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Chapter 4

PSYB10H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Fundamental Attribution Error, Agreeableness, Satisficing

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

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PSYB10 Chapter #4 Notes:
Perceiving Persons:
Social perception the process by which people come to understand one another
Observation: The Elements of Social Perception:
The social perceiver comes to know others by relying on indirect cues the elements of social
Persons: Judging a Book by Its Cover:
Hard for us as adults to not judge a person by their appearance
500 BCE Pythagoras looked into the eyes of perspective students to determine if they were
Hippocrates: used facial features to make diagnoses of life and death
Franz Gall: introduced a carnival-like science called phrenology he believed he could assess
people’s character by the shape of their skulls
William Sheldon (1954): flawed study that there was a link in adult men b/w physique and
Physiognomy the art of reading character from faces
People also read traits into faces based on prior information
Adults who have baby-faced features large, round eyes, high eyebrows, round cheeks, a large
forehead, smooth skin and a rounded chin tend to be warm, kind, naiive, weak, honest and
Adults with mature features small eyes, low brows and a small forehead, wrinkled skin and a
more angular chin are seen as stronger, more dominant and more competent
Sometimes we infer attitudes that we assume an ind holds, just on the basis on their face
Through evolution humans are predetermined to respond to those with infantile features with
great care because of maternal/paternal instinct
Leslie Zebrowitz: we associate infantile features with helplessness traits and then overgeneralize
this expectation to baby-faced adults
Faces are seen as trustworthy if they look happy and untrustworthy if they look angry
Situations: The Scripts of Life:
Each of us has present notions about certain types of situations “scripts” that enable us to
anticipate goals, behaviours and outcomes likely to occur in a particular setting
o People who are familiar with scripts, events fall into place more quickly and easily
Scripts influence social perceptions in 2 ways:
o We sometimes see what we expect to see in a particular situation
o People know about social situations to explain the causes of human behaviour
Behavioural Evidence:
People derive meaning from their observations by diving the continuous stream of human
behaviour in discrete units
Mind perception the process by which people attribute humanlike mental states to various
animate and inanimate objects, including other people
People see inner qualities of mind in target objects that superficially resemble humans in their
speed of movement
People perceive minds along 2 dimensions:
o Agency (a target’s ability to plan and execute behaviour)
o Experience (the capacity to feel pleasure, pain and other sensations)

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The Silent Language of Nonverbal Behaviour:
Behavioural cues are used not only to identify someone’s actions but also to determine his/her
inner states
Nonverbal behaviour silent language
We express emotions in ways that are innate and understood by people all over the world
People can reliably identify 6 emotions: happiness, fear, sadness, anger, surprise and disgust
o Also possibly: shame, embarrassment, contempt and compassion
9% more accurate in judging faces from their own national, ethnic or regional groups indicating
that we enjoy an “ingroup advantage”
“anger superiority affect” – people quicker to spot and slower to look away from angry faces in a
crowd that faces with neutral and less threatening emotions
Insula was activated not only when they sniffed disgusting odour but also when they watched
others sniffing it
Men and women with a youthful walking style sway their hips, bend their knees, lift their feet
and swing their arms are seen as happier and more powerful than those who walk slowly, take
shorter steps and drag their feet
Eye contact or gaze also important
o We are drawn in to another person’s direct gaze
o People who eye quickly draw and then hold out attention increase arousal and activate
key social areas of the brain and this sensitivity is present at birth
Men of high socio economic status more likely to touch women of a lower socio economic status
touching may be seen as form of dominance and control
Distinguishing Truth from Deception:
Social perception people try and hide/stretch truth about themselves
Face can communicate emotion but is easier to control than the hands/feet
People only 54% accurate in judging the truth and deception
2 problems:
o Mismatch b/w the behavioural cues that actually signal deception and those used by
perceivers to detect deception
o People tend to assume that the way to spot a liar is o watch for signs of stress in his/her
Police officers better at detecting deception
Attribution: From Elements to Dispositions:
Inner dispositions stable characteristics such as personality traits, attitudes and abilities
Attribution Theories:
The explanations to the causes of other people’s behaviour – attribution theory
Personal, situational attributions
Not understand the true causes of an event but to understand people’s perceptions of causality
Jones’s Correspondent Inference Theory:
Each of us tries to understand other people by observing and analyzing their behaviour
Jones and Davis’s: correspondent inference theory – predicts that people try to infer from an
action whether the act itself corresponds to an enduring personal characteristic of the actor
People make inferences on the basis of 3 factors:
o Person’s degree of choice
o Expectedness of behaviour
o Intended effects or consequences of someone’s behaviour
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