Affective forecasting
Predicting how one will feel in the future after some event or decision.
Any behavior intended to harm another person who does not want to be harmed.
A core personality trait that includes such dispositional characteristics as being sympathetic, generous, forgiving, and helpful, and behavioral tendencies toward harmonious social relations and likeability.
A motivation for helping that has the improvement of another’s welfare as its ultimate goal, with no expectation of any benefits for the helper.
Anecdotal evidence
An argument that is based on personal experience and not considered reliable or representative.
Archival research
A type of research in which the researcher analyses records or archives instead of collecting data from live human participants.
Arousal: cost–reward model
An egoistic theory proposed by Piliavin et al. (1981) that claims that seeing a person in need leads to the arousal of unpleasant feelings, and observers are motivated to eliminate that aversive state, often by helping the victim. A cost–reward analysis may lead observers to react in ways other than offering direct assistance, including indirect help, reinterpretation of the situation, or fleeing the scene.
A psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favor or disfavor.
A way of thinking or feeling about a target that is often reflected in a person’s behavior. Examples of attitude targets are individuals, concepts, and groups.
The psychological process of being sexually interested in another person. This can include, for example, physical attraction, first impressions, and dating rituals.
A behavior or process has one or more of the following features: unintentional, uncontrollable, occurring outside of conscious awareness, and cognitively efficient.
Automatic biases are unintended, immediate, and irresistible.
Availability heuristic
The tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind.
Availability heuristic
A heuristic in which the frequency or likelihood of an event is evaluated based on how easily instances of it come to mind.
Aversive racism
Aversive racism is unexamined racial bias that the person does not intend and would reject, but that avoids inter-racial contact.
Basking in reflected glory
The tendency for people to associate themselves with successful people or groups.
Big data
The analysis of large data sets.
Blatant biases
Blatant biases are conscious beliefs, feelings, and behavior that people are perfectly willing to admit, are mostly hostile, and openly favor their own group.
Blind to the research hypothesis
When participants in research are not aware of what is being studied.
Bystander intervention
The phenomenon whereby people intervene to help others in need even if the other is a complete stranger and the intervention puts the helper at risk.
Greek term that means to cleanse or purge. Applied to aggression, catharsis is the belief that acting aggressively or even viewing aggression purges angry feelings and aggressive impulses into harmless channels.
Central route to persuasion
Persuasion that employs direct, relevant, logical messages.
Chameleon effect
The tendency for individuals to nonconsciously mimic the postures, mannerisms, facial expressions, and other behaviors of one’s interaction partners.
Collective self-esteem
Feelings of self-worth that are based on evaluation of relationships with others and membership in social groups.
Common knowledge effect
The tendency for groups to spend more time discussing information that all members know (shared information) and less time examining information that only a few members know (unshared).
​Complex experimental designs
An experiment with two or more independent variables.
An actor working with the researcher. Most often, this individual is used to deceive unsuspecting research participants. Also known as a “stooge.”
Changing one’s attitude or behavior to match a perceived social norm.
Changing one’s attitude or behavior to match a perceived social norm.
Correlational research
A type of descriptive research that involves measuring the association between two variables, or how they go together.
Cost–benefit analysis
A decision-making process that compares the cost of an action or thing against the expected benefit to help determine the best course of action.
Cover story
A fake description of the purpose and/or procedure of a study, used when deception is necessary in order to answer a research question.
Culture of honor
A culture in which personal or family reputation is especially important.
Demand characteristics
Subtle cues that make participants aware of what the experimenter expects to find or how participants are expected to behave.
Dependent variable
The variable the researcher measures but does not manipulate in an experiment.
Descriptive norm
The perception of what most people do in a given situation.
Diffusion of responsibility
When deciding whether to help a person in need, knowing that there are others who could also provide assistance relieves bystanders of some measure of personal responsibility, reducing the likelihood that bystanders will intervene.
Directional goals
The motivation to reach a particular outcome or judgment.
