PSYB10 Sept. 23, 2013
PERSON PERCEPTION & SOCIAL INTERACTION
Def.: A question you have about the world or how it works
There will be clear concepts (constructs)
You are usually curious about a speciﬁc relationship between the concepts
How to operationalize your research question:
1. Come up with a way to measure every concept in your research question
2. Identify the correct statistical test for the relationship that you proposed
Social Psychological Research Question: Are people in romantic relationships happier
than people who are not?
Relationship Status: Are you currently in a romantic relationship? [Yes / No]
Happiness: How happy are you? [1 = Not at All … 7 = Extremely]
Identify Statistical Test
The research question asks about average differences in happiness between two
groups of people … t-test!
What Goes Into Person Perception?
Verbal Behaviour: Content of our speech PSYB10 Sept. 23, 2013
Nonverbal Behaviour: Things that are not said.
Emblems: Gestures that have well-understood meaning within a culture (they definitely
mean different things from culture to culture)
Effectively: nonverbal language
Can’t just be random signal. Has to have a word meaning.
Sign language is not considered an emblem. It is a language.
Power of Behavioural Input: “Thin Slices”: An approach within social psychology
focused on the attributional power of brief exposure to others. Looking at behaviour
from little bits of behaviour.
Can you categorize a person into an ambiguous group (a social group that a person
may or may not belong, that is not visible) from their face alone?
Population accuracy for ambiguous groups is 64%
Example (Interactions): Kraus & Keltner (2009)
People were filmed interacting then these videos were given to other participants. From
these videos, people had to guess various aspects of the people in participants’ lives.
Naive observers accurately detected parents’ income, mothers’ education, and
The observers didn’t feel like their ratings were accurate but it turns out that they
were pretty accurate in the end.
Relative to high SES participants, low SES participants spent less time:
Grooming, doodling, manipulating objects
Provides additional input
Can completely change attribution
What you expect is what you get – we have sets of expectations for other people and
we mostly seen people within our expectations, even if they are wrong. PSYB10 Sept. 23, 2013
Def.: Explanation for an observed behaviour of a social object
Ease of Attribution
People wrote a human story about the tale of the triangles and circle bouncing around a
Because we make attributions so easily, there must be some reason for them.
How Automatic is Attribution? Very
Attributions = Pattern Matching
Primary Question: Do we attribute behaviour to something about the person (“internal”)
or something about the situation (“external”)?
Internal: Attributing a person’s behaviour to something intrinsic to that person
(your personality made you do it)
o Personality, disposition, attitude, or character
o This is consistent across situations and times
External: Attributing a person’s behaviour to something about the situation in
which the behaviour occurred
o Speciﬁcally not changing beliefs regarding person’s character or
Correspondence Bias: Tendency to infer that a person’s behaviour corresponds to their
disposition, personality, or attitude
Fundamental (?) Attribution Error
When perceiving others:
o Tendency to overestimate the inﬂuence of internal causes for behaviour
and underestimate external causes
When perceiving self:
o Much more likely to attribute own behaviour to external causes
Example: Jones & Harris (1967) PSYB10 Sept. 23, 2013
Participants were given essays to read. One half were given an essay praising Castro
while the other was given one that was anti-Castro. Some were also told that the people
were told to write the essay and some were given the option.
Participants were then asked to rate how pro-Castro the students were.
Explanations for the FAE
Perceptual Salience: Tendency to overestimate the causal role of information that grabs
Anchoring & Adjustment Heuristic:
FAE occurs through the same process as Anchoring & Adjustment Heuristic:
1. Make an internal attribution (believe that people are the causes of their own
2. Attempt to adjust away from internal attribution by considering situational
How fundamental is the FAE?
Before, most info came from North America. We assumed that the FAE was
fundamental because it applied to most people in North America. We did not factor in
Gang Lu (卢刚)
Recent Physics Ph.D. from University of Iowa PSYB10 Sept. 23, 2013
On 1991/11/01, he killed 4 faculty, 1 Ph.D. Student, and paralysed a student
Morris & Peng (1994)
Method: Analysed Chinese- and English-language newspaper articles written about
People are lay statisticians
3 Factors of Attribution:
Consensus: Do other people behave in this way?
o Behaviour unique to person
Distinctiveness: Does this person behave like this with other stimuli?
o Behaviour unique to situation
Consistency: Does the person behave like this over time?
o Behaviour unique to this moment in time
3 Patterns Lead to 3 Attributions:
This is based in the person
An external stimulus consistently
elicits this behaviours.
The behaviour has just occurred
in this situation PSYB10 Sept. 23, 2013
Positive outcome for Self:
o Explain it in terms of internal factors
Negative outcome for Self:
o Explain it in terms of external factors
Unrealistic Optimism - Tendency to expect:
o Bad things are less likely to happen to you than to other people
o Good things are more likely to happen to you than other people
Just World Hypothesis: Belief that good things happen to good people and bad
things to bad people
o Gives us a sense of control over the world
o Leads to rejection and blaming of victims
False Consensus Effect: Assumption that more people share your beliefs, attitudes, and
preferences than actually do
Ultimate Attribution Error: Tendency to make internal attributions about an e