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Chapter 4

PSYC 2310 Chapter 4 Notes.docx

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2310
Jeffrey Yen

Chapter 4 – Social Perception Social perception – how people form impressions of and make inferences about other people. Heider’s Theory of Naive Psychology  Heider’s theory that people practise a form of untrained psychology as they use cause and effect analyses to understand their world and other people’s behaviour.  “Father of attribution theory”  Based on three principles: 1. People have the need to explain the cause of other people’s behaviour in order to understand their motivation. 2. People are motivated to try to figure out why a person acted in a given way so that they can predict how the person will act in the future. 3. When people make casual attributions, they make a distinction between internal and external causes of behaviour. External attribution – seeing the behaviour as caused by something external to the person who performs the behaviour. Internal attribution – refers to whether the person’s behaviour is caused by personal factors, such as traits, ability, effort, or personality. Jones and Davis’s Theory of Correspondent Inference Correspondent inference theory – the theory that people infer whether a person’s behaviour is caused by the person’s internal disposition by looking at various factors related to the person’s action.  Being tested; submarine (extrovert) or astronaut (introvert); had someone describe their behaviour while people watched; participants rated the applicant’s personality and degree of extroversion; those who saw an applicant acting in a predictable way were reluctant to make this rating; reluctant because they (rightly) attributed the person’s behaviour to the situation.  Three factors that influence the extent to which you attribute behaviour to the person rather than the situation: 1. Does the person have the choice to engage in the action? a. If you know the person was forced to engage in a given behaviour, it is reasonable to assume that the action is due to the situation and not the person. Example: a psychology major has to take statistics but that doesn’t mean he/she likes it. 2. Is the behaviour expected based on the social role or circumstance? a. If you see someone wearing a tuxedo at a wedding that doesn’t mean that he is a stylish and formal dresser. 3. What are the intended effects or consequences of the person’s behaviour? a. One job has really good pay, in a city, lots of people so you don’t know why they took that job. Another job pays low, is located in the middle of nowhere but has a ski mountain so you assume that person took the job because they like to ski. Kelley’s Covariation Theory Covariation theory – the theory that people determine the causes of a person’s behaviour by focusing on the factors that are present when a behaviour occurs and absent when it doesn’t occur, with specific attention on the role of consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency. Consistency – information about whether a person’s behaviour toward a given stimulus is the same across time.  If a person’s behaviour is highly consistent over time and across situations, we’re likely to make a dispositional attribution. If a given behaviour is unusual for a particular person, we’re likely to make a situational attribution. Consensus – the first component of covariation theory and it refers to whether other people generally agree or disagree with a given person. Distinctiveness – refers to whether the person generally reacts in a similar way across different situations. Weiner’s Attribution Theory People attribute their achievement in terms of three dimensions: 1. Locus – location of the cause is internal or external to the person. 2. Stability – cause stays the same or changes 3. Controllability – person can control or not  People often tend to attribute their own success to internal factors and other’s successes to external factors.  People attribute their own failure to external factors and others’ failure to internal factors.  They do this because they want to maintain a positive self-image – factors should make them feel good about themselves.  Three-dimensional model of attribution includes: internal/external, stable/unstable, and global/specific. Intergroup Attribution Intergroup attribution – making attributions about one’s own and others’ behaviours based on group membership. Ethnocentrism – a tendency to attribute desirable characteristics to one’s own group and undesirable characteristics to outgroups. Gender differences in attribution:  Observers tend to attribute men’s successes to ability and women’s successes to effort and reverses in the case of failure. Fundamental Attribution Error  Also known as correspondence bias is the tendency to overestimate the role of personal causes and underestimate the role of situational causes in explaining behaviour.  Some people were told that a student chose to write about Castro and another group was told the professor assigned the topic. Those who were told that a student wrote about Castro were more likely to assume that the student actually liked Castro.  Example: essays that are described as being in line with their writer’s own attitude are seen as stronger and more persuasive than essays believed to conflict with the speaker’s attitude. Actor-Observer Effect  This is the tendency to see other people’s behaviour as caused by dispositional factors, but see our own behaviour
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