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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 - Social Thinking and Social Influence.docx

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

CHAPTER 7: SOCIAL THINKING AND SOCIAL INFLUENCE  Social cognition: how people think about people, as well as themselves FORMING IMPRESSIONS OF OTHERS (essential aspects)  Person perception: process of forming impressions of others  Usually automatic KEY SOURCES OF INFORMATION  Can’t read minds  depend on observations to see what type of person they are  5 key aspects 1. Appearance  Physical features are cues used to “read” people  Multiracial individuals remembered less well than those whose race is same (ingroup) or distinctly different from (outgroup) of perceivers  Racially ambiguous faces recalled less accurately than own-race faces  Memory for biracial faces enhanced if perceivers motivated to see face as part of ingroup 2. Verbal behaviour  How much others self-disclose  How often they give advice and ask questions  How judgmental they are 3. Actions 4. Nonverbal messages  Facial expressions, eye contact, body language, gestures  Use nonverbal cues to determine truth of what others say 5. Situations  i.e. crying attributed to happy/sad at wedding/funeral  one bad piece of information can outweigh/undo collection of positive characteristics  trait perceived to be untrustworthy  offset several positive qualities  immoral act  other good acts can’t “undo” damage to people’s perceptions; eliminate reputation SNAP JUDGMENTS VERSUS SYSTEMATIC JUDGMENTS  too much info given  snap judgment (to avoid being overwhelmed)  snap judgments: those made quickly and based on only few bits of information and preconceived notions; may not be accurate  often, interactions with others so inconsequential that it makes little difference that judgments are imprecise  when selecting friend/mate/employee, want to be as accurate as possible  observe behaviour in variety of situations  compare with others in similar situation Perceiver’s observations of  target’s appearance Accuracy is not priority judgments  target’s verbal statements Impression of the person  target’s actions  target’s nonverbal messages Systematic judgments incl. Accuracy is prioriattributions  situational clues  want to know why person behaves in certain way  how do people make decisions?  What information do they consider? ATTRIBUTIONS  Attributions: inferences that people draw about cause of their own behaviour, others’ behaviour & events  Internal attribution: when people ascribe causes of someone’s behaviour to personal dispositions, traits, abilities, feelings (i.e. business failure  friend’s lack of skill)  External attributions: impute causes of behaviour to situational demands and environ mental constraints (i.e. business failure  negative trends in economy)  Types of attributions made about others  tremendous impact on every social interactions  Example: women often assumed to be more emotional  bias  colour conclusions made about men  People most likely to make attributions when 1. Events are personally relevant 2. Suspicious about another person’s motives 3. Others behave in unexpected or negative ways  Some aspects of attribution logical  Some aspects of attribution sometimes illogical & systematic (i.e. snap judgments) PERCEIVER EXPECTATIONS Confirmation Bias  Interact  form hypotheses  hypotheses influence behaviour toward that person in such way as to confirm expectations  Question someone selectively on hypotheses  Neglect to ask more wide-ranging questions that would give you more accurate picture  Confirmation bias: tendency to seek information that supports one’s beliefs while not pursuing disconfirming information  Well documented; occurs in casual social interactions, job interviews, courtrooms (where lawyer ask leading questions), doctors, etc.  People’s personalities may predispose them to focus on facts that fit their theories instead of weighing all of available information more critically Info that supports one’s beliefs & deciTendency to attend to & remember information Info that conflicts with one’s beliefs Tendency to ignore, discount, and forget informationion of beliefs  Confirmation bias occurs because individuals selectively recall facts to fit views of others  Study: videotape of women drinking beer, listening to classical music, watching TV  Beer = waitress, classical music = librarian  Confirmation bias used to characterize perceptions of group behaviours as individual actions  Sexual activity: men praised, women derogated Self-Fulfilling Prophecies  Self-filling prophecy: occurs when expectations about person cause him/her to behave in ways that confirm expectations  3 steps in self-fulfilling prophecy 1. Perceiver has initial impression of someone 2. Perceiver behaves toward target person in line with his/her expectations 3. Target person adjusts his/her behaviour to perceiver’s actions  Notes:  Both individuals unaware that process is operating  Because perceivers unaware of expectations & effect they can have  mistakenly attribute target person’s behaviour to internal cause  Best known experiments conducted in classroom settings  look at effect of teacher’s expectations on students’ academic performance  Also operates with adults in noneducational settings (i.e. military, factories & businesses, courtrooms, physician offices COGNITIVE DISTORTIONS  Source of error in person perception  distortions in minds of perceivers  Perceiver is in hurry, distracted, not motivated to pay careful attention to another person Social Categorization  Efficiently process information  classify according to distinctive features (i.e. age, race, religion, etc.)  Take easy path  avoid expending cognitive effort for more accurate impression  Categorize into ingroup (“us”) and outgroup (“them”)  3 results 1. People usually have less favorable attitudes toward outgroup members than ingroup members 2. See outgroup members as being more alike than they really are; see members of own group as unique individuals  called outgroup homogeneity effect 3. Heightens visibility of outgroup members when there are only few within larger group; what one person of outgroup does represents whole group 4. People likely to see outgroup members as looking more like each other than they actually do  Exception: anger  human mind carefully tracks strangers who may pose a threat Stereotypes  Stereotype: widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a particular group  Meet exception to stereotype?  