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Chapter 16

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Ayesha Khan

Chapter 16 March-29-13 10:38 PM Social psychology - study of attitudes 1. Person perception 2. Attribution processes 3. Interpersonal attraction 4. Attitudes 5. Conformity and obedience 6. Behaviour in groups Solomon Asch - demonstrated importance of central traits on the impressions we form of others Person perception - the process of forming impressions of others  Effects of physical appearance o People ascribe desirable personality characteristics to those who look good & they grab attention/ hold on to attention much longer than people that are less attractive o Attractive people were also expected with better/ successful lives o There's a little correlation b/w attractiveness and personality traits  Entertainment media plays a role o Bias (good-looking individuals are more competent ) pays off for them b/c they tend to secure better jobs & ear higher salaries o Those with baby-faced features are viewed to be more honest and trustworthy, relatively warm, submissive, helpless, naïve o Judgements of people's face are important in terms of looking at competence for being a political candidate o It only takes a blink of an eye (1/10 of a second) to make inferences based on facial features  Cognitive schemas o Social schemas - organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and people  ..influence the process of person perception  Stereotypes o ...widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group - commonly based on:  sex  age  ethnic  occupational group o ...a cognitive process that is automatic, saves time, but is inaccurate (it's when people think in terms of slanted probabilities) o Word, Zanna, Cooper - 1st study: white undergrad males had to interview black or white applicant (confederates)  When applicant was black, interviewee adopted a nonimmediate style(distant and made speech errors)  When applicant was white, interview adopted an immediate style (more eye contact, sits closer) o 2nd study: students who had been interviewed in nonimmediate style seemed more anxious & didn't perform that good o The study was designed to show the operation of self-fulfilling prophecy (if you believe something about a group, you may behave to bring about those characteristics)  Subjectivity and Bias in Person Perception o People see what they expect to see & overestimate how often they see it (illusory correlation) - this contributes to stereotyping o ...can also be an underestimation of disconfirmation o Memory processes contribute to confirmatory biases in person perception (memory selects only what fits or is consistent with people's schemas/ stereotypes) o Why is there bias in perception?  ...adaptive in humans' ancestral environment (ex: attractiveness was associated with reproductive potential/ health) o Tendency for automatic categorization?  Programmed by evolution to classify people as members of an ingroup (one that belongs to or identify with), or an outgroup (one that does NOT belong to or identify with)  Outgroup - viewed with negative stereotypes so that they are moved out of our domain of empathy & we feel justified in discriminating against them Attribution processes: explaining behaviour  Our search for explanation often ends with an explanation that puts our own action in the best possible light  Attributions - inferences that people draw about the causes of events, others' behaviour & their own behaviour  Internal vs. External Attributions o Fritz Heider - people tend to locate the cause of behaviour either within a person or outside a person o Internal attributions (personal factors - disposition, traits, abilities, feelings) o External attributions (environmental factors - situational demands, constraints)  Attributions for Success and Failure o ...focuses on stability of the causes underlying behaviour - stable(permanent)/ unstable (temporary)  Internal-stable (ability/ intelligence)  Internal-unstable (effort/ mood/ fatigue)  External-stable (task difficulty)  External-unstable (luck/ chance/ opportunity)  Bias in Attribution - represent guesswork about the causes of events and are bias o Actor-observer bias  Fundamental attribution error - observers' bias in favour of internal attributions in explaining behaviour  Reflect personal qualities (many people feel that few situations are so coercive that they negate all freedom of choice)  ...situational pressures(this may not be readily apparent to an observer & requires more thought/ effort… actors are more likely to locate cause of behaviour in the situation)  In general, actors favour external attributions for their behaviour, whereas observers are more likely to explain the same behaviour with internal attributions o Defensive attribution - tendency to blame victims for their misfortune, so that one feels less likely to be victimized in a similar way  Contribution of hindsight bias  Belief in a just world theory - to restore the belief that the world a just place, people see victims as deserving their consequences  Consequences of the bias: victims are seen in negative light & undesirable traits are unfairly attributed o Self-serving bias - attempt to explain success and failure  ...the tendency to attribute one's successes to personal factors and one's failure to situational factors  In explaining failure = same as actor-observer bias  Culture and Attributional Tendencies o Individualism (putting personal goals ahead of group goals & defining one's identity in terms of personal attributes rather than group memberships) vs. collectivism (putting group goals ahead of personal goals & defining one's identity in terms of groups one belongs to) - both influence attributional tendencies & other aspects of social behaviour o Individualist Collectivist  North American and  Asian, African, Latin American cultures European cultures  less prone to fundamental attribution error  people are viewed as  obedience & interdependence reflects adherence autonomous individuals to group norms  Western societies: self-  Japanese, Chinese, Nepalese: self-effacing bias serving bias is more (emphasis of their attribution to the success of prevalent (emphasis on high others/ when they fail, they tend to be more self- self-esteem & competition) critical/ more likely to accept responsibility for failures) Close Relationships: Liking and Loving  Key Factors in Attraction o Physical Attractiveness - key determinant of romantic attraction  Attractive people enjoy greater mating success  More important for females  Matching hypothesis - males and females of approximately equal physical attractiveness are likely to select each other as partners o Similarity effects  "birds of a feather flock together" rather than "opposites attract"  Similarity is seen in married couples, friends, & romantic couples(similarity in personality is modest)  Study by Donn Byrne - Attitude similarity does cause attraction & attraction can foster similarity (attitude alignment) o Reciprocity effects  Flattery will get you somewhere  Reciprocity - liking those who show that they like you  Reciprocating attraction results in self-enhancement effect (you help them feel good about themselves) or self-verification (they seek feedback that matches and supports their self-concepts) o Romantic ideals  More closely to match ideals, more satisfied with relationship (in early stages of dating & stable long-term relationships)  The size of discrepancy b/w ideals and perceptions predicts if a dating relationship will continue or dissolve  If people are invested w/ relationship, they reduce discrepancy by lowering standards or making charitable evaluations of their partners (more common)  Small positive illusions about one's partners may foster happier and more resilient romantic relationships  Perspective on the mystery of love o Passionate and companionate love = both may coexist  Passionate = complete absorption in another that includes tender sexual feelings and the agony & ecstasy of intense emotion  ...a powerful motivational force that produces profound changes in people's thinking, emotion & behaviour  When people think of their passionate love, dopamine circuits are light up by activation of cocaine and other addictive drugs (that's why it resembles addiction)  Companionate = warm, trusting, tolerant affection for another whose life is deeply intertwined with one's own. Subdivisions: - increase with time but at different rates  Intimacy - warmth, closeness, & sharing in a relationship  Commitment - an intent to maintain a relationship in spite of the difficulties and costs that may arise  Decline in commitment = increase likelihood of infidelity in dating relationships o Love as attachment  Love and attachment relationships in infancy  Secure attachment  Anxious-ambivalent attachment  Avoidant attachment  Romantic love in adulthood: People relive their early bonding with parents in their adult romantic relationships  Secure adults - 56% of subjects - easy to get close - relationships are trusting, rarely worried about being abandoned & fewer divorces  Anxious-ambivalent adults - 20% of subjects - expectations of rejection, relationships are volatile & w/jealousy  Avoidant adults - 24% of subjects - difficult to get close - relationships lack intimacy & trust  Attachment patterns are stable over time  New conceptualization - two continuous dimensions:  Attachment anxiety - reflects how much people worry that their parents won't be available when needed/ promotes excessive reassurance seeking (persistently ask for assurances from partners that one is worthy of love)  LOW: Secure = comfortable with intimacy and autonomy  Longer-lasting relationships/ more comfortable with sexuality, motivated to show love, exploration during sex & less accepting of casual sex  High self-esteem/ relatively well adjusted  HIGH: Preoccupied = like anxious-ambivalent  More intense highs & lows in romantic relationships/ more stressful conflicts that negatively impact on feelings  Have sex to reduce insecurity/ more likely to consent to unwanted sexual acts/ less likely to practice safe sex  More difficulties in coping with a break-up  Attachment avoidance - reflects the degree to which people feel uncomfortable w/ closeness & intimacy and therefore tend to maintain emotional distance from their partners/ engage more in casual sex to impress peers/ use sex to manipulate partners  LOW A.Anxiety: Avoidant-dismissing = dismissing of intimacy/ unconcerned about rejection  HIGH A.Anxiety: Avoidant-fearful = fearful of rejection/ socially avoidant  Avoidant or anxious ambivalent - overrepresented in groups suffering from depression, eating disorders, etc  Correlation b/w attachment styles and gender roles, religious beliefs, health habits, reactions to stressful events, styles of coping w/ stress, vulnerability to burnout, & leadership qualities  Culture and close relationships o Similarities across cultures: mutual attraction, kindness, intelligence, emotional stability, dependability, good health, gender diff in mating priorities (male: physical attractiveness, females: social status & financial resources) o Variations: emphasis on love  Individualism: passionate love is a prerequisite for marriage  Collectivism: arrange marriage is common/ romantic love is less important for marriage  An evolutionary perspective on attraction o Facial symmetry - key element in attractiveness o Women's waist-to-hip ratio - around 0.70-0.80/ correlates to reproductive potential o Men place more emphasis on youthfulness and physical attractiveness o Women place a greater premium on prospective mates' ambition, social status & financial potential o Women also value physical attractiveness for a short-term partner o When women are most fertile  They favour men who exhibit masculine facial and bodily features, attractiveness, & dominance - men recognize this shift  Strip
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