Answering Causal Questions 34 independenT and dependenT vaRiaBleS  •  inTeRnal  validiTY in expeRimenTS  •  exTeRnal validiTY  in expeRimenTS  •  field expeRimenTS  •  ReplicaTionS  and meTa-analYSiS  •  BaSic veRSuS applied ReSeaRch

New Frontiers in Social Psychological Research 42 Culture and Social Psychology 43 The Evolutionary Approach 43 Social Neuroscience 44

Ethical Issues in Social Psychology 45 Summary  48 • Test Yourself  49

3 Social Cognition: How We Think About the Social World 51

On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking 53 People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas 54 Which Schemas Do We Use? Accessibility and Priming 56 Making Our Schemas Come True: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 58

Types of Automatic Thinking 61 Automatic Goal Pursuit 62 Automatic Decision Making 63 Automatic Thinking and Metaphors About the Body and the Mind 63 Mental Strategies and Shortcuts: Judgmental Heuristics 65

how eaSilY doeS iT come To mind? The availaBiliTY  heuRiSTic  •  how SimilaR iS a To B? The  REpRESENTATivENESS hEuRiSTiC

Try IT! reasoning Quiz 69

peRSonaliTY TeSTS and The RepReSenTaTiveneSS  hEuRiSTiC

Cultural Differences in Social Cognition 70 Cultural Determinants of Schemas 70 Holistic versus Analytic Thinking 71

Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking 73 Controlled Thinking and Free Will 73

Try IT! Can you Predict your (or your Friend’s) Future? 76

Mentally Undoing the Past: Counterfactual Reasoning 76 Improving Human Thinking 77

Try IT! How Well Do you reason? 78

Watson Revisited 79 Summary  80 • Test Yourself  82

4 Social Perception: How We Come to Understand Other People 84

Nonverbal Communication 86 Try IT! Using your Voice as a Nonverbal Cue 87

Facial Expressions of Emotion 87 evoluTion and facial expReSSionS  •  whY iS decoding  SomeTimeS difficulT?

Culture and the Channels of Nonverbal Communication 90

First Impressions: Quick but Long-Lasting 93 The Lingering Influence of Initial Impressions 94 Using First Impressions and Nonverbal Communication to Our Advantage 95


A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 5 28/05/15 1:47 AM

vi Contents

Causal Attribution: Answering the “Why” Question 97 The Nature of the Attribution Process 97

Try IT! Listen as People Make Attributions 98

The Covariation Model: Internal versus External Attributions 98 The Fundamental Attribution Error: People as Personality Psychologists 101

ThE RoLE of pERCEpTuAL SALiENCE iN ThE fuNDAMENTAL aTTRiBuTion eRRoR  •  The Two-STep aTTRiBuTion  pRoCESS

Self-Serving Attributions 106 The “Bias Blind Spot” 108

Culture and Social Perception 109 Holistic versus Analytic Thinking 110


Cultural Differences in the Fundamental Attribution Error 111 Culture and Other Attributional Biases 113 Summary  115 • Test Yourself  117

5 The Self: Understanding Ourselves in a Social Context 119

The Origins and Nature of the Self-Concept 120 Cultural Influences on the Self-Concept 122

Try IT! A Measure of Independence and Interdependence 123

Functions of the Self 124

Knowing Ourselves Through Introspection 125 Focusing on the Self: Self-Awareness Theory 125

Try IT! Measure your Private Self- Consciousness 127

Judging Why We Feel the Way We Do: Telling More Than We Can Know 127 The Consequences of Introspecting About Reasons 128

Knowing Ourselves by Observing Our Own Behavior 130 Intrinsic versus Extrinsic Motivation 131 Mindsets and Motivation 134 Understanding Our Emotions: The Two-Factor Theory of Emotion 134 Finding the Wrong Cause: Misattribution of Arousal 137

Using Other People to Know Ourselves 139 Knowing Ourselves by Comparing Ourselves to Others 140 Knowing Ourselves by Adopting Other People’s Views 141 Knowing Our Future Feelings by Consulting Other People 143

Self-Control: The Executive Function of the Self 144

Impression Management: All the World’s a Stage 146 Ingratiation and Self-Handicapping 147 Culture, Impression Management, and Self-Enhancement 149

Self-Esteem: How We Feel About Ourselves 150 Summary  153 • Test Yourself  155

6 The Need to Justify Our Actions: The Costs and Benefits of Dissonance Reduction 157

The Theory of Cognitive Dissonance 158 When Cognitions Conflict 158

whY we oveReSTimaTe The pain of diSappoinTmenT

Dissonance and the Self-Concept 162 Decisions, Decisions, Decisions 163

diSToRTing ouR likeS and diSlikeS  •  The peRmanence  of ThE DECiSioN

Try IT! The Advantage of Finality 165

cReaTing The illuSion of iRRevocaBiliTY  •  The deciSion To Behave immoRallY

Dissonance, Culture, and the Brain 167 diSSonance in The BRain  •  diSSonance acRoSS  CuLTuRES

Self-Justification in Everyday Life 169 The Justification of Effort 169

Try IT! Justifying What you’ve Done 171

External versus Internal Justification 171

counTeRaTTiTudinal advocacY

Punishment and Self-Persuasion 173 The laSTing effecTS of Self-peRSuaSion  •  NoT JuST TANgibLE REWARDS oR puNiShMENTS

The Hypocrisy Paradigm 176 Justifying Good Deeds and Harmful Acts 177

The Ben fRanklin effecT: JuSTifYing acTS of kindneSS

Try IT! The Internal Consequences of Doing Good 179

dehumanizing The enemY: JuSTifYing cRuelTY

Some Final Thoughts on Dissonance: Learning from Our Mistakes 181

poliTicS and Self-JuSTificaTion  •  ovERCoMiNg DiSSoNANCE

Summary  185 • Test Yourself  186

7 Attitudes and Attitude Change: Influencing Thoughts and Feelings 188

The Nature and Origin of Attitudes 190 Where Do Attitudes Come From? 190

cogniTivelY BaSed aTTiTudeS  •  affecTivelY BaSed  ATTiTuDES

Try IT! Affective and Cognitive Bases of Attitudes 192

BehavioRallY BaSed aTTiTudeS

Explicit versus Implicit Attitudes 193

When Do Attitudes Predict Behavior? 195 Predicting Spontaneous Behaviors 196 Predicting Deliberative Behaviors 196

Specific aTTiTudeS  •  SuBJecTive noRmS  •  peRceived  bEhAvioRAL CoNTRoL

How Do Attitudes Change? 199 Changing Attitudes by Changing Behavior: Cognitive Dissonance Theory Revisited 199 Persuasive Communications and Attitude Change 200

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 6 28/05/15 1:47 AM


ThE CENTRAL AND pERiphERAL RouTES To peRSuaSion  •  The moTivaTion To paY  aTTenTion To The aRgumenTS  •  The aBiliTY To paY  aTTenTion To The aRgumenTS  •  how To achieve  LoNg-LASTiNg ATTiTuDE ChANgE

Emotion and Attitude Change 205 feaR-aRouSing communicaTionS  •  emoTionS  aS a heuRiSTic  •  emoTion and diffeRenT TYpeS  of ATTiTuDES

Attitude Change and the Body 209

The Power of Advertising 210 How Advertising Works 211 Subliminal Advertising: A Form of Mind Control? 212

DEbuNkiNg ThE CLAiMS AbouT SubLiMiNAL adveRTiSing  •  laBoRaToRY evidence foR SuBliminal  iNfLuENCE

Try IT! Consumer Brand Attitudes 215

Advertising, Stereotypes, and Culture 215 gendeR STeReoTYpeS and expecTaTionS  •  CuLTuRE AND ADvERTiSiNg

Resisting Persuasive Messages 219

Attitude Inoculation 219 Being Alert to Product Placement 219 Resisting Peer Pressure 220 When Persuasion Attempts Backfire: Reactance Theory 221 Summary  223 • Test Yourself  224

8 Conformity: Influencing Behavior 226 Conformity: When and Why 228

Informational Social Influence: The Need to Know What’s “Right” 230

The Importance of Being Accurate 233 When Informational Conformity Backfires 234 When Will People Conform to Informational Social Influence? 235

when The SiTuaTion iS amBiguouS  •  when The SiTuaTion  iS a cRiSiS  •  when oTheR people aRe expeRTS

Normative Social Influence: The Need to Be Accepted 236

Conformity and Social Approval: The Asch Line-Judgment Studies 238 The Importance of Being Accurate, Revisited 241 The Consequences of Resisting Normative Social Influence 243

Try IT! Unveiling Normative Social Influence by Breaking the rules 244

When Will People Conform to Normative Social Influence? 244

when The gRoup gRowS laRgeR  •  when The gRoup iS  impoRTanT  •  when one haS no allieS in The gRoup  •  WhEN ThE gRoup’S CuLTuRE iS CoLLECTiviSTiC

Minority Influence: When the Few Influence the Many 248

Strategies for Using Social Influence 249 The Role of Injunctive and Descriptive Norms 250

Using Norms to Change Behavior: Beware the “Boomerang Effect” 252 Other Tactics of Social Influence 253

Obedience to Authority 256 The Role of Normative Social Influence 259 The Role of Informational Social Influence 260 Other Reasons Why We Obey 261

confoRming To The wRong noRm  •  Self-JuSTificaTion  •  The loSS of peRSonal ReSponSiBiliTY

The Obedience Studies, Then and Now 263 iT’S NoT AbouT AggRESSioN

Summary  266 • Test Yourself  267

9 Group Processes: Influence in Social Groups 269

What Is a Group? 270 Why Do People Join Groups? 270 The Composition and Functions of Groups 271

Social noRmS  •  Social RoleS  •  gRoup  coheSiveneSS  •  gRoup diveRSiTY

Individual Behavior in a Group Setting 275 Social Facilitation: When the Presence of Others Energizes Us 276

Simple veRSuS difficulT TaSkS  •  aRouSal  and The dominanT ReSponSe  •  whY The pReSence  of oThERS CAuSES ARouSAL

