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Psych Notes Chapter

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Kaiz AlarakyiaMarch 2 2011Psychology 1000Chapter 16 NotesSocial Psychology studies how we perceive our social world social thinking and social perception how other people influence our behaviour social influence and how we behave towards other people social relationsIn daily life we make attributions judgements about the causes of our own and other peoples behaviour and outcomes Heider a pioneer of attribution theory maintained that our attempts to understand why people behave as they do typically involve either personal attributions or situational attributions Personal internal attributions infer that peoples behaviour is caused by their characteristics Situational external attributions infer that aspects of the situation cause a behaviourKelley says that three types of information determine the attribution we make Consistency Is the response consistent over timeDistinctiveness Does the person say the same thing about everythingConsensus Do other people agreeWhen consistency distinctiveness and consensus are all high we are likely to make a situational attribution When consistency is high and the other two factors are low we make a personal attribution People often form negative opinions the participants in these studies because we tend to make a fundamental attribution error we underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate the role of personal factors when explaining other peoples behaviour When we behave we are not watching ourselves and therefore we perceive other peoples behaviour badly but we dont see ourselves as doing the same This is not inevitable when people have time to reflect on their judgements or are highly motivated to be careful the fundamental attribution error is reduced A selfserving bias is when we protect our selfesteem by making relatively more personal attributions for successes and more situational attributions for failures Many studies suggest that the tendency to attribute other peoples behaviour to personal factors reflects a Westernized emphasis on individualism With increasing age India made more situational attributions and those from America made more personal attributions Our cultural background also seems to affect the way we go about making attributions East Asians develop more complex views about the causes of behaviour and Koreans score higher on holistic thinking and take more information into account when making decisions The same underlying principle a link between holistic thinking and beliefs about causality seems to account for information seeking differences between cultures as well as among individuals within each cultureWe constantly form impressions of other people just as they form impressions of us Attributions play a key role in impression formation When forming impressions the primacy effect refers to our tendency to attach more importance to the initial information that we learn about a person saying good adjectives first makes people think better about a person New information can change our opinion but it has to work harder to overcome that initial impression because 1 we are most alert to information we receive first and initial information may shape how we perceive subsequent informationWe seem to have a remarkable capacity for forming snap judgements based on small amounts of initial information and some evolutionary psychologists propose that evaluating stimuli quickly friend or foe was adaptive to our survival Primacy effect decreases and recency effects giving greater weight to the most recent information may occur when we asked to avoid making snap judgements are reminded to carefully consider the evidence and are made to feel accountable for our judgements Our mental set a readiness to perceive the world in a particular way powerfully shapes how we interpret a stimulus Our sets are formed by schemas mental frameworks that help us organize and interpret information Although the behaviour can be interpreted in multiple ways you fit his behaviour into the particular schema that is already activated A stereotype which is a generalized belief about a group or category of people represents a powerful type of schema Peoples stereotypes create a mental set that biased their perception of Hannahs subsequent behaviour A selffulfilling prophecy occurs usually without conscious awareness when peoples erroneous expectations lead them to act towards others in a way that brings about the expected behaviours thereby confirming the original impression Attitudes and Attitude ChangeOur attitudes are positive or negative evaluative reaction toward a stimulus such a person action object or concept The conclusion is that overall attitudes predict behaviour to a modest degree Three factors determine why the attitude behaviour relationship is strong in some cases but weak in others1Attitudes influence behaviour more strongly when counteracting situational factors are weak Financial incentives conformity and obedience may lead people to behave in ways that are at odds with their inner convictions According to the theory of planned behaviour our intention to engage in a behaviour is strongest when we have a positive attitude towards that behaviour and when subjective norms our perceptions of what others think we should do supports our attitudes and when we believe that the behaviour is under our control 2Attitudes have a greater influence on behaviour when we are aware of them and when they are strongly held Attitude behaviour consistency increases when people consciously think about their attitudes before acting Attitudes are stronger when formed through direct personal experience rather than secondhand information3General attitudes are better at predicting general classes of behaviour and specific attitudes are better at predicting specific behaviours According to Festingers theory of cognitive dissonance people strive for consistency in their cognitions When two or more cognitions contradict one another the person experiences an uncomfortable state of tension that Festinger calls cognitive dissonance and becomes motivated to reduce
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