Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction

Douglas Kenrick / Steven L. Neuberg / Robert B. Cialdini  
Total pages
November 2013
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Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction
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For an undergraduate introductory level course in social psychology.


Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction reveals the motives behind social behavior—why people love, hate, lead, and follow, for example- and bridges the person and the social situation.


A unique integrated approach to social behavior:  What do terrorist bombings, testosterone, one-minute “hurry dates,” Facebook, and political smear campaigns have to do with one another?  Social Psychology textbooks typically provide a laundry list of interesting, but disconnected facts and theories.  This standard approach grabs interest but falls short as a way to learn.  Kenrick, Neuberg, and Cialdini instead provide an integrative approach, one that both builds upon traditional lessons learned by the field and pushes those lessons to the cutting-edge.  By organizing each chapter around the two broad questions–“What are the goals that underlie the behavior in question?” and “What factors in the person and the situation connect to each goal?” –the book presents the discipline as a coherent framework for understanding human behavior.  Expanding he integrative theme in this edition, KNC highlights social psychology as the ultimate bridge discipline–connectingthe different findings and theories of social psychology, exploring the field’s links to other areas of psychology (e.g., clinical, organizational, and neuroscience), and bridging to other important academic disciplines (e.g., anthropology, biology, economics, medicine, and law). 


Opening mysteries: Each chapter begins with a mystery, designed not only to grab student interest, but also to organize the ensuing discussion of scientific research: Why did the beautiful and talented artist Frida Kahlo fall for the much older, and much less attractive, Diego Rivera, and then tolerate his numerous extramarital affairs? What psychological forces led the Dalai Lama, the most exalted personage in Tibet, to forge a lifelong friendship with a foreign vagabond openly scorned by Tibetan peasants? Why would a boy falsely confess to murdering his own mother?


The latest scholarship, engaging writing, engrossing real-world stories and the authors' strengths as renowned researchers and expert teachers, all come together to make the fifth edition of Social Psychology: Goals in Interaction an accessible and engaging read for students, while providing a modern and cohesive approach for their teachers.


Check out the authors' website!


  • Create a Custom Text: For enrollments of at least 25, create your own textbook by combining chapters from best-selling Pearson textbooks and/or reading selections in the sequence you want.  To begin building your custom text, visit You may also work with a dedicated Pearson Custom editor to create your ideal text–publishing your own original content or mixing and matching Pearson content. Contact your Pearson Publisher’s Representative to get started.

  • The Mystery. Each chapter begins with a real-life puzzle.  For example, why would an American man who had been working part-time and hanging out in a California rock gym suddenly decide to risk his life to build schools for poor people in the terrorist-infested mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan?  Each mystery is designed to raise the questions that guide the research students will read about in the chapter that follows.

  • The Goals. Next, the reader is asked to ponder the motives underlying the behavior covered in the chapter, by asking “What purpose does this behavior (aggression, helping, discrimination) serve?” The authors consider factors in the person, the situation, and in their interaction that lead to the achievement of those goals.

  • Investigations.  This marginal feature offers periodic critical-thinking prompts connected to chapter content.  For example, in Chapter 1, students are asked to think of someone whose behavior has been prominent in the recent news, and to contemplate how that behavior would be explained differently from the sociocultural, evolutionary, and social learning perspectives.

  • Person, Situation and Interaction icons.  Placed in the margin of the book, these graphic elements alert students to text coverage of these three key themes throughout each chapter. 

  • Bridging Theory and Application.  To emphasize the text's integrative framework, this feature examines how research findings relate to and influence real-world issues.  For instance, in Chapter 5, KNC describes how persuasion science has been used to turn tobacco companies’ own advertising tactics against themselves.

  • Bridging Method and Evidence.  To further emphasize the text's integrative framework, this feature introduces the investigative tools social psychologists use to solve their mysteries.  In Chapter 11, the book explores how new social neuroscience methods have been used to better understand the mental underpinnings of prejudice.

  • Bridging Function and Dysfunction.  Also to emphasize the text's integrative framework, this feature capitalizes on students' fascination with disorder to show how normally healthy social behaviors can produce unhealthy consequences when taken too far.  In Chapter 8, KNC explores how normal processes of romantic attachment can lead to obsessive relationships.

