CH 4: SOCIAL PECEPTION
Sept 30/2011 – Pg 93-122
- Refers to how people communicate intentionally or unintentionally without words.
o Ex. Facial expression, tone of voice, gestures, body positions and movements, use of
touch, eye gaze
o Mirror neurons: respond when we perform an action and when we see someone else
perform the same action, giving us the ability to feel empathy.
Facial Expressions of
Evolution and Facial Expressions
- Non verbal forms of communication were species-specific and not culture-specific and facial
expressions were vestiges of once useful physiological reactions
o Ex. Ekman and Friesen went to New Guinea and tested the South Fore tribe by giving
them photographs of Americans expressing 6 emotions and had them match the
emotion to the story. This was then done vice versa. Both cases were successful.
Why is decoding sometimes inaccurate?
Affect blends - People frequently display affect blends where one part of their face registers one emotion
while another part registers a different emotion.
- Some people purposely hide emotions
Culture and the
Channels of nonverbal
communication - Display rules are particular to each culture and dictate what kinds of emotional expressions
people are supposed to show
o Ex. American cultural norms discourage emotional displays in men like grief or
o Ex: Cultures vary in what is considered normative use of personal space – most
Americans like to have a bubble of open space whereas in other cultures, strangers
think nothing of standing right next to each other to the point of touching.
- Emblems are hand or arm gestures (i.e. sticking up middle finger) have clear definitions but
Communication - Social Interpretations Task videotape is composed of 20 scenes of naturally occurring
- After each scene, the viewer is asked about the people’s relationship to each other
o Ex. Watching a scene where 2 women are playing with a baby
o Which one is the mother? Based on nonverbal behaviour
- Extraverts are more accurate decoders of nonverbal cues
Gender and Nonverbal
Communication - Women are better at both decoding and encoding but men are better at detecting lies
- Social role theory: when members of society expect men and women to have certain attributes
consistent with their role – women; more nurturing, friendly.
- Schemas help us form impressions quickly, without having to spend weeks with people to
Theories: Filling In
Blanks figure out what they are like
- Implicit personality theory: ideas about what kinds of personality traits go together
Culture and Implicit
Personality Theories - We presume ‘what is beautiful is good’, that people with physical beauty will also have a host
of other wonderful qualities.
- In Western culture, ‘artistic personality’ implies a person is creative, intense, and
temperamental, the Chinese doesn’t have that schema but they have a shi gu personality. Causal Attribution: - Attribution Theory is the study of how we infer the causes of other people’s behaviour
Answering the ‘Why’
The Nature of the Attribution
Process - When a father yells at his daughter, we can make one of 2 attributions:
1. Internal attribution : the cause of the father’s behaviour was something about him – his
2. External attribution: something in the situation, not the father’s personality that caused
- Heider noted we tend to see the causes of a person’s behaviour as residing in that person
because the situation is often hard to see and hard to describe.
The Covariation Model:
internal vs External
Attributions - Covariation model : examining multiple instances occurring at different times and situations
Covariation model to see why someone behaved that way to you.
o Ex. When a friend lends others her car but not you.
Consensus information -