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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 - Perceiving Persons

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 4 – Perceiving Persons  Social perception: a general term for the processes by which people come to understand one another Observation: The Elements of Social Perception  Social perceiver comes to know others by relying on indirect cues o Clues arise from three sources: persons, situations, and behavior Persons  Form impressions of people that are often accurate based on indirect telltale cues  People prejudge others in photographs o Read traits from faces  Adults who have baby-faced features (big eyes, round face, etc.) tend to be seen as warm, kind, naïve, weak, honest, and submissive o Compared to those with mature features (small eyes, low brows, etc.) are seen as stronger, dominant, and more competent  Humans are programmed by evolution to respond gently to infantile features so that real babies are treated with care  Infantile features seem to trigger a special nurturing response to cuteness  Frontal brain region is associated with love and other positive emotions when exposed to babies’ faces  We associate infantile features with helplessness traits  People are quick to perceive unfamiliar faces as more or less trustworthy o Trustworthy = happy  Signals a person who is safe to approach o Untrustworthy = angry  Signals danger to be avoided Situations  Certain situations enable us to anticipate goals, behaviours, and outcomes  The more experience in the given situation, the more detail scripts are  Knowledge of social settings provides an important context for understanding other people’s verbal and nonverbal behavior Behaviour  Mind perception: the process by which people attribute humanlike mental states to various animate and inanimate objects  The more humanlike a target object is, the more likely we are to attribute to it qualities of mind  Behavioural cues are used to determine someone’s inner state  Nonverbal behavior: reveals a person’s feelings without words – through facial expressions, body language, and vocal cues  Face expresses emotion in ways that are innate and understood by people all over the world  Ability to recognize emotion in others has survival value o Important to identify some emotions  People are quicker to spot angry facts  Disgust is another basic emotion that has adaptive significance o People react with aversion when confronted with an offensive stimulus o Food poisoning  Insula was activated when participants sniffed disgusting odour AS WELL as those watching the reactions Forms of nonverbal communication: o Hand gestures o Eye contact/ gaze o Touch Chapter 4 – Perceiving Persons  Expression of friendship, nurturance,, and sexual interest  Different cultures have different rules for greeting someone  Lying is harder to do and requires more thinking than telling the truth Attribution: From Elements to Dispositions Attribution Theories  Individuals differ in the extent to which they feel a need to explain the uncertain events of human behavior  Attribution theory: describe how people explain the causes of behavior o Personal attribution: attribution to internal characteristics of an actor (ability, personality, mood, or effort) o Situational attribution: attribution to factors external to an actor (task, people, luck)  Correspondent inference theory: people try to infer from an action whether the act itself corresponds to an enduring personal characteristic of the actor o Choice  Behavior that is freely chosen is informative about a person o Expectedness of behavior  People think they know more about person when it departs from the norm than when it is typical o Intended effects / consequences of someone’s behavior  Acts that produce many desirable outcomes do not reveal a person’s specific motives as clearly as acts that produce only a single desirable outcome o Seeks to describe how perceivers try to discern an individual’s personal characteristics from behavioural evidence  Covariation theory: People attribute behavior to factors that are present when a behavior occurs and absent when it does not Attribution Biases  Availability heuristic: tendency to estimate the likelihood that an event will occur by how easily instances of it come to mind o False-consensus effect: people overestimate the extent to which others share their opinions, attributes, and behaviours o This bias is pervasive  They exaggerate the % of others who behave similarly or share their views o We tend to associate with others who are like us in important ways  Base-rate fallacy: people are relatively insensitive to consensus information presented in the form of numerical base rates o Lead to overestimations o Influenced by graphic, dramatic events o People tend to fear things that sound unfamiliar  Counterfactual thinking: imagining alternative events or outcomes that might have occurred but did not o If we imagine a result that is better then we’re likely to experience disappointment, regret, and frustrations o If imagined result is worse, then we react with relief and satisfaction  People are influenced by the situational context of behavior  Fundamental attribution error: focusing on the role of personal causes and underestimating the impact of situations on other people’s behavior o AKA correspondence bia
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