Social Loafing: When the Presence of Others Relaxes Us 279 Gender and Cultural Differences in Social Loafing: Who Slacks Off the Most? 280 Deindividuation: Getting Lost in the Crowd 281

DEiNDiviDuATioN MAkES pEopLE fEEL LESS accounTaBle  •  deindividuaTion incReaSeS  oBedience To gRoup noRmS  •  deindividuaTion  oNLiNE

Group Decisions: Are Two (or More) Heads Better Than One? 283

Process Loss: When Group Interactions Inhibit Good Problem Solving 284

failuRe To ShaRe unique infoRmaTion  •  gRoupThink: manY headS, one mind

Group Polarization: Going to Extremes 287 Leadership in Groups 289

leadeRShip and peRSonaliTY  •  leadeRShip  STYleS  •  The RighT peRSon in The RighT  SiTuaTion  •  gendeR and leadeRShip  •  culTuRe  AND LEADERShip

Conflict and Cooperation 293 Social Dilemmas 293

Try IT! The Prisoner’s Dilemma 295


Using Threats to Resolve Conflict 296


Negotiation and Bargaining 298 Summary  300 • Test Yourself  301

Contents vii

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 7 28/05/15 1:47 AM

10 Interpersonal Attraction: From First Impressions to Close Relationships 303

What Predicts Attraction? 305 The Person Next Door: The Propinquity Effect 306

Try IT! Mapping the Effect of Propinquity in your Life 306

Similarity 308 opinionS and peRSonaliTY  •  inTeReSTS  and expeRienceS  •  appeaRance  •  geneTicS  •  Some final commenTS aBouT SimilaRiTY

Reciprocal Liking 310 Physical Attractiveness 311

whaT iS aTTRacTive?  •  culTuRal STandaRdS  of BeauTY  •  The poweR of familiaRiTY  •  ASSuMpTioNS AbouT ATTRACTivE pEopLE

Evolution and Mate Selection 316 evoluTion and Sex diffeRenceS  •  alTeRnaTe  pERSpECTivES oN SEx DiffERENCES

Making Connections in the Age of Technology 320 Attraction 2.0: Mate Preference in an Online Era 321 The Promise and Pitfalls of Online Dating 323

Love and Close Relationships 325 Defining Love: Companionship and Passion 325

Try IT! Passionate Love Scale 327

Culture and Love 327 Attachment Styles in Intimate Relationships 329 This Is Your Brain . . . in Love 331 Theories of Relationship Satisfaction: Social Exchange and Equity 332

Social exchange TheoRY  •  equiTY TheoRY

Ending Intimate Relationships 338 The Process of Breaking Up 338 The Experience of Breaking Up 339 Summary  341 • Test Yourself  342

11 Prosocial Behavior: Why Do People Help? 344

Basic Motives Underlying Prosocial Behavior: Why Do People Help? 345

Evolutionary Psychology: Instincts and Genes 346 kin SelecTion  •  The RecipRociTY noRm

Try IT! The Dictator Game 347


Social Exchange: The Costs and Rewards of Helping 348 Empathy and Altruism: The Pure Motive for Helping 349

Personal Qualities and Prosocial Behavior: Why Do Some People Help More Than Others? 353

Individual Differences: The Altruistic Personality 354 Try IT! Empathic Concern 354

Gender Differences in Prosocial Behavior 355

Cultural Differences in Prosocial Behavior 355 Religion and Prosocial Behavior 357 The Effects of Mood on Prosocial Behavior 357

effecTS of poSiTive moodS: feel good, do good  •  fEEL bAD, Do gooD

Situational Determinants of Prosocial Behavior: When Will People Help? 359

Environment: Rural versus Urban 359 Residential Mobility 360 The Number of Bystanders: The Bystander Effect 361

noTicing an evenT  •  inTeRpReTing The evenT aS an  emeRgencY  •  aSSuming ReSponSiBiliTY  •  knowing  how To help  •  deciding To implemenT The help

Effects of the Media: Video Games and Music Lyrics 366

How Can Helping Be Increased? 368 Increasing the Likelihood That Bystanders Will Intervene 368 Increasing Volunteerism 370 Positive Psychology, Human Virtues, and Prosocial Behavior 371 Summary  372 • Test Yourself  373

12 Aggression: Why Do We Hurt Other People? Can We Prevent It? 375

Is Aggression Innate, Learned, or Optional? 376 The Evolutionary View 377


Culture and Aggression 378 ChANgES iN AggRESSioN ACRoSS TiME and culTuReS  •  culTuReS of honoR

Gender and Aggression 381 phYSical aggReSSion  •  RELATioNAL AggRESSioN

Try IT! Do Women and Men Differ in Their Experiences with Aggression? 383

Learning to Behave Aggressively 383 Some Physiological Influences 385

The effecTS of alcohol  •  The effecTS  of pAiN AND hEAT

Social Situations and Aggression 387 Frustration and Aggression 388 Provocation and Reciprocation 389

Try IT! Insults and Aggression 390

Weapons as Aggressive Cues 390 Putting the Elements Together: The Case of Sexual Assault 391

moTivaTionS foR Rape  •  Sexual ScRipTS  and The pRoBlem of conSenT  •  puTTing  ThE ELEMENTS TogEThER

Violence and the Media 394 Studying the Effects of Media Violence 394

expeRimenTal STudieS  •  longiTudinal STudieS

The Problem of Determining Cause and Effect 397

viii Contents

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 8 28/05/15 1:47 AM

How to Decrease Aggression 399 Does Punishing Aggression Reduce Aggression? 399


Catharsis and Aggression 401 ThE EffECTS of AggRESSivE ACTS oN SubSEquENT aggReSSion  •  Blaming The vicTim of ouR  AggRESSioN

What Are We Supposed to Do with Our Anger? 403 vENTiNg vERSuS SELf-AWARENESS

Try IT! Controlling your Anger 404

TRAiNiNg iN CoMMuNiCATioN AND pRobLEM-SoLviNg SkillS  •  counTeRing dehumanizaTion  BY Building empaThY

Disrupting the Rejection-Rage Cycle 406 Summary  408 • Test Yourself  411

13 Prejudice: Causes, Consequences, and Cures 413

Defining Prejudice 414 The Cognitive Component: Stereotypes 415

fRom caTegoRieS To STeReoTYpeS

Try IT! Stereotypes and Aggression 417

whaT’S wRong wiTh poSiTive STeReoTYpeS?  •  STeReoTYpeS of gendeR

The Affective Component: Emotions 420

Try IT! Identifying your Prejudices 421

The Behavioral Component: Discrimination 421 Racial diScRiminaTion  •  gendeR diScRiminaTion  •  ThE ACTivATioN of pREJuDiCE

Detecting Hidden Prejudices 427 Ways of Identifying Suppressed Prejudices 427 Ways of Identifying Implicit Prejudices 428

The Effects of Prejudice on the Victim 430 The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy 430 Stereotype Threat 431

Causes of Prejudice 434 Pressures to Conform: Normative Rules 434 Social Identity Theory: Us versus Them 436

eThnocenTRiSm  •  in-gRoup BiaS  •  ouT-gRoup  homogeneiTY  •  Blaming The vicTim  •  JuSTifYing  feelingS of enTiTlemenT and SupeRioRiTY

Realistic Conflict Theory 440 ECoNoMiC AND poLiTiCAL CoMpETiTioN

Reducing Prejudice 442 The Contact Hypothesis 443 When Contact Reduces Prejudice 445


Cooperation and Interdependence: The Jigsaw Classroom 447

whY doeS JigSaw woRk?

Try IT! Jigsaw-Type Group Study 449


Summary  451 • Test Yourself  453

Social Psychology in Action 1 Using Social Psychology to Achieve a Sustainable and Happy Future 455

Applied Research in Social Psychology 458 Capitalizing on the Experimental Method 459

ASSESSiNg ThE EffECTivENESS of inTeRvenTionS  •  poTenTial RiSkS of Social  iNTERvENTioNS

Social Psychology to the Rescue 461

Using Social Psychology to Achieve a Sustainable Future 461

Conveying and Changing Social Norms 462

Try IT! reducing Littering with Descriptive Norms 463

Keeping Track of Consumption 464 Introducing a Little Competitiveness 465 Inducing Hypocrisy 465 Removing Small Barriers to Achieve Big Changes 467

Happiness and a Sustainable Lifestyle 469 What Makes People Happy? 469

SaTiSfYing RelaTionShipS  •  flow: Becoming  engaged in SomeThing You enJoY  •  accumulaTe  expeRienceS, noT ThingS  •  helping oTheRS

Try IT! Applying the research to your Own Life 472

Do People Know What Makes Them Happy? 472 Summary  473 • Test Yourself  474

Social Psychology in Action 2 Social Psychology and Health 476

Stress and Human Health 477 Resilience 478 Effects of Negative Life Events 479

Try IT! The College Life Stress Inventory 480


Perceived Stress and Health 481 Feeling in Charge: The Importance of Perceived Control 482

iNCREASiNg pERCEivED CoNTRoL iN nuRSing homeS  •  diSeaSe, conTRol, and  WELL-bEiNg

Coping with Stress 486 Gender Differences in Coping with Stress 487 Social Support: Getting Help from Others 487

Try IT! Social Support 488

Reframing: Finding Meaning in Traumatic Events 489

Prevention: Promoting Healthier Behavior 491 Summary  493 • Test Yourself  494

Contents ix

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 9 28/05/15 1:47 AM

Social Psychology in Action 3 Social Psychology and the Law 496

Eyewitness Testimony 498 Why Are Eyewitnesses Often Wrong? 498

acquiSiTion  •  SToRage  •  ReTRieval

Judging Whether Eyewitnesses Are Mistaken 503 ReSponding quicklY  •  The pRoBlem wiTh  veRBalizaTion  •  poST-idenTificaTion  fEEDbACk

Try IT! The Accuracy of Eyewitness Testimony 506

The Recovered Memory Debate 506

Juries: Group Processes in Action 509 How Jurors Process Information During the Trial 509 Confessions: Are They Always What They Seem? 510 Deliberations in the Jury Room 512 Summary  513 • Test Yourself  514

Glossary 516

References 522

Credits 567

Name Index 573

Subject Index 588

Answer Key AK-1

x Contents

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 10 28/05/15 1:47 AM



When we began writing this book, our overrid-ing goal was to capture the excitement of social psychology. We have been pleased to hear, in many kind letters and e-mail messages from professors and students, that we succeeded. One of our favorite responses was from a student who said that the book was so inter- esting that she always saved it for last, to reward herself for finishing her other work. With that one student, at least, we succeeded in making our book an enjoyable, fascinating story, not a dry report of facts and figures.

