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Chapter 11

Psychology 1000 Chapter Notes - Chapter 11: Implicit-Association Test, Amygdala, Murder Of Kitty Genovese

Course Code
PSYCH 1000

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Behaviour In A Social Context
Social Thinking & Perception
Attribution: Perceiving Causes of Behaviour
o Often made in everyday life
o Judgments about the causes of own and other behaviour and outcomes
o Ex. Was my A on the mid-term because of hard work and ability, or was it just an easy test?
o Influence our subsequent behaviour and emotions
Personal versus Situational Attributions
Attribution Theory
o Maintained that attempts to understand why people behave as they do typically involve either
personal or situational attributions
Personal (internal) Attributions
o Infer that people's behaviour is caused by their characteristics:
o Bill insulted Carl because Bill is a rude person
Situational (external) Attributions
o Infer that aspects of the situation cause a behaviour
o Bill was provoked into insulting Carl
Three Types of Information
o Determine attribution we make
Consistent over time
Distinctiveness of response
Consensus of response
Attributional Biases
Social Psychology
o Immediate social environment profoundly influences behaviour
Fundamental Attribution Error
o Underestimate impact of situation when explaining behaviours
o Overestimate role of personal factors when explaining behaviours
o Applies to how we perceive other people's behaviour rather than our own
Hypocritical behaviour
Have more information about present situation when making judgments about
Perceptual principle of figure-ground relations comes into play
o Reduced when people have time to reflect on judgments or highly motivated to be careful
Self-Serving Bias
o Protect self-esteem
o Relatively more personal attributions for successes and more situational attributes for failures
Depends on various factors
Psychological state to cultural norms
Culture and Attribution
Culture influences affects how we perceive the social world
Tendency to attribute other people's behaviour to personal factors reflects a Westernized emphasis on
Culture also influences attributions for our own behaviour

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o Ex. modesty is highly valued in China's collectivistic culture
o Affect the way we go about making attributions
Forming & Maintaining Impressions
Primacy versus Recency: Are First Impressions More Important?
Primacy Effect
o Refers to tendency to attach more importance to initial information that we learn about a person
o New information can change our opinion, but it has to ―work harder‖
Tend to be most alert to information we receive first
Initial information may shape how we perceive new information
Propose that evaluating stimuli quickly (rapidly distinguishing friend from foe) was adaptive for our
Primacy effects decreaseand recency effects (giving greater weight to the most recent information)
may occur
Mental Sets & Schemas: Seeing What’s Expected
Perceiving objects or people, same stimulus can be ―seen‖ in different ways
Mental Set
o Readiness to perceive world in a particular way
o Powerfully shapes how we interpret a stimulus
o Mental frameworks that help us organize and interpret information
o ―Cold,‖ ―shy,‖ or ―distracted‖ - activate set of concepts & expectations
o Generalized belief about a group or category of people
o Represents a powerful type of schema
Self-Fulfilling Prophecies: Creating What We Expect to See
Self-fulfilling prophecy
o Occurs usually without conscious awareness
o People's erroneous expectations lead them to act toward others in a way that brings about the
expected behaviours, thereby confirming the original impression
o Ex.
If you expect the host to be cold and aloof
Your behaviour toward him may change in subtle ways.
You smile less, stand farther away, or give up a little earlier
His reserved response, could be a reaction to yourbehaviour
Attitude & Attitude Change
Help define identity, guide actions, and influence how & what judgements are made
o Positive or negative evaluation toward a stimulus
Do Our Attitudes Influence Our Behaviour?
o Discrepancy between stated prejudicial attitudes &nondiscriminatory behaviour overwhelming
o Called into question ―common-sense‖ assumption of attitude-behaviour consistency
Attitudes do predict behaviour
Three factors - Attitude-behaviour relationship sometimes strong and sometimes weak
o Influence behaviour more strongly when counteracting situational factors are weak
Financial incentives, conformity & obedience pressure etc. - lead people to behave in
ways that are at odds with their inner feelings
TheoryOf Planned Behaviour
Able to predict behaviour
Intention to engage in a behaviour is strongest when:
o Have positive attitude toward that behaviour

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o Subjective norms (perceptions of what people think we should do)
support attitudes
o Believe that behaviour is under our control
o Greater influence on behaviour when:we are aware of them& strongly held
Sometimes we seem to act ―without thinking,‖ out of impulse or habit
Attitude-behaviour consistency increases when people consciously think about their
attitudes before acting
Stronger when formed personally rather than second-hand, indirect information
o General attitudes are better at predicting general classes of behaviour, and specific
attitudes are better at predicting specific behaviours
Does Our Behaviour Influence Our Attitudes?
Festinger’s Theory of Cognitive Dissonance
o People strive for consistency in their cognitions
o When two or more cognitions contradict one another
―I am a truthful person‖ & ―I just told another person that boring tasks were interesting
o Experiences uncomfortable state of tension - cognitivedissonance
o Becomes motivated to reduce this dissonance
o To reduce dissonance and restore a state of cognitive consistency - will change one of their
cognitions or add new cognitions
Justify behaviour by adding cognition ―Who wouldn't lie for $20?‖
Participants who lied for $1 convince themselves that tasks were enjoyable
o Changed attitude about the task to bring it more into line with how they had behaved
Conterattitudinal Behaviour
o Behaviour that is inconsistent with our attitude
o Produces dissonance only if we perceive that actions were freely chosen rather than coerced
o Dissonance is maximized when the behaviour threatens sense of self-worth or produces
negative consequences that were foreseeable
o Does not always lead to attitude change
o Reduce dissonance by rationalizing that attitude or behaviour wasn't important, by finding
external justification
I may not be perfect, but other people are still worse
Daryl Bem's Self-Perception Theory
o Make inferences about our own attitudes by observing how we behave
For very little external justification ($1), you have told a student that boring experimental
tasks are enjoyable
Logically conclude that ―deep down‖ you must feel that tasks were somewhat enjoyable
o Attitude is not produced by cognitive dissonance
o Simply observe how you have acted, & infer how you must have felt to produce action
Dissonance Theory vs. Self-Perception Theory
o Both predict that counterattitudinal behaviour will produce attitude change
o Dissonance theory assumes that we experience heightened physiological arousal (tension)
If unpleasant arousal motivates attitude change factors reducing arousal should
reduce attitude change
Research participants experience arousal from dissonance-producing behaviours
but are led to believe that their arousal is caused by a pill (placebo)
Do not change their attitudes to be more in line with their behaviour
Pill gives participants an external justification for their arousal
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