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16. Forming Impressions.docx

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McMaster University

Forming Impressions Introduction  Difficult to accurately attribute intentions to observed actions because for every observed behavior, there are many possible motivating factors Attribution Theories Intro  How you interpret a behavior may lead you to form an impression that may or may not accurately reflect the circumstances o It can be due to a personality trait that is fixed or the present situation the person is currently faced with  You make automatic judgments about people which will influence how you think, feel and behave toward the person Correspondent Inference Theory  Jones & Davis correspondent inference theory o You actively analyze a person’s behavior to make inferences based on:  Degree of choice  Helps to know if the individual chose to act in the observed in question (ex. someone choses to be on a certain side of the debate  believes it)  May have difficulty appreciating the role of degree of choice in a chosen behavior  may develop strong emotional feelings for/against a movie actor who you assume is really that romantic or whatever characteristics in real life  Expectation  How expected a particular behavior is  Uncommon behavior gives us a lot more info than common behavior  if someone behaves in a way typical to what you would expect from them, you do not have any reason to infer an underlying cause to their behaviour  Intended consequences of behavior  Intention of the behaviour Ex. commercials promoting something, sending a certain message  Probably not develop the same suspicion if you heard your mom advocating the same position Covariation Theory  Kelley’s theory predicts how you determine id a given behavior is due to an individuals personal dispositions OR the situation and circumstances o If a behaviors is dispositional or situational:  Consistency  Does the individual usually behave this way in this situation?  Yes  seek explanation for this behavior; is Chris usually unable to get his computer to work?  Distinctiveness  does the individual behave differently in different situations?  Yes  situational  No  dispositional  Consensus  Do others behave similarly in this situation?  Yes  situational (everyone’s behavior is similarly influences by the situation)  No  dispositional (each individuals disposition) The Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE)  When interpreting the underlying cause of behavior in others, often overestimate the role of dispositional factors & underestimate the role of situational factors  Definition: tendency to over-value dispositional factors for the observed behaviours of others while under-valuing situational factors  coined by Ross  Jones found Ross’s term “overly provocative & somewhat misleading; furthermore, I’m angry that I didn’t think of it first” The Actor/Observer Effect  FAE  assume behavior of others primarily due to dispositional factors  Actor Observer Effect  consider the situational factors for your own behavior  Actor-observer effect: how you perceive your behaviors and that of others o You as an actor are better aware of the many situational factors contributing to your own behavior o When you observe others, you only have the current situation on hand  assume the behavior is representative of what you would typically observe  Harre: young drivers asked to explain the reason for their own & their friends risky driving behavior  Teens attribute their own driving behavior to situational factors (hurry, pressure); they were more likely to attribute their friends driving on personal factors (fun, showing off) Cultural Differences  FAE influenced by culture  Miller: examined how likely American & Indian children and adults were to attribute negative behavior to dispositional or situational factors o American 8 & 11 yr olds made a similar # of attributions as a result of personal & situational causes o Indian 11 years olds have a tendency to make more situational than personal attributions o more differences when comparing the two older groups o Americans make more attributions to personal/dispositional factors o Indians make more attributions to situational factors  suggests that there are cultural differences in the FAE  Morris & Peng: compared attributions made by Chinese & American graduates and newspapers o Compared to the Chinese, the American students & newspapers were more likely to make the FAE o FAE is diminished in collectivist societies where there is less focus on individual behaviors and more focus on relationships & roles within society o American Olympic winners increase probability of making FAE o Chinese Olympic winners decrease proba
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