There is always room for improvement, however, and our goal in this, the ninth edition, is to make the field of social psychology an even better read. When we teach the course, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing the sleepy stu- dents in the back row sit up with interest and say, “Wow, I didn’t know that! Now that’s interesting.” We hope that students who read our book will have that same reaction.

What’s New in This Edition? We are pleased to add new features to the ninth edition that we believe will appeal to students and make it easier for them to learn the material. Each chapter begins with some learning objectives, which are repeated in the sections of the chapter that are most relevant to them and in the chapter- ending summary. All major sections of every chapter now end with review quizzes. Research shows that students learn material better when they are tested frequently, thus these section quizzes, as well as the test questions at the end of every chapter, should be helpful learning aids. Every chapter now has several writing prompts that instructors can decide to assign or not. In addition, we have retained and refined features that proved to be popular in the pre- vious edition. For example, many of the Try It! exercises, which invite students to apply specific concepts to their everyday behavior, have been revised or replaced.

We have updated the ninth edition substantially, with numerous references to new research. Here is a sampling of the new research that is covered:

• A signature of our book continues to be Chapter 2, “Methodology: How Social Psychologists Do Research,” a readable, student-friendly chapter on social psychol- ogy research methods. This chapter has been updated for the ninth edition with new references and examples.

• Chapter 3, “Social Cognition: How We Think About the Social World,” has been reorganized to make the struc- ture clearer to students. There are now four major sec- tions: On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking; Types of Automatic Thinking, Cultural Differences in Social Cognition, and Controlled Social Thinking. There are

also new sections on automatic goal pursuit and deci- sion making. Finally, the chapter has been updated with numerous new references.

• Chapter 4, “Social Perception: How We Come to Un- derstand Other People,” now includes a new section on “First Impressions: Quick but Long-Lasting,” with new coverage of thin-slicing, belief perseverance, and the use of nonverbal communication to personal advantage (e.g., in the form of power posing). The chapter also pre- sents updated research and conclusions regarding the universality of emotional expression, and new popular media examples from programs such as Breaking Bad, Duck Dynasty, and the podcast Serial.

• Chapter 5, “The Self: Understanding Ourselves in a So- cial Context,” has been reorganized into seven major sections instead of five, which should make the mate- rial clearer to students. We also revised the opening example, added a section on affective forecasting, re- organized some of the other sections (e.g., on culture and the self and on mindsets), added two new figures, and deleted or consolidated two other figures. Nearly 50 references to recent research have been added.

• Chapter 6, “The Need to Justify Our Actions,” now in- cludes a revised definition of cognitive dissonance and two dozen new references. These updates include stud- ies examining dissonance and cheating, hypocrisy and its consequences for self-justification, the justification of kindness in very young children, and a field study of jus- tification of effort among participants in a religious ritual in Mauritius.

• Chapter 7, “Attitudes and Attitude Change: Influencing Thoughts and Feelings,” includes some reorganization of section order in response to reviewer suggestions and an updated analysis of advertising, stereotypes, and culture. New Try It! exercises have also been added regarding the role of automatic thought processes in consumer-related attitudes.

• Chapter 8, “Conformity: Influencing Behavior,” now boasts a new section on tactics of social influence, in- cluding the foot-in-the-door and door-in-the-face tech- nique. We have also added review of the Bond et al. (2012) election study in which the appearance of an “I Voted” button on Facebook was found to influence users’ own likelihood of voting. This chapter also dis- cusses the role of normative social influence in the polar plunge trend and the ALS ice bucket challenge that went viral on social media in 2014.

• Chapter 9, “Group Processes: Influence in Social Groups,” includes a new section on the relationship between group diversity, morale, and performance. The discussion of deindividuation has also been updated to consider the tendency as it is manifested in on-line contexts.

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 11 28/05/15 1:47 AM

xii preface

• Chapter 10, “Interpersonal Attraction: From First Im- pressions to Close Relationships,” has a new opening vignette focusing on Tinder and other dating-related apps/websites. We have expanded the treatment of fer- tility and attraction in response to reviewer feedback, and also added new research on the relationship be- tween genetic similarity and attraction.

• In Chapter 11, “Prosocial Behavior: Why Do People Help?” we substantially revised the sections on religion and prosocial behavior and on positive psychology. We now discuss recent research by van den Bos on appraisal and bystander intervention and recent media examples, such as a mention of the movie Kick Ass.

• Chapter 12, “Aggression: Why Do We Hurt Other Peo- ple? Can We Prevent It?,” has undergone significant organizational changes across the entire chapter for clarity and narrative flow. The first section now uni- fies various answers to the question of the origins of aggression—evolutionary, cultural, learned, physi- ological influences—with special attention to gender and aggression (similarities as well as the familiar dif- ferences). We have also added a section, “Putting the Elements Together: The Case of Sexual Assault.” Here we not only updated the references but also added the latest studies about causes of rape and sexual assault; sexual scripts; and a 2015 review of research on sexual miscommunications.

• In Chapter 13, “Prejudice: Causes, Consequences, and Cures,” we have added more on the Implicit Associa- tion Test (IAT) as it relates to measuring implicit bias. The chapter also now includes more social neuroscience research on social categorization and expands its dis- cussion of the effects of prejudice on its targets. Several new glossary entries have been added to reflect these updates.

• Social Psychology in Action chapters—“Using Social Psychology to Achieve a Sustainable and Happy Fu- ture,” “Social Psychology and Health,” and “Social Psychology and the Law”—have been updated with many references to new research, but remain shorter chapters. When we teach the course, we find that stu- dents are excited to learn about these applied areas. At the same time, we recognize that some instructors have difficulty fitting the chapters into their courses. As with the previous edition, our approach remains to maintain a shortened length for the applied chap- ters to make it easy to integrate these chapters into different parts of the course in whatever fashion an instructor deems best. SPA1, “Using Social Psychology to Achieve a Sustainable and Happy Future,” has a new opening example about the effects of climate change on U.S. cities and a new discussion of how experiences make people happier than material things. In SPA2, “Social Psychology and Health,” we revised the sections on perceived control, “tend and befriend” responses to stress, and behavioral causes of health problems. SPA3, “Social Psychology and Law,” has updated information on the role of post-identification feedback on eyewit- ness confidence and revised conclusions regarding the repressed memory debate.

REVEL™ Educational technology designed for the way today’s students read, think, and learn When students are engaged deeply, they learn more effec- tively and perform better in their courses. This simple fact inspired the creation of REVEL: an immersive learning ex- perience designed for the way today’s students read, think, and learn. Built in collaboration with educators and stu- dents nationwide, REVEL is the newest, fully digital way to deliver respected Pearson content.

REVEL enlivens course content with media interactives and assessments—integrated directly within the authors’ narrative—that provide opportunities for students to read about and practice course material in tandem. This immer- sive educational technology boosts student engagement, which leads to better understanding of concepts and im- proved performance throughout the course.

We are proud to release the ninth edition of Social Psychol- ogy in REVEL. This version of the book includes integrated videos and media content throughout, allowing students to explore topics more deeply at the point of relevancy. All of the interactive content in REVEL was carefully written and designed by the authors themselves, ensuring that students will receive the most effective presentation of the content in each chapter. Videos were also carefully selected by the au- thor team, and several of them were filmed specifically for the ninth edition in REVEL.

REVEL also offers the ability for students to assess their content mastery by taking multiple-choice quizzes that of- fer instant feedback and by participating in a variety of writing assignments such as peer- reviewed questions and auto-graded assignments.

Learn More About REVEL

Actor A

Actor B


ObserverA + B



ObserverA + B


This hands-on interactive helps students understand a well-known study on perceptual salience by giving them additional pop-up information when they click on a particular participant perspective.

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 12 28/05/15 1:47 AM

preface xiii

Teaching and Learning Resources A really good textbook should become part of the classroom experience, supporting and augmenting the professor’s vision for the class. Social Psychology offers a number of sup- plements that enrich both the professor’s presentation of social psychology and the students’ understanding of it.

MyPsychLab® • MyPsychLab (013401264X) combines proven learning

applications with powerful assessment to engage stu- dents, assess their learning, and help them succeed.

• An individualized study plan for each student, based on performance on chapter pre-tests, helps students focus on the specific topics where they need the most support. The personalized study plan arranges content from less complex thinking—like remembering and un- derstanding—to more complex critical-thinking skills— like applying and analyzing—and is based on Bloom’s taxonomy. Every level of the study plan provides a formative assessment quiz.

• Media assignments for each chapter—including videos with assignable questions—feed directly into the grade- book, enabling instructors to track student progress au- tomatically.

• The Pearson eText (0134012631) lets students access their textbook anytime and anywhere, and in any way they want, including listening online.

• Designed to help you develop and assess concept mas- tery and critical thinking, the Writing Space offers a single place to create, track, and grade writing assign- ments, provide resources, and exchange meaningful, personalized feedback with students, quickly and easily. Thanks to auto-graded, assisted-graded, and

create-your-own assignments, you decide your level of involvement in evaluating students’ work. The au- to-graded option allows you to assign writing in large classes without having to grade essays by hand. And because of integration with Turnitin®, Writing Space can check students’ work for improper citation or pla- giarism.

Instructor Resources We know that instructors are “tour guides” for their stu- dents, leading them through the exciting world of social psychology in the classroom. As such, we have invested tremendous effort in the creation of a world-class collection of instructor resources that will support professors in their mission to teach the best course possible.

