Subject variable A variable that characterizes preexisting differences among the participants in a study.
Subjective well-being One’s happiness, or life satisfaction, as measured by self-report.
Subliminal presentation A method of presenting stimuli so faintly or rapidly that people do not have any conscious awareness of having been exposed to them.
Sunk cost principle The economic rule of thumb that only future costs and benefits, not past commitments, should be considered in making a decision.
Superordinate goal A shared goal that can be achieved only through cooperation among individuals or groups.
System justification theory A theory that proposes that people are motivated (at least in part) to defend and justify the existing social, political, and economic conditions.