The Person and the Situation: Perspectives of Social Psychology


How does the situation we're in influence the way we behave and think? Professors Ross and Nisbett eloquently argue that the context we find ourselves in substantially affects our behavior in this timely reissue of one of social psychology's classic textbooks. With a new foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.

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The Person and the Situation: Perspectives of Social Psychology

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How does the situation we're in influence the way we behave and think? Professors Ross and Nisbett eloquently argue that the context we find ourselves in substantially affects our behavior in this timely reissue of one of social psychology's classic textbooks. With a new foreword by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781905177448
  • Publisher: Pinter & Martin Ltd
  • Publication date: 12/16/2011
  • Edition description: 2nd Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 206,046
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword Malcolm Gladwell ix

Preface xi

Preface To The First Edition xiii

Acknowledgements xvi

1 Introduction 1

The Lessons and Challenges of Social Psychology 2

The Weakness of Individual Differences 2

The Power of Situations 3

The Subtlety of Situations 4

The Predictability of Human Behavior 6

The Conflict Between the Lessons of Social Psychology and the Experience of Everyday Life 7

The Tripod on Which Social Psychology Rests 8

The Principle of Situationism 8

The Principle of Construal 11

The Concept of Tension Systems 13

Predictability and Indeterminacy 17

Prediction by Social Scientists 17

Prediction by Laypeople 18

The Problem of Effect Size 20

Statistical Criteria of Size 21

Pragmatic Criteria of Size 22

Expectation Criteria of Size 23

Overview and Plan of the Book 24

2 The Power Of The Situation 27

Social Influence and Group Processes 28

Uniformity Pressures in the Laboratory: Sherif's" Autokinetic" Studies and the Asch Paradigm 28

The Bennington Studies 35

Sherif's Studies of Intergroup Competition and Conflict 38

Inhibition of Bystander Intervention 41

Why Is Social Influence So Powerful? 44

Channel Factors 46

On Selling War Bonds 47

Time to Be a Good Samaritan 48

Effects of Minimal Compliance 50

Putting It All Together: Stanley Milgram and the Banality of Evil 52

3 Construing The Social World 59

Subjectivist Considerations in Objective Behaviorism 60

Relativity in Judgment and Motivation Phenomena 62

Some Nonobvious Motivational Consequences of Reward 65

The Construal Question in Social Psychology 67

Solomon Asch and the "Object of Judgment" 69

Partisanship and Perception 72

The Tools of Construal 75

The Attribution Process 77

Normative and Descriptive Principles of Causal Attribution 78

Attributions Regarding the Self 19

Failure to Allow for the Uncertainties of Construal 82

The False Consensus Effect 83

Overconfident Social and Personal Predictions 86

Situational Construal and the Fundamental Attribution Error 87

4 The Search For Personal Consistency 90

An Overview of Conventional Theories of Personality 91

The Scientific Findings and the Debate 94

The Challenge of 1968 95

Empirical Studies of Cross-Situational Consistency 96

Implications of the Empirical Challenge 100

Professional Responses to the Challenge of 1968 102

Bern's Revival of the Nomothetic-Idiographic Distinction 102

Methodological Objections and Alternative Empirical Approaches 105

Epstein's Claims for the Power of Aggregation 107

Making Sense of "Consistency" Correlations 109

Predictions Based on Single Observations 111

Predictions Based on Multiple Observations 114

The Relative Likelihood of Extreme Behaviors 116

5 Lay Personologyand Lay Social Psychology 119

Qualitative Aspects of Lay Personality Theory 120

Quantitative Aspects of Lay Personality Theory 122

Lay Dispositionism and the Fundamental Attribution Error 125

Inferring Dispositions from Situationally Produced Behavior 126

Slighting the Situation and Context in Favor of Dispositions 128

Overconfidence in Predictions Based on Dispositions 133

Dispositionism and the Interview Illusion 136

When Are Dispositional Data Useful? 138

The Sources of Lay Dispositionism 139

Perception and the Dispositionist Bias 139

Differing Causal Attributions for Actors and Observers 140

Construal and the Dispositionist Bias 141

Statistics and the Dispositionist Bias 142

How Could We Be So Wrong? 143

6 The Coherence Of Everyday Social Experience 145

Scientific Disentangling versus Real-World Confounding 147

Scientific Disentangling of Person and Situation 148

Real-World Confounding of Person and Situation 149

Audience-Induced Consistency and Predictability 150

When People Create Their Own Environments 154

Choosing and Altering Situations 154

Responsiveness to Others' Needs for Predictability 156

Continuity of Behavior over the Lifespan 158

Situations, Construals, and Personality 160

The Utility of Lay Personology Reconsidered 160

The Search for More Powerful Conceptions of Personality 162

7 The Social Psychology Of Culture 169

Situational Determinants of Culture 170

Effects of Ecology, Economy, and Technology 170

The Situation of the "Middleman" Minority 174

Culture, Ideology, and Construal 176

The Protestant Vision and the Growth of Capitalism 177

Associationism and Economic Development 179

Collectivism versus Individualism 181

Social Context and Attribution in East and West 184

Social Class and Locus of Control 186

Regional Differences in the United States as Cultural Differences 188

Enforcement of Cultural Norms 192

Cultures as Tension Systems 193

Cultural Change in America 193

Blacks and Whites in the American South 196

Traditional Japanese Culture and Capitalism 199

Traits, Ethnicities, and the Coordinates of Individual Differences 200

Can Ethnicities Substitute for Traits? 201

Why Is Ethnicity an Increasingly Important Factor in Modern Lite? 202

8 Applying Social Psychology 204

Methodological Lessons for Research Practitioners and Consumers 205

The Value of "True Experiments" 206

The Hawthorne Saga 210

When "Big" Interventions Fail 213

Situationism, Liberalism, and the Politics of Intervention 213

A Case History: The Cambridge-Somerville Youth Study 214

When "Small" Interventions Succeed 219

Lewinian Discussion Groups and Democratic Procedures 219

"Modeling" Effects on Prosocial Behavior 222

Interventions that Encourage Minority-Student Success 224

Distal versus Proximal Interventions 226

Labeling and Attribution Effects in the Classroom 227

Social Labels and Self-Fulfilling Expectations 227

Labeling versus Exhortation to Achieve Behavior Change 228

Motivational Consequences of Superfluous Inducements 230

Attributions for Classroom Success and Failure 232

Subjective Perceptions and Objective Health Consequences 235

Placebo Effects and Reverse Placebo Effects 235

The Beneficial Effect of Forewarning and Coping Information 238

The Health Consequences of Perceived Efficacy and Control 240

Everyday Application of Social Psychology 243

Afterword 247

References 255

Index of Authors And Names 275

Subject Index 280

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