For this edition, new coauthor Sam Sommers guided the creation of the supplements package. Here are the high- lights of the supplements we are pleased to provide:


• MyPsychLab Video Series for Social Psychology (0205847021) Current and cutting edge, the new MyPsychLab Video Series for social psychology features videos covering the most recent research, science, and applications. Watch clips from ABC’s wildly popular What Would You Do? series and discover how real peo- ple in real-world scenarios bring to life classic concepts in social psychology. The video series is also available to adopters on a DVD. Contact your Pearson representa- tive for more information.

• Social Psychology PowerPoint Collection (0134012348) The PowerPoints provide an active format for presenting concepts from each chapter and incorporating relevant figures and tables. Instructors can choose from three PowerPoint presentations: a lecture presentation set that

This edition of Social Psychology offers a variety of video types includ- ing interviews, as shown here with our lead author Elliot Aronson; news segments; and original lab experiment re-enactments directed by the authors and filmed at Tufts University.

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 13 28/05/15 1:47 AM

highlights major topics from the chapters, a highly visu- al lecture presentation set with embedded videos, or a PowerPoint collection of the complete art files from the text. The PowerPoint files can be downloaded from www

• Instructor’s Resource Manual (0134012445) The In- structor’s Manual includes key terms, lecture ideas, teaching tips, suggested readings, chapter outlines, stu- dent projects and research assignments, Try It! exercises, critical thinking topics and discussion questions, and a media resource guide. It has been updated for the ninth edition with hyperlinks to ease facilitation of navigation within the IM.


• Test Bank (0134012453) Each of the more than 2,000 questions in this test bank is page-referenced to the text and categorized by topic and skill level. Each question in the test bank was reviewed by several instructors to ensure that we are providing you with the best and most accurate content in the industry.

• MyTest Test Bank (0134012437) This Web-based test- generating software provides instructors “best in class” features in an easy-to-use program. Create tests and eas- ily select questions with drag-and-drop or point-and- click functionality. Add or modify test questions using the built-in Question Editor, and print tests in a vari- ety of formats. The program comes with full technical support.


• Learning Catalytics™ is an interactive, student-response tool that uses students’ smartphones, tablets, or laptops to engage them in more sophisticated tasks and think- ing. Now included with MyLab & with eText, Learning Catalytics enables you to generate classroom discussion, guide your lecture, and promote peer-to-peer learning with real-time analytics. Instructors, you can:

• Pose a variety of open-ended questions that help your students develop critical thinking skills.

• Monitor responses to find out where students are struggling.

• Use real-time data to adjust your instructional strat- egy and try other ways of engaging your students during class.

• Manage student interactions by automatically group- ing students for discussion, teamwork, and peer-to- peer learning.

Acknowledgments Elliot Aronson is delighted to acknowledge the collabora- tion of Carol Tavris in helping him update this edition. He would also like to acknowledge the contributions of his best friend (who also happens to be his wife of 60 years), Vera Aronson. Vera, as usual, provided inspiration for his ideas and acted as the sounding board for and supportive critic of many of his semiformed notions, helping to mold them into more-sensible analyses.

Tim Wilson would like to thank his graduate mentor, Richard E. Nisbett, who nurtured his interest in the field and showed him the continuity between social psychologi- cal research and everyday life. He also thanks the many stu- dents who have taken his course in social psychology over the years, for asking fascinating questions and providing wonderful examples of social psychological phenomena in their everyday lives. Lastly, he thanks the many graduate students with whom he has had the privilege of working for joining him in the ever-fascinating discovery of new so- cial psychological phenomena.

Robin Akert is beholden to Jonathan Cheek, Julie Don- nelly, Nan Vaida, Melody Tortosa, and Lila McCain for their feedback and advice, and to her family, Michaela and Wayne Akert, and Linda and Jerry Wuichet; their enthu- siasm and boundless support have sustained her on this project as on all the ones before it. Finally, she wishes to ex- press her gratitude to Dane Archer—mentor, colleague, and friend—who opened the world of social psychology to her and who has been her guide ever since.

Sam Sommers would like to acknowledge, first and foremost, the lovely Sommers ladies, Marilyn, Abigail, and Sophia, for being patient with round-the-clock revision ses- sions, for tolerating the constantly expanding mass of pa- pers and books on the floor of the study (he promises to clean them up before work starts on the tenth edition), and for frequently providing excellent real-life examples that illustrate social psychological concepts. He also gives spe- cial thanks to all of his teachers of social psychology, for in- troducing him to the field, for continued support, and for serving as role models as instructors, mentors, researchers, and writers.

No book can be written and published without the help of many people working with the authors behind the scenes, and our book is no exception. We would like to thank the many colleagues who read one or more chapters of this edition and of previous editions of the book.

Reviewers of the Ninth Edition Jim Allen, State University of New York, College at Geneseo; Kathryn Anderson, Our Lady of the Lake University; Anila Bhagavatula, California State University–Long Beach; Amy Bradshaw-Hoppock, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University; Ngoc Bui, University of La Verne; Bernardo Carducci, Indiana Univer- sity Southeast; Alex Czopp, Western Washington University; Keith Davis, University of South Carolina; Michael Dudley, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Heidi English, College of the Siskiyous; Joe Ferrari, DePaul University; Christine Floether, Centenary College; Krista Forrest, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Allen Gorman, Radford University; Jerry Green, Tarrant County College; Dana Greene, University of North Carolina; Donnell Griffin, Davidson County Community College; Lisa Harrison, California State University, Sacramento; Gina Hoover, Ohio State University; Jeffrey Huntsinger, Loyola University Chicago; Alisha Janowsky, University of Central Florida; Bethany Johnson, University of Nebraska–Omaha; Deborah Jones, Columbia University; Suzanne Kieffer, University of Houston; Marvin Lee, Tennessee State Uni- versity; Alexandra Luong, University of Minnesota Duluth; Robyn Mallett, Loyola University Chicago; Brian Meier, Gettysburg College; Andrea Mercurio, Boston University; Lori Nelson, University of Iowa; Darren Petronella, Nassau Community Col- lege; Jennifer Rivers, Elms College; Kari Terzino, Des Moines Area

xiv preface

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 14 28/05/15 1:47 AM

Community College; T. Joel Wade, Bucknell University; Angela Walker, Quinnipiac University; Chrysalis Wright, University of Central Florida; Garry Zaslow, Nassau Community College; Jie Zhang, University at Buffalo

Reviewers of Past Editions Jeffrey B. Adams, Saint Michael’s College; Bill Adler, Collin County Community College; John R. Aiello, Rutgers University; Charles A. Alexander, Rock Valley College; Sowmya Anand, Ohio State University; Nathan Arbuckle, Ohio State University; Art Aron, State University of New York, Stony Brook; Danny Axsom, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; Joan W. Baily, Jersey City State College; Norma Baker, Belmont Uni- versity; Austin Baldwin, University of Iowa; John Bargh, New York University; William A. Barnard, University of Northern Colorado; Doris G. Bazzini, Appalachian State University; Arthur Beaman, University of Kentucky; Gordon Bear, Ramapo College; Susan E. Beers, Sweet Briar College; Kathy L. Bell, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Leonard Berkowitz, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Ellen S. Berscheid, University of Minnesota; John Bickford, University of Massachusetts, Amherst; Thomas Blass, University of Maryland; C. George Boeree, Ship- pensburg University; Lisa M. Bohon, California State University, Sacramento; Jennifer Bosson, The University of Oklahoma; Chante C. Boyd, Carnegie Mellon University; Peter J. Brady, Clark State Community College; Kosha Bramesfeld, Pennsylva- nia State University; Kelly A. Brennan, University of Texas, Aus- tin; Richard W. Brislin, East-West Center of the University of Hawaii; Jeff Bryson, San Diego State University; Melissa Burkley, Oklahoma State University; Amy Bush, University of Houston; Amber Bush Amspoker, University of Houston; Brad Bushman, Iowa State University; Thomas P. Cafferty, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Melissa A. Cahoon, Wright State University; Frank Calabrese, Community College of Philadelphia; Michael Caruso, University of Toledo; Nicholas Christenfeld, University of California, San Diego; Margaret S. Clark, Carnegie Mellon University; Russell D. Clark, III, University of North Texas; Susan D. Clayton, Allegheny College; Megan Clegg-Kraynok, West Virginia University; Brian M. Cohen, University of Texas, San Antonio; Florette Cohen, Rutgers Uni- versity; Jack Cohen, Camden County College; Steven G. Cole, Texas Christian University; Eric J. Cooley, Western Oregon State University; Diana Cordova, Yale University; Traci Craig, Univer- sity of Idaho; Jack Croxton, State University of New York, Fredonia; Keith E. Davis, University of South Carolina, Columbia; Mary Ellen Dello Stritto, Ball State University; Dorothee Dietrich, Hamline University; Kate Dockery, University of Florida; Susann Doyle, Gainesville College; Steve Duck, University of Iowa; Michael G. Dudley, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Karen G. Duffy, State University of New York, Geneseo; Valerie Eastman, Drury College; Tami Eggleston, McKendree College; Timothy Elliot, University of Alabama–Birmingham; Steve L. Ellyson, Youngstown State University; Cindy Elrod, Georgia State University; Kadimah Elson, University of California, San Diego/Grossmont College; Rebecca S. Fahrlander, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Alan Feingold, Yale University; Edward Fernandes, East Carolina University; Phil Finney, Southeast Missouri State University; Susan Fiske, University of Massachu- setts; Robin Franck, Southwestern College; Denise Frank, Ramapo College of New Jersey; Timothy M. Franz, St. John Fisher College; William Rick Fry, Youngstown State University; Russell Geen, University of Missouri; Glenn Geher, State University of

