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Chapter 2

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McGill University
PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control Exercise of our volition for the purpose of understanding a person is a case of our exerting control: We have the goal of forming an impression, and we regulate our thoughts and behaviour to allow us to pursue that end  Impressions we form of others are made in order to help us attain some goal other than simply forming the best possible impression of the person We infer motives, form impressions, detect and send communicative signals, and make attributions without a great deal of conscious effort  Implicit processes  Inferences about the qualities of others occur without intent or awareness The Unconscious Nature of Naïve Realism Naïve realism occurs because at the very primary stages of information processing, selectivity of stimuli has already started to direct what we see and hear, prior to the involvement of our conscious will or conscious awareness of what we have done Smith, Fazio, Cejka  Identification of a stimulus person is influenced by the subjectivity of the perceiver, such that the way in which a person is categorized and identified is directed by the perceiver‟s attitudes Roskos-Ewoldsen, Fazio  Selective focus of attention would be directed toward objects associated with one‟s attitudes  Objects on which participants were more likely to focus attention and therefore were more likely to remember later on, were the ones they liked best  Preferences unknowingly guide where to focus attention We often even lack the awareness that any cognitive processes have occurred at all – we are unaware that we have attended to something, or engaged in a process of categorizing that which we have attended toImplicit processes Implicit process is automatic  1. Unintended (it is initiated without conscious intent)  2. Impossible to control (the decision not to engage in the process does not stop the process from occurring)  3. Extremely efficient (it occurs despite our working on other activities at the same time  4. Able to proceed without our awareness Phenomenal Immediacy PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control One explanation is the simple ease with which inferences about them come to mind  If our goal to form impressions of others operates outside of our conscious awareness and without conscious intent, then we are likely to have formed impressions without consciously realizing that we had done so, and without realizing that these impressions are controlled by our intentions/goals to have formed them  When knowledge is arrived at easily, and we do not even experience it as being “arrived at” by us through perceptual or impression formation processes, then it is likely to be interpreted as a perceptual given, a “true quality” of the person o Characteristics of the person being perceived have phenomenal immediacy Implicit Communication and Perception via Nonverbal Cues Nonverbal communication The type of hand gestures exhibited could also play a role in shaping how communicative he seems and how helpful and trustworthy the information is Kenny  Calls situations where we form impressions of people we have never met  zero acquaintance Body Language, Facial Expression, and Nonverbal Communication We send signals and conduct a good deal of the communication we have with others through a nonverbal language – our own personal sign language  We all readily recognize that our bodies, our faces, and the tone of our voice all communicate tremendous amounts of information to others, and that we receive signals from others in these domains that we use as an important source of information for determining what they are like and what they want These processes are not only quiet but not conscious to us  It is true that many nonverbal behaviours are initiated with the conscious intent of communicating a particular feeling or piece of information The ability to control one‟s facial expressions is extremely difficult, especially when one hears something that truly generates a strong emotion, such as outrage, joy and fear PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control  It is certainly possible to control such expressions once one recognizes them in oneself, but the micromanagement of these microexpressions is extremely difficult in the short run, when for a fleeting moment one‟s true emotions may be betrayed by the rolling of one‟s eyes upon hearing something one considers outlandish It is easy to imagine nonverbal behaviour operating outside of conscious control by considering how you behave when speaking with someone on the telephone  You are likely to use your hands and arms as expressive aids, or to express emotions in your face  Yet you are probably not aware of, and have no control over, the sending of these nonverbal signals Lack of Awareness that a Nonverbal Communicative Exchange is Occurring People detect and send information via nonverbal channels – through what has been called nonverbal communication – that help to drive the engine of interpersonal perception  A defining feature of an automatic process is the person‟s lack of awareness of the process Gestures as Nonverbal Cues: Nonsemantic Information Chawla and Krauss  Having audio alone and having video alone were fairly comparable  Participants in each of these conditions were able to perform at better than chance levels in guessing which narrative was rehearsed and which was spontaneous  People who received both audio and video were far superior at making this distinction, attaining accuracy 80% of the time  Spontaneity ratings