Social Psychology / Edition 6

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This book presents the basic theories and findings of social psychology, and shows how the principles of this field are relevant to our everyday lives. Written clearly and logically organized, this book presents social psychological theories as a way of understanding current events and social issues, helping the reader to grasp world events as they unfold. The authors of this book have paid special attention to illustrating basic principles of social psychology with topics such as new research on social cognition, attitude formation and change, prejudice, conformity and compliance, social interaction and relationships, the influence of gender in social life, prosocial behavior and aggression, and social psychological perspectives on health, politics, and the law. For those in the fields of psychology and social interaction, and those whose work requires a basic understanding of group dynamics.
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Editorial Reviews

An introductory text presenting the classic theories and findings that form the shared heritage of the field, taking account of important changes in contemporary social psychology. Coverage includes new research on social cognition, attitudes and influence, social interaction and relationships, helping and hurting others, and social psychology in action in health and politics. Pedagogical features include material on issues in the news analyzed from the standpoint of social psychology, boxes highlighting research on culture and human diversity, detailed discussion of several key research studies, and boxes on topics at the forefront of contemporary social psychology. Authors are affiliated with UCLA. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780138176693
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
  • Publication date: 2/1/1988
  • Edition description: 6th ed
  • Edition number: 6
  • Pages: 576

Meet the Author

Shelley E. Taylor is professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Taylor received her B.A. in psychology from Connecticut College and her Ph.D. in social psychology from Yale University. She taught at Harvard University until 1979, when she joined the faculty at UCLA. She has won a number of awards for her work, including the Donald Campbell Award for Distinguished Scientific Contribution to Social Psychology, the Outstanding Scientific Contribution Award in Health Psychology, the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Psychological Association, and the William James Fellow Award from the American Psychological Society. She has served on the editorial boards of many journals. Her other books include Social Cognition (with Susan T. Fiske), Health Psychology, Positive Illusions, and The Tending Instinct. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in social cognition, health psychology, and social neuroscience.

Letitia Anne Peplau is professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Peplau received her B.A. in psychology from Brown University and her Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University. Since 1973, she has taught at UCLA, where she has served as chair of the social psychology program and co-director of the Center for the Study of Women. She was elected president of the International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships and received the Distinguished Scientific Achievement Award from the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. Her other books include Loneliness: A Sourcebook of Current Theory, Research, and Therapy (edited with Daniel Perlman), Close Relationships (with Harold H. Kelley et al.), and Gender, Culture, and Ethnicity (edited with Rose Veniegas et al.) She has published numerous articles and book chapters on such topics as loneliness, friendship, gender roles in heterosexual dating and marriage, the relationships of lesbians and gay men, and the development of sexual orientation.

David O. Sears is professor of psychology and political science, former dean of social sciences, and current director of the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Sears received his B.A. in history from Stanford University and his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University. Since 1962, he has taught at UCLA. He has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, president of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics, and president of the International Society of Political Psychology. His other books include Public Opinion (with Robert E. Lane), The Politics of Violence: The New Urban Blacks and the Watts Riot (with John B. McConahay), Tax Revolt: Something for Nothing in California (with Jack Citrin), Political Cognition (edited with Richard R. Lau), Racialized Politics: The Debate About Racism in America (edited with Jim Sidanius and Lawrence Bobo), and the Oxford Handbook of Political Psychology (edited with Leonie Huddy and Robert Jervis). He has published articles and book chapters on a wide variety of topics, including attitude change, mass communications, ghetto riots, political socialization, voting behavior, racism in politics, and the politics of multiculturalism.

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Table of Contents

About the Author
1 Theories and Methods in Social Psychology 2
2 Social Cognition: Understanding the Social World 28
3 Attribution: Explaining Social Behavior 54
4 Person Perception: Forming Impressions of Others 82
5 The Self: Learning About the Self 110
6 Attitudes and Attitude Change 138
7 Prejudice 174
8 Social Influence 204
9 Interpersonal Attraction 226
10 Personal Relationships 256
11 Behavior in Groups 278
12 Gender 308
13 Helping Behavior 334
14 Aggression 360
15 Social Psychology and Health 392
16 Social Psychology and the Environment 416
17 Social Psychology and Politics 434
Glossary 462
References 476
Photo Credits 533
Author Index 534
Subject Index 548
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Social psychology is more useful today than ever before. Whether we want to understand ourselves or the social world around us, social psychology offers valuable insights. Social psychologists study our sense of personal identity, our impressions of other people, our beliefs about world events, the pressures we sometimes feel to conform to social groups, and our search for love and meaningful social relationships. Social psychology also helps us to understand the stories behind today's news headlines on such topics as international terrorism, school violence, sexual harassment, same-sex marriage, and energy conservation. Not surprisingly, teachers, health professionals, lawyers, political analysts, business leaders, and people in many different professions find social psychology valuable in their work. In writing this book, we have tried to present the basic theories and findings of social psychology and to show how social psychological principles are relevant to our daily lives.

