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Chapter 4

PSYB10 Chapter 4 Person Perception and Social Interaction

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 4 Person Perception Types of social information - Behaviour o Verbal behaviour o Nonverbal behaviour  Emblems  Gestures that have well-understood meaning and widely accepted within a culture  Communicates a meaning or phrase that everybody understands  Serves the purpose of language  Thin Slices  The attributional power of brief exposure to others  Accurate at detecting other people’s personality traits and unobservable demographic characteristics from very quick brief exposure  E.g. socioeconomic status (SES) in social interactions o Low SES participants spend less time grooming, doodling, manipulating objects o High SES participants are less likely to pay attention to and focus on the situation o Naive observers able to detect objective SES (parents’ income, mothers’ education) o Naive observers able to detect subjective SES (relative standing in the community)  E.g. ambiguous groups o Can you categorize a person into an ambiguous group from their face alone? o You don’t know whether or not someone belongs to the ambiguous group o The person has to tell you that they are in a group for you to know o Not a single face is rated 100% straight or 100% gay o Not a single face is obviously one way or the other o Population accuracy for ambiguous groups is 64%, which is above chance - Context o Provides additional input o Can completely change attribution - Schemas o What you expect is what you get Attribution  Explanation for an observed behaviour of a social object - Automaticity of attributions o Very automatic  We make attributions for other people’s behaviour instantaneously o Attributions are like pattern matching - Attribution theory  The way in which people explain the causes of their own and other people’s behaviour o Internal attributions  Attributing a person’s behaviour to something intrinsic to that person (personality, disposition, attitude, character)  E.g. satisfied marriages make more internal attributions for the partner’s positive behaviour and external attributions for negative behaviour o External attributions  Attributing a person’s behaviour to something about the situation in which the behaviour occurred  E.g. distressed marriages make more external attributions for the partner’s behaviour and internal attributions for negative behaviour  Does not change beliefs regarding person’s character or personality o Correspondence bias  Tendency to infer that a person’s behaviour corresponds to their internal disposition, personality, or attitude o Fundamental attribution error (FAE) also the actor/observer difference  When perceiving others  Tendency to overestimate the influence of internal causes for behaviour and underestimate external causes  When perceiving self  Tendency to overestimate the influence of external causes for own behaviour  E.g. essay writer’s attitude about Castro o In both conditions, participants assumed the content of the essay reflected the author’s true feelings  E.g. tendency to believe that when someone tells us that we are wonderful that they really mean it from inside o Even if you know they were told to say so  Cultural variability in FAE  E.g. analysis of Chinese and English language newspaper articles written about Gang Lu in the same local area o English language newspapers tend to make more internal attributions for Gang Lu’s behaviour o Chinese language newspapers tend to make more external attributions for Gang Lu’s behaviour  People everywhere probably start off at the same point with the correspondence bias o Automatically make dispositional attributions o Look to the situation o Revise and correct first impression, especially if the situation is significant o Westerners tend to skip the second step, but are capable of coming up with situational explanations, but only if they are motivated to  Explanations for FAE  Perceptual salience o Tendency to overestimate the causal role of information that grabs our attention  When perceiving others  Tendency to look at the person  Overestimate internal attribution  We notice their behaviour more than the situation  E.g. people thought that the actor they could see better had the most impact on the conversation  E.g. videotape of suspect in interrogation room o Confession is rated as voluntary if focused on the criminal only o Making him appear more guilty  When perceiving self  Tendency to look at the world and not yourself  Overestimate external attribution  We notice our situation more than our own behaviour  Two-step process of attribution o FAE occurs through the same process as anchoring & adjustment heuristic (we know we shouldn’t make pure internal attributions) 1. Make an internal attribution 2. Attempt to adjust away from internal attribution by considering situational constraints if we have the time and energy  If we are distracted, we skip step 2 and make an internal attribution  Step 2 requires thinking carefully before making an attribution o Covariation theory  Assumption that people are lay statisticians and we take into account all of these factors when interpreting other people  Systematically examine multiple instances of behaviour, occurring at different times and in different situations  Three factors of attribution  Consensus  Do other people behave in this way? o High = Behaviour is common to all people o Low = Behaviour is unique to person  Distinctiveness  Does this person behave like this with other stimuli? o High = Behaviour is unique to situation (behaves like this in particular situations) o Low = Behaviour is common to person (behaves similarly in all situations)  Consistency  Does this person behave like this over time? o High = Behaviour is common to the person (Jane is generous) o Low = Behaviour is unique to this moment in time (Jane is generous during the holidays) Consensus Distinctiveness Consistency Attribution Low Low High Internal High High High External High or Low High or Low Low Situational - Self-serving attributions o Positive outcomes for self  Tendency to explain it in terms of internal factors o Negative outcomes for self  Tendency t o explain it in terms of external factors o Defensive attributions  Explanations for behaviour that defend us from feelings of vulnerability and mortality  Unrealistic optimism  Bad things are less likely to happen to you than to other people  Good things are more likely to happen to you than other people  Just world hypothesis  Belief that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people  Gives us a sense of control over the world  Motivate us to invest in our future o Our long-term investments would be rewarded according to principles of fairness and justice  When faced with a misfortune, we convince ourselves that good things will happen down the road to even out the score  Leads to rejection and blaming of victims of negative outcomes o People get what they deserve o E.g. women and rape
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