Social Psych Exam 2

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the process by which a message induces change in beliefs, attitudes, or behaviors

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two routes of persuasion

  • central route

  • peripheral route

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central route to persuasion

occurs when interested people focus on the arguments and respond with favorable thoughts

  • can lead to more enduring change

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peripheral route to persuasion

occurs when people are influenced. by incidental cues, such as a speaker’s attractiveness

  • focuses on cues that trigger automatic acceptance without much thinking

  • quicker -- “trust the experts”, “long messages are credible”

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six principles of persuasion

  • reciprocity

  • scarcity

  • authority

  • consistency

  • liking

  • consensus

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elements of persuasion

  • communicator

  • message

  • how message is communicated

  • audience

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  • needs credibility / believability

  • sleeper effect: a delayed impact of a message that occurs when an initially discounted message becomes effective, such as we remember the message but forget the reason for discounting it

  • credibility affected by perceived expertise, speaking style, and perceived trustworthiness

  • attractiveness and liking have a powerful influence (physical attractiveness and similarity)

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  • foot in the door phenomenon: the tendency for people who have first agreed to a small request to comply later with a larger request

  • lowball technique: people who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante; people who receive only the costly request are less likely to comply

  • door in the face technique: after someone first turns down a large request (the door in the face) the same requester counteroffers with a more reasonable request

  • primacy is more commonly effective than recency

  • fear is effective when coupled with clear self-efficacy message

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how message is communicated

channel: the way message is delivered -- whether face to face, in writing, on film, or in some other way

  • active experience strengthens attitudes

two-step flow of communication: media influence often occurs through opinion leaders, who in turn influence others

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  • life cycle: attitudes change as people grow older

  • generational: attitudes do not change; older people largely hold onto the attitudes they adopted when they were young


  • need for cognition: the motivation to think and analyze

  • stimulating thinking makes strong messages more persuasive

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resisting persuasion

attitude inoculation: exposing people to weak attacks upon their attitudes so that when stronger attacks come, they will have refutations available

counterarguments: reasons why a persuasive message might be wrong

  • best way to build resistance is likely not just stronger indoctrination

  • teach children how to counter persuasive appeals

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partisan brains

believe news when that belief fulfills identity goals

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audience’s reliance on central vs. peripheral

  • motivation

    • personal relevance

    • responsibility for decision

    • knowledge of subject

  • ability

    • distraction / fatigue

    • message difficulty

if not sufficiently motivated or able targets will default to evaluating a message using peripheral cues

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social facilitation

original meaning: the tendency of people to perform simple or well-learned tasks better when others are present

current meaning: the strengthening of dominant (prevalent, likely) responses in the presence of others

  • others’ presence boosts performance on easy tasks but impairs performance on difficult tasks

  • arousal facilitates dominant responses

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social loafing

the tendency for people to exert less effort when they pool their effort toward a common goal than when they are individually accountable

  • effort decreases as group size increases

  • free riders: people who benefit from the group but give little in return

  • people loaf less when the task is challenging, appealing, or involving, and when the group is cohesive

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loss of self-awareness and evaluation apprehension

  • occurs in group situations that foster responsiveness to group norms, good or bad

  • see yourself more as a team, less as an individual

  • the larger the group, more losing of self-awareness and become willing to commit atrocities

  • “everyone’s doing it”

  • anonymity may lessen inhibition

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group polarization

group-produced enhancement of members’ preexisting tendencies

  • informational influence results from accepting evidence about reality

  • normative influence is based on a person’s desire to be accepted or admired by others

    • social comparison: evaluating one’s opinions and abilities by comparing oneself with others

    • pluralistic ignorance: a false impression of what most other people are thinking or feeling, or how they are responding

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the mode of thinking that persons engage in when concurrence-seeking becomes so dominant in a cohesive in-group that it tends to override realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action

-- tendency of decision-making groups to suppress dissent in the interest of group harmony

  • amiable, cohesive group

  • relative isolation of the group from dissenting viewpoints

  • directive leader who signals what decision he or she favors

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influence of the minority

determinants of a minority include consistency, self-confidence, and defection

  • a minority that sticks to its position is more influential than a minority that wavers

  • minority slowness effect: a tendency for people with minority views to express those views less quickly that do people in the majority

  • consistency and persistence convey self-confidence, and a minority that conveys self-confidence tends to raise doubts among the majority

  • lone defector from the majority tends to be even more persuasive than a consistent minority voice

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two or more people who, for longer than a few moments, interact with and influence one another and perceive one another as “us”