Discrimination is behavior that advantages or disadvantages people merely based on their group membership.
Discrimination is behavior that advantages or disadvantages people merely based on their group membership.
Durability bias
A bias in affective forecasting in which one overestimates for how long one will feel an emotion (positive or negative) after some event.
Ecological validity
The degree to which a study finding has been obtained under conditions that are typical for what happens in everyday life.
A motivation for helping that has the improvement of the helper’s own circumstances as its primary goal.
Electronically activated recorder (EAR)
A methodology where participants wear a small, portable audio recorder that intermittently records snippets of ambient sounds around them.
Empathic concern
According to Batson’s empathy–altruism hypothesis, observers who empathize with a person in need (that is, put themselves in the shoes of the victim and imagine how that person feels) will experience empathic concern and have an altruistic motivation for helping.
Empathy–altruism model
An altruistic theory proposed by Batson (2011) that claims that people who put themselves in the shoes of a victim and imagining how the victim feel will experience empathic concern that evokes an altruistic motivation for helping.
Evaluative priming​ task
An implicit attitude task that assesses the extent to which an attitude object is associated with a positive or negative valence by measuring the time it takes a person to label an adjective as good or bad after being presented with an attitude object.
Experience sampling methods
Systematic ways of having participants provide samples of their ongoing behavior. Participants' reports are dependent (contingent) upon either a signal, pre-established intervals, or the occurrence of some event.
Explicit attitude
An attitude that is consciously held and can be reported on by the person holding the attitude.
Field experiment
An experiment that occurs outside of the lab and in a real world situation.
Fixed action patterns (FAPs)
Sequences of behavior that occur in exactly the same fashion, in exactly the same order, every time they are elicited.
Foot in the door
Obtaining a small, initial commitment.
Fundamental attribution error
The tendency to emphasize another person’s personality traits when describing that person’s motives and behaviors and overlooking the influence of situational factors.
Gradually escalating commitments
A pattern of small, progressively escalating demands is less likely to be rejected than a single large demand made all at once.
Group cohesion
The solidarity or unity of a group resulting from the development of strong and mutual interpersonal bonds among members and group-level forces that unify the group, such as shared commitment to group goals.
Group polarization
The tendency for members of a deliberating group to move to a more extreme position, with the direction of the shift determined by the majority or average of the members’ predeliberation preferences.
A set of negative group-level processes, including illusions of invulnerability, self-censorship, and pressures to conform, that occur when highly cohesive groups seek concurrence when making a decision.
A component of the prosocial personality orientation; describes individuals who have been helpful in the past and, because they believe they can be effective with the help they give, are more likely to be helpful in the future.
Prosocial acts that typically involve situations in which one person is in need and another provides the necessary assistance to eliminate the other’s need.
Mental shortcuts that enable people to make decisions and solve problems quickly and efficiently.
A mental shortcut or rule of thumb that reduces complex mental problems to more simple rule-based decisions.
Hostile attribution bias
The tendency to perceive ambiguous actions by others as aggressive.
Hostile expectation bias
The tendency to assume that people will react to potential conflicts with aggression.
Hostile perception bias
The tendency to perceive social interactions in general as being aggressive.
Hot cognition
The mental processes that are influenced by desires and feelings.
A logical idea that can be tested.
A possible explanation that can be tested through research.
Impact bias
A bias in affective forecasting in which one overestimates the strength or intensity of emotion one will experience after some event.
Implicit Association Test
An implicit attitude task that assesses a person’s automatic associations between concepts by measuring the response times in pairing the concepts.
Implicit Association Test
Implicit Association Test (IAT) measures relatively automatic biases that favor own group relative to other groups.
Implicit association test (IAT)
A computer-based categorization task that measures the strength of association between specific concepts over several trials.
Implicit attitude
An attitude that a person cannot verbally or overtly state.
Implicit measures of attitudes
Measures of attitudes in which researchers infer the participant’s attitude rather than having the participant explicitly report it.