As we begin the twenty-first century, we face the challenge of living in an increasingly multicultural society. Television, air travel, and the Internet bring the citizens of the world closer together and make it essential that we take a broader perspective on social life. Social psychologists are increasingly using sociocultural and global perspectives in their research, and we have included the best of this new work in our book. To give these issues the emphasis they deserve, we introduce a sociocultural perspective in Chapter 1. Throughout the text, we present new work on culture and ethnicity.

This new edition of Social Psychology has been guided by certain basic principles and goals:

  • We believe that social psychology, like any science, is cumulative. As researchers push toward exciting new frontiers, they build on the accumulated knowledge of the field. The new findings of today are best understood as adding to this core body of knowledge. A primary goal in this text is to present the "basics" of the field-the classic theories and findings that form the shared heritage of our discipline.
  • We have also been sensitive to important advances in social psychology. Over time, the core of the field has gradually shifted. This changing core is reflected in the eleventh edition. For example, there is more emphasis on social cognition, the self, personal relationships and evolutionary psychology. We have also expanded coverage of the role of emotion and the importance of automatic processes. Throughout the book, we have made every effort to include the most recent research and the most up-to-date theories in social psychology.
  • Another goal has been to offer an integrated presentation of the field. As we discuss different topics, we try to keep the main theoretical ideas and traditions of social psychology firmly in view, so that readers can see the underlying conceptual continuities in the field. For example, we introduce social cognition and attribution theories early in the book and then show how these theories have been applied to such topics as the self, attitude change, stereotyping, aggression, and bias against women and minority groups.
  • The application of research methods and theories to the understanding of social issues is a major theme in social psychology. Throughout the text, we highlight ways in which social psychology sheds light on everyday experiences and social problems. We conclude the book with a section on "Social Psychology in Action" that explores the most recent social psychological research and theory on health, politics, and the law.
  • The success of any text depends ultimately on its ability to communicate clearly to student readers and to spark interest in the field. Our goal has been to present materials simply, without oversimplifying. The text is comprehensive, but not encyclopedic. We have written a textbook for undergraduate students, not a handbook of social psychology for professionals. We have paid special attention to selecting examples that illustrate basic principles in a lively way and to sharing our own personal enthusiasm for the field.

Special Features of the New Edition

In the News

Social psychology helps us to understand world events as they unfold around us. So that students can comprehend the relevance of social psychological principles to current events, each chapter begins with a feature called "In the News" that highlights the social psychological questions raised by a front-page issue. For example, we begin the prejudice chapter by asking what lies behind the intergroup conflicts that led to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the interpersonal attraction chapter we consider the increasing rates of interethnic dating and marriage. The groups chapter reflects on the appeal of the popular television program, Survivor. The health chapter describes how people are increasingly obtaining their information about health and illness from the Internet and considers the risks and benefits of so doing. In the politics chapter, we review some of the political changes that followed the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The law chapter describes a case in which an innocent man, wrongly convicted of rape on the basis of the mistaken identification of the victim, gained his freedom based on the results of DNA testing.

Cultural Perspective

We have made every effort to include the newest multicultural and global perspectives in social psychology throughout the book. To further emphasize these issues, many chapters contain a "Cultural Highlight" that presents outstanding research on culture and human diversity. For example, in the person perception chapter, we compare the social meaning of smiling in the United States, Japan, and Korea. In the chapter on interpersonal attraction, we consider arranged marriages. In the chapter on aggression, we analyze how a historical "culture of honor" may increase certain kinds of violence in the American South. In the politics chapter, we review research on identity issues facing new immigrants to the United States. Research comparing the behavior of people from individualistic cultures and collectivistic cultures is also incorporated throughout the book.

Research Focus

To help students learn to "think like social psychologists," we have included throughout the text detailed discussions of several key research studies, which describe the research process and the decisions researchers make. In addition, many chapters feature a "Research Closeup," that focuses on a topic at the forefront of contemporary social psychology such as the planning fallacy, the measurement of implicit stereotypes, the impact of mood on compliance, the dark side of intimate relationships, the accuracy of gender stereotypes, and the promotion of safer sex behaviors.


The book is organized to provide a systematic presentation of the material. A beginning chapter on theories and methods is followed by five major sections that progress from individual-level topics to dyads and groups, and then to the specific applications of social psychology.

Part I, on perceiving people and events, provides coverage of new research on social cognition. Here we explore how people think about and make sense of their social world. Chapter 2 presents research on person perception.