of the perceivers were significantly correlated with hand gestures and pauses in speech used by the speakers  They were those gestures and pauses that were known to be related to problems with lexical access  Their ratings did not correlate with hand gestures more generally or with pauses in speech more generally, just with these specific type of gestures and pauses known to be associated with trouble accessing words from the lexicon  Troubles with lexical access are more likely in spontaneous than in rehearsed speech Perceivers seemed to be clearly attending to nonverbal cues without being aware that they were doing so PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control They were using cues suggesting trouble with lexical access, despite probably not being aware that such cues have anything to do with lexical access or that lexical access has anything to do with how spontaneous speech seems  Non verbal behaviour is only useful at communicating specific types of information between persons in a social interaction  The nonverbal behaviors being detected are not symbolic representations of specific words that are being uttered, such as when a person waves one hand to signal hello or shakes his head in disagreement  They refer to more abstract states such as person‟s attitude  Gestures communicate nonsenmantic information, such as a feeling that a speaker is having trouble producing speech – a syndrome usually associated with spontaneity  While gestures can silently signal nonsemantic information, they do not automatically communicate specific semantic meaning Thin Slices of Behaviour A halo effect occurs when one variable unknowingly influences people‟s impressions of a person along a different variable, because it shades the manner in which the person‟s overall character is interpreted Dion, Berscheid, Walster  “What is beautiful is good” stereotype  When people detect the physical attractiveness of others through examining their features, these nonverbal signals influence the impressions of these people along a wide variety of traits and behaviour Being physically attractive led to the perception that a person was kind, sociable, poised, interesting, warm, outgoing, and modest; had a fulfilling life, prestige, good moral character, and professional success; and was socially adept Ambady and Rosenthal  Confidence, competence, attentiveness, enthusiasm, professionalism, etc. (Moral nonverbal behaviours)  Findings revealed that the ratings of the teachers were correlated with physical attractiveness: o The more attractive the teacher, the better the student evaluation of the quality of that teacher‟s performance as a teacher o Other nonverbal cues that perceivers were detecting quite quickly from the videotape were also correlated PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control with the ratings of the actual students who took the class o Teachers who received positive evaluations from actual students received more favorable ratings on the molar nonverbal behaviours from the participants watching the short video clips o The specific nonverbal behaviours judged to be present by participants only briefly exposed to a teacher were also shown to predict how skilled at his profession the teacher was perceived to be by the actual students in the class o People with extended contacts with the teachers made inferences compatible with the nonverbal cues that seemed to be detected by people who were in zero- acquaintance contexts  Very brief observations of nonverbal behaviour ranging from 1 to 30 seconds in length as thin slices of behaviour  If people are asked to make a judgment of another person based on a short, silent video clip, the perceivers are probably aware of the fact that they are using nonverbal behaviour in forming an impression  That the gay men and lesbian women serving as targets were perceived to be “more gay” than the heterosexual targets  Accuracy was significantly greater in the 10 second videos than in the 1 second clips or the photographs Albright, Kenny, Malloy  Under such conditions of zero acquaintance, different perceivers have fairly similar reactions to a target person  Much of the information communicated in person perception is implied by the features of the target and is not necessarily a subjective inference of the perceivers  Consensus in impressions between different perceivers is determined by the fact that these perceivers each attend to and detect the same set of nonverbal cues and behaviours, which they may not even know they are using Gibson  Ecological approach  Certain elements of the environment are said to attain power to grab attention because they have adaptive value for an individual  Thus being able to attend to and quickly identify features in others that reveal important properties related to the PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control perceiver‟s needs would be extremely adaptive, especially if much of this detection could be automated so that it proceeded without awareness or conscious intent Unintentionally Detecting and Expressing Information from the Face Often the cues/features associated with such ecologically important variables are provide in the faces of the target persons  A quick glance at the facial expression and facial features of others can often provide enough information for impression formation to occur and for physical reactions/responses to these others to be planned and enacted The Baby Face McArthur, Apatow  It is essential that babies trigger paternal and maternal instincts in others  Adults whose facial features resemble the structure of an infant‟s face should unintentionally trigger these same