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Lecture 8

lecture 8 of psych 2035

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

Social Thinking and Social Influence Person Perception: Attributions and Errors November 19, 2012 PART ONE: Attribution Theory – Perceiving the Causes of Behaviour A. Fritz Heider (1944): Perceiving stability in an unstable world. 1) Heider‟s Insights: a. We perceive stability by making attributions: >Person Attributions: “dispositional” and “internal” attributions -reflect stable properties of people >Environment Attributions: “situational” and “external” -reflect stable properties of environments -ex) situation demands friendly behaviour b. We have a need to perceive stability: -gives us a sense of understanding, prediction and control 2) Person attributions depend on perceived intentions -Equifinality = person‟s behaviour is directed toward a single goal despite changes in the circumstances. -when equifinality exists we conclude that person intended the behaviour (sets the stage for person attributes – cause of behaviour stems from within the person). B. Correspondent Inference Theory (Jones & Davis: From Acts to Dispositions) 1) A “Two-Step” process (not the same as pg. 216)  Step 1: What the behaviour intended? -was behaviour freely chosen? -could person foresee consequences of behaviour? -If NO, behaviour is perceived as unintended (cant infer anything about person‟s disposition) -If YES, behaviour is perceived as intended (proceed to step 2)  Step 2: Make a dispositional attribution (or “correspondent inference”) -Same label can be used to describe „behaviour‟ and underlying „disposition‟. (eg. conclude person is dispositionally friendly after observing friendly behaviour) -*How do we do this?? Two Approaches*: a) Analysis of non-common effects associated with chosen action. >Note: for every action we choose to take, there are other actions that we choose not to take („chosen‟ and „non-chosen‟ actions). And all actions (chosen and non-chosen) have potential „effects‟ (consequences). Some will be common to both chosen and non-chosen actions; some will be non- common or unique to chosen action. -Correspondent inferences most likely when chosen action has few non- common effects (a single, unique effect) -Ex) Lisa married Ted (not Dirk) Ted = chosen act. (good looking, nice personality, romantic) Dirk = non-chosen act. (good looking, nice personality, romantic) COMMON EFFECTS Ted = wants children, Santa Barbara, wealthy Dirk = does not want children, NYC, poor NON-COMMON EFFECT -too many non-common effects = unclear why she chose Ted or her correspondence inference b) CI likely when behaviour disconfirms expectancies -Ex) “Category-based” expectancies (expectancies for a group of people) [if a person does what expected to do then doesn‟t tell much about CI] 2) Revised Version: Motivational Biases; a) Hedonic Relevance: We‟ll make CI‟s when person‟s behaviour pleases or displeases us (vs. someone else), even if unintended! (car on hill accidently rolls and hits my car, more likely to draw you‟re a careless person than when it happens to someone else‟s car) b) Personalism: CI‟s likely when person intentionally pleases/displeases us (vs. someone else) PART TWO: Attributional Errors -situations have a powerful influence on behaviour (chap 7) -but we aren‟t always aware of these situational influences -when explaining oth
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