Chapter 3 reviews basic principles of social cognition.

Chapter 4 applies these basic principles to understanding how we view ourselves.

Part II discusses attitudes and influence. Chapter 5 reviews research and theory on attitude formation and change. This review is followed by an analysis of prejudice and a chapter on processes of social influence that includes discussions of conformity and compliance.

Part III examines social interaction and relationships. A chapter on interpersonal attraction is followed by a chapter on personal relationships that surveys current research in this growing area. We then broaden our focus to study group behavior and the pervasive influence of gender in social life.

Part IV focuses on helping and hurting others. Included are chapters on prosocial behavior and aggression.

Part V, on social psychology in action, presents social psychological perspectives on three applied topics: health, politics, and the law.

We think this sequence will fit well with the teaching preferences of many instructors. However, each chapter is self-contained so the chapters can be covered in any order.

Highlights of New Content

This edition introduces a new chapter on social psychology and the law written by Eugene Borgida and Jennifer Hunt. The chapter describes the important research done by social psychologists on such topics as eyewitness identification, the use of so-called lie detectors, jury decision making, expert testimony and the current debate about recovered memories of childhood abuse.

So that students can see for themselves how social psychologists conduct their research, we have included additional sample items from measures used to assess an array of concepts, including loneliness, the desire for individuation, authoritarianism, implicit stereotypes, and stressful life events.

The many changes throughout this edition reflect new trends in social psychology today. Some highlights of the new material include:

  • The social cognition section has been reorganized and now includes extensive coverage of automatic inference and evaluation. The person perception chapter presents new research on the importance of emotion in impression formation. The social cognition chapter has greater coverage of work on dual processing models and mental simulation. Additional coverage of the affective aspects of social cognition includes the role of motivation in cognitive processing.
  • The self chapter introduces new work on terror management theory that investigates how people cope with the fear of death. Expanded coverage of self-regulation is also included.
  • The attitudes chapter considers when and why people's attitudes toward such issues as the death penalty can change dramatically. New research is presented on the persuasiveness of emotional appeals and the automatic elicitation of attitudes.
  • The prejudice chapter gives increased emphasis to research on stereotype threat, implicit stereotyping, and multiculturalism. It also suggests new ways to reduce prejudice using superordinate or crosscutting categories.
  • The chapters on interpersonal attraction and personal relationships have been reorganized for greater clarity and coherence. The attraction chapter includes new data on interethnic couples, presents the latest research on adult attachment, and scrutinizes findings on the impact of physical attractiveness. A new section on mate selection includes both social role and evolutionary interpretations.
  • The personal relationships chapter provides expanded coverage of cognition in relationships, including "positive illusions," memory bias, resisting tempting alternatives, sacrifice, and forgiveness. Possible male-female differences in intimacy are reviewed.
  • The chapter on groups includes new research on culture and crowding and on the impact of supportive audiences on performance.
  • The gender chapter presents the latest findings from meta-analyses of sex differences in social behavior and includes a new section on human sexuality.
  • The aggression chapter includes expanded coverage of the possible roles of biology, evolution, and culture in aggression. Comprehensive coverage is given to school violence and to intimate violence, including domestic abuse, rape, and sexual harassment.
  • The chapter on helping has been reorganized to consider three major types of helping: bystander intervention, volunteerism, and caring for family and friends. New work on mood and helping as well as research on the helpfulness of political liberals versus that of conservatives is reviewed.
  • The health psychology chapter presents new evidence that a person's state of mind and social support influence health and illness. The chapter also highlights recent findings on habits that can foster good health.
  • The chapter on politics presents new research on ambivalence, the rationality of public opinion, and collective memories. Expanded coverage of gender and religious conflicts in politics is provided. Attention is also given to the role of the media in shaping public opinion, including the effects of attack ads and the media coverage of President Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
  • A new chapter on the law, written by Eugene Borgida and Jennifer Hunt, presents the current research applying social psychological theory to legal issues, including eyewitness identification of criminals, the use of socalled lie detectors, the "story model" of jury decisionmaking, and the impact of race on jury verdicts.

Helping Students to Learn Social Psychology

To enhance the effectiveness of this text, we have kept the clarity and interest level high and have made a particular effort to avoid technical language. Our new design is modern and open, integrating visuals to facilitate easy reading and comprehension.

Each chapter opens with an outline of its main topics and concludes with a point-by-point summary of major concepts and findings. Key terms, which are printed in bold type in the text, are listed at the end of each chapter and are defined in the glossary. Important findings and concepts are illustrated graphically in tables and charts. Each chapter ends with a set of questions that encourage students to consider provocative issues and applications of materials from the text.

Ancillary Materials

The eleventh edition of Social Psychology is accompanied by the following teaching and learning tools that constitute a support package of print, video, and multimedia supplements.