Independent variable
The variable the researcher manipulates and controls in an experiment.
Informational influence
Conformity that results from a concern to act in a socially approved manner as determined by how others act.
Kin selection
According to evolutionary psychology, the favoritism shown for helping our blood relatives, with the goals of increasing the likelihood that some portion of our DNA will be passed on to future generations.
Laboratory environments
A setting in which the researcher can carefully control situations and manipulate variables.
Levels of analysis
Complementary views for analyzing and understanding a phenomenon.
Manipulation check
A measure used to determine whether or not the manipulation of the independent variable has had its intended effect on the participants.
Model minority
A minority group whose members are perceived as achieving a higher degree of socioeconomic success than the population average.
Mood-congruent memory
The tendency to be better able to recall memories that have a mood similar to our current mood.
Motivated skepticism
A form of bias that can result from having a directional goal in which one is skeptical of evidence despite its strength because it goes against what one wants to believe.
Naturalistic observation
Unobtrusively watching people as they go about the business of living their lives.
Need for closure
The desire to come to a decision that will resolve ambiguity and conclude an issue.
Need to belong
A strong natural impulse in humans to form social connections and to be accepted by others.
Negative state relief model
An egoistic theory proposed by Cialdini et al. (1982) that claims that people have learned through socialization that helping can serve as a secondary reinforcement that will relieve negative moods such as sadness.
Normative influence
Conformity that results from a concern for what other people think of us.
Responding to an order or command from a person in a position of authority.
Responding to an order or command from a person in a position of authority.
Observational learning
Learning by observing the behavior of others.
How researchers specifically measure a concept.
Excluding one or more individuals from a group by reducing or eliminating contact with the person, usually by ignoring, shunning, or explicitly banishing them.
Other-oriented empathy
A component of the prosocial personality orientation; describes individuals who have a strong sense of social responsibility, empathize with and feel emotionally tied to those in need, understand the problems the victim is experiencing, and have a heightened sense of moral obligations to be helpful.
Participant variable
The individual characteristics of research subjects - age, personality, health, intelligence, etc.
Peripheral route to persuasion
Persuasion that relies on superficial cues that have little to do with logic.
Personal distress
According to Batson’s empathy–altruism hypothesis, observers who take a detached view of a person in need will experience feelings of being “worried” and “upset” and will have an egoistic motivation for helping to relieve that distress.
Planning fallacy
A cognitive bias in which one underestimates how long it will take to complete a task.
Pluralistic ignorance
Relying on the actions of others to define an ambiguous need situation and to then erroneously conclude that no help or intervention is necessary.
Prejudice is an evaluation or emotion toward people merely based on their group membership.
An evaluation or emotion toward people based merely on their group membership.
A process by which a concept or behavior is made more cognitively accessible or likely to occur through the presentation of an associated concept.
The process by which exposing people to one stimulus makes certain thoughts, feelings or behaviors more salient.
Prosocial behavior
Social behavior that benefits another person.
Prosocial personality orientation
A measure of individual differences that identifies two sets of personality characteristics (other-oriented empathy, helpfulness) that are highly correlated with prosocial behavior.
Psychological reactance
A reaction to people, rules, requirements, or offerings that are perceived to limit freedoms.
Inflicting pain or removing pleasure for a misdeed. Punishment decreases the likelihood that a behavior will be repeated.
Random assignment
Assigning participants to receive different conditions of an experiment by chance.
Reciprocal altruism
According to evolutionary psychology, a genetic predisposition for people to help those who have previously helped them.
The act of exchanging goods or services. By giving a person a gift, the principle of reciprocity can be used to influence others; they then feel obligated to give back.
Relational aggression
Intentionally harming another person’s social relationships, feelings of acceptance, or inclusion within a group.
Representativeness heuristic
A heuristic in which the likelihood of an object belonging to a category is evaluated based on the extent to which the object appears similar to one’s mental representation of the category.