  • help us affiliate, achieve, gain social identity

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evaluation apprehension

concern for how others are evaluating us

  • crowding has a similar effect of enhancing arousal

  • extreme pressure → “choking”

  • when being observed increases evaluation concerns → social facilitation

  • when being lost in a crowd decreases concerns → social loafing

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a self-conscious state in which attention focuses on oneself and makes people more sensitive to their own attitudes and dispositions

  • need to get rid of this for deindividuation

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risky shift

group and individual decisions tend to be riskier after group discussion

  • not universal -- some dilemmas lead people to be more cautious after discussion

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symptoms of groupthink

overestimate group’s might and right

  • illusion of invulnerability

  • unquestioned belief in the group’s morality


  • rationalization

  • stereotyped view of opponent

pressures toward uniformity

  • conformity pressure

  • self-censorship

  • illusion of unanimity

  • mindguards -- protecting a leader or group members from information that would call into question the effectiveness or morality of the group’s decisions

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critiquing groupthink

  • groups that make smart decisions have widely distributed conversation, with socially attuned members who take turns speaking

  • in a secure, highly cohesive group, committed members will often care enough to voice disagreement

  • norms can favor either consensus or critical analysis

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preventing groupthink

  • impartial

  • encourage critical evaluation

  • occasionally subdivide the group, then reunite to air differences

  • welcome critiques from outside experts and associates

  • before implementing, call a “second-chance” meeting to air any lingering doubts

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the process by which certain group members motivate and guide the group

  • task leadership: organizes work, sets standards, and focuses on goals

  • social leadership: builds teamwork, mediates conflict, and offeres support

  • transformational leadership: enabled by a leader’s vision and inspiration, exerts significant influence

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why are we aroused in the presence of others?

  1. evaluation apprehension

  2. distraction

  3. mere presence

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when we wonder how we are perceived by others, we become distracted

  • conflict between paying attention to others and paying attention to the task that overloads our cognitive system → arousal

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mere presence

Zajonc believed it may be enough, even without evaluation apprehension or distraction

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how widespread is intergroup conflict?

  • over 1,000 ethnic conflicts

  • over 100,000,000 deaths because of ethnic genocide in the 20th century

  • 1 in 5 americans will be harassed

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a preconceived negative judgement of a group and its individual members

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beliefs about the personal attributes of a group of people

  • often support prejudicial evaluations

  • sometimes overgeneralized, inaccurate, and resistant to new information

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unjustified negative behavior toward a group or its members

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dual attitude system with prejudice

we can have different explicit (conscious) and implicit (automatic) attitudes toward the same target

  • prejudiced and stereotypic evaluations can occur outside people’s awareness

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social dominance orientation

a motivation to have one’s group dominate other social groups

  • linked to generalized prejudice and likelihood to victim blame

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right-wing authoritarian personality

personality is disposed to favor obedience to authority and intolerance of outgroups and those lower in status

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realistic group conflict theory

the theory that prejudice arises from competition between groups for scarce resources

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social identity

the “we” aspect of our self-concept; the part of our answer to “who am i” that comes from our group memberships

  • we categorize people

  • identify or associate with certain groups and gain self-esteem by doing so

  • we compare our groups favorably to other groups

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“us” -- a group of people who share a sense of belonging, a feeling of common identity

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“them” -- a group that people perceive as distinctively different from or apart from their ingroup

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ingroup bias

the tendency to favor one’s own group

  • support a positive self concept

  • feeds favoritism

  • despising the outgroup strengthens the ingroup

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outgroup homogeneity effect

perception of outgroup members as more similar to one another than are ingroup members

“they are alike"; we are diverse”

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own-race bias

the tendency for people to more accurately recognize faces of their own race

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group-serving bias

explaining away outgroup members’ positive behaviors; also attributing negative behaviors to their dispositions (while excusing such behavior by one’s own group)

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just-world phenomenon

the tendency of people to believe that the world is just and that people therefore get what they deserve and deserve what they get

  • leads people to justify their culture’s familiar social systems

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consequences of prejudice

  • self-perpetuation prejudgement

  • discrimination as a self-fulfilling prophecy

  • stress and other results of stereotype threat

  • biased interpretation of events

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social sources of prejudice

  • people differing in social status and their desire to justify and maintain those differences

  • learned from parents as they socialize us about what differences matter

  • social institutions that maintain and support prejudice

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self-perpetuation prejudgement

  • if a member of a group behaves as expected, our prior belief is confirmed

  • if a member of a group behaves inconsistently with our expectation, we may attribute behavior as due to special circumstances

  • subtyping: accommodating individuals who deviate from one’s stereotype by thinking of them as “exceptions to the rule”

