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PSY100Y5 (771)
Chapter 16

Textbook Chapter 16 Notes

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Ayesha Khan

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 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: Chapter 16: Social Behaviour • Secure adults: 56% of subjects - easy to get close to others - felt they trusted - fewer divorces • Anxious-ambivalent: 20% of subjects - preoccupation- expectations of rejection - marked by jealousy • Avoidant: 24% - difficult to get close - lacked intimacy and trust • Thought now is that people fall into two continuous dimensions • Attachment anxiety: reflects how much people worry that their partners will not be available when needed • Attachment avoidance: reflects the degree to which people feel uncomfortable with closeness and intimacy • Four subtypes: secure, preoccupied (same as original anxious-ambivalent), avoidant-dismissing, avoidant- fearful Culture and Close Relationships • Little cross-cultural research on dynamics of close relationships but what has been done suggests both similarities and differences b/w cultures in romantic relationships • Karen+Ken Dione: suggest cultures vary considerably in terms of how they understand and conceptualize love and relationships -- some of this variability due to differences in societal and psychological differences in individualism and collectivism • Love in collectivist societies reflect cultural priorities such as “what will my parents and others think?” The Internet and Close Relationships • Some critics worry that social media will undermine face-to-face interactions • There is concern that internet relationships are superficial but research shows that virtual relationships are just as intimate as face-to-face ones and sometimes are even closer An Evolutionary Perspective on Attractiveness • Evolutionary psychologists assert that physical appearance is an influential determinant of attraction b/c certain aspects of good looks can be indicators of sound health, good genes, high fertility -- lead to reproductive potential • Standards of attractiveness that may be cross-cultural: • Face symmetry: valued b/c many environmental insults and development abnormalities are associated with physical asymmetries - markers of relatively poor genes or health • Women’s waist-to-hip ratio: men prefer “hourglass figure” b/c correlates to reproductive potential -- signals woman is healthy, young, and not pregnant • Men tend to seek youthfulness and physical attractiveness b/c it should be associated with greater reproductive potential • Women focus on on mates’ financial potential and willingness to invest material resources in children Attitudes: Making Social Judgments • Attitudes: positive or negative evaluations of objects of thought Components and Dimensions of Attitudes • Social psychologists view attitude as being made up of three components: cognitive, affective, behavioural • More accurate to say that attitudes may include up to three types of components • Cognitive component: made up of the beliefs that people hold about
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