  • Revisiting the Mystery. At the end of the chapter, the student sees the concepts of each chapter applied to solve the opening mystery.  We opened Chapter 1 with the example of an American risking his life to build schools in Pakistan. Why?  Early-life experiences with parents helping strangers in Africa suggest that social learning provides part of the answer.

New to this Edition

  • NEW OPENING MYSTERIES.  There are new chapter-opening mysteries in Chapters 1 and 8.  In Chapter 1, the mystery explores American Greg Mortensen’s work in Pakistan, asking: “Why would an American man who had been working part-time and hanging out in a California rock gym suddenly decide to risk his life to build schools for poor people in the terrorist-infested mountains of Pakistan and Afghanistan?”  Mortensen’s has been kidnapped by Taliban, and had his life threatened by Americans and Pakistanis –yet he persists in his work.  Why?  In Chapter 8, the new mystery explores the tumultuous romance between artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.  Why did Frida fall for the much older and less attractive Diego, and then tolerate his numerous extramarital affairs?
  • HUNDREDS OF NEW CUTTING EDGE REFERENCES.  Several hundred new references have been added to the fifth edition, many of which come from research papers published in 2007 or later.
  • “QUICK QUIZ” STUDENT SELF-TESTS.  A new “Quick Quiz” self-test feature appears at the end of each A-head section in the chapter, encouraging students to check their understanding of the content before moving ahead with their reading.
  • SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY AS THE “ULTIMATE BRIDGE DISCIPLINE”.  New to this fifth edition is an increased emphasis on social psychology’s unique position as a “bridge discipline” – that is, one that fosters connections between different areas of psychology (such as neuroscience, developmental, and clinical psychology) and between different behavioral sciences (such as anthropology, economics, political science, and zoology). These connections are explicitly discussed in the “Revisiting…” sections at the end of each chapter, and the in-chapter features have been renamed “Bridging Function and Dysfunction,” “Bridging Method and Evidence,” “Bridging Theory and Application” to further emphasize the discipline’s integrative impact.

o   Musical styles popular in different regions and among different social classes within the United States emphasize local cultural values: Country-Western lyrics emphasize adapting yourself to the world’s challenges, being resilient, and maintaining your integrity; Rock lyrics stress doing your own thing, going against the grain, and changing the world (chapter 1)

o   Whether or not a society emphasizes collectivism versus individualism, and whether or not the people in a country have personality traits linked to sociability, have been linked to local prevalence of contagious diseases (chapter 1).

o   Fluctuations in bodily hormones such as testosterone and estradiol have recently been linked to who we find attractive on any given day, and whether we are inclined to engage in financially risky behaviors (chapters 1 and 8)

o   People think they would be happier if they spend money on themselves, but recent findings suggest that they are actually happier if they give it to others (chapters 1 and 9)

o   Symbols from one culture can prime styles of thinking among members of other cultures. Subtly exposing European Americans to the yin-yang symbol led them to think less like European Americans and more like East Asians (chapter 2) 

o   Seeing yourself as holding a different opinion than your group activates the brain regions associated with physical pain (chapter 5)

o   New brain research indicates how attitudes can be learned without conscious awareness (chapter 5)

o   Healthy behaviors like quitting smoking and conserving energy can sweep though groups in a contagious fashion (chapter 6)

o   Helping other people activates the reward centers of our brains, which are associated with such pleasant activities as eating and sex (chapter 9)


Table of Contents


1: Introduction to Social Psychology  

2: The Person and the Situation  

3: Social Cognition: Understanding Ourselves and Others  

4: Presenting the Self  

5: Attitudes and Persuasion  

6: Social Influence: Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience  

7: Affiliation and Friendship  

8: Love and Romantic Relationships  

9: Prosocial Behavior  

10: Aggression  

11: Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  

12: Groups  








The Mysteries of Social Life


What Is Social Psychology?

