🔎 Unit 1: Scientific Foundations of Psychology
1.0Unit 1 Overview: Scientific Foundations of Psychology
1.1Introducing Psychology: The Historical Progression of Psychology
1.2Research Methods in Psychology
1.3The Experimental Method
1.5Statistical Analysis in Psychology
🧠 Unit 2: Biological Bases of Behavior
2.0Unit 2 Overview: Biological Bases of Behavior
2.1Interaction of Heredity and Environment
2.3Overview of the Nervous System and the Neuron
2.7Tools for Examining Brain Structure and Function
2.8The Adaptable Brain: Neural Fluidity
👀 Unit 3: Sensation and Perception
3.0Unit 3 Overview: Sensation and Perception
3.1Principles of Sensation
3.2Principles of Perception
3.5Auditory Sensation and Perception
📚 Unit 4: Learning
4.0Unit 4 Overview: Learning
🤔 Unit 5: Cognitive Psychology
5.0Unit 5 Overview: Cognitive Psychology
5.1Introduction to Memory
5.5Forgetting and Memory Distortion
5.6Biological Bases of Memory
5.7Introduction to Thinking and Problem Solving
5.8Biases and Errors in Thinking
5.9Introduction to Intelligence
5.10Psychometric Principles and Intelligence Testing
👶 Unit 6: Developmental Psychology
6.0Unit 6 Overview: Developmental Psychology
6.1The Lifespan and Physical Development in Childhood
6.2Social Development in Childhood
6.3Cognitive Development in Childhood
6.5Adulthood and Aging
🤪 Unit 7: Motivation, Emotion, & Personality
7.0Unit 7 Overview: Motivation, Emotion, and Personality
7.1Theories of Motivation
7.2Specific Topics in Motivation
7.3Theories of Emotion
7.4Stress and Coping
7.5Introduction to Personality
7.6Psychoanalytic Theories of Personality
7.7Behaviorism and Social Cognitive Theories of Personality
7.8Humanistic Theories of Personality
7.9Trait Theories of Personality
🛋 Unit 8: Clinical Psychology
8.0Unit 8 Overview: Clinical Psychology
8.1Introduction to Psychological Disorders
8.2Psychological Perspectives and Etiology of Disorders
8.3Neurodevelopmental and Schizophrenic Spectrum Disorders
8.4Bipolar, Depressive, Anxiety, and Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders
8.5Trauma- and Stressor Related, Dissociative, and Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders
8.6Feeding and Eating, Substance and Addictive, and Personality Disorders
8.7Introduction to Treatment of Psychological Disorders
8.8Psychological Perspectives and Treatment of Disorders
8.9Treatment of Disorders from the Biological Perspective
👫 Unit 9: Social Psychology
9.0Unit 9 Overview: Social Psychology
9.1Attribution Theory and Person Perception
9.2Attitude Formation and Attitude Change
9.3Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
9.4Group Influences on Behavior and Mental Processes
9.5Bias, Prejudice, and Discrimination
9.6Altruism and Aggression
🧐 Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ)
✍️ Free Response Questions (FRQ)
⏱️ 4 min read
November 11, 2020
The cognitive perspective of social psychology emphasizes how we think about and perceive others. Humans are social animals, so we’re constantly looking to understand, or attribute, others’ actions so that we know why they're behaving in a particular way 🙊 The attribution theory states that there are two ways our brain seeks to explain someone’s behavior: their personality or their circumstances.
Most people commit a fundamental attribution error: we tend to overestimate the impact of a person’s lasting personality and underestimate the impact of their circumstances on their behavior. We can see the fundamental attribution error at work when people justify social or political issues—we attribute problems like poverty and crime to individuals being “bad people,” rather than considering their circumstances.
Image Courtesy of Medium.
A related theory is the just-world hypothesis, which causes us to believe that good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to "bad people." This theory basically states that everyone gets what they deserve 🤷 This can cause people to overlook factors like systematic racism and coincidences.
We’re more likely to fall victim to the fundamental attribution error when explaining the behavior of those different than us or our past selves. When we explain our own behavior, we are more sensitive to the situation, especially with our own bad behavior (think of it as you are always unconsciously protecting yourself 🛡️). Self-serving bias is when you tend to attribute your good behaviors to your own personality 👐, but your bad behaviors to your situation. For example, you might say to yourself, “I am not a bad friend, I just have a lot on my plate,” but when your friend is slacking, you would think they are just being a bad person and friend.
Image Courtesy of Psychologenie.
Imagine you are at the gas station⛽ and the attendant is very rude when you ask them for assistance. How can we relate the fundamental attribution to this?
Hint—there are tons of different scenarios you could come up with!
Sample Response: The gas station attendant could only be abrupt because he is at work and doesn't want to continue his obligations 💰 Outside of work, he could be very friendly and happy because he isn't being forced to do something continuously that he doesn't like. The impact of the society he is in makes you believe that he is a very rude person, but he is only acting this way because of the situation.
The way we perceive and judge others isn’t always accurate. The false-consensus effect is when you believe that everyone else shares your opinions and attitudes. The false-consensus effect is reinforced with confirmation bias, which is the tendency to search for or put more value on information that confirms your beliefs, while disregarding opposing information. You often see people watching a news channel that further confirms their beliefs and is very biased toward one direction ➡️
Finally, the halo effect states that when you believe someone is good, you will interpret all of their actions as good, and fail to notice their bad traits.
We form much of our self-concept based on our race, gender, and ethnicity, which directly impacts how we treat people.
Remember, self-concept is a person's global feeling about themself. "Who am I?" 👤
If someone has a positive self-concept, they perceive the world through an optimistic (positive) lens.
If someone has a negative self-concept, they feel unsatisfied. 😢
Whether or not your self-concept is positive depends on how closely you match yourself with your ideal self, or the person you want to be.
Applying Self-Concept to Unit 9
We’re more likely to commit the fundamental attribution error and apply the just-world hypothesis when dealing with people outside of the groups we associate with. Additionally, people in individualist cultures use the fundamental attribution error and have self-serving bias more frequently than those in collectivist cultures.
Much of how we behave is dictated by both our own and others’ attributions and expectations. This concept is called the self-fulfilling prophecy: you tend to behave in ways that reinforce your beliefs and actions, thus causing them to come true.
A compelling example of the self-fulfilling prophecy is the placebo effect. Because we expect an antidepressant to make us feel better, and we believe that others also expect the antidepressant to make us feel better, we may actually start to do things that relieve our depression, thus causing the drug to “work.” Your perception of the world can do a lot!
🎥Watch: AP Psychology—Persuasion + Group Phenomenons
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