categorize as misfit or subtype  Most prevalent stereotypes in American based on gender, age, and ethnicity  Gender stereotype remain most pervasive  May be based on physical appearance  “what is beautiful is good”  Though in reality, it is proven that attractive people have an advantage in social arena  Better social skills, more popular, less socially anxious, less lonely, more sexually experienced  But no difference in intelligence, happiness, mental health, self-esteem  Bad news: highly attractive people end up with one another  Stereotypes can be spontaneously triggered when people encounter members of commonly stereotyped groups  Racially biased stereotypes can cause regrettable split-second decisions in which people see a weapon that isn’t actually there  Because stereotype is automatic, people pessimistic about being able to control it  Self-control  reduced prejudice  Maintaining  deplete energy  ingest sugar?  Why do stereotypes persist?  Functional: reduce complexity  simplicity inaccuracy  Confirmation bias  see people with prejudice?  likely to see what they expect to see  Self-fulfilling prophecy: beliefs about another may elicit anticipated behaviour  confirm biased expectations The Fundamental Attribution Error  Fundamental attribution error: tendency to explain other people’s behaviour as result of personal, rather than situational, factors  Difference from stereotype in sense that it is based on observed behaviour  Person’s behaviour at given time may/may not reflect his/her personality/character, but observers tend to assume it does Step 1: automatic, mindless Step 2: effortful, mindful Result Observer makes initial Observer makes personal Observer becomes aware ofObserver modified initial observation of actor’s attribution situational influences onattribution on situation behaviour actor’s behaviour information A customer argues loudly w“He’s a hostile person.” Observer hears customer s“He’s probably not such a a bank teller that the bank as often mahostile person after all the same error  Failure to take second step  fundamental attribution error  Second step often not taken because  Requires more cognitive effort and attention  Second step often taken when:  Motivated to form accurate impressions of others  Suspicious about another’s motives  Cultural values promote different attributional errors  Individualistic: individuals responsible for actions  Collectivist: conformity & obedience to group norms valued  Different styles of thinking  cultural differences in attributional styles  Western mentality more analytical  attention focused on object & causality ascribed to it  East Asian mentality more holistic  attention focused on field surrounding an object & causality understood to reside in relationship between object and field Defensive Attribution  Defensive attribution: tendency to blame victims for their misfortunes, so one feels less likely to be victimized in similar way  Helps people maintain belief they live in a “just world” where people get what they deserve and deserve what they get  Self-protective, irrational  help people avoid unnerving thoughts & help them feel in control of lives  When victims blamed for setbacks, people unfairly attribute undesirable traits to them (i.e. incompetence, foolishness, laziness) KEY THEMES IN PERSON PERCEPTION Efficiency  People prefer to exert no more cognitive effort or time than necessary  Social information processed automatically and effortlessly  2 important advantages 1. People can make judgments quickly 2. Keeps things simple  Disadvantage: snap judgments error-prone  Efficiency works well as operating principle Selectivity  “people see what they expect to see” Consistency  Primacy effect: occurs when initial information carries more weight than subsequent information  Initial negative impressions may be hard to change  getting off wrong foot = damaging  Only if people motivated to form accurate impression & not tired  less likely to lock in initial impressions  People find comfort in cognitive consistency  Cognitions that contradict each other  tension and discomfort  You can override initial impression, but built-in preference makes it difficult THE PROBLEM OF PREJUDICE  Prejudice: negative attitude toward members of a group  Discrimination: involves behaving differently, usually unfairly, toward members of a group Prejudice Absent Present No relevant behaviour A restaurant owner who is bigoted against Absent Hispanics treats them fairly because she needs their business. An executive with favorable attitudes toA professor who is hostile toward women grades Present blacks doesn’t hire them because he woulhis female students unfairly. Discrimination trouble with his boss  Sometimes, prejudices & stereotypes can be triggered without conscious awareness & have consequences for behaviour “OLD-FASHIONED” VERSUS MODERN DISCRIMINATION  Old-fashioned discrimination against minority groups has declined  Modern discrimination (a.k.a. modern racism): people may privately harbor racist or sexist attitudes, but express them only when they feel such views are justified or when it’s safe to do so  Don’t want to turn to days of segregation  Don’t want minority groups to push too fast for advancement or receive special treatment by government  Whites admit to being racist … upsetting  Aversive racism: indirect, subtle, ambiguous form of racism that occurs when conscious endorsement of egalitarian ideals is in conflict with unconscious, negative reactions to minority group members  Might act in racist manner when nonracist excuse is available CAUSES OF PREJUDICE Authoritarianism  Authoritarian personality: personality type characterized by prejudice toward any group perceived to be different from oneself  Right wing authoritarianism:  authoritarian submission: exaggerated deference to those in power  authoritarian aggression: hostility toward targets sanctioned by authorities  conventionalism: strong adherence to values endorsed by authorities  found among political conservatives (rather than liberals)  support established authority  Big 5 traits: authoritarian individuals tend to score low on openness to experience an conscientiousness  What causes RWAs to be prejudiced? 1.
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