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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Social perception Perceiving the self and others.doc

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Jennifer Fortune

Chapter 4 Social perception: Perceiving the self and others Attribution theories: explaining social behaviour Attributions: causal judgements about why an event or behaviour occurred - attributions are causal judgements - an example would be o, he stepped on my toe because hes a douche and inconsiderate The causal judgement we make about another persons behaviours influences how we behave towards them - he stepped on me b/c hes a douche and inconsiderate so I will shove him a little - judgements about the causes of ppls actions and outcomes are made constantly and have important implications for our own behaviours Intuitive Scientist Intuitive scientist: untrained scientist who try to make causal judgements in a rational, scientific manner Harold Kelly proposed an attribution theory that suggested that ppl often make causal judgements in a relatively scientific manner- as if they were intuitive scientist - Kelly suggested that ppl behave as intuitive scientist in testing everyday causal questions. Kelly proposed the theory, Covariation model of attribution Covariation model of attribution: an attribution theory proposing that we make causal judgements by determining whether a particular behaviour correlated with a person, a situation, or some combination of persons and situations - for example, David is watching Million Dollar Baby and I come to the room and I see him crying - I think to myself - 1) the movie is sad (external) and that is why David is crying - 2) David is a pussy (internal) and that is why he is crying - How do I know which is more plausible? Kelly theory suggested that I would think back over how David has behaved during other movies in the past and how other ppl have reacted to Million Dollar Baby ie examine his behaviour and other ppls behaviour - I am systemically testing whether crying was associated with David or with the movie - We use this kind of reasoning when we have multiple observations of several individuals across several settings - This theory assumes that ppl try to determine whether a behaviour co varied (was associated) with a person, a situation, or some combination of persons and situations. The false consensus effect False consensus effect: the tendency to assume that other ppl share our own attitudes and behaviours to a greater extent than they actually do When individuals have personal experiences with a situation, they assume that most other ppl would respond in a similar way, and we draw conclusions about the cause of behaviour based on this assumption Experiment Lee Ross, David Greene and Pamela House experiment on the false consensus effect - asked students to wear message on boards, and asked participants to predict what percentage of other participants would agree to wear the sign - all groups overestimated the number of participants who would do whatever they had done themselves - example of the false consensus effect Why does the false consensus effect occur? - The first reason is that we tend to interact mainly with other ppl who agree with us. The ppl we interact with are not rep of the general pop but we do not always rec this fact so we tend to overestimate the degree of agreement. - (motivational) The second reason is that we want to believe that others agree with us. We like to think that our opinions are accurate and our actions are appropriate - Many ppl overestimate consensus bc it makes us feel good about our attitudes and behaviours - Consistent with the second explanation of the false consensus effect is evidence that ppl sometimes underestimate consensus when it makes them look good ie doing a good deed like offering a seat, bc the consensus is low it makes them feel unique like they are the only one doing a good thing Discounting and Augmentation How do we make judgements about why a stranger acted in particular way? We cant refer to any history to make a covariance model of attribution. Kelley suggested that when we make attributions about a person based on just one observation, we rely on our knowledge of plausible causes in the situation. That is, we use our general knowledge to infer (think of) one or more causes that might explain the behaviour and then simply see if those causes are present (ie look for evidence) Example We see a car in the ditch in the winter, and we think about how it ended up there. 1) bad driving (internal) 2) driving conditions (external) These are the plausible cause that might explain behaviour Now we look for evidence to support either of these plausible causes. If we see ice on the road = driving conditions caused the crash, if we dont see ice = bad driving! The internal case is non observable vs. the driving conditions case which is observable. If no external evidence is present, then we think that the situation was caused by internal factors (ie bad driver) Looking for an external cause (icy road), and if one is present (ice on the road), reducing the perceived importance of internal causes = discounting principle Discounting principle: a rule of attribution that states that the perceived role of a cause will be discounted (reduced) if other plausible causes are also present - usually involves reducing the perceived role of an internal cause bc an external cause is known to e present - external is present = behaviour attribute partly - External absent = its all internal! - Dis-count the blame The opposite of the discounting principle is the augmentation principle Augmentation principle: a rule of attribution that states that the perceived role of a cause will be augmented (increased) if other factors are present would work against behaviour - behaviour over difficultness - observers attribute behaviour to esp strong internal causes The Correspondence Bias: A fundamental attribution error Correspondence bias: the tendency to assume that ppl actions and words reflect their personality, their attitude, or some other internal factor, rather than external or situational factors - ie when someone is late, we attribute it to their personality ie she is a forgetful person - ie hen someone is friendly to us, we assume that person is a friendly person rather than to think of it as a norm for pledges - an overrelience on personality traits to understand behaviour this is a tendency to see behaviour as caused by a stable personal disposition of the actor when it can easily be explained as a response to the situation ie I assume that ppl actions reflect their personality (internal) but there could be situational (external) factors
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