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Chapter 4

Chapter 4-Jan. 19th.docx

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PSYC 2310

Chapter 4- Social Perception January 19 2014 - Social Perception- how we form impressions of and make inferences about other people How do we think about why other people do what they do? - 4 major theories that describe how we think about why people engage in particular types of behaviour: 1. They theory of naïve psychology • Heider’s theory that people practice a form of untrained psychology as they use cause and effect analyses to understand their world and other people’s behaviour • Use casual theories to understand their world and other people’s behaviour • Based on three principles: 1. People have to 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 causal attributions, they make a distinction between internal and external causes of behaviour o External attribution- seeing the behaviour as caused by something external to the person who performs the behaviour o Internal attribution- refers to whether the person’s behaviour is caused by personal factors, such as traits, ability, effort, or personality 2. 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 • Predicts that people look at various factors related to a person’s actions to try to infer whether an action is caused by the person’s internal disposition 1. Does the person have the choice to engage in action? o If you know that the person was forced to engage in a given behaviour, its reasonable to assume that the action is due to the situation and not the person 2. Is the behaviour expected based on the social role or circumstance? o Behaviour that isn’t necessarily required, but is largely expected in a situation, doesn’t tell us much about the person 3. What are the intended effects or consequences of the person’s behaviour? o If there is only one intended effect, then you have a pretty good idea of why the person is motivated to engage in the behaviour • We are best able to make a dispositional attribution, and see people’s behaviour as caused by their traits, when the behaviour is freely chosen, is not a function of situational expectations, and has clear non-common effects 3. 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 • Three main components: 1. Consensus- whether other people generally agree or disagree with a given person 2. Distinctiveness- whether the person generally reacts in a similar way across different situations 3. Consistency- information about whether a person’s behaviour toward a given stimulus is the same across time o If a person’s behaviour is highly consistent over time and across situations, we’re likely to make a dispositional attribution o If a given behaviour is unusual for a particular person, we’re likely to make a situational attribution • We make different attributions depending on the consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency of a person’s attitude and/or behaviour • If consensus and distinctiveness are low and consistency is high we make an internal or dispositional attribution • If consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency are all high, we make a situational attribution • If a person’s attitude or behaviour is low in consistency, we’re unable to make any attribution, whether dispositional or situational 4. Weiner’s attribution theory • Based on the assumption that people want to maintain a positive self-image • People attribute their achievements in terms of three dimensions: 1. Locus- whether the location of the cause is internal or external to the person 2. Stability- whether the cause stays the same or can change 3. Controllability- whether the person can control the cause • This produces eight different types of explanation for achievement • People often tend to attribute their own success to internal factors and others’success to external factors • People attribute their own failure to external factors and others’ failure to internal factors - Intergroup attribution- making attributions about one’s own and others’
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