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COMM 151 Chapter Notes -Assertiveness, Attitude Change, Structured Interview


Department
Commerce
Course Code
COMM 151
Professor
Christopher Miners

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Chapter 3 Perception, Attribution, and Diversity
What is Perception?
Perception: the process of interpreting info received from our senses to provide order and meaning to the
environment
Components of Perception
The Perceiver
Perceiver’s experience leads them to form expectations which affect current perception
Our needs are more noticeable to us, we see what we want to see
Emotions also cloud our judgement, allowing us to misinterpret the situation
Perceptual Defense: tendency for the perceptual system to defend the perceiver against unpleasant emotions
The Target
Ambiguous targets are open to greater interpretation, but having more information doesn’t always help
Perceiver does or can not always use all the info provided by the target
The Situation
Provides more information that has the ability to change your perception of the target
Social Identity Theory
Social Identity Theory: people form perceptions of themselves based on their characteristics and memberships in
social categories
Our sense of self is composed of personal identity (personal characteristics like interest, abilities, traits), and social
identity (social groups; gender, nationality, religion, occupation)
We categorize ourselves and others based on the relevant social environment (job title at work) and see categorized
members embody respective prototypes
We perceive others based on our own social categories (med student in hospital perceived by us as nurses, but as
students by the prof in a classroom)
A Model of the Perceptual Process
First, we actively seek out information to form perceptions and categorize someone new, then we form a crude
categorization, and look for cues to confirm our assumptions
Even if we see contrasting cues, it takes many to actually be able to change the categorization
Any confirming cue strengthen categorization
Perception is selective, we do not use all cues given, which is more efficient but may hinder accuracy
Perceptual consistency refers to a tendency to morph cues so that they fit into our perceptions
Basic Biases in Person Perception
Primacy and Recency Effects
Primacy Effect: tendency for a perceiver to rely on early cues or first impressions
Recency Effect: tendency for a perceiver to rely on recent cues or last impressions
Reliance on Central Traits
Central Traits: personal characteristics of a target person that are of particular interest to a perceiver
The central traits we use are ones most relevant to the situation (presentation skills at a conference, and cooking
skills at a dinner, BBQ)
Attractiveness is an important central trait: attractive people are judged as “good” and do better in terms of getting
hired, being chosen as a business partner, getting promoted, etc.
Contrarily, obese people are heavily discriminated against

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Implicit Personality Theories
Implicit Personality Theory: personal theories people hold about which personality traits go together (hardworking =
honest)
Misunderstanding occurs to the extent of which theses theories are off
Projection
Projection: tendency for perceivers to attribute their own thoughts and feelings to others
These can be reasonable assumptions, but overconfidence in them may lead to shock
Could be used to justify bad behaviour
Stereotyping
Stereotyping: tendency to generalize about people in a certain social category and ignore variations among them
o Distinguish a category, assume certain behaviours for category, attribute these behaviours to individuals
Some stereotypes are favourable, which tend to not be well developed and have room for individual perceptions to
form
Stereotypes can easily sway our interpretations of behaviour, even in intentions may have been completely different
Most stereotypes are inaccurate, but enforced nonetheless; they may be more efficient (easily choosing between job
candidates) and disproving stereotypes can be difficult because of their ability to skew our perceptions of behaviour
Attribution: Perceiving Causes and Motives
Attribution: process by which causes or motives are assigned to explain people’s behaviour
Dispositional Attributions: explanations for behaviour based on an actors personality or intellect
Situational Attributions: explanations for behaviour based on an actors external situation or environment
We ask three questions to determine whether to attribute behaviour to situational or dispositional cuases
o Do they regularly engage in behaviour? (consistency cues)
o Do most people engage in behaviour, or is it unique? (consensus cues)
o Does the person engage in behaviour many times, or is it distinctive to one situation? (distinctiveness cues)
Consistency Cues: attribution cues that reflect how often a person engages in a behaviour over time
o High consistency = dispositional
Consensus Cues: attribution cues that reflect how a person’s behaviour compares with that of others
o Low consensus = high dispositional
o When there are negative consequences, we can be certain that the fact that an individual would go against the
expected is due to the fact that it’s inherently related to their personality
Distinctiveness Cues: attribution cues that reflect the extent to which a person engages in some behaviour across a
variety of situations
o Inconsistent behaviour = situational
Attributions in Action
Consistency
Consensus
Distinctiveness
Attribution
High
Low
Low
Disposition
High
High
High
Situation
Low
High
Low
Temporary Situation
Biases in Attribution
Fundamental Attribution Error: tendency to overemphasize dispositional explanations for behaviour at the expense of
situational explanations
o We don’t realize the situations people may be in, or only see them in one situation (one side of them)
o This is more observable in managers who have not gone through similar positions as employees, and don’t
know the roadblocks they face
Actor-Observer Effect: propensity for actors and observers to view the cuases of the acto’s behaviour differently
o Actors attribute more to situational; they are more aware of their situations and what their true intentions
were
o Observers don’t have this information, and tend to assume that you controlled your behaviour
Self-Serving Bias: tendency to take credit for successful outcomes and deny responsibility for failures
o Could reflect self-promotion or excuse making
o May be explained by more info (scanning environment for explanation of a failure)
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