PSY100Y5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Social Perception, Fundamental Attribution Error, Solomon Asch

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Published on 12 Apr 2013
School
UTM
Department
Psychology
Course
PSY100Y5
Professor
Chapter 16: Social Behaviour
Social Psychology: branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviours
are influenced by others
Person Perception: Forming Impressions of Others
Solomon Asch demonstrated the importance that what he called central traits can have on the impressions we form
of others
Person perception: the process of forming impressions of others
Impressions can be inaccurate because of bias and fallacies that occur in person perception
Effects of Physical Appearance
Studies show that judgments of others’ personality are often swayed by their appearance
People tend to ascribe desirable personality characteristics to those who are good-looking
Research shows little correlation between attractiveness and personality traits
Why do we assume this relationship exists? Because extremely attractive people are overrepresented in
entertainment media, where they are portrayed in a highly favourable light
Studies show people have strong tendency to view good-looking people as more competent than less attractive
people
This pays off for better-looking people because they tend to have better jobs with higher salaries
Fairly accurate inferences from nonverbal expressiveness of others (ex. How they move, talk, gesture)
People view people with baby-faced features as more honest, warm, submissive, and naive
Cognitive Schemas
Schemas: cognitive structures that guide information processing
Social schemas: organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and people
We depend on schemas because it help to efficiently process and store the wealth of info we take in about others in
our interactions
Stereotypes
Stereotypes - Widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a
particular group
Traditional gender stereotypes: woman are emotional, submissive, illogical, and passive while men are
unemotional, dominant, logical, and aggressive
Age stereotypes: elderly people are slow, rigid, forgetful
Ethnic stereotypes: eg. Jews are mercenary, Germans are methodical, and Italians are passionate
Occupational stereotypes: lawyers are manipulative, accountants are conforming, artists are moody etc.
Stereotypes save energy by simplifying our social world
They are usually broad and ignore diversity within social groups
Our perception of others also subject to self-fulfilling prophecy: if you hold strong beliefs about the characteristics
of another group, you may behave in such a way so as to bring about these characteristics
When schemas are made active by priming, they can automatically and unconsciously affect behaviour and higher
mental processes such as self-evaluation and judgment
Subjectivity and Bias in Person Perception
Illusory Correlation: occurs when people estimate that they have encountered more confirmations of an
association between social traits than they have actually seen
Stereotypes may lead people to see what they expect to see and to overestimate how often they see it
Memory processes can contribute to confirmatory biases in person perception in a variety of ways
Often, individuals selectively recall facts that fit with their schemas and stereotypes
An Evolutionary Perspective on Bias in Person Perception
Suggestions that biases seen in social perception were adaptive in humans’ ancestral environment
Assert that humans programmed by evolution to classify people as members of an ingroup: a group than one
belongs to and an outgroup: a group that one does not belong to or identify with
Evolutionary psychologists ascribe much of the bias in person perception to cognitive mechanisms that have been
shaped by natural selection
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Chapter 16: Social Behaviour
Attribution Processes: Explaining Behaviour
Attributions: inferences that people draw about the causes of events, others’ behaviour, and their own behaviour
Internal versus External Attributions
Internal attributions: ascribe the causes of behaviour to personal dispositions, traits, abilities, and feelings
External attributions: ascribe the causes of behaviour to situational demands and environmental constraints
Attributions for Success and Failure
Has been found that people often focus on the stability of the causes underlying behaviour
Bias in Attribution
Actor-Observer Bias:
When an actor and an observer raw inferences about the causes of the actor’s behaviour, they often make different
attributions
Common form of bias in observers is the fundamental attribution error: refers to observers’ bias in favour of
internal attributions in explaining others’ behaviour
Situational pressures may not be readily apparent
Defensive Attribution:
A tendency to blame victims for their misfortune, so that one feels less likely to be victimized in a similar way
Culture and Attributional Tendencies
Individualism: involves putting personal goals ahead of group goals and defining one’s identity in terms of
personal attributes rather than group memberships
Collectivism: involves putting group goals ahead of personal goals and defining one's identity in terms of the
groups one belongs to
Self-serving bias: the tendency to attribute one’s successes to personal factors and one’s failures to situational
factors
Close Relationships: Liking and Loving
Interpersonal attraction: positive feelings toward another
Key Factors in Attraction
Physical Attractiveness:
Matching Hypothesis: proposes that males and females of approximately equal physical attractiveness are likely
to select each other as partners
Similarity Effects:
• Evidence supports the fact that people who are similar will be together, in both friendships and romantic
relationships
Perspectives on the Mystery of Love
Passionate and Companionate Love
Hatfield + Berscheid : romantic relationships characterized by two kinds of love: passionate and companionate
Passionate love: complete absorption in another that includes tender sexual feelings and the agony and ecstasy of
intense emotion
Companionate love: warm, trusting, tolerant affection for another whose life is deeply intertwined with one’s
own
Sternberg: love has three facets - subdivides companionate love into intimacy and commitment
Intimacy: warmth, closeness, and sharing in a relationship
Commitment: an intent to maintain a relationship in spite of the difficulties and costs that may arise
All of these researchers agree that passion reaches its climax in early phases of love and then erodes
Love as Attachment
Hazan + Shaver: romantic love is an attachment process, and people’s intimate relationships in adulthood follow
the same form as their attachments in infancy
Adults’ love relationships could be sorted into groups that paralleled the three patterns of attachment seen in
infants:
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Document Summary

Social psychology: branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals" thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by others. How they move, talk, gesture: people view people with baby-faced features as more honest, warm, submissive, and naive. Attribution processes: explaining behaviour: attributions: inferences that people draw about the causes of events, others" behaviour, and their own behaviour. Internal versus external attributions: internal attributions: ascribe the causes of behaviour to personal dispositions, traits, abilities, and feelings, external attributions: ascribe the causes of behaviour to situational demands and environmental constraints. Attributions for success and failure: has been found that people often focus on the stability of the causes underlying behaviour. Defensive attribution: a tendency to blame victims for their misfortune, so that one feels less likely to be victimized in a similar way. Close relationships: liking and loving: interpersonal attraction: positive feelings toward another.

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