Chapter 4: Social Perception
Social Perception: how people make impressions and inferences about other people (not always
accurate and often ignores situation context)
How we think about the cause of other people’s actions. (Summary chart pg114)
-listing positive causes has led to better conflict resolution.
-Heider’s Theory of Naïve Psychology: people use cause and effect analysis to understand their
world and other people’s behavior.
-ExternalAttributions: seeing the cause as situational
-InternalAttributions: seeing the cause as personal factors (ability, effort, personality)
-Jones and Davis’s Theory of Correspondent Inference: we see people’s behavior as caused by
their traits when done freely;
-Do they have a choice in the action?
-Is the behavior expected based on the social role or circumstance?
-What are the intended effects or consequences (reward/punishment)?
-Kelley’s Covariation Theory: people determine cause based on factors present when behavior
occurs, and absent when it does not.
-Consensus: do other people behave similarly? Then it is situational.
-Distincitiveness: how does this person usually act in this situation? If it’s the same then
dispositional cause. If they usually act different then situational cause.
-Consistency: is their behavior the same over time and situations? If yes, then
-Dispositional cause if low consensus and distinctiveness, and high consistency.
-Situational Cause if all three are high
-Don’t know if low consistency in attitude or behavior
-Weiner’s Attribution Theory: people attribute their successes and failures in terms of three
dimensions; (eight outcomes, chart pg112)
-Locus (location of cause: internal or external)
-Stability (whether the cause stays the same)
-Controllability (whether the person can control the cause)
-People want to maintain a postive self-image and tend to attribute failures to external
causes, and success to internal causes.
-Repeated internal, stable, global attributions might be associated with depression
-Intergroup Attribution: making attributions based on group membership.
-ethnocentrism: attributing desirable traits to your own group and negative traits to
What type of errors do we make in thinking about others? (pg115)
-FundamentalAttribution Error/ Correspondence Bias: the tendency to overestimate the role of
personal causes and underestimate the role of situational causes when explaining behavior.
-Actor-Observer Effect: people tend to see other’s behavior as caused by dispositional factors but
their own as caused by external.
-partly because we can’t see in other’s heads, so don’t know what they are thinking.
-a motivational factor is that it “won’t happen to me because I am doing the right thing.”
This is the ‘belief in a just world’phenomenon. Why