cause of behavior


· Independent variable

· In experimental research, the variable that is manipulated; it is hypothesized to be the cause of a particular outcome.

· Dependent variable

· In experimental research, the variable that is measured (as opposed to manipulated); it is hypothesized to be affected by manipulation of the independent variable.

· Hindsight bias

· People’s tendency to be overconfident about whether they could have predicted a given outcome

· Random sampling

· Essential for accurately describing the attitudes or behavior of a particular population

· Such as students at a certain university, residents of a town, or the population of a country as a whole

· Naturalistic fallacy

· Claim that the way things are is the way they should be

· Convenience sampling

· Is a non-probability sample in which the researcher uses the subjects that are nearest and available to participate in the research study.

· Self-selection

· Correlational research: situation where the participant (instead of the researcher) determines the participant’s level of each variable- creates the problem that it could be these unknown properties that are responsible for the observed relationship

· Automatic processing

· Give rise to implicit attitudes and beliefs that can’t be readily controlled by a the conscious mind; and controlled, conscious processing results in explicit attitudes and beliefs that we’re aware of even though these may become implicit or nonconscious over time

· Reverse causation

· When variable 2 causally influences variable 1

· Correlation does not establish causation

· Gestalt Psychology

· An approach that stresses the fact that people perceive objects by active, nonconscious interpretation of what the object represents as a whole

· Internal Validity

· Experimental research: confidence that only the manipulated variable could have produced the results

· Experiments lack internal validity when there is a 3rd variable that could account for the difference between the different conditions

· Random assignment

· Assigning participants in experimental research to different conditions randomly, so they are as likely to be assigned to one condition as to another, with the effect of making the types of people in the different conditions roughly equal.

· Controlled processing

· Certain amount of thinking that you are aware of in the moment; consciously on your mind (controlled)

· If something is important to us…

· 3rd Variable problem

· A variable that can be the true explanation for the relationship between two other variables in correlational research

· External validity

· How well the results of a study generalize to contexts outside the conditions of the lab

· When researchers can’t generalize the results to real-life situations this = poor external validity

· Schemas

· Knowledge structure consisting of any organized body of stored information that is used to help in understanding events

· Reliability

· The degree to which the particular way researchers measure a given variable is likely to yield consistent results

Other issues to consider:

· Describe the difference between automatic/intuitive (System 1) and controlled/deliberate processing (system 2), and provide examples

· The mind processes information in two different ways

· Automatic/nonconscious-based on emotional factors

· Systematic/conscious-more likely to be controlled by deliberate thought

· Ex: seeing someone with a backpack looking agitated and sweating profusely

· Automatic thought: you might see that person and have a fearful reaction, thinking the backpack has a bomb in it without any special thought about it

· Systematic thought: you might realize the person might have just come inside from the heat and might look agitated because they’re late for their flight

· Describe and be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of experiments and correlational studies

· Experiments: It is easy to replicate because of a standardized procedure. Experiments allow prices control of independent variable.

· Subject to human error

· Personal bias of researcher may intrude

· Sample may not be representative.

· Correlational Studies: Allows researchers to collect much more data than experiments. Allows the researcher to draw conclusion in the causal relationship among variables.

· Only uncovers a relationship

· It cannot provide a reason why there is a relationship.

· Explain the difference between hypotheses and theories

· Hypotheses- A prediction of a particular situation under certain circumstances

· Theories- A set of tested hypothesis intended to describe a phenomenon

· Review the Stanovich article for its main topics and conclusions regarding correlational and experimental research. What was his purpose in discussing the Goldberger/pellagra study in depth?

· Birth control & household appliances

· Related w/ out causal relationship

· Pellagra was seemed to be caused by unsanitary, bad sewage (spurious correlation)

· In reality, after experimenting by eating the feces of infected people, conclusions showed it was actually a result of a poor diet, most likely from low SES

· 3rd variable problem

· Surface level correlations do not account for causation

· What is the use of “getting artificial” in experiments? That is, why is it not always advisable to conduct a study that tries to be “natural”? The Stanovich reading is very relevant on this issue.

· Explain the phrase, “correlation does not equal causation.” Be able to recognize when a study can provide evidence for causation, and when it cannot

Chapter 4


· Scheme: (I have this on my notes but I am not 100% sure)

· Expectations. Way to simplify the ways of the world around us. An scheme is the expectations that you have about what is going to be the outcome of certain situation. It can also narrow the attention of a person in a social situation.

