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Lecture 4

PSYC 260 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Nonverbal Communication, Fundamental Attribution Error, Fritz Heider

Course Code
PSYC 260
Lisa Droogendyk

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Week 3 Review
Thought suppression:
-Two mental processes involved in controlling thought
-You end up thinking about it more as you try not to think about it
-Monitor: search for the thought
-Operator: Terminate it
-We think about them more because of this system
-The monitor has to keep it in thought to search for it
-once operator gets tired, the thought is active on your mind
Clinical applications of thought suppression
-Thought suppression is associated with suicidal tendency, OCD, Problem gambling
-Suppress - think of it more - not good for mental health
-Is it better to replace the thought with something more healthy? - yes
Week 4 - Social Perception
-If you meet a new person, you can’t read their mind to see what they’re like, so you have to
guess and make inferences about who they are and what they are like based on their behaviour
-Strategies and shortcuts to make those guesses
Attribution Theory:
-Attributions: The way people explain their own and other’s behaviour
-Fritz Heider: humans are naive scientists
-we like to be objective scientific about understanding other people
Classify people’s behaviour in one of two categories
-Due to the person
-Due to the situation
Internal attributions: Explanations for behaviour based on a person’s characteristics, personality
External attributions: Explanations for behaviour based on the situation or social context
-Diffiult topics: external attribution for fiddling and nervous movements: Lexi is not
-Easy topics: internal attribution for fiddling and nervous movements: Lexi is nervous
-The situation affects it?
People tend to favour internal attributions
-The behaviour of others is driven with something within them
-External attributions are less common
-We focus on individuals, not the situation
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Fundamental Attribution Error: Overestimate influence of personality in explaining behaviour,
while underestimating influence of situation
Or called:
-Correspondence bias
-Attribution effect
We focus on individuals and characteristics, the situation is the background
Castro Study (on the fundamental attribution error)
-Participants read speech
-either anti castro or pro Castro
-written by members of a debate team
-Told that authors chose stance OR assigned stance
-DV: How much do you think the person who wrote it supports Castro?
-FAE occurred even when there was an obvious external attribution
Fundamental Attribution error:
-Making internal attributions is not always wrong
-We make internal attributions MORE than we SHOULD
-It’s hard for us to think of actors as someone other than their role sometimes
-Why does it exist?
-Perceptual Salience:
-Information in our focus leads us to overestimate the causal role of this
-If somethings more accessible in our mind, we assume it's more important
-Focus on “perceptually salient” behaviour of others
-The person who’s sitting close to you is more available perceptually, so you focus on them
more and think that person is talking more
-Perceptual salience causes us to overestimate the role of what’s directly in front of us
With us, we don’t see ourselves, we see the social context
-Tripping over a chord is more perceptually salient to us (situation) - external
-Others see you fall, so you’re clumsy (person) - internal
Self-Serving Bias:
-Attributions we make about ourselves
-Tendency to make internal attributions for our successes and external attributions for our
-Did good: I’m responsible
-Did bad: It was the situation
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