  • subgrouping: accommodating individuals who deviate from one’s stereotype by forming a new stereotype about this subset of the group

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discrimination as self-fulfilling prophecy

stereotype threat: a disruptive concern, when facing a negative stereotype, that one will be evaluated based on a negative stereotype

  • positive stereotypes can enhance performance

  • stress impairs brain activity

  • self-monitoring -- worrying about making mistakes -- disrupts focused attention

  • suppressing unwanted thoughts and emotions takes energy and disrupts working memory

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motivational sources of prejudice

  • frustration breeds hostility

  • people prefer to see themselves and their groups as superior to others

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cognitive sources of prejudice

  • categorization (often rely on stereotypes)

  • distinctiveness (distinctive people and vivid or extreme circumstances often capture attention and distort judgements)

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physical or verbal behavior intended to cause harm

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physical aggression

hurting someone else’s body

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social aggression

hurting someone else’s feelings or threatening their relationships; sometimes called relational aggression, it includes cyberbullying and some forms of in-person bullying

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hostile aggression

aggression that springs from anger; its goal is to injure

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instrumental aggression

aggression that is a means to some other end -- for example, terrorism

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a response to the blocking of one’s goal

  • leads to aggression

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causes of aggression

  • biological influences

  • frustration

  • learned behavior

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aggression as a biological phenomenon

instinctive behavior: an innate, unlearned behavior pattern exhibited by all members of a species

  • aggression is biologically influenced, but it is not an instinctive behavior

  • brain neural systems, genetic influences, and biochemical influences can play a role in aggression

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the blocking of goal-directed behavior -- that is, anything that blocks us from attaining a goal

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frustration-aggression theory

the theory that frustration triggers a readiness to aggression (overly simplistic)

  • frustration → anger

  • frustration grows when our motivation to achieve a goal is very strong

  • breeds aggression

  • displacement: the redirection of aggression to a target other than the source of the frustration

  • relative deprivation: the perception that one is less well off than others with whom one compares oneself

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aggression as a learned social behavior

social learning theory of aggression: that we learn aggression not only by experiencing its payoffs but also by observing others

  • direct reinforcement, observational learning (bobo doll)

  • aversive experiences OR rewards and costs → emotional arousal + anticipated consequences → aggression

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influences on aggression

  • aversive incidents (pain, heat)

  • arousal

  • media (porn and sexual violence; violent media amplifies aggression)

    • true for antisocial and prosocial behavior

    • social scripts: culturally provided mental instructions for how to act in various situations

    • catharsis hypothesis: aggressive drive is reduced when aggressive energy is “released” (with video games, etc.)

  • group context

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aggression cue theory

cues facilitate aggression through their association with aggression concepts and behavior scripts about how to be aggressive

  • aggression-related objects/sports/people/places

  • frustration + anger cue → aggression

    • frustration → anger dissipates

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need to belong

a motivation to bond with others in relationships that provide ongoing, positive interactions

  • pursue belonging when we don’t have it, and seek it less when our needs are fulfilled

  • when we do belong, we tend to be healthier and happier

  • our sense of well-being comes from a balance of three needs: autonomy, competence, and belonging

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acts of excluding or ignoring

  • ostracized people show deficits in brain mechanisms that inhibit unwanted behavior

  • rejection by peers → self-defeating behaviors

  • rejected children → self-regulation issues and more likely to act aggressively

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factors for friendship and attraction

  • proximity (propinquity): geographical nearness; functional distance

    • less often breeds hostility

    • anticipation interaction also boosts liking

    • mere exposure: the tendency for novel stimuli to be liked more or rated more positively after the rater has been repeatedly exposed to them

      • incessant repetition → liking drops

    • why matters? probability of interaction, opportunity for reward, mere exposure

  • physical attractiveness predicts dating frequency; people focus more on unique qualities once people know each other

  • similarities (opposites generally don’t attract)

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physical attractiveness stereotype

the presumption that physically attractive people possess other socially desirable traits as well

  • men are more likely to vote for physically attractive female candidates, and women are more likely to vote for approachable-looking male candidates

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matching phenomenon

the tendency for men and women to choose as partners those who are a “good match” in attractiveness and other traits

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the popularly supposed tendency, in a relationship between two people, for each to complete what is missing in the other

  • people seem slightly more prone to similarity than complementarity

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the use of strategies, such as flattery, by which people seek to gain another’s favor

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reward theory of attraction

the theory that we like those whose behavior is rewarding to us or whom we associate with rewarding events

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consists of 3 components: passion, intimacy, and commitment