· Confirmation bias

· the tendency to test a proposition by searching for evidence that would support it.

· You tend to pay attention to things that are parallel to your beliefs

· Regression toward the mean

· You will return to your average. Fluctuation is normal, and may look like you are improving or getting worse but you will always go back your “mean”

· Pluralistic ignorance

· When people act in ways that conflict with their personal beliefs due to a certain social situation

· Acting like you understand course material because it seems like everybody else does

· Priming

· the presentation of information designed to activate a concept and hence make it accessible. A prime is the stimulus presented to activate the concept in question.

· Counterfactuals

· Can be self-focused: a relationship someone treasures, the relationship falls apart- the people start blaming themselves (“what could I have done differently?”)

· 9/11: “if only airport security had done a better job” “if only the CIA had investigated this matter better”

· “Cherrypicking” factors

· Not picking out a cause, but picking out one factor that could have prevented something from happening- lots of emotional significance for people but are not always fair

· Rape- people focus on the victim- “if she hadn’t been wearing that she wouldn’t have been raped”

· Construal level theory

· A theory about the relationship between temporal distance (and other kinds of distance) and abstract or concrete thinking; psychologically distance actions and events are thought about in abstract terms; actions or events that are close at hand are thought about in concrete terms

· Top-down vs. bottom-up processing

· Top-Down Processing: “Theory driven” mental processing, in which an individual filters and interprets new information in light of preexisting knowledge and expectations.

· Bottom-Up Processing: “Data driven” mental processing, in which an individual forms conclusions based on the stimuli encountered in the environment.

· Illusory correlation:

· The belief that two variables are correlated when in fact they are not.

· Behavioral confirmation

· Parallel to self-fulfilling prophecy

· Base-rate information:

· Information about the relative frequency of events or of members of different categories in a population.

· Planning fallacy

· one’s tendency to underestimate the time, cost, and risk it will take them to do something, even if they already have the past knowledge of exactly what the task entails. It represents overly optimistic plans that are unreasonably close to the best-case scenario.

· Self-fulfilling prophecy:

· The tendency for people to act in ways that bring about the very thing they expect to happen.

Other issues to consider:

· What are the different ways in which schemes or preconceptions can affect our memories and judgments of people? Be able to provide relevant research examples.

· Understand and be able to give examples of the representativeness and availability heuristics

· Explain several different ways (and provide specific examples) in which schemas can guide or distort our judgements

· Contrast controlled processing with automatic processing. What are examples/contexts of each in social cognition?

· Provide specific examples of “framing effects”

· Under what conditions does it appear that people are more likely to rely on heuristics for making social judgments? How does the use of heuristics relate to the distinction between System 1 and System 2 processing?

· Know the design and main findings/conclusions of Snyder, Tanke, and Berscheid.

Chapter 5


· Belief in a Just World

· People get what they deserve in life and deserve what they get.

· Karma

· People who score high on this belief are more likely to blame victims of a crime

· Specific attributions would be more internal

· Attribution Theory

· Concepts explaining how people assign causes to the events around them and the effects of their assessments

· How people understand the causes of events

· Causal Attribution

· How people explain both their own and others behavior

· Augmentation principle

· The idea that people will assign reduced weight to a particular cause of behavior if other plausible causes might have produced it.

· Emotional Amplification:

· An increase in an emotional reaction to an event that is proportional to how easy it is to imagine the event not happening.

· Fundamental Attribution Error

· The failure to recognize the importance of situational influences on behavior, along with the corresponding tendency to overemphasize the importance of dispositions on behavior.

· Explanatory Style

· A person’s habitual way of explaining events, typically assessed along three dimension: internal/external, stable/unstable, and global/specific.

· Controllability

· causes one can control such as skills vs. causes one cannot control such as luck, others’ actions, etc.

· Counterfactuals

· Thoughts of what could have, might have, or should have happened “if only” something had occurred differently.

· Behavioral confirmation:


· Covariation principle:

· The idea that behavior should be attributed to potential causes that occur along with the observed behavior.

· Self-serving Attributional bias:

· The tendency to attribute failure and other bad events to external circumstances and to attribute success and other good events to oneself.

· Perceptual salience


· Discounting principle

Other issues to consider:

· What factors or conditions help explain why people are prone to the FAE?j

· What are some factors that facilitate the generation of counterfactual thoughts?

· Be familiar with some research examples that illustrate the FAE and the actor-observer difference

· How do attributions play a role in our judgements about other people’s successes and failures? What role do they play in our judgments about our own successes and failures?

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