Supplements for Instructors

  • Instructor's Resource Manual (ISBN 0-13-049516-6), prepared by Elissa Wurf of Moravian College and Lafayette College. This IRM is a true "course planner." It includes expanded and updated lecture suggestions, classroom demonstrations and activities, handouts, video resources, and information on how to integrate Prentice Hall's "Classic and Contemporary Videos in Social Psychology" CD-ROM into your course (see description of this CD-ROM under the Student Supplements section below).
  • Test Item File (ISBN 0-13-049518-2), prepared by Susan Campbell of Middlebury College. This test bank has been revised and expanded to include more than 2,000 questions that offer instructors a wide selection of items. Conceptual, applied, and factual questions are available in multiple choice, short answer, true/false, and essay formats.
  • Prentice Hall Test Manager (ISBN 0-13-049515-8). One of the best-selling test-generating software programs on the market, Test Manager is available in Windows and Macintosh formats, both of which are included on one CD-ROM. The Test Manager includes a gradebook, online network testing, and many tools to help you edit and create tests quickly and easily.
  • PH Color Transparencies for Social Psychology (ISBN 0-13-060512-3) include figures and tables from this text, as well as from other sources.
  • Powerpoints provide an active format for presenting concepts from each chapter. The Powerpoint files can be downloaded from the Companion Website.
  • ABC News/Prentice Hall Video for Social Psychology (ISBN 0-13-081563-2). This video presents feature segments from award-winning ABC News programming, providing a contemporary look at topics such as cultural diversity, gender, prejudice, and relationships.
  • Psychology Central Website This site is password-protected for instructors' use only, and allows you online access to all Prentice Hall Psychology supplements at any time. You'll find a multitude of resources (both text-specific and non-text-specific) for teaching introductory psychology--and many other psychology courses too. From this site, you can download the files for the Instructor's Resource Manual, Test Item File, and Powerpoint presentation for Taylor's eleventh edition of Social Psychology. Contact your local sales representative for the user ID and password to access this site.

Supplements for Students

  • Companion Website, prepared by Robin Kowalski of Western Carolina University. This free online resource allows students to take practice tests for each chapter, with immediate scoring and feedback. It also offers links to related websites, as well as interactive self-assessments that students can complete to learn more about themselves and their social styles.
  • Practice Tests, prepared by Robin Kowalski of Western Carolina University. This brief booklet can be packaged free with the text to help students test themselves on key concepts before exams. Each chapter features practice multiple choice and short answer questions with explanations for correct answers.
  • Content Select Research Database. Prentice Hall and EBSCO, the world leader in online journal subscription management, have developed a customized research database for students of psychology. The database provides unlimited access to the text of dozens of peer-reviewed psychology publications. Student access codes can be packaged free with this text. To see for yourself how this site works, ask your local Prentice Hall representative for a free instructor access code.
  • Insights into Social Psychology by Marianne Miserandino, Beaver College. This customizable reader allows instructors to choose from 130 classic and contemporary readings across all of the key topics in social psychology. Unlike traditional readers, students pay only for tile readings that the instructor chooses to include. The custom readings book can also be packaged with Taylor's eleventh edition of Social Psychology at a discount. Contact your local representative for a list of readings and details on how to order.
  • Sociocultural Perspectives in Social Psychology, edited by Anne Peplau and Shelley Taylor (ISBN 0-13-241860-6). This paperback book of readings examines the influence of culture and ethnicity in social life. Nineteen articles were chosen to complement the major topics in social psychology and were screened by a panel of undergraduate students for their interest and readability. Pedagogical features of the book include an introduction to each article that highlights key issues and a set of questions about each article designed to stimulate thought or classroom discussion.


Special thanks go out to Melissa Dunagan, David Gordon, Steve Gordon, Marilyn Hart, Laura Hernandez, Nina McDowell, and Regan Roby for their invaluable assistance in researching and preparing this manuscript. We are grateful to Prentice Hall for its continuing support, and especially to Stephanie Johnson, Executive Editor; Catherine Fox, Editorial Assistant; and Randy Pettit, our Production Editor. We also appreciate the useful feedback we have received from students who have used this book.

The text has benefited greatly from thoughtful reviews of-this and prior editions by:

Kelly Anthony, Wesleyan University; Jeff Bryson, San Diego State University; Serena Chen, University of Michigan; Cynthia W. Esqueda, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Katherine Gannon, Texas Tech University; Norine L. Jalbert, Western Connecticut State University; Joann M. Montepare, Emerson College; Warren Reich, Rutgers University, Newark; Salomon Rettig, Hunter College; Ann Zak, College of St. Rose.

--Shelley Taylor, Letitia Anne Peplau, David O. Sears

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