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 stereotype of a Muslim could be primed in a person 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. Explain how the response of reactance increases our sense of relative deprivation and decreases our feelings of consistency and control.

5. a) Choose one of the errors/biases/illusions we exhibit, and explain how science is helpful in reducing that error in the way it studies the world.

b) Choose a different error/bias/illusion we exhibit, and explain how a psychologist's hypothesis can reflect his/her bias.

6. a) Describe two reasons schemas or stereotypes are often useful.

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

7. 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.

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

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

10. a) 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.

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.

11. 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.

 12. 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.

13. 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.

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

15. 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.

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