Social Psychology Is an Interdisciplinary Bridge


Major Theoretical Perspectives of Social Psychology

The Sociocultural Perspective

The Evolutionary Perspective

The Social Learning Perspective

The Social Cognitive Perspective

Combining Perspectives


Basic Principles of Social Behavior

Social Behavior Is Goal Oriented

The Interaction between the Person and the Situation


How Psychologists Study Social Behavior

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Why Good Theories Need Good Data

Descriptive Methods

Correlation and Causation

Experimental Methods

Why Social Psychologists Combine Different Methods

Ethical Issues in Social Psychological Research


Social Psychology’s Bridges with Other Areas of Knowledge

Social Psychology and Other Areas of Psychology

Social Psychology and Other Disciplines


Revisiting the Mysteries of Social Life








The Enigma of an Ordinary and Extraordinary Man


The Person

Motivation: What Drives Us

Knowledge: Our View of the World

Feelings: Attitudes, Emotions, and Moods


Introducing the Self


The Situation

Persons as Situations: Mere Presence, Affordances, and Descriptive Norms

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: Descriptive Norms, Pluralistic Ignorance, and Binge Drinking on Campus

Rules: Injunctive Norms and Scripted Situations

Strong versus Weak Situations



The Person and the Situation Interact

Different Persons Respond Differently to the Same Situation

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Person-Situation Fit in the Workplace

Situations Choose the Person

Persons Choose Their Situations

Different Situations Prime Different Parts of the Person

Persons Change the Situation

Situations Change the Person


Revisiting the Enigma of an Ordinary and Extraordinary Man








Portraits of Hillary Rodham Clinton  


The Social Thinker  

Four Core Processes of Social Cognition  

The Goals of Social Cognition  


Conserving Mental Effort  



Dispositional Inferences  

Other Cognitive Shortcuts: Heuristics  

Arousal and Circadian Rhythms  

Need for Structure  

Complex Situations and Time Pressure  

When the World Doesn’t Fit Our Expectations  


Managing Self-Image  

Cognitive Strategies for Enhancing and Protecting the Self  



Threats to Self-Esteem  

When Self-Esteem Is Fragile  

How Culturally Universal Is the Need for Positive Self-Regard?  


Seeking an Accurate Understanding  

Unbiased Information Gathering  

Considering Alternatives  

Attributional Logic: Seeking the Causes of Behavior  


Need for Cognition  

Unexpected Events  

Social Interdependence  

Accuracy Motivation Requires Cognitive Resources  


Revisiting the Portraits of Hillary Rodham Clinton  








The Amazing Lives of Fred Demara  


What Is Self-Presentation?  

Why Do People Self-Present?  

When Do People Self-Present?  

The Nature of Self-Presentation  



Appearing Likable  

Strategies of Ingratiation  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: The Science of Deciphering Facial Expressions  

Gender and Ingratiation 

Potential Friends and Power-Holders  

Multiple Audiences  


Appearing Competent  

Strategies of Self-Promotion  

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: The Paradox of Self-Handicapping  

Competence Motivation and Shyness  

When Competence Matters  

Competence Checks  

The Interpersonal Cycle of Self-Promotion  


Conveying Status and Power  

Strategies for Conveying Status and Power  

Gender, Status, and Power  

Threatened Images, New Resources  

Different Strategies for Different Audiences  


Revisiting the Amazing Lives of Fred Demara  








The Changing Story of Peter Reilly  


The Nature of Attitudes  

Attitude Formation  

Attitude Strength  

Attitude–Behavior Consistency  


What Is Persuasion?  

Measuring Attitude Change  


Cognitive Responses: Self-Talk Persuades  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Smoking the Tobacco Companies with Counterarguments  

Dual Process Models of Persuasion: Two Routes to Change  

The Goals of Persuasion: Why People Change Their Attitudes and Beliefs  


Having an Accurate View of the World  

Good Shortcuts to Accuracy  

What Affects the Desire for Accuracy?  

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: Defeating Defensiveness and Denial  


Being Consistent in One’s Attitudes and Actions 

Balance Theory  

Cognitive Dissonance Theory  

What Affects the Desire for Cognitive Consistency?  

