Possible Exam 1 Questions

1. Use each of the three social motives discussed in class to explain why we frequently make attributions.

2. Explain how a person's stereotype of a Muslim could be primed thus leading that person to engage in a particular behavior.

3. a) The self-serving bias has been described as a "prescription for sanity." Why is that an accurate description?

b) Why might the adaptation-level phenomenon be called a "prescription for insanity"?

4. Choose one behavior I have exhibited while teaching this course.

    a) Explain whether you think that behavior was internally or externally caused by applying Kelley's theory of attributions (consistency, distinctiveness, consensus).

    b) Use one of the three causes of the fundamental attribution error mentioned in class to explain why I might have a different interpretation of this behavior than you would.

5. Explain how the response of reactance increases our sense of relative deprivation and decreases our feelings of consistency and control.

6. Briefly describe any experiment mentioned in the text other than in Chapter 1 and other than the Milgram obedience studies.

    a) Explain how deception was used in that experiment.

    b) What might have been a possible demand characteristic in that experiment?

    c) Why did the researchers conduct an experiment rather than a correlational study for the phenomenon they were studying?

7. a) Describe two reasons schemas are often useful.

b) In terms of one of the social motives, why do we like using schemas so much?

8. In one study, researchers predicted that increasing a person's self-esteem should increase that person's ability to make friends. The study looked for and found a positive correlation between people's self-esteem and the number of friends they have.

a) Did the study directly test the hypothesis? Explain.

b) Did the results support the hypothesis? Explain.

c) Were alternative explanations controlled for in this study? Explain.

9. In terms of a self-fulfilling prophecy, explain why the illusion of control and unrealistic optimism can be productive strategies.

10. Using social psychological concepts, explain why people with more material possessions do not typically report being happier than those with fewer possessions.

11. a) Explain how the depressive explanatory style described in the text is attributional in nature.

b) Use the depressive explanatory style to explain how depression can become a self-fulfilling prophecy for some people.

12. On the first day of class I notice you trip on the way to finding a seat. I conclude that you are clumsy. Is that likely an example of the fundamental attribution error, the self-serving bias, or both?  Explain.

13. a) Using research presented in the text, class or the article, explain how we manage negative feedback or failure and maintain a perception of control.

b) According to the research, what do we often do to maintain a perception of control in situations where we anticipate failure is likely? Explain.

 14. Pick two of the errors/biases/effects/illusions discussed in class or the text. For each one, explain how at least part of the reason we may exhibit that process is to reduce cognitive dissonance.

15. Use the primacy effect, the vividness effect and one other bias or error to explain why a drug user might exhibit unrealistic optimism concerning his/her drug use.

16. Explain how the vividness effect can lead to the formation of a stereotype and how the confirmation bias can then maintain that stereotype.

17. When does automaticity enhance our social judgment process and when might it hurt it? Use the deliberation-without-attention effect and the fundamental attribution error in your answer.

18. Explain how the misinformation effect and the false consensus effect help us to maintain inaccurate stereotypes.