Summary Social psychology

ISBN-10 0393932583 ISBN-13 9780393932584
547 Flashcards & Notes
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This is the summary of the book "Social psychology". The author(s) of the book is/are Thomas Gilovich, Dacher Keltner, Richard E Nisbett. The ISBN of the book is 9780393932584 or 0393932583. This summary is written by students who study efficient with the Study Tool of Study Smart With Chris.

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Why do groups make more extreme decisions?

Valuing risk: in many group decision-making scenarios, group decisions tend to be riskier 

>>Originally group polarization was thought to always lead to a “risky shift”


For Americans, taking a risk may be seen as a virtue. Group discussions may encourage a favorable view of risk taking and so the group decision becomes more extreme 

In cultures that don’t value risk taking, group discussions lead to more conservative decisions 

Social comparison theory

A theory that maintains when there isn't an objective standard of evaluation or comprehension, people evaluate their opinions and abilities by comparing themselves to others.

Compare self to others, with the drive to be “better” than others 

If others express similar opinions, we may take a more extreme position to differentiate ourselves

Group polerization

The tendency for group decisions to be more extreme than those made by individuals. Whatever way the individuals are leaning, group discussion tends to make them lean further in that direction.

Group decisions tend to be more extreme than decisions rendered by individuals 

>Why do groups make more extreme decisions? 

Persuasive arguments : Exposure to additional arguments in favor of one’s preexisting opinion strengthens opinion

Risky shift

The tendency for groups to make riskier decisions than individuals would


The tendency to withhold information or opinions in group discussions

Preventing groupthink
  • Group leader should refrain from making opinion known at first 
  • Have leader originally discuss decision with each member individually 

>>Although one might expect collectivistic cultures to be more vulnerable to groupthink because of the emphasis on group identity, groupthink is actually rare in collectivistic cultures. 

>>Often group leader discusses important decisions with each member individually. Individuals then feel free to express their opinions during the group discussion 

  • Bring in outside opinions 
  • Assign a “devil’s advocate” 
  • Develop an alternate plan

A kind of faulty thinking on the part of highly cohesive groups in which the critical scrutiny that should be devoted to the issues at hand is subverted by social pressures to reach consensus.

Groups that are highly cohesive can produce poor group decisions because maintaining group harmony may be 

emphasized over making an accurate judgment 

Historic examples of groupthink = Kennedy administration’s invasion Cuba’s Bay of Pigs without providing proper air cover

Escaping self-awareness

Many self-destructive behaviors may be attempts to escape self-awareness 

>>For instance, drinking alcohol decreases selfawareness. 

>>We are even less likely to use pronouns like “I” or “me” when we are intoxicated

Spotlight effect

People's conviction that other people are attending to them - to their appearance and behavior - more than is actually the case.

We often believe that other people are paying more attention to us than they really are

Self-awareness theory

A theory that maintains that when people focus their attention inward on themselves, they become concerned with self-evaluation and how their current behavior conforms to their internal standards and values.

When people focus attention on themselves (individuation), they become concerned with self-evaluation and behave in ways more consistent with their values and beliefs 

>>For instance, in a study that had timed how fast participants could solve a problem, many participants cheated a bit by taking extra time. 

>>However, with a mirror in the room less than 10 percent cheated