impulses  Having a baby face was posited to be a cue that would be associated with personality traits such as being kind, lovable, flexible, nonthreatening, weak, and naïve  The features of the baby-faced adult included large eyes relative to the rest of the face; a high forehead and a short chin and a short nose and ears  As babyishness of the face increased, there was a decrease in the perceptions of the physical strength of the target  The more baby faced the targets, the less dominant they were seen to be, and the more likely they were rated to submit to a roommate‟s requests  The baby faced targets were seen as more naïve and more likely to fall for a far fetched story  They were seen as warmer and more honest Collins and Zebrowitz  American soldiers who had baby faces were more likely to receive awards for their military service o It could be that the expectancies held by perceivers that baby faced people would be weak and dependent led them to see these people as more heroic and brave than they really were, because their mildly brave behaviour seemed extraordinarily brave in the context of the expectancy of these people as weak and dependent PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control o It could well be that baby faced people actually behaved in a more courageous fashion and deserved to receive recognition from their country to honor their heroism  People with baby faces may be treated by others as weak, dependent, submissive and intellectually inferior  Through a self fulfilling prophecy, baby faced adults will come to develop the qualities others expect them to possess  Baby faced adults come to act in ways that rebuke the stereotype  Behaviour arises as a way of compensating for the continuous stream of expectancies and inferred qualities that result from other people‟s unintentional reactions to the nonverbal cues in the faces of the baby faced adults  Baby faced adolescent boys had better academic performance than boys of the same age and socioeconomic status (SES) with more mature faces  In order to compensate for the expectation of others that babyishness is associated with intellectual inferiority, these individuals developed better academic skills that led to intellectual achievement Zebrowitz  Baby faced boys were only more likely to be delinquent than mature faced boys if they came from low SES backgrounds  Middle SES boys did not show this tendency  Baby faced delinquents were indeed charged with more crimes between the ages of 17-25 than delinquent boys who had more mature faces  Baby faced delinquents were only more likely to be charged with crimes when they also happened to be short Detecting and Expressing Emotions Facial expressions are how we communicate emotions to one another even before words have had the chance to leap from our mouths Charles Darwin proposed that many of our emotional expressions that leak into the face are biological remnants of once needed behaviours  Baring our teeth is seen as a vestige of an evolutionary adaptive behaviourCommunicative value  Such expressions simply appear when we experience the emotion Universal Expressions of Emotions Darwin  Emotions such as anger, happiness and sadness are innate, not learned PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control o “Involuntarily used by man”  We are wired to respond, and conditions trigger responding with or without our conscious intent, regardless of the culture in which we have been raised Ekman and Friesen  Anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise  Results revealed unusual agreement, with the majority of people in every country agreeing on the same labels  Members of the Mead camp challenged the results as being due to cultural transmission of emotional expressiveness through the media  South Fore culture in Paua New Guinea – New Guinea residents showed happiness and sadness in their faces in the same way as people from cultures with which they have had no contact People all over the world reveal the same emotional expressions and communicate these to others, regardless of whether they intend to do so Shame, embarrassment and guilt have unique nonverbal displays  Much of emotional expressiveness is reflexive and induced through the force of habit and association, with minimal effort and without the intervention of consciousness For nonverbal cues to be controlled, we must know what cues have the power to betray our emotions  Because of our experience with using the face to send signals and read others‟ signals, we are likely to have developed fairly good skills at controlling the face  Inability to control a process is another feature of automaticity Nonverbal Leaking of What We Wish to Conceal: Failures to Control Emotional Responsiveness If the verbal and the nonverbal messages being sent are in contradiction, we might be better served to heed the messages sent to us from the less controlled nonverbal channel Darwin  Because of the principles of serviceable associated habits (emotional expressiveness is triggered by stimuli related to the emotion, no matter how feeble the stimulus), emotional expressiveness is hard to control when an emotion is experienced or an emotionally charged stimulus is encountered Lying is explicitly an attempt to control what one expresses to others PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control  Negative connotation, but in some instances lying – even the most subtle and seemingly difficult type, such as concealing one‟s nonverbal facial and body responses – is not bad  Cultural norms often force people to “lie” by this definition, requiring that they hid their true feelings Deception is a prominent component of