Introduction to Social Psychology and Self-Presentation

What you’ll learn to do: recognize aspects of social psychology, including the fundamental attribution error, biases, social roles, and social norms, in your daily life

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Social psychology is the study of how people affect one another’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. In this section, you’ll learn about how our attitudes about others and our perception of our self can be deceiving. You’ll examine situational forces that have a strong influence on human behavior including social roles, social norms, and scripts. You’ll learn about how humans use the social environment as a source of information, or cues, on how to behave. Situational influences on our behavior have important consequences, such as whether we will help a stranger in an emergency or how we would behave in an unfamiliar environment.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe situational versus dispositional influences on behavior
  • Give examples of the fundamental attribution error and other biases, including the actor-observer bias and the self-serving bias
  • Explain the just-world phenomenon
  • Describe social roles, social norms, and scripts and how they influence behavior
  • Explain the implications of Zimbardo’s Stanford prison experiment