New York at New Paltz; David Gersh, Houston Community College; Frederick X. Gibbons, Iowa State University; Cynthia Gilliland, Louisiana State University; Genaro Gonzalez, Univer- sity of Texas; Jessica Gonzalez, Ohio State University; Sara Gorchoff, University of California, Berkeley; Beverly Gray, Youngstown State University; Gordon Hammerle, Adrian Col- lege; H. Anna Han, Ohio State University; Judith Harackiewicz, University of Wisconsin–Madison; Elaine Hatfield, University of Hawaii, Manoa; Vicki S. Helgeson, Carnegie Mellon University; Joyce Hemphill, Cazenovia College; Tracy B. Henley, Mississippi State University; Ed Hirt, Indiana University; Harold Hunziker Jr., Corning Community College; David E. Hyatt, University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh; Marita Inglehart, University of Michigan; Carl Kallgren, Behrend College, Pennsylvania State University, Erie; Stephen Kilianski, Rutgers University; Bill Klein, Colby Col- lege; James D. Johnson, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Lee Jussim, Rutgers University; Stephen Kilianski, Rutgers Uni- versity; Fredrick Koenig, Tulane University; Alan Lambert, Washington University, St. Louis; Emmett Lampkin, Kirkwook Community College; Elizabeth C. Lanthier, Northern Virginia Community College; Patricia Laser, Bucks County Community Col- lege; G. Daniel Lassiter, Ohio University; Dianne Leader, Georgia Institute of Technology; John Lu, Concordia University; Stephanie Madon, Iowa State University; John Malarkey, Wilmington College; Andrew Manion, St. Mary’s University of Minnesota; Allen R. McConnell, Michigan State University; Adam Meade, North Carolina State University; Joann M. Montepare, Tufts University; Richard Moreland, University of Pittsburgh; Dave Nalbone, Purdue University–Calumet; Carrie Nance, Stetson University; Todd D. Nelson, Michigan State University; Elaine Nocks, Furman University; Matylda Osika, University of Houston; Cheri Parks, Colorado Christian University; W. Gerrod Parrott, Georgetown University; David Peterson, Mount Senario College; Mary Pritchard, Boise State University; Cynthia K. S. Reed, Tarrant County College; Dan Richard, University of North Florida; Neal Roese, University of Illinois; Darrin L. Rogers, Ohio State University; Joan Rollins, Rhode Island College; Paul Rose, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville; Lee D. Ross, Stanford University; Alex Rothman, University of Minnesota; M. Susan Rowley, Champlain College; Delia Saenz, Arizona State University; Brad Sagarin, Northern Illinois University; Fred Sanborn, North Carolina Wesleyan College; Connie Schick, Bloomsburg University; Norbert Schwartz, University of Michigan; Gretchen Sechrist,University at Buffalo; Richard C. Sherman, Miami University of Ohio; Paul Silvia, University of North Carolina at Greensboro; Randolph A. Smith, Ouachita Baptist University; Linda Solomon, Marymount Manhattan Col- lege; Janice Steil, Adelphi University; Jakob Steinberg, Fairleigh Dickinson University; Mark Stewart, American River College; Lori Stone, The University of Texas at Austin; JoNell Strough, West Virginia University; T. Gale Thompson, Bethany College; Scott Tindale, Loyola University of Chicago; David M. Tom, Columbus State Community College; David Trafimow, New Mexico State University; Ruth Warner, St. Louis University; Anne Weiher, Metropolitan State College of Denver; Gary L. Wells, Iowa State University; Jackie White, University of North Carolina at Greens- boro; Paul L. Wienir, Western Michigan University; Kipling D. Williams, University of Toledo; Tamara Williams, Hampton Uni- versity; Paul Windschitl, University of Iowa; Mike Witmer, Skagit Valley College; Gwen Wittenbaum, Michigan State University; William Douglas Woody, University of Northern Colorado; Clare Zaborowski, San Jacinto College; William H. Zachry, University of Tennessee, Martin; Leah Zinner, University of Wisconsin–Madison

preface xv

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 15 28/05/15 1:47 AM

We also thank the wonderful editorial staff of Pearson for their expertise and professionalism, including Dickson Musslewhite (Editorial Director), Diane Szulecki (Program Manager), Lindsey Prudhomme Gill (Product Marketing Manager), Luke Robbins (Editorial Assistant), Christopher Fegan (Digital Product Manager), and Shelly Kupperman (Project Manager). We would especially like to thank Mary Piper Hansen (Developmental Editor), who provided ex- pert guidance with constant good cheer and insight even

through barrages of e-mail exchanges and attachments, and Amber Chow (Executive Editor), whose smart vision for the book, and commitment to making it as good as it can be, have truly made a difference. Finally, we thank Mary Falcon, but for whom we never would have begun this project.

Thank you for inviting us into your classroom. We wel- come your suggestions, and we would be delighted to hear your comments about this book.

xvi preface

Elliot Aronson

Tim Wilson

Robin Akert

Sam Sommers

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 16 28/05/15 1:47 AM


neat,” they said. “We broke a window and nobody cared!” My friend and I hopped onto our bikes to investigate. We had no trouble finding the house—there it was, sitting off by itself, with a big, jagged hole in a first-floor window. We got off of our bikes and looked around. My friend found a baseball-sized rock lying on the ground and threw a per- fect strike through another first-floor window. There was something exhilarating about the smash-and-tingle of shat- tering glass, especially when we knew there was nothing wrong with what we were doing. After all, the house was abandoned, wasn’t it? We broke nearly every window in the house and then climbed through one of the first-floor windows to look around.

It was then that we realized something was terribly wrong. The house certainly did not look abandoned. There were pictures on the wall, nice furniture, books in shelves. We went home feeling frightened and confused. We soon learned that the house was the home of an elderly couple who were away on vacation. Eventually, my parents dis- covered what we had done and paid a substantial sum to repair the windows. For years, I pondered this incident: Why did I do such a terrible thing? Was I a bad kid? I didn’t think so, and neither did my parents. How, then, could a good kid do such a bad thing? Even though the neighbor- hood kids said the house was abandoned, why couldn’t my friend and I see the clear signs that someone lived there? How crucial was it that my friend was there and threw the first rock? Although I didn’t know it at the time, these re- flections touched on several classic social psychological issues, such as whether only bad people do bad things, whether the social situation can be powerful enough to make good people do bad things, and the way in which our expectations about an event can make it difficult to see it as it really is. Fortunately, my career as a vandal ended with this one incident. It did, however, mark the beginning of my fascination with basic questions about how people understand themselves and the social world—questions I continue to investigate to this day.

Tim Wilson did his undergraduate work at Williams College and Hampshire College and received his PhD from the University of Michigan. Currently Sherrell J. Aston Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia, he has published numerous articles in the areas of introspection, attitude change, self-knowledge, and affec- tive forecasting, as well as a recent book, Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change. His research has received the support of the National Science Foundation and the National Institute for Mental Health. He has been elected twice to the Execu- tive Board of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology and is a Fellow in the American Psychological Society and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. In 2009, he was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2015 he received the William James Fellows Award from the Association for Psycho- logical Science. Wilson has taught the Introduction to Social Psy- chology course at the University of Virginia for more than 30 years. In 2001 he was awarded the University of Virginia All-University Outstanding Teaching Award, and in 2010 was awarded the Uni- versity of Virginia Distinguished Scientist Award.

Elliot Aronson When I was a kid, we were the only Jewish family in a viru- lently anti-Semitic neighborhood. I had to go to Hebrew school every day, late in the afternoon. Being the only youngster in my neighborhood going to Hebrew school made me an easy target for some of the older neighborhood toughs. On my way home from Hebrew school, after dark, I was frequently way- laid and roughed up by roving gangs shouting anti-Semitic epithets.

I have a vivid memory of sitting on a curb after one of these beatings, nursing a bloody nose or a split lip, feel- ing very sorry for myself and wondering how these kids could hate me so much when they didn’t even know me. I thought about whether those kids were taught to hate Jews or whether, somehow, they were born that way. I wondered if their hatred could be changed—if they got to know me better, would they hate me less? I speculated about my own character. What would I have done if the shoe were on the other foot—that is, if I were bigger and stronger than they, would I be capable of beating them up for no good reason?

I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, but eventually I discovered that these were profound questions. And some 30 years later, as an experimental social psychologist, I had the great good fortune to be in a position to answer some of those questions and to invent techniques to reduce the kind of prejudice that had claimed me as a victim.

Elliot Aronson is Professor Emeritus at the University of Califor- nia at Santa Cruz and one of the most renowned social psychologists in the world. In 2002, he was chosen as one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century. Dr. Aronson is the only per- son in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Associa- tion to have received all three of its major awards: for distinguished writing, distinguished teaching, and distinguished research. Many other professional societies have honored his research and teaching as well. These include the American Association for the Advancement of Science, which gave him its highest honor, the Distinguished Scientific Research award; the American Council for the Advancement and Sup- port of Education, which named him Professor of the Year of 1989; the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, which awarded him the Gordon Allport prize for his contributions to the reduction of prejudice among racial and ethnic groups; and the William James Award from the Association for Psychological Science. In 1992, he was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A col- lection of papers and tributes by his former students and colleagues, The Scientist and the Humanist, celebrates his contributions to social psychological theory and its application to real-world prob- lems. Dr. Aronson’s own recent books for general audiences include Mistakes Were Made (but not by ME), with Carol Tavris, and a memoir, Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist.

Tim Wilson One day when I was 8, a couple of older kids rode up on their bikes to share some big news: They had discovered an abandoned house down a country road. “It’s really

About the Authors

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 17 28/05/15 1:47 AM

xviii About the Authors

Robin Akert One fall day when I was about 16, I was walking with a friend along the shore of the San Francisco Bay. Deep in conversa- tion, I glanced over my shoulder and saw a sailboat capsize. I pointed it out to my friend, who took only a perfunctory interest and went on talking. However, I kept watching as we walked, and I realized that the two sailors were in the water, clinging to the capsized boat. Again I said something to my friend, who replied, “Oh, they’ll get it upright—don’t worry.”

But I was worried. Was this an emergency? My friend didn’t think so. And I was no sailor; I knew nothing about boats. But I kept thinking, “That water is really cold. They can’t stay in that water too long.” I remember feeling very confused and unsure. What should I do? Should I do any- thing? Did they really need help?

We were near a restaurant with a big window overlook- ing the bay, and I decided to go in and see if anyone had done anything about the boat. Lots of people were watching but not doing anything. This confused me too. Meekly, I asked the bartender to call for some kind of help. He just shrugged. I went back to the window and watched the two small figures in the water. Why was everyone so unconcerned? Was I crazy?

