PSYCH253 Lecture Notes - Fundamental Attribution Error, Anthropomorphism, Centrality

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Published on 16 Apr 2013
School
University of Waterloo
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH253
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of 3
PSYCH253- January 16th 2013
Attribution and Person Perception
Person Perception
- Anthropomorphism
o Motivated Anthropomorphism
Induced a mood (Lonely, Control, Afraid)
Ascription of human vs. general traits to pets (given a list of
attribution to describe pet and finding was that Ps that were
lonely were more likely to select more human traits to their
pets compared to controlled condition) Ps were not affected
by condition when choosing behavioral traits
People who are more lonely will see things in a more human
way
- Gestalt impressions
o Asch
Factors shaping impression formation
Order in which word (info) offered
Context of other words (info)
Centrality of certain words (warm/cold)
Claimed we for a “Gestalt” of the person
Revision to centrality effect
If given single descriptive phrase it can make a huge
difference
- Thin-Slice Accuracy
o May think that you cannot recognize certain traits but we can based
on our perception
o I.e. Gaydar, Modar
Attribution theories
- Normative theories
- What would make sense for what humans should do
- Understanding Why (and Who) of why someone does something = who that
person is
- Internal/external distinction
o Functions of Attribution
Help predict and control environment
Help determine thoughts, feelings and behaviors
Influence expectations for future
Impact on own performance
o Internal/ Person Attributions
Personality, ability, attitude
o External / Situational Attributions
Other people, luck, pressure
- Correspondent inference theory
o People often infer that behaviours correspond to [traits/dispositions
of] the people enacting them
o But will Cameron actually make this inference?
Non- common effects arise from a specific behavior and not
from alternative behaviours
Expectations depend on whether behavior is typical (Ie. Taking
50 000 job or 10 000 job)
Common dispositions (eg. dislike of pain) are less informative
than unique dispositions (eg. masochism)
- Covariation Model (Kelly)
o Multiple observational points
o Process for making internal/external attributions
o Cause and effect must “covary”
For something to be the cause of behavior it must be
present when the behavior occurs and absent when it does
not occur
o Attribution based on 3 aspects of the event
Consensus
What do other people think or do (how does the
target’s behavior compare to others’ behavior)
Distinctiveness
Does the target’s behavior generalize to other
stimuli? Does someone behave the same way to all
things or just one thing.
Consistency
Is the target’s behavior the same across time,
situation
o Internal Attribution (to actor)
o External Attribution (to stimulus)
o External Attribution (situation, circumstance)
Biases and errors
- How we don’t actually do what we should do
- Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE)
o Tendency to overestimate the extent to which people’s behavior is
due to internal factors and to underestimate the role of situational
factors
o Discounting rule
If everyone does it, then the observer or perceiver would
conclude that it has to do with the situation
Underuse of discounting rule Anecdotal Evidence
o FAE& Inferred Writer Attitudes
Ps read an essay written by student about Castro
This person was told write a short essay about whether
they were pro-Castro or anti- Castro (Free choice)
Another person had no choice
Fellow classmate would be told whether they had free choice
or no choice
Ps were asked: What is the writer’s position on Castro?
In terms of opinion, students infer that although there
was no choice, people still thought the writer was anti-
Castro.
- Actor-observer bias
o Tendency to see other people’s behavior as dispositionally caused,
while focusing on situational factors in explaining own behavior
o Ie. If prof is late for class it’s because of external factors but if students
are late its cause the student didn’t try
- Self-serving attribution
o Tendency to take credit for our success (internal attributions) but to
blame the situation (external attribution for our failures)
- Soures of Attribution Erros
o Cognitive Dimensions
Perceptual salience
You’re in your own world
Affected by what you’re looking at when making an
inference
Information availability
o Core Motives
Enhancing: self esteem concerns
Understanding: coherent view of the world
o Culture
Focus on individual agency vs. contextual norms
Explaining the FAE
- We have inadequate theories of situational influence, underrate subtle
situational factors
- We make person attributions automatically and intuitively; situation
attributions require controlled, attention demanding processing.
- Actors are often in foreground of attention; the situation is typically the
background