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passionate love

a state of intense longing for union with another; being “in love”

lust + attachment

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two-factor theory of emotion

arousal x its label = emotion

passionate love is biological and psychological

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companionate love

the affection we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined

  • after passionate love fades

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what enables close relationships

  • secure attachments: rooted in trust and marked by intimacy

    • avoidant attachment: marked by discomfort over, or resistant to, being close to others; an insecure attachment style

    • anxious attachment: marked by anxiety or ambivalence; an insecure attachment style

  • equitability: a condition in which the outcomes people receive from a relationship are proportional to their contribution

  • intimate self-disclosure and disclosure reciprocity

    • self-disclosure: revealing intimate aspects of oneself to others

    • disclosure reciprocity: the tendency for one person’s intimacy or self-disclosure to match that of a conversational partner

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a motive to increase another’s welfare without conscious regard for one’s own self-interests

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social-exchange theory

the theory that human interactions are transactions that aim to maximize one’s rewards and minimize one’s costs

  • does not contend that we consciously monitor costs and rewards, only that such considerations predict our behavior

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reciprocity norm

an expectation that people will help, not hurt, those who have helped them

  • helps define the social capital -- the mutual support and cooperation enabled by a social network -- that keeps a community healthy

  • direct -- i scratch your back you scratch mine

  • indirect -- i saw you be nice so i will be nice

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social-responsibility norm

an expectation that people will help those needing help

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kin selection

the idea that evolution has selected altruism to one’s close relatives to enhance the survival of mutually shared genes

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the vicarious experience of another’s feelings -- putting oneself in another’s shoes

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decision-tree model of bystander intervention (steps to helping)

  1. notice event

  2. interpret as emergency

  3. assume responsibility for helping

  4. know what to do to help

  5. implement decision to help

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noticing and interpreting event as emergency

both normative and informational social influence

  • normative = pressure not to “freak out” when others can see you; need clear proof it’s an emergency

  • information = pluralistic ignorance = everyone ignorant of others’ thoughts

more people = lower probability of helping

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bystander effect

the finding that a person is less likely to provide help when there are other bystanders

  • “diffusion of responsibility”

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when will we help?

  • when someone else does so (prosocial model)

  • time pressures

  • more empathetic and helpful towards those who are similar

    • reactions can be affected by race for desire to not appear prejudiced

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who will help?

affected by personality traits, gender, and religious values

  • status and social class also affect altruism

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increase helping

  • reduce ambiguity, increase responsibility

  • awaken people’s guilt and concern for their self-image

  • socialize altruism

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moral exclusion

the perception of certain individuals or groups as outside the boundary within which one applies moral values and rules of fairness

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overjustification effect

the result of bribing people to do what they already like doing; they may then see their actions as externally controlled

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guilt and self-image

people who feel guilty will act to reduce guilt and restore their self-worth

  • labeling as helpful can also strengthen a helpful self-image and influence willingness to contribute

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a condition marked by low levels of hostility and aggression and by mutually beneficial relationships

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a perceived incompatibility of actions or goals

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social trap

a situation in which conflicting parties, by each rationally pursuing its self-interest, become caught in mutually destructive behavior

  • prisoner’s dilemma: two suspects who are both guilty are questioned separately and given an incentive to confess privately -- “locked in” to not cooperating

  • if prisoner A and prisoner B both confess, each get 5 years; if neither confess, both get 1 year

  • if one confesses but the other doesn’t, the one that confesses gets 0 years and the other gets 10 years

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tragedy of the commons

when individuals consume more than their share of a resource, with the cost of their doing so dispersed among all, causing the ultimate collapse -- the tragedy -- of the commons

  • commons is any shared resource

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non-zero-sum games

games in which outcomes need not sum to zero

  • with cooperation, both can win; with competition, both can lose

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mirror-image perceptions

reciprocal views of each other often held by parties in conflict

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how can peace be achieved?

the four C’s

  • contact -- increased contact leads to decreased prejudice

    • equal-status contact: contact on an equal basis

  • cooperation

    • subordinate goal: a shared goal that necessitates a cooperative effort; a goal that overrides people’s differences from one another

  • communication

    • bargaining: seeking an agreement to a conflict through direct negotiation between parties

    • mediation: an attempt by a neutral third party to resolve a conflict by facilitating communication and offering suggestions

    • integrative agreements: win-win agreements that reconcile both parties’ interests to their mutual benefit

    • arbitration: resolution of a conflict by a neutral third party who studies both sides and imposes a settlement

  • conciliation

    • GRIT: “graduated and reciprocated initiatives in tension reduction” -- a strategy designed to de-escalate international tensions

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