social life and required in many instances by the rules of society Goffman  Many of the lies of everyday life are told to avoid tension and conflict and to minimize hurt feelings and ill will DePaulo  People lie to approximately 30% of the people they know each week (with Mom being the number 1 recipient of lies) People should acquire skill at deceiving and detecting deception Ekman and Friesen  When an individual is engaged in deception, his body, more than his face, is a source of leakage  Leakage is more likely to be evidenced in the body than the face presumably because people have more experience in earning to monitor their facial expressions and greater awareness of the way in which their expressions might communicate with others o Deception clues Observers were more accurate at detecting deception when they used nonverbal behaviours focused on the body than when relying on facial feedback  When the people being interviewed were asked at the end of the experiment what they needed to do to be a successful deceiver, more of them mentioned controlling leakage through the face than through the body, supporting the idea that people are less aware of the body as a source of information that is being communicated to others and “revealing their hand”  The more important a lie becomes, the less expert people seem to be at controlling the nonverbal sources of communication that stand to undermine the successful execution of the deception  It is not that people cannot create good lies; they just cannot deliver them well without revealing their deceit, because they difficulty controlling the nonverbal cues they send Schlenker and Leary PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control  Found that when people are anxious they are less skilled at communicating, and some of the conditions that cause social anxiety are high expectations of being discovered as fraudulent, low expectations for success at an interpersonal task and high motivation to do well on an interpersonal task The ability to control nonverbal behaviours was limited, and it seems that conditions that make people want to control nonverbal leakage seem only to increase the likelihood that the unwanted signals will be communicated Automatic Processing of Information An automatic process is one that is triggered directly and immediately from stimuli in the environment, rather than initiated by a conscious choice  Once cues in the environment unconsciously trigger a response, if it is automatic that response will then run to completion without disruption, all the while providing benefits to the perceiver in terms of mental efficiency  Consciousness is not involved at any stage of processing Bargh  A response that is routinely paired with a specific set of environmental features can eventually, with time and practice, lead to the activation of the response in the presence of the stimulus  Habit: “A strictly voluntary act has to be guided by idea, perception, and volition, throughout its whole course. In an habitual action, mere sensation is a sufficient guide, and the upper regions of the brain and mind are set comparatively free Darwin  Some actions, which were at first performed consciously, have become through habits and association converted into reflex actions, and are now so firmly fixed and inherited, that they are performed, even when not of the least use, as often as the same causes arise, which originally excited them in us through the volition Automatic processing  Even if a person deliberately wills a process to occur, the process is still automatic if it is capable of running to completion without the intervention of conscious monitoring The Elements of Automaticity PSYC473 Chapter 2 Automaticity and Control Driving your car is not an automatic process, because the mere presence of a car does not cause you to mindlessly jump in and begin racing down the highway  Consciousness must have been there to trigger the action, and most likely will return at some point during your travels Bargh  Four elements necessary for identifying an automatic process: lack of conscious intent, efficiency, lack of awareness, and lack of control Lack of Conscious Intent An automatic process is one that is not consciously initiated, but determined by the stimuli to which we are exposed  1. People use cues that it seems highly unlikely they would consciously be able to report  2. The biological and universal nature of emotional expression suggests that it is somewhat innate and not consciously willed Murphy and Zajonc  The stimulus, a Chinese ideograph, was liked more when it was preceded by the subliminal presentation of a face with positive valence  Detecting the mood associated with facial expressions, and the subsequent impact of those mood states, met the automaticity criterion of being unintended The experience of the emotion is a stimulus that unintentionally initiates the sending of relevant nonverbal cues  Extracting word meaning is automatic and occurs even when we have no conscious intent to comprehend word meaning Stroop  Naming the ink color was difficult when it was presented in a word as opposed to a rectangular patch, and they tended to name the printed word rather than the ink in which it is printed  The task called for them to ignore word meaning and focus on ink color, but processing of word meaning occurred immediately upon their perceiving the letter string  The interference where the word is the name of a color that is different from the color of the ink – has come to be called the Stroop effect If the processing of self relevant information occurs without conscious intent, it s
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