Research confederate
A person working with a researcher, posing as a research participant or as a bystander.
Research participant
A person being studied as part of a research program.
Right-wing authoritarianism
Right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) focuses on value conflicts but endorses respect for obedience and authority in the service of group conformity.
Samples of convenience
Participants that have been recruited in a manner that prioritizes convenience over representativeness.
A mental model or representation that organizes the important information about a thing, person, or event (also known as a script).
Scientific method
A method of investigation that includes systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.
Self-categorization theory
Self-categorization theory develops social identity theory’s point that people categorize themselves, along with each other into groups, favoring their own group.
Shared mental model
Knowledge, expectations, conceptualizations, and other cognitive representations that members of a group have in common pertaining to the group and its members, tasks, procedures, and resources.
Social attribution
The way a person explains the motives or behaviors of others.
Social cognition
The study of how people think about the social world.
Social cognition
The way people process and apply information about others.
Social comparison
The process of contrasting one’s personal qualities and outcomes, including beliefs, attitudes, values, abilities, accomplishments, and experiences, to those of other people.
Social dominance orientation
Social dominance orientation (SDO) describes a belief that group hierarchies are inevitable in all societies and even good, to maintain order and stability.
Social facilitation
Improvement in task performance that occurs when people work in the presence of other people.
Social facilitation
When performance on simple or well-rehearsed tasks is enhanced when we are in the presence of others.
Social identity theory
A theoretical analysis of group processes and intergroup relations that assumes groups influence their members’ self-concepts and self-esteem, particularly when individuals categorize themselves as group members and identify with the group.
Social identity theory
Social identity theory notes that people categorize each other into groups, favoring their own group.
Social influence
When one person causes a change in attitude or behavior in another person, whether intentionally or unintentionally.
Social loafing
The reduction of individual effort exerted when people work in groups compared with when they work alone.
Social neuroscience
An interdisciplinary field concerned with identifying the neural processes underlying social behavior and cognition.
Social or behavioral priming
A field of research that investigates how the activation of one social concept in memory can elicit changes in behavior, physiology, or self-reports of a related social concept without conscious awareness.
Social proof
The mental shortcut based on the assumption that, if everyone is doing it, it must be right.
Social psychology
The branch of psychological science that is mainly concerned with understanding how the presence of others affects our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.
Sociometer model
A conceptual analysis of self-evaluation processes that theorizes self-esteem functions to psychologically monitor of one’s degree of inclusion and exclusion in social groups.
Stereotype Content Model
Stereotype Content Model shows that social groups are viewed according to their perceived warmth and competence.
Our general beliefs about the traits or behaviors shared by group of people.
Stereotype is a belief that characterizes people based merely on their group membership.
A mental process of using information shortcuts about a group to effectively navigate social situations or make decisions.
Stigmatized group
A group that suffers from social disapproval based on some characteristic that sets them apart from the majority.
Subtle biases
Subtle biases are automatic, ambiguous, and ambivalent, but real in their consequences.
Survey research
A method of research that involves administering a questionnaire to respondents in person, by telephone, through the mail, or over the internet.
The process by which members of the team combine their knowledge, skills, abilities, and other resources through a coordinated series of actions to produce an outcome.
Terror management theory (TMT)
A theory that proposes that humans manage the anxiety that stems from the inevitability of death by embracing frameworks of meaning such as cultural values and beliefs.
The norm of reciprocity
The normative pressure to repay, in equitable value, what another person has given to us.
The rule of scarcity
People tend to perceive things as more attractive when their availability is limited, or when they stand to lose the opportunity to acquire them on favorable terms.
The triad of trust
We are most vulnerable to persuasion when the source is perceived as an authority, as honest and likable.
Trigger features
Specific, sometimes minute, aspects of a situation that activate fixed action patterns.
Aggression intended to cause extreme physical harm, such as injury or death.
WEIRD cultures
Cultures that are western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic.