Perception (pg 96-122)
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
• 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
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
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
• 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