Years later, I reflected on how hard it was for me to do what I did next: I demanded that the bartender let me use his phone. In those days before “911,” it was lucky that I knew there was a Coast Guard station on the bay, and I asked the operator for the number. I was relieved to hear the Guardsman take my message very seriously.

It had been an emergency. I watched as the Coast Guard cutter sped across the bay and pulled the two sailors out of the water. Maybe I saved their lives that day. What really stuck with me over the years was how other people behaved and how it made me feel. The other bystanders seemed un- concerned and did nothing to help. Their reactions made me doubt myself and made it harder for me to decide to take ac- tion. When I later studied social psychology in college, I re- alized that on the shore of the San Francisco Bay that day, I had experienced the “bystander effect” fully: The presence of other, apparently unconcerned bystanders had made it diffi- cult for me to decide if the situation was an emergency and whether it was my responsibility to help.

Robin Akert graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Santa Cruz, where she majored in psychology and so- ciology. She received her PhD in experimental social psychology from Princeton University. She is currently a Professor of Psychology at Wellesley College, where she was awarded the Pinanski Prize for Ex- cellence in Teaching early in her career. She publishes primarily in the area of nonverbal communication, and recently received the AAUW American Fellowship in support of her research. She has taught the social psychology course at Wellesley College for nearly 30 years.

Sam Sommers I went to college to major in English. I only found myself in an Intro to Psychology course as a second-semester freshman because, well, it just seemed like the kind of thing you did as a second-semester freshman. It was when we got to the social psychology section of the course that a little voice in my head starting whispering something along the lines of, Hey, you’ve gotta admit this is pretty good stuff. It’s a lot like the conversations you have with your friends about daily life, but with scientific data.

As part of the class, we had the opportunity to partici- pate in research studies for course credit. So one day I found myself in an interaction study in which I was going to work on solving problems with a partner. I walked in and it was clear that the other guy had arrived earlier—his coat and bag were already hanging on the back of a chair. I was led to another, smaller room and shown a video of my soon-to-be partner. Then I was given a series of written questions about my perceptions of him, my expectations for our upcoming session together, and so forth. Finally, I walked back into the main area. The experimenter handed me a chair and told me to put it down anywhere next to my partner’s chair, and that she would go get him (he, too, was presumably completing written questionnaires in a private room).

So I did. I put my chair down, took a seat, and waited. Then the experimenter returned, but she was alone. She told me the study was over. There was no other participant; there would be no problem-solving in pairs. The video I had watched was of an actor, and in some versions of the study he mentioned having a girlfriend. In other versions, he mentioned a boyfriend. What the researchers were actually studying was how this social category information of sexual orientation would influence participants’ attitudes about the interaction.

And then she took out a tape measure. The tape measure was to gauge how close to my part-

ner’s chair I had placed my own chair, the hypothesis being that discomfort with a gay partner might manifest in terms of participants placing their chairs farther away. Greater comfort with or affinity for the partner was predicted to lead to more desire for proximity.

And at that, I was hooked. The little voice in my head had grown from a whisper to a full-throated yell that this was a field I could get excited about. First of all, the researchers had tricked me. That, alone, I thought was, for lack of a better word, cool. But more important, they had done so in the ef- fort to get me and my fellow participants to reveal something about our attitudes, preferences, and tendencies that we never would have admitted to (or perhaps even would have been aware of) had they just asked us directly. Here was a fasci- natingly creative research design, being used in the effort to study what struck me as an incredibly important social issue.

Like I said, I was hooked. And I look forward to help- ing to introduce you to this field that caught me by surprise back when I was a student and continues to intrigue and inspire me to this day.

Sam Sommers earned his BA from Williams College and his PhD from the University of Michigan. Since 2003 he has been a fac- ulty member in the Department of Psychology at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. His research examines issues related to stereotyping, prejudice, and group diversity, with a particular inter- est in how these processes play out in the legal domain. He has won multiple teaching awards at Tufts, including the Lerman-Neubauer Prize for Outstanding Teaching and Advising and the Gerald R. Gill Professor of the Year Award. He was also inducted into the Tufts Hall of Diversity for his efforts to promote an inclusive climate on campus for all students. He has testified as an expert witness on issues related to racial bias, jury decision-making, and eyewit- ness memory in criminal trial proceedings in seven states. His first general audience book on social psychology was published in 2011, titled Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World. His next book, titled Your Brain on Sports, is coauthored with L. Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated and will be published in early 2016.

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 18 28/05/15 1:47 AM


Just Say No to the Couch Potato Within Because social psychology is about everyday life, you might lull yourself into believing that the material is all common sense. Don’t be fooled. The material presented in this book is more complicated than it might seem. Therefore, we want to emphasize that the best way to learn it is to work with it in an active, not passive, fashion. You can’t just read a chapter once and expect it to stick with you. You have to go over the material, wrestle with it, make your own con- nections to it, question it, think about it, interact with it. Actively working with material makes it memorable and makes it your own. Because it’s a safe bet that someone is going to ask you about this material later and you’re going to have to pull it out of memory, do what you can to get it into memory now. Here are some techniques to use:

• Go ahead and be bold—use a highlighter! If you high- light important points using the highlighting tool in your toolbar, you will remember those important points better and can scroll back through them later.

• Read the chapter before the applicable class lecture, not afterward. This way, you’ll get more out of the lecture, which will likely introduce new material in addition to what is in the chapter. The chapter will give you the big picture, as well as a lot of detail. The lecture will en- hance that information and help you put it all together. If you haven’t read the chapter first, you may not under- stand some of the points made in the lecture or realize which points are most important.

• Here’s a good way to study material: Write out a key concept or a study in your own words, without looking at the book or your notes. Or say it out loud to your- self—again in your own words, with your eyes closed. Can you do it? How good was your version? Did you omit anything important? Did you get stuck at some point, unable to remember what comes next? If so, you now know that you need to go over that information in more detail. You can also study with someone else, describing theories and studies to each other and seeing if you’re making sense.

• If you have trouble remembering the results of an im- portant study, try drawing your own version of a graph of the findings (you can use our data graphs for an idea of how to proceed). You will probably find that you remember the research results much better in pictorial form than in words. Draw the information a few times and it will stay with you.

• Remember, the more you work with the material, the better you will learn and remember it. Write it in your own words, talk about it, explain it to others, or draw visual representations of it.

“There is then creative reading as well as creative writing,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1837, and that aptly sums up what you need to know to be a proficient student: Be an active, creative consumer of information. How do you accomplish that feat? Actu- ally, it’s not difficult. Like everything else in life, it just takes some work—some clever, well-planned, purposeful work. Here are some suggestions about how to do it.

Get to Know the Textbook Believe it or not, in writing this book, we thought care- fully about the organization and structure of each chapter. Things are presented as they are for a reason, and that rea- son is to help you learn the material in the best way possi- ble. Here are some tips on what to look for in each chapter.

Key terms are in boldface type in the text so that you’ll notice them. We define the terms in the text, and that definition appears again in the margin. These marginal def- initions are there to help you out if later in the chapter you forget what something means. The marginal definitions are quick and easy to find. You can also look up key terms in the alphabetical Glossary at the end of this textbook.

Make sure you notice the headings and subheadings. The headings are the skeleton that holds a chapter together. They link together like vertebrae. If you ever feel lost, look back to the previous heading and the headings before it— this will give you the “big picture” of where the chapter is going. It should also help you see the connections between sections.

The summary at the end of each chapter is a succinct shorthand presentation of the chapter information. You should read it and make sure there are no surprises when you do so. If anything in the summary doesn’t ring a bell, go back to the chapter and reread that section. Most im- portant, remember that the summary is intentionally brief, whereas your understanding of the material should be full and complete. Use the summary as a study aid before your exams. When you read it over, everything should be familiar. When you have that wonderful feeling of know- ing more than is in the summary, you’ll know that you are ready to take the exam.

Be sure to do the Try It! exercises. They will make concepts from social psychology concrete and help you see how they can be applied to your own life. Some of the Try It! exercises replicate social psychology experiments. Oth- ers reproduce self-report scales so you can see where you stand in relation to other people. Still others are short quiz- zes that illustrate social psychological concepts.

Watch the videos. Our carefully curated collection of interviews, news clips, and research study reenactments is designed to enhance, and help you better understand, the concepts you’re reading. If you can see the concept in ac- tion, it’s likely to sink in a little deeper.

Special Tips for Students

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 19 28/05/15 1:47 AM

• Last but not least, remember that this material is a lot of fun. You haven’t even started reading the book yet, but we think you’re going to like it. In particular, you’ll see how much social psychology has to tell you about your real, everyday life. As this course progresses, you might want to remind yourself to observe the events of your daily life with new eyes—the eyes of a social psychologist— and try to apply what you are learning to the behavior of friends, acquaintances, strangers, and, yes, even yourself. Make sure you use the Try It! exercises and visit the Web site. You will find out how much social psychology can help us understand our lives. When you read the news, think about what social psychology has to say about cur- rent events and behaviors; we believe you will find that your understanding of daily life is richer. If you notice a

news article that you think is an especially good example of “social psychology in action,” please send it to us, with a full reference to where you found it and on what page. If we decide to use it in the next edition of this book, we’ll list your name in the Acknowledgments.

We realize that ten years from now you may not re- member all the facts, theories, and names you learn now. Although we hope you will remember some of them, our main goal is for you to take with you into your future a great many of the broad social psychological concepts pre- sented herein—and, perhaps more important, a critical and scientific way of thinking. If you open yourself to social psychology’s magic, we believe it will enrich the way you look at the world and the way you live in it.

xx Special Tips for Students

A01_ARON6544_09_SE_FM.indd 20 28/05/15 1:47 AM


Chapter 1

Introducing Social Psychology

Chapter Outline and Learning Objectives

Defining Social Psychology 1.1 What is social psychology, and how is it different

from other disciplines?

Social Psychology, Philosophy, Science, and Common Sense

How Social Psychology Differs from Its Closest Cousins

The Power of the Situation 1.2 Why does it matter how people explain and interpret

events—and their own and others’ behavior?

