Chapter 4: Social Perception
= the study of how we form impression of and make inferences about other people
o What we see in others
o What we see in ourselves
o What others see in us
NON VERBAL BEHAVIOUR
Body Language and Gestures
Much emotional expression is nonverbal
Primary uses of nonverbal behaviour
o Expressing emotion
o Conveying attitudes
o Communicating personality
o Substitution for verbal messages
Discrete Emotions Theory: Emotions as Evolved Expression
Theory that people experience a small number of distinct emotions
o Distinct biological roots
o Sevres as evolutionary function
Primary emotions identified by Ekman:
Cultural Differences in Emotional Expression The finding that certain emotions exist across most of all cultures doesn’t mean that culture are
identical in their emotional expressions
Display rules = cross cultural guidelines for how and when to express motions
What we see in others: Detecting Deception
Do others know when you are lying?
o There are reliable nonverbal indicators of lying
Voice pitch increases when lying
Eye blinks increase when lying
Posture shifts and gestures increase when lying
However, no one nonverbal behaviour is associated perfectly with lying, and lies can be told
successfully without these behaviours
Lying and Lie Detection
Lie detection methods:
o Humans as lie detectors
Federal officers, sheriffs, clinical psychologists
o Polygraph test: physiological responses to questions designed to expose falsehoods (risk
of high false-positive)
o Guilty knowledge test: criminals know something that innocent people don’t ( high
o Brain scanning technique
o Integrity tests
What We see in others: Attribution Theories
We are invested in understanding the reasons for people’s behaviours
o We want to know why people act the way they do
Attribution theory examines how we answer this “why” question
Attributions: casual judgements about why an event or behaviour occurs
o Internal (person) vs. eternal (situational) causes or attributions
Kelley’s Covariation Model of Attribution
People are “intuitive scientists” when trying to make attributional decisions for a behaviou: o Much like at trained scientist, laypeople gather evidence, weigh possibilities, form
hypotheses, to understand others
o Covariation model of attribution summarizes these steps:
Is it correlated with internal factors?
Is it correlated with external factors?
Is it correlated with a combination of both?
Depending on this analysis, you will attribute the behaviour differently
What information is used during analysis?
Consensus: do other people do this behaviour?
o Behaviour is correlated with the situation
Distinctiveness: does this person do this behaviour in other situations?
o Behaviour is correlated with the person
Consistency: does this person usually do this behaviour in this situation?
o Behaviour is correlated with situation AND the person combined
Covariation model assumes we know something about the situation and the person
What happens when we don’t know anything?
o Internal attributions come first (person)
o External attributions come later (situation)
Similar to anchoring and adjustment – we usually use both types of information
Problems when we rely on attribution
False consensus effect: the tendency to overestimate the extent to which others agree with us
o Ross et al. (1977): asked students to walk around campus wearing unusual signs, but
could still decline and receive credit
o Also predicted how many would make the same decision as them
= the tendency to assume that people’s actions and words reflect their personality, their attitudes, or
some other internal factor rather than external or situational factors
Also called the fundamental attribution error What Causes the correspondence Bias?
We may overlook or be unaware of situational information
We may underestimate the power of the situation
Fully taking the situation into account requires cognitive resources, which may or may not be
Problem When we Rely on Attribution
Exception to the bias: we don’t apply it to ourselves
o Observers tend to make internal attributions for another actors behaviour
o We tend to make external attributions for our own behaviour
We think we drive to fast because of “special circumstances”
Others think we drive too fast because we’re jerks
Reasons for the actor-observer difference:
o Perceptual salience