AP Psychology : Attribution, Stereotype, and Discrimination

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Psychology

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

What is stereotype threat?

Possible Answers:

Abandoning one's primary culture for the mainstream culture, as determined by the mass media

Using discrimination to garner social status

Fear of confirming negative stereotypes about one's race, ethnicity, or sexuality

One's first experience of prejudice

The response experienced during a discriminatory episode

Correct answer:

Fear of confirming negative stereotypes about one's race, ethnicity, or sexuality

Explanation:

Stereotype threat is a phenomenon that was discovered when researchers found that African-American students performed more poorly on a math test after being told that their racial group typically does poorly on math tests. When a control group took the same test without this information, students performed equally well regardless of race.

Example Question #2 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

Which of the following is an example of the fundamental attribution error?

Possible Answers:

Madison attributes her good grades to studying hard

Jaime sees people as generally good people who have benevolent intentions

After Johnny and James have a discussion on the meaning of life, their original viewpoints converge closer together

Mr. Brady is unsure whether the cause of Cassie's misbehavior is due to poor parenting or her psychiatric illness

Mark is tripped in the hallway and assumes the other person deliberately tried to trip him

Correct answer:

Mark is tripped in the hallway and assumes the other person deliberately tried to trip him

Explanation:

The fundamental attribution error is when people place too strong of an emphasis on internal characteristics when judging an externally influenced behavior. In the correct answer option, Mark committed the fundamental attribution error because he automatically assumes the other person intended to trip him, but the other person might have tripped themselves or have just not been paying attention to their surroundings.

Example Question #3 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

Which type of attribution would cause someone to believe an individual's behavior is due to their life situation or environment?

Possible Answers:

Internal

None of these

Stable

Unstable

External

Correct answer:

External

Explanation:

In external attribution, people believe that a person's behavior is a result of their situation or environment, as opposed to something inate within them, as with internal attribution. We are not given enough information to classify the attribution as stable or unstable.

Example Question #4 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

What is the self-serving bias?

Possible Answers:

The tendency to attribute one's successes and failures to internal factors

The tendency to attribute one's successes and failures to external factors

The tendency to attribute one's successes to internal factors, and one's failures to external factors

None of these

The tendency to attribute one's successes to external factors, and one's failures to internal factors

Correct answer:

The tendency to attribute one's successes to internal factors, and one's failures to external factors

Explanation:

Self-serving bias causes people to view their successes as a result of something positive within themselves, and their failures as a result of their situation, or something outside of their control.

Example Question #25 : Social Psychology

If an individual gets an unusually bad grade on an exam and attributes it to his lack of preperation due to a busy schedule, what type of attribution is he making?

Possible Answers:

Unstable-Internal

Stable-Internal

Stable-External

Unstable

Stable

Correct answer:

Unstable

Explanation:

Since we don't know why the student had an unusually busy schedule, and whether or not he blames himself, we cannot determine if this is internal or external attribution. However, since he blames the grade on temporary factors, rather than something permanent, such as "being unlucky," we can determine that he is making an unstable attribution.

Example Question #5 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

What does the LaPiere study of 1934 tell us about the relationship between attitudes and behaviors?

Possible Answers:

There is a strong correlation between a person's attitude about something and their behavior towards that thing

Although attitudes are important, they are not always great indicators of how a person will behave

None of these

That there is no relationship between the two

The stronger the attitude one has towards something, the more likely this will influence their behavior

Correct answer:

Although attitudes are important, they are not always great indicators of how a person will behave

Explanation:

LaPiere took one Chinese couple around America to visit restaurants and test whether, amidst intense xenophobia towards Chinese people that existed at this time, their staff would serve them. As it turned out, although approximately 90% of the restaurants said they would refuse service to them, only one restaurant turned them down. This study demonstrates that one may express a strong attitude towards something, but it may not have any influence on behavior. In this case, the xenophobic attitude expressed by the staff did not impact their behavior, which resulting in service for the Chinese couple.

Example Question #6 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

Which of the following beliefs is an example of the just world bias? 

Possible Answers:

None of these

Poor people have done bad things, resulting in their current status in life

An individual is good-looking and charismatic, so the general public should trust them 

She's had a rough time in life and could probably use a break

I've had several bad experiences at this restaurant; therefore it is probably a bad place

Correct answer:

Poor people have done bad things, resulting in their current status in life

Explanation:

The just world bias is the general tendency humans have to believe that the world is a just place where people get what they deserve. When we see a person of low socio-economic standing, we may try to rationalize their status by assigning a false bias of negative choices or low moral character to that person. This is not necessarily true, since there are broader forces that are out of our individual control that contribute to poverty. This belief persists in many other cases and is prevalanet in much of American discourse on crime. 

Example Question #7 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

What could be a potential consequence of two polarized groups of people working towards a superordinate goal? 

Possible Answers:

The groups may become more prejudiced towards one another

Reduced animosity between those groups

Enhanced animosity between those groups

Betrayal between groups, as some members may switch allegiances

It will inevitably end up that the groups become harmonious and benevolent towards one another

Correct answer:

Reduced animosity between those groups

Explanation:

In trying to combat prejudice, social psychologists created the concept of a superordinate goal that two groups, who are originally hostile to one another, could work towards in a joint effort. In Sherif's study of 1966, this idea was tested out at a camp and was found to be true. After the superordinate goal was attained, animosity was significantly reduced between the groups being tested.

Example Question #8 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

What is the fundamental attribution error?

Possible Answers:

Tendency to place more emphasis on external characteristics to explain someone's bad behavior. 

Tendency for group viewpoints to become more extreme after discussion.

Tendency to place more emphasis on internal characteristics to explain someone's bad behavior. 

Tendency for group dynamics to be dependent on the degree of similarity in its participants racial background.

Tendency for people to make errors in determining the viewpoints of others.

Correct answer:

Tendency to place more emphasis on internal characteristics to explain someone's bad behavior. 

Explanation:

The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to place more emphasis on internal characteristics to explain someone's bad behavior. An example of this is thinking that a person who didn't answer your call is rude (internal), but in reality, they may not have received your message (external).

Example Question #9 : Attribution, Stereotype, And Discrimination

What is stereotype threat?

Possible Answers:

When a person uses physical means against prejudiced parties

When a person uses stereotyping as a means to gain instrumental power

When a person feels at risk of conforming to negative stereotypes about his race

When a person actively attempts to conform to racial-based stereotypes

When a person believes that their racial group is purposely threatening others

Correct answer:

When a person feels at risk of conforming to negative stereotypes about his race

Explanation:

Stereotype threat is when a person feels at risk of conforming to negative stereotypes about his or her race. Feeling this way can lead to a number of negative consequences; one popular study found that when black students were made aware that other black peers performed poorly on a math test, the students performed significantly worse on said test.

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