The Importance of Explanation The Importance of Interpretation

Where Construals Come From: Basic Human Motives 1.3 What happens when people’s need to feel good about

themselves conflicts with their need to be accurate?

The Self-Esteem Motive: The Need to Feel Good About Ourselves

The Social Cognition Motive: The Need to Be Accurate

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 1 23/05/15 4:03 AM

2 Chapter 1

It is a pleasure to be your tour guides as we take you on a journey through the world of social psychology. The four authors of your book, combined, have taught this course for almost 100 years, so we know the terrain pretty well. As we embark on this journey, our hope is to convey our excitement about social psychology—what it is and why it matters. Not only do we enjoy teaching this stuff, we also love contributing to the growth and development of this field—for, in addition to being teachers, each of us is a scientist who has contributed to the knowledge base that makes up our dis- cipline. In effect, not only are we leading this tour, we also helped create some of its major attractions. We will travel to fascinating and exotic places like prejudice, love, propaganda, education, the law, aggression, compassion, . . . all the rich variety and surprise of human social life. Ready? OK, let’s go!

Let’s begin with a few examples of the heroic, touching, tragic, and puzzling things that people do:

• After two brothers set off a bomb at the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing three people and severely injuring 170 others, citizens of Boston raced to the rescue. Many, in spite of the risk to themselves, ran straight to the site of the bombing to help the injured, putting tourniquets on bleeding wounds until ambu- lances could arrive. “We’re a strong city,” said the mayor. “Boston will overcome.”

• Kristen has known Martin for 2 months and feels that she is madly in love with him. “We’re soul mates!” she tells her best friend. “He’s the one!” “What are you thinking?” says the BF. “He’s completely wrong for you! He’s as different from you as can be—different background, religion, politics; you even like different movies.” “I’m not worried,” says Kristen. “Opposites attract. I know that’s true; I read it on Wikipedia!”

• Janine and her brother Oscar are arguing about fraternities. Janine’s college didn’t have any, but Oscar is at a large state university in the Midwest, where he has joined Alpha Beta. He went through a severe and scary hazing ritual to join, and Janine cannot understand why he loves these guys so much. “They make the pledges do such stupid stuff,” she says. “They humiliate you and force you to get sick drunk and practically freeze to death in the middle of the night. How can you possibly be happy living there?” “You don’t get it,” Oscar replies. “Alpha Beta is the best of all fraternities. My frat brothers just seem more fun than most other guys.”

• Abraham Biggs Jr., age 19, had been posting to an online discussion board for 2 years. Unhappy about his future and that a relationship had ended, Biggs an- nounced on camera that he was going to commit suicide. He took an overdose of drugs and linked to a live video feed from his bedroom. None of his hundreds of observers called the police for more than 10 hours; some egged him on. Paramed- ics reached him too late, and Biggs died.

• In the mid-1970s, several hundred members of the Peoples Temple, a California-based religious cult, immigrated to Guyana under the guidance of their leader, the Reverend Jim Jones, where they founded an interracial commu- nity called Jonestown. But within a few years some members wanted out, an out- side investigation was about to get Jones in trouble, and the group’s solidarity was waning. Jones grew despondent and, summoning everyone in the commu- nity, spoke to them about the beauty of dying and the certainty that everyone would meet again in another place. The residents willingly lined up in front of a vat containing a mixture of Kool-Aid and cyanide, and drank the lethal concoc- tion. (The legacy of this massacre is the term “drinking the Kool-Aid,” referring to a person’s blind belief in an ideology that could lead to death.) A total of 914 people died, including 80 babies and the Reverend Jones.

Why do many people rush into danger and discomfort to help strangers in trou- ble? Is Kristen right that opposites attract or is she just kidding herself? Why did Oscar

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 2 23/05/15 4:03 AM

Introducing Social Psychology 3

come to love his fraternity brothers in spite of the hazing they had put him through? Why would people watch a troubled young man commit suicide in front of their eyes, when, by simply flagging the video to alert the Web site, they might have averted a tragedy? How could hundreds of people be induced to kill their own children and then commit suicide?

All of these stories—the good, the bad, the ugly—pose fascinating questions about human behavior. In this book, we will show you how social psychologists go about answering them.

Defining Social Psychology 1.1 What is social psychology, and how is it different from other disciplines?

The task of the psychologist is to try to understand and predict human behavior. Different kinds of psychologists go about this task in different ways, and we want to show you how social psychologists do it. Social psychology is the scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people: parents, friends, employers, teachers, strangers—indeed, by the entire social situation (Allport, 1985). When we think of social influence, the kinds of examples that readily come to mind are direct attempts at persuasion, whereby one person deliberately tries to change another person’s behav- ior or attitude. This is what happens when advertisers use sophisticated techniques to persuade us to buy a particular brand of toothpaste, or when our friends try to get us to do something we don’t really want to do (“Come on, have another beer—everyone is doing it”), or when the schoolyard bully uses force or threats to get smaller kids to part with their lunch money.

The study of direct attempts at social influence is a major part of social psychol- ogy and will be discussed in our chapters on conformity, attitudes, and group pro- cesses. To the social psychologist, however, social influence is broader than attempts by one person to change another person’s behavior. It includes our thoughts and feel- ings as well as our overt acts, and takes many forms other than deliberate attempts at persuasion. We are often influenced merely by the presence of other people, including perfect strangers who are not interacting with us. Other people don’t even have to be present: We are governed by the imaginary approval or disapproval of our par- ents, friends, and teachers and by how we expect others to react to us. Sometimes these influences conflict with one another, and social psychologists are especially interested in what happens in the mind of an individual when they do. For example, conflicts frequently occur when young people go off to college and find themselves torn between the beliefs and values they learned at home and the beliefs and values of their professors or peers. (See the Try It!)

Social Psychology The scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people

Social Influence The effect that the words, actions, or mere presence of other people have on our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behavior

Try IT! How Do Other People Affect Your Values? Think of the major values that govern people’s lives: love, money, sex, religion, freedom, compassion for others, security, children, duty, loyalty, and so on. Make three lists of the 10 values that are most important to (1) you, (2) your parents, and (3) your closest friends in college. If there are

differences in your lists, how do they affect you? Are some of your values conflicting with those of your parents or friends, and if so do you find yourself rejecting one set of values in favor of the other? Are you trying to find a compromise between the two?

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 3 23/05/15 4:03 AM

4 Chapter 1

We will spend the rest of this introductory chapter expanding on these issues, so that you will get an idea of what social psychology is, what it isn’t, and how it differs from other, related disciplines.

Social Psychology, Philosophy, Science, and Common Sense Throughout history, philosophy has been a major source of insight about human nature. Indeed, the work of philosophers is part of the foundation of contempo- rary psychology. Psychologists have looked to philosophers for insights into the nature of consciousness (e.g., Dennett, 1991) and how people form beliefs about the social world (e.g., Gilbert, 1991). Sometimes, however, even great thinkers find themselves in disagreement with one another. When this occurs, how are you sup- posed to know who is right? Are there some situations where Philosopher A might be right, and other situations where Philosopher B might be right? How would you determine this?

We social psychologists address many of the same questions that philosophers do, but we attempt to look at these questions scientifically—even questions concern- ing that great human mystery, love. In 1663, the Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza offered a highly original insight. In sharp disagreement with the hedonistic philoso- pher Aristippus, he proposed that if we fall in love with someone whom we formerly

Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by our immediate surroundings, including the presence of other people—even mere strangers.

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 4 23/05/15 4:03 AM

Introducing Social Psychology 5

hated, that love will be stronger than if hatred had not preceded it. Spinoza’s prop- osition was beautifully worked out, with impeccable logic. But how can we be sure that it holds up? Does it always hold up? What are the conditions under which it does or doesn’t? These are empirical questions, meaning that their answers can be derived from experimentation or measurement rather than by personal opinion (Aronson, 1999; Aronson & Linder, 1965).

Now let’s take another look at the examples that opened this chapter. Why did these people behave the way they did? One way to answer would simply be to ask them. We could ask the people who observed Abraham Biggs’s suicide why they didn’t call the police; we could ask Oscar why he enjoys fraternity life; we could ask the Boston rescuers why they ran headlong into a potentially dangerous situation. The problem with this approach is that people are often unaware of the reasons behind their own responses and feelings (Gilbert, 2008; Nisbett & Wilson, 1977; Wilson, 2002). People might come up with plenty of justifications for not call- ing the police to rescue Biggs, but those justifications might not be the reason they did nothing.

After the mass suicide at Jonestown, everyone had an explanation:

• Jones used hypnotism and drugs to weaken the resistance of his followers.

• Jones attracted people who were already clinically depressed.

• Only mentally ill or emotionally disturbed people join cults.

These were the leading “common sense” answers, but they are mistaken. More- over, if we rely on commonsense explanations of one particular tragic event, we don’t learn much that helps us understand other, similar ones.

Thus, in explaining a tragedy like Jonestown—or any other topic of interest— social psychologists would want to know which of many possible explanations is the most likely. To do this, we have devised an array of scientific methods to test our assumptions, guesses, and ideas about human social behavior, empirically and sys- tematically rather than by relying on folk wisdom, common sense, or the opinions and insights of philosophers, novelists, political pundits, and our grandmothers. Doing

British soldiers stand near burning vehicles in Kabul, Afghanistan, after a suicide car bomber killed soldiers on a NATO-led peacekeeping mission. What causes a person to become a suicide bomber? Popular theories say such people must be mentally ill, alienated loners, or psychopaths. But social psychologists would try to understand the circumstances and situations that drive otherwise healthy, well-educated, bright people to commit murder and suicide for the sake of a religious or political goal.

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 5 23/05/15 4:03 AM

6 Chapter 1

experiments in social psychology presents many challenges, primarily because we are attempting to predict the behavior of highly sophisticated organisms in complex situations. As scientists, our goal is to find objective answers to such questions as: What are the factors that cause aggression? What causes prejudice, and how might we reduce it? What variables cause two people to like or love each other? Why do certain kinds of political advertisements work better than others?

