SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY LECTURE 3
- What goes into person perception?
- Behavioural input
o Verbal behaviour-talking, language
o Non-verbal behaviour- what we don’t say, movement of face, posture of body ,
displays, gestures. Subtle behaviours, you don’t think about it as much as when your
Gestures have well understood meaning within a culture (serve the purpose of
Must be a widely accepted gesture that communicates a meaning or phrase that
we can understand. Its understood as non-verbal language
Effectively non verbal language.
(thumbs up, okay peace)
Use of emblems and their meaning are very culturally bound
- So widely known that they are considered to be a form of language themselves
- An approach to social psychology focused on the attributional power of brief exposure to others
- Taking a thin slice of your personality and making a broad inference about a personality trait
- Not every personal trait can be accurately detected within a few seconds, we cant immediately
know someone in a snap judgment
- Some of our traits are more expressive than others, and can be easily picked up
o Thin slices work is accurate when you look at unobservable characteristics
o SES (socioeconomic status) status within a social hierarchy
o Can we detect who is who higher and lower? Can we do that quickly?
Participants in another experiment came in and interact, and they videotaped
all those social interactions, etc
Rate the socioeconomic status of the people that you are watching within the
Show a brief exposure of the participants, can you accurately detect elements of
KRAUSS AND KELTNER (2009)
Naïve observers were accurately able to detect parents income,
mothers education, and subjective SES
Relative to high SES participants, low SES spent little time
o Spend more time during social interaction grooming
themselves, doodling and manipulating objects o Explanation : mothers education tends to be more strongly
correlated with SES , since men tend to get more educated then
o Guy on the right has more varied behaviour ( higher SES) guy on
the left is prototypical is doing what hes doing,
o Less likely to be paying attention, less likely to be focused on
the task at hand , more likely to look away, check cellphone,
these cues , we use them to detect and interpret the SES of
o Trying to explain the deviation from the norm
o Behaviours helped predict the targets SES
- Thin slices: can you categorize a person into an ambiguous group from their face alone?
- Ambiguous social groups are groups you belong to but are unaware of it. Whether or not you
can detect whether someone is gay or lesbian, or straight?
- Based on intuitive processes that we cant understand, population accuracy of 64%
- Nobody is rated as 100% straight or 100% gay
- No target is rated one way or the other.
- Context matters
o Provides additional input. Person perception is so complex , anything else that you can
take into account will make us more accurate judges, getting more context can
completely change your attribution for what occurred .
o Schemas can also affect our interpretations and interactions
o Can completely change attribution
SCHEMAS: What you expect is what you get.
ATTRIBUTION: explanation for an observed behaviour of a social object
- How quickly do we make observations for behaviour that you observe
EASE OF ATTRIBUTION: HEDIER AND SIMMEL (1944)
- People ascribe a lot of things to that video, triangle is a lover, and the circle is the significant
- Humans have a desire to understand other people and make explanations of the behaviours of
- Believed that the video represented a social process
- We make social explanations for the patterns that we see
- Attribution is VERY AUTOMATIC - Attribution=pattern matching
o If you didn’t know what a love triangle was , you wouldn’t think it was one (the things
you see match a schema for what you have in your head)
o Attribution theory
Do we attribute behaviour to something about the person (internal) or
something about the situation (external)
- Attributing a person’s behaviour to something intrinsic to that person
- Personality , disposition, attitude or character
- Attributing a person’s behaviour o something about the situation in which the behaviour
- Specifically not changing beliefs regarding person’s character or personality.
- The tendency to infer that a persons behaviour corresponds to their disposition , attitude,
- Although you can make internal or external attribution, you USUALLY make an internal
- When perceiving others;
o Tendency to overestimate the influence of internal causes for behaviour and
underestimate the external causes.
o Perceive that other peoples behaviours are caused by their own personality, etc
o Attribute our OWN BEHAVOUR to external environmental influences.
- AKA the FAE
- JONES AND HARRIS (1967)
o Half read an essay Anti – fedal castro
o Other half Read an essay that was pro fedal- castro
o Told that the author chose their essay position before they wrote, it. Or they were told
that the person was assigned by the experimenter to write the essay. THEY WERE GIVEN
the attribution that they should have made for this behaviour.
o How much do you think that the person is pro- fedal castro?
RESULTS: green line: although people were taking into account that there is an
external reason that the person wrote the essay, they assumed that the person
that the person must really like castro somewhere down deep (if they wrote a
So even if the writers were assigned to write a pro castro essay, the people
perceived that they actually liked it as well.
- EXPLANATION FOR THE FAE o Perceptual salience
o Anchoring and adjustment
o Perceptual salience : tendency to overestimate the casual role of information that grabs
When your observing the prof. we see the prof, but the prof cannot see herself.
There are other cues in the external world, that help her explain her behaviour.
BECAUSE when we look at other people we look at them,
What do you see when your observing a behaviour that your trying to explain?
When the behaviour is enacted by the social object, we think that he personality
is what drives their behaviour
When we behave, we look at external stimulus, (we can’t see ourselves when
we act) , whatever we see when we are behaving is outside of ourselves. We
cannot see ourselves; we underestimate the role that is played when we engage
When there is a mirror, we tend to not make the fundamental attribution error
- We perceive other peoples behaviour from our own behaviour, but we are able to understand
people more , and their motives if they are close to us.
- Once we consider someone to be close , we stop taking unique behaviours of them, we start
projecting behaviours of ourselves onto them
- Strangers are able to interpret us more accurately , than our own friends ( they tend to project
their own emotions, and interpret the situation accordingly)
TWO STEP PROCESS OF ATTRIBUTION
- Fundamental attribution error occurs through the same process as ANCORHING and
o 1. Make internal attribution
o 2. Attempt to adjust away from internal attribution by considering situational
- HOW FUNDAMENTAL IS FAE? GANG LU
Cultural event that triggered change. Received PHD in university of Iowa, he
killed 4 faculty, 1 phD student and paralyzed a student researcher
MORRIS AND PENG (1994)
Analyzed Chinese and English language newspaper articles written
about Gang LU
The number of internal attributions that were made about Gang LU’s
ENGLISH paper language MORE internal attributions, but Chinese
newspapers had LESS internal attributions
English crazy, went nuts, Chinese focused more on what was occurring in the environment to
cause his behaviours.
o People are lay statisticians. We do statistics , and we take into account factors in the
same way that a statistical model would.
o 3 factors of attr