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Nov 18 - Social Thinking and Social Influence.docx
Nov 18 - Social Thinking and Social Influence.docx

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Western University
Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

November 18 , 2013 Social Thinking and Social Influence (Ch. 7) Person Perception: Attributions and Errors Ask ourselves why a certain event occurred? Different causal explanations (attributions) cause different perceptions on it Part 1: Attribution Theory: Perceiving the Causes of Behaviour A) Fritz Heider (1944): Perceiving stability in an unstable world. How do we perceive stability an in unstable world? How do I know a ball will roll if I put it on a slope but a block won’t? If a student continuously does bad on exams why do I still see them as an intelligent student? - Heider’s Insights: 1. We perceive stability by making attributions  Person attributions: aka “dispositional”; “internal” attributions o Reflect stable properties of people  Environment attributions: “situational”; “external” attributions o Reflect stable properties of environments 2. We have a need to perceive stability  Gives us a sense of understanding, prediction, and control  A ball will stay stable as a ball because it is round - Person attributions depend on perceived intentions  Equifinality: Persona’s behaviour is directed toward a single goal despite changes in the circumstances o Conclude that person intended the behaviours (sets the stage for a person attributions – cause of behaviour stems from within the person) o Angry at student, pushes chair out of the way, and hit him on head. Was this intended? B) Correspondent Inference Theory: (Jones & Davis: From Acts to Dispositions) 1. A “Two-Step” process (not same as p.216) Step 1: Was the Behaviour intended?  Behaviour was freely chosen?  Person could foresee consequences of behaviour? -If “no” behaviour is perceived as unintended (can’t infer anything about a person’s dispositions) -If “yes”, behaviour is perceived as intended, proceed to Step 2. Step 2: Make a dispositional attribution (or “correspondent inference”): An inference is correspondent when the same label can be used to describe both the behaviour and the underlying disposition (e.g., conclude person is dispositionally “friendly” after observing “friendly” behavior) How do we do this? Two approaches:  Analysis of non-common effects associated with chosen action. Note: November 18 , 2013 o For every action we choose to take, there are other actions that we choose not to take (“chosen” and “non-chosen” actions) o 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 the chosen action o CI most likely when chosen action has few non-common effects (a single, unique effect) o Ex. Lisa married Ted (not Dirk)  Ted – chosen act  Good looking  Nice personality } Common Effects  “Romantic”  Wants kids – Non-Common Effect  Santa Barbara - too many non-common effects  Wealthy  Dirk – non-chosen act  Good looking  Nice personality } Common Effect  “Romantic”  No kids – Non-Common Effect  NYC  Poor o CI most likely when behaviour disconfirms expectancies  E.g., “Category-based” expectancies (expectancies for a group of people) – firefighter and a random run into burning house to save someone: who is the hero? 2. Revised version: Motivational Biases:  Hedonic Relevance: We’ll make CI’s when person’s behaviour pleases or displeases us (vs. someone else), even if unintended  Personalism: CI’s likely when person intentionally does something that pleases/displeases us (vs. someone else) o If you intentionally ran your car into mine, more likely to think you’re a jerk than if you intentionally ran your car into someone elses’ Part 2: Attributional Errors  Situations have a powerful influence on behaviour (
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