Consistency and Culture  


Gaining Social Approval  


Gender: Women, Men, and Persuasion  

The Expectation of Discussion and Self-Monitoring  

Self-Monitoring and the Expectation of Discussion  


Revisiting the Story of Peter Reilly  








The Extraordinary Turnaround (and Around) of Steve Hassan  


Categories of Social Influence: Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience  

Conformity: Asch’s Research on Group Influence  

Compliance: The “Foot-in-the-Door” Technique  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Participant Observation  

Obedience: Milgram’s Shock(ing) Procedure  

The Goals of Social Influence  


Choosing Correctly: Yielding to Be Right  


Social Validation  

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: Contagious Delusions and Solutions  

Consensus and Similarity  



Gaining Social Approval: Yielding to Be Likes  

Social Norms: Codes of Conduct  

What Personal Factors Affect the Impact of Social Approval?  

What Situational Factors Affect the Impact of Social Approval?  

Who’s Strong Enough to Resist Strong Group Norms?  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Doing Wrong by Trying to Do Right  


Managing Self-Image: Yielding to Be Consistent  

Commitment-Initiating Tactics  

Harnessing Existing Commitments  

Active and Public Commitments  

Gender and Public Conformity  


Revisiting the Turnaround of Steve Hassan  








The Fugitive Who Befriended the God-King 


What Is a Friend?  

Studying Real-Life Relationships  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Studying Intimate Relationships without Really Being There  

Goals of Affiliation and Friendship  


Getting Social Support  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Health Psychology and Emotional Support  

Do Women Tend and Befriend While Men Fight or Take Flight?  

Threats: Why Misery (Sometimes) Loves Company  

Pushing Support Away  

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: The Self-Perpetuating Cycle of Loneliness and Depression  

Attachment and Social Development  


Getting Information  

Social Comparison and Liking for Similar Others  

Self-Disclosers and Nondisclosers  

Uncertainty about Important Issues  

Similarity to Us 

When Dissimilarity Can Save Self-Esteem  


Gaining Status  

Men’s Friendships Are More Hierarchical  

Status by Association  

Men’s Status-Seeking May Erode Social Support  


Exchanging Material Benefits  

Fundamental Patterns of Social Exchange  

Individual Differences in Communal Orientation  

Communal and Exchange Relationships  

Proximity and Social Capital  

Distant Friends: Television, Facebook, and the Internet

Are Exchange Relationships Different in Western and Non-Western Cultures?  


Revisiting the Fugitive Who Befriended the God-King  








The Love Affair of “The Elephant and the Dove”


Defining Love and Romantic Attraction

The Defining Features of Love

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Uncovering the Different Factors of Love

Are There Different Varieties of Love?

The Goals of Romantic Relationships


Obtaining Sexual Gratification

Who’s Sexually Attractive?

Gender Differences in Sexuality

Hormones and Sexual Desire

Sociosexual Orientation

Homosexual and Bisexual Attraction
Arousing Settings

Sexual Situations Look Different to Men and Women

Cultural Norms about Sexuality

Cultural Practices May Trick Evolved Mechanisms


Establishing Family Bonds

The Importance of Attachment

Attachment Style

Exchange/Communal Orientation

Threats Magnify Attachment

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: Obsessive Relationships and Unrequited Love

Jealousy and Same-Sex Competitors

Relationships Change Our Personalities


Gaining Resources and Social Status

Gender and Sexual Orientation

Culture, Resources, and Polygamy

Social Exchange in Committed Relationships

When Dominance Matters

  Breaking Up (and Staying Together) Some People Are Better at Getting Along Some Situations Pull Couples Apart

Interactions: It Takes Two to Tango

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Studying Healthy Communication to Save Marriages


Revisiting the Love Affair of “The Elephant and the Dove”








The Strange Case of Sempo Sugihara  


The Goals of Prosocial Behavior  


Improving Our Basic Welfare: Gaining Genetic and Material Benefits  

Insights into the Evolution of Help  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Using Behavioral Genetics to Study Helping  

Learning to Help  

Similarity and Familiarity  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Getting Help by Adjusting the Helper’s Sense of “We”  


Gaining Social Status and Approval  

Social Responsibility: The Helping Norm  

Desire for Approval  

Effects of Those around Us  

Gender and Help  


Managing Self-Image  

Personal Norms and Religious Codes  

Labeling and Self-Focus  

Deciding Not to Help Friends or to Seek Their Help  



Managing Our Emotions and Moods  

Managing Emotional Arousal in Emergencies: The Arousal/Cost–Reward Model  

Managing Mood in Nonemergencies: The Negative State Relief Model  


Does Pure Altruism Exist?  

