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Intro Soc - Ch.4.pdf

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Psychology 2720A/B
Patrick Brown

Printable View of Chapter 4PrintSave to FileFile OverviewOverviewChapter 4 covers social perception a term that encompasses a wide range of topicsThe chapterbuilds on the concepts in Chapter 3 social cognition to understand more complex judgmentsForexample humans constantly try to understand why things happen both social and nonsocial eventsSuchcausal judgments are called attributions and constitute one of the important topics in Chapter 4Humansalso try to understand themselves such as figuring out their strengths and weaknesses or assessing thevalidity of their beliefsSome of these issues of selfperception are also addressed in the chapterThe chapter has three major sectionsThe first section addresses what people see in othersTopicslike attributions and nonverbal behaviour are coveredThe second section addresses what people see inthemselvesTopics like social comparison and selfserving judgments are coveredThe third sectionaddresses what others see in usTopics like selfpresentation and selfhandicapping are coveredThecommon thread throughout all of these topics is that they speak to how humans interpret and understand theevents around themFile What We See In OthersWhat We See In OthersThe first section of the chapter deals with making judgments about other peopleWe live in a socialworld so it is very important for us to understand other peoples actions and to be able to predict theirfuture behavioursThis section discusses the processes we use to achieve this goal of understanding others One important process is making attributionsAttributions are causal judgmentsThey refer to judgments about why an event happened or whysomeone behaved in a particular wayImagine that an acquaintance compliments your new haircutYoumight try to assess whether he or she really meant it really believed that your haircut is nice or insteadwas just being polite or perhaps even sarcasticOr imagine that your roommate does poorly on a test Before offering advice you might try to figure out whether he or she is low in ability or insteadencountered a very difficult testAs these examples illustrate attributions often involve deciding whetherbehaviour reflected an internal or an external causeInternal causes include things like beliefs attitudesand abilities eg the belief that your haircut is nice low ability whereas external causes include thingslike rewards norms and obstacles eg the norm of politeness a difficult testThe textbook explains that people try to figure out causes in a rational manner much like an intuitivescientistThat is people make attributions in a systematic sensible way based on the evidence they see inthe environmentThe attributions that we make will influence how we behaveFor example if you decide thatsomeone was being sarcastic about your haircut you will react differently than if you think theircompliment was genuineIf you decide that your roommate did poorly on a test because of low ability youwill provide somewhat different advice eg maybe he or she should drop the course than if he or she didpoorly because the test was difficultThe discounting principle and the augmentation principle are two important rules we follow inmaking causal judgmentsThe discounting principle involves reducing the perceived importance of a causeif other plausible causes are known to be presentFor example when we are watching a funniest videostelevision show and see a boy scream when his father jumps out at him from a hiding spot we instantlyattribute the scream to the sudden appearance of the father rather than to a fearful disposition in the child The augmentation principle is essentially the opposite of the discounting principleit involves increasingthe perceived importance of a cause if there are factors that should have worked against the behaviourFor
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