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chapter 3 - social psych.doc

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Anne Wilson

CHAPTER 3 – Social Beliefs and judgements Learning Objectives · Describe the fundamental attribution error and understand why it occurs · Distinguish between internal and external attribution · Define and apply the concepts of consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency · Compare and contrast the numerous intuitive social judgements in terms of their origins and the cognitive errors that result Definitions Misinformation Effect – incorporating “misinformation” into one’s memory of the event, after witnessing an event and receiving misinformation about it Priming – activating particular associations in memory Overconfidence Phenomenon – the tendency to be more confident than correct (to overestimate the accuracy of one’s beliefs) Confirmation Bias – a tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions Heuristics – a thinking strategy that enables quick, efficient judgements Representativeness Heuristic – the tendency to presume, sometimes despite contrary odds that someone or something belongs to a particular group if resembling (or representing) a typical member Availability Heuristic – a cognitive rule that judges the likelihood of things in terms of their availability in memory; if instances of something come readily to mind, we presume it to be commonplace Illusory Correlation – perception of a relationship where none exists, or perception of a stronger relationship than actually exists Misattribution – mistakenly attributing a behaviour to the wrong cause Attribution Theory – the theory of how people explain other’s behaviour - for example, by attributing it to either internal dispositions (enduring traits, motives, and attitudes) or to external situations Dispositional Theory – attributing behaviour to the person’s disposition and traits Situational Attribution – attributing behaviour to the environment Fundamental Attribution Error – the tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and overestimate dispositional influences on others’ behaviour Note: The fundamental attribution error involves making attribution about others, not about your self Behavioural Confirmation – a type of self-fulfilling prophecy whereby people’s social expectations lead them to act in ways that cause others to confirm their expectations The Actor/Observer difference What is the Actor/Observer difference? The actor/observer difference is the tendency to see other people’s behaviour as dispositionally caused, but our own behaviour as situationally caused. Why do we get the actor/observer effect? One reason is the phenomenon of perceptual salience. Actors notice the situations around them that influence them to act (i.e., that is what is salient to them); this leads to an external attribution, while observers notice the actors (i.e., salient for them) leading to an internal attribution. Another reason is that actors have more information about themselves than do observers, for example, actors know whether their present behaviour is indicative of the way they always act or not, observers don’t. Thus, actors self-attributions often reflect situational factors, because they know more about how their behaviour varies from one situation to the next than do most observers, who see them in a limited context. Implicit Personality Theory What is the Implicit Personality Theory? - IPC is a type of schema people use to group various kinds of personality traits together; for example, many people believe that if someone is kind, he or she is generous as well. We use schemas to help fill in the blanks when we are unsure of a situation, or don’t know relevant information. When we use a small bit of information to generalize to a big picture about someone, this is the implicit personality theory. Example You meet Sarah, who is attractive and therefore, you also assume that she is also intelligent. Or you meet Stephanie who is very helpful, and you assume that she must therefore also be sincere? If you meet James, who is overweight, then what do you also assume about James? Consistency, Distinctiveness, and Consensus The Covariation Model states that in order to form an attribution about what caused a person’s behavior, we systematically note the pattern between the presence (or absence) of possibly causal factors and whether or not the behavior occurs. When we are in the process of forming an attribution, we gather information that will help us reach a judgment. The data we use are how a person’s behaviour covaries across time, place, different actors, and different targets of the behaviour. By discovering covariations in people’s behaviour (eg, your friend reuses to lend you his car; but he agrees to lend it to others
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