The Empathy–Altruism Sequence  

An Egoistic Interpretation  


Revisiting the Case of Sempo Sugihara  








A Wave of Senseless Violence  


What Is Aggression?  

Different Types of Aggression  

Gender Differences in Aggression May Depend on Your Definition  

The Goals of Aggressive Behavior  


Coping with Feelings of Annoyance  

The Frustration–Aggression Hypothesis  

Feelings of Arousal and Irritability  

Unpleasant Situations  

Annoyance Leads to Changes in Perception of Situations  

Some People Create Their Own Annoying Situations  


Gaining Material and Social Rewards  


Social Learning Theory: Rewarding Violence  

Who Finds Rewards in Violence?  

Glamorized Violence in the Media  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Using Meta-Analysis to Examine the Effects of Violent Media  

Violent Media Magnify Violent Inclinations  


Gaining or Maintaining Social Status  

Aggression and Sexual Selection  

Sex and Testosterone  

Insults and the Culture of Honor  

When Status Matters 


Protecting Oneself or Others  


Perceived Threats  

Self-Protective Aggression Can Increase Danger  


Reducing Violence  

Rewarding Alternatives to Aggression  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Using Cognition to Manage Angry Arousal  

Legal Punishments  

Prevention by Removing Threats  


Revisiting Senseless Violence  








The Unlikely Journey of Ann Atwater and C. P. Ellis  


Planet Prejudice  

Prejudice and Stereotypes  


The Costs of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  

The Goals of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  


Supporting and Protecting One’s Group  

Creating and Maintaining Ingroup Advantage  

Social Dominance Orientation  

Intergroup Competition  

The Self-Fulfilling Spiral of Intergroup Competition  


Seeking Social Approval  

Religiosity and Prejudice

Prejudice Norms Change Over Time  

Perceived Social Standing and Prejudice Expression


Managing Self-Image  

Personal and Social Identities  

Ingroup Identification  

Authoritarianism and Prejudice 

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: The Authoritarian Personality  

Failure and Self-Image Threat 

Self-Esteem and Threat 


Seeking Mental Efficiency  

The Characteristics of Efficient Stereotypes  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: The Social Neuroscience of Automatic and Controlled Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  

Need for Structure  

Moods and Emotions  

Cognitively Taxing Circumstances  

Overheard Ethnic Slurs  


Reducing Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  

Interventions Based on the Ignorance Hypothesis  

The Goal-Based Approach  

When Contact Helps  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Cooperation in the Classroom  


Revisiting the Journey of Ann Atwater and C. P. Ellis  








Blowing the Whistle on Hidden Group Pathologies  


The Nature of Groups  

The Mere Presence of Others and Social Facilitation  

Crowds and Deindividuation  

Groups as Dynamic Systems: The Emergence of Norms  

BRIDGING METHOD AND EVIDENCE: Using Computer Simulation to Explore Complex Group Processes  

“Real” Groups  

Why Do People Belong to Groups?  


Getting Things Done  

Lightening the Load, Dividing the Labor  

BRIDGING FUNCTION AND DYSFUNCTION: The Social Disease of Social Loafing  

Expectations of Individual Failure and Group Success  

Current Needs, Individualistic Societies  

When Are Groups Most Productive?  


Making Accurate Decisions  

The Need to Know  

Uncertain Circumstances  

Discussion and Decision Making  

BRIDGING THEORY AND APPLICATION: Majority and Minority Influence in the Jury Room  


Gaining Positions of Leadership  

Who Wants to Lead?  

When Opportunity Knocks  

Who Gets to Lead?  

When Are Leaders Effective?  


Revisiting the Revealed Pathologies of the FBI, Enron, and WorldCom