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Perception (pg 96-122).doc

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Perception (pg 96-122) October-08-09 1:42 PM Culture and Nonverbal Communication • Display rules: culturally determines rules about which non-verbal behaviours are appropriate to display. • In collectivist cultures, the expression of strong negative emotions is discouraged because to do so can disrupt group harmony. • Eye contact and eye gaze are particularly powerful nonverbal cues. • Personal space can lead to misunderstandings when people of different cultures interact. • Gestures of the hands and arms are also means of communication. Emblems: nonverbal gestures that have well-understood definitions • within a given culture; they usually have direct verbal translations, such as the "okay" sign. Gender and Nonverbal Communication • Women are more accurate in interpreting nonverbal cues when a person is telling the truth, men are better at detecting a lie. • Social role theory: the theory that sex differences in social behaviour derive from society's division of labour between the sexes; this division leads to differences in gender role expectations and sex typed skills, both of which are responsible for differences in men's and women's social behaviour Implicit Personality Theories: Filling in the blanks • Implicit personality theory: a type of schema people use to group various kinds of personality traits together; for example many people believe that if someone is kind, he or she is generous as well. • However this can come at some cost, and in some cases could even be fatal. (e.g about University students basing their decision on whether to use a condom or not on their implicit personality theory. Culture and Implicit Personality Theories • Like other beliefs implicit personality theories are passed from generation to generation in a society, therefore one cultures implicit personality theory might be very different from another cultures. • Collectivist individuals were less likely to assume that an attractive person possessed desirable personality traits. • Different cultures have different ideas about personality types. One's culture, and one's language produce widely shared implicit personality theories, and these theories can influence the kinds of inferences people make about each other. Causal Attributions: Answering the "Why" Question • Attribution theory: a description of the way in which people explain the cause of their own and other people's behaviour. The Nature of the Attributional Process • Fritz Heider believed that people are like amateur scientists trying to understand other people's behaviour by piecing together information until they arrive at a reasonable explanation or cause. • Internal attribution: the inference that a person is behaving in a certain way because of something about him or her, such as his or her attitude, character, or personality. An explanation that assigns the cause of behaviour internally. • External attribution: the inference that a person is behaving a certain way because of something about the situation he or she is in; the assumption is that most people would respond the same way in that situation. • Generally people prefer internal attributions over external ones, we are perceptually focused on people - they are who we notice - while the situation which is often hard to see and hard to describe can be overlooked. The Covariation Model: Internal vs. External Attributions • We notice and think about more than one piece of information when we form an impression of another person. • Covariation model: a theory stating that in order to form an attribution about what caused a person's behaviour, we systematically note the pattern between the presence (or absence) of possible causual factors and whether or not the behaviour occurs. • By discovering covariation in people's behaviour you are able to reach a judgment about what caused their behaviour. • Consensus information: refers to how other people behave toward the same stimulus. • Distinctive information: refers to how the actor (the person whose behaviour we are trying to explain) responds to other stimuli. • Consistency information: refers to the frequency with which the observed behaviour between the same actor and the same stimulus occurs across time and circumstances. • People are most likely to make an internal attribution when the consensus and distinctiveness of the act are low, but consistency is high. • People are likely to make an external attribution if consensus, distinctiveness, and consistency are all high. • But when consistency is low, we cannot make a clear internal or external attribution so resort to a special kind of external or situational attribution, one that assumes something unusual or peculi
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