To answer questions like these, the first task of the social psychologist is to make an educated guess, called a hypothesis, about the specific situations under which one outcome or the other would occur. Just as a physicist performs experiments to test hypotheses about the nature of the physical world, the social psychologist performs experiments to test hypotheses about the nature of the social world. The next task is to design well-controlled experiments sophisticated enough to tease out the situ- ations that would result in one or another outcome. This method allows us to make accurate predictions once we know the key aspects of the prevailing situation. (See Chapter 2.)

Social psychologists are not opposed to folk wisdom—far from it. The primary problem with relying entirely on such sources is that, like philosopher A and phi- losopher B, they often disagree with one another. Consider what folk wisdom has to say about the factors that influence how much we like other people. We know that “birds of a feather flock together.” Of course, we say, thinking of the many examples of our pleasure in hanging out with people who share our backgrounds and interests. But folk wisdom also tells us—as it persuaded lovestruck Kristen—that “opposites attract.” Of course, we say, thinking of all the times we were attracted to people with different backgrounds and interests. Well, which is it? Similarly, are we to believe that “out of sight is out of mind” or that “absence makes the heart grow fonder”?

Social psychologists would suggest that there are some conditions under which birds of a feather do flock together, and other conditions under which opposites do attract. Similarly, in some conditions absence does make the heart grow fonder, and in others “out of sight” does mean out of mind. But it’s not enough to say both proverbs can be true. Part of the job of the social psychologist is to do the research that specifies the conditions under which one or another is most likely to take place.

How Social Psychology Differs from Its Closest Cousins If you are like most people, when you read the examples that opened this chapter, you assumed that the individuals involved had some weaknesses, strengths, and personality traits that led them to respond as they did. Some people are leaders and others are followers; some people are public-spirited and others are selfish; some are brave and others are cowardly. Perhaps the people who failed to get help for Abraham Biggs were lazy, timid, selfish, or heartless. Given what you know about their behavior, would you loan them your car or trust them to take care of your new puppy?

Asking and trying to answer questions about people’s behavior in terms of their traits is the work of personality psychologists, who generally focus on individual dif- ferences, the aspects of people’s personalities that make them different from others. Research on personality increases our understanding of human behavior, but social psychologists believe that explaining behavior primarily through personality traits ignores a critical part of the story: the powerful role played by social influence.

Consider again the tragedy at Jonestown. Remember that it was not just a handful of people who committed suicide there, but almost 100 percent of them. It is highly improbable that they were all mentally ill or had the same constellation of person- ality traits. If we want a richer, more thorough explanation of this tragic event, we need to understand what kind of power and influence a charismatic figure like Jim

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 6 23/05/15 4:03 AM

Introducing Social Psychology 7

Jones possessed, the nature of the impact of living in a closed society cut off from other points of view, and other factors that could have caused mentally healthy peo- ple to obey him. In fact, as social psychologists have shown, the social conditions at Jonestown were such that virtually anyone—even strong, nondepressed individuals like you or us—would have succumbed to Jones’s influence.

Here is a more mundane example. Suppose you go to a party and see a great-look- ing fellow student you have been hoping to get to know better. The student is look- ing pretty uncomfortable, however—standing alone, not making eye contact, not talking to anyone who comes over. You decide you’re not so interested; this person seems pretty aloof, even arrogant. But a few weeks later you see the student again, now being outgoing, witty, and appealing. So what is this person “really” like? Shy or arrogant, charming and welcoming? It’s the wrong question; the answer is both and neither. All of us are capable of being shy in some situations and outgoing in others. A much more interesting question is: What factors were different in these two situations that had such a profound effect on the student’s behavior? That is a social psychologi- cal question. (See the Try It!)

Personality psychologists study qualities of the individual that might make a person shy, conventional, rebellious, and willing to wear a turquoise wig in public or a yellow shirt in a sea of blue. Social psychologists study the powerful role of social influence on how all of us behave.

Try IT! Social Situations and Shyness 1. Think about one of your friends or acquaintances whom you

regard as shy. (You may use yourself!) Try not to think about him or her as “a shy person,” but rather as someone who has difficulty relating to people in some situations but not others.

2. List the situations you think are most likely to bring out your friend’s shy behavior.

3. List the situations that might bring forth more outgoing behaviors on your friend’s part. Being with a small group of friends he or she is at ease with? Being with a new person, but one who shares your friend’s interests?

4. Set up a social environment that you think would make your friend comfortable. Pay close attention to the effect that it has on your friend’s behavior—or yours.

M01_ARON6544_09_SE_C01.indd 7 23/05/15 4:03 AM

8 Chapter 1

Social psychology is related to other disciplines in the social sciences, includ- ing sociology, economics, and political science. Each examines the influence of social factors on human behavior, but important differences set social psychology apart—most notably in their level of analysis. For biologists, the level of analy- sis might be genes, hormones, or neurotransmitters. For personality and clinical psychologists, the level of the analysis is the individual. For the social psychologist, the level of analysis is the individual in the context of a social situation. For example, to understand why people intentionally hurt one another, the social psycholo- gist focuses on the psychological processes that trigger aggression in specific sit- uations. To what extent is aggression preceded by frustration? Does frustration always precede aggression? If people are feeling frustrated, under what condi- tions will they vent their frustration with an aggressive act and under what con- ditions will they restrain themselves? What are other causes of aggression? (See Chapter 12.)

Other social sciences are more concerned with social, economic, political, and historical factors that influence events. Sociology, rather than focusing on the indi- vidual, focuses on such topics as social class, social structure, and social institu- tions. Of course, because society is made up of collections of people, some overlap is bound to exist between the domains of sociology and those of social psychology. The major difference is that in sociology, the level of analysis is the group, institution, or society at large. So while sociologists, like social psychologists, are interested in causes of aggression, sociologists are more likely to be concerned with why a par- ticular society (or group within a society) produces different levels of violence in its members. Why is the murder rate in the United States so much higher than in Canada or Europe? Within the United States, why is the murder rate higher in some geographic regions than in others? How do changes in society relate to changes in aggressive behavior?

Social psychology differs from other social sciences not only in the level of analysis, but also in what is being explained. The goal of social psychology is to iden- tify properties of human nature that make almost everyone susceptible to social inf luence, regardless of social class or culture. The laws governing the relationship between frustration and aggression, for example, are hypothesized to be true of most peo- ple in most places, not just members of one gender, social class, culture, age group, or ethnicity.

However, because social psychology is a young science that developed mostly in the United States, many of its findings have not yet been tested in other cultures to see if they are universal. None- theless, our goal is to discover such laws. And increas- ingly, as methods and theories developed by American social psychologists are adopted by European, Asian, Afri- can, Middle Eastern, and South American social psychol- ogists, we are learning more about the extent to which these laws are universal, as well as cultural differences in the way these laws are expressed (see Chapter 2). Cross- cultural research is therefore extremely valuable, because it sharpens theories, either by demonstrating their universality or by leading us to discover additional variables that help us improve our understanding and prediction of human behav- ior. We will offer many examples of cross-cultural research in this book.

In sum, social psychology is located between its closest cousins, sociology and personality psychology (see Table 1.1). Social psychology and sociology share an interest in the way the situation and the larger society

The people in this photo can be studied from a variety of perspectives: as individuals or as members of a family, a social class, an occupation, a culture, or a region. Sociologists study the group or institution; social psychologists study the influence of those groups and institutions on individual behavior.

Calculate the price
Make an order in advance and get the best price
Pages (550 words)
*Price with a welcome 15% discount applied.
Pro tip: If you want to save more money and pay the lowest price, you need to set a more extended deadline.
We know how difficult it is to be a student these days. That's why our prices are one of the most affordable on the market, and there are no hidden fees.

Instead, we offer bonuses, discounts, and free services to make your experience outstanding.
How it works
Receive a 100% original paper that will pass Turnitin from a top essay writing service
step 1
Upload your instructions
Fill out the order form and provide paper details. You can even attach screenshots or add additional instructions later. If something is not clear or missing, the writer will contact you for clarification.
Pro service tips
How to get the most out of your experience with Scholary Essays
One writer throughout the entire course
If you like the writer, you can hire them again. Just copy & paste their ID on the order form ("Preferred Writer's ID" field). This way, your vocabulary will be uniform, and the writer will be aware of your needs.
The same paper from different writers
You can order essay or any other work from two different writers to choose the best one or give another version to a friend. This can be done through the add-on "Same paper from another writer."
Copy of sources used by the writer
Our college essay writers work with ScienceDirect and other databases. They can send you articles or materials used in PDF or through screenshots. Just tick the "Copy of sources" field on the order form.
See why 20k+ students have chosen us as their sole writing assistance provider
Check out the latest reviews and opinions submitted by real customers worldwide and make an informed decision.
Thank you. You all have been timely, and amazing.
Customer 452919, May 3rd, 2022
Advanced Technical Writing
Excellent service as always, Thank you!
Customer 452995, January 20th, 2022
Biology (and other Life Sciences)
Thank you
Customer 452995, November 22nd, 2021
English 101
well written excellent job, thank you!!
Customer 452989, December 2nd, 2021
WRTG 393 6360 Advanced Technical Writing (2222)WRTG-393
Patience and truly superb service considering all the information was not uploaded.
Customer 452995, February 4th, 2022
Business Studies
I had no idea what to do here and you nailed it! Thank you so much!
Customer 453131, November 21st, 2022
Very well written thank you
Customer 452667, April 8th, 2021
Business Studies
great job!!!!
Customer 453127, October 31st, 2022
Fabulous fast service
Customer 453075, April 21st, 2022
Thank you Team!
Customer 452919, April 5th, 2022
Thanks to the entire team!
Customer 452919, December 8th, 2021
Thank you very much! I will be using your service again soon.
Customer 452665, March 18th, 2021
Customer reviews in total
Current satisfaction rate
3 pages
Average paper length
Customers referred by a friend
15% OFF your first order
Use a coupon FIRST15 and enjoy expert help with any task at the most affordable price.
Claim my 15% OFF Order in Chat
Live Chat+1(978) 822-0999EmailWhatsApp

Order your essay today and save 30% with the discount code ESSAYHELP