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Chapter 4

Chapter 4 Social Perception.pdf

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Western University
Psychology 2070A/B

Chapter 4: Social Perception January-27-14 8:41 AM SOCIAL PERCEPTION: The study of how we form impressions of other people and make inferences about them Nonverbal Behavior NONVERBAL COMMUNICATION: The way in which people communicate, intentionally or unintentionally, without words; nonverbal cues include facial expressions, tone of voice, gestures, body position and movement, the use of touch, and eye gaze - We automatically mimic other people's facial expressions - The extent of the mimicry differs - It is suggested that our tendency to mimic other people's facial expressions may reflect empathy - Special kind of brain cell called mirror neurons that respond when we perform an action and when we someone else perform the same action Facial Expressions of Emotion - Darwin's research on facial expressions led him to develop his belief that the primary emotions conveyed by the face are universal — the idea that all human beings everywhere encode or express these emotions in the same way, and all human beings can decode or interpret them with equal accuracy ENCODE: To express or emit nonverbal behavior, such as smiling or patting someone of the back DECODE: To interpret the meaning of the nonverbal behavior other people express, such as deciding that a pat on the back was an expression of condescension and not kindness - Species-specific and not culture-specific - Facial expressions of six major emotions are universal: 1) Anger 2) Happiness 3) Surprise 4) Fear 5) Disgust 6) Sadness  STUDY:  Ekman and Friesen travelled to New Guinea, where they studied the decoding ability of the South Fore, a preliterate society that had had little contact with Western civilization  The Fore people were told brief stories with emotional content and then shown photographs of Americans  The Fore people accurately identified the emotions of the Americans in the photographs  The Fore people were then asked to demonstrate, while being photographed, facial expressions which were shown to American research participants who also decoded the emotions quite accurately  The ability to interpret these six emotions is universal, not a product of people's cultural experience Are Facial Expressions of Emotion Universal? - Not all emotions theorists have agreed with Ekman's conclusion that there are six (or more) universal facial expressions - Issues involved in drawing conclusions about universality: → Level of accuracy → Context in which they are perceived - The facial expression of happiness was identified by the majority - Asian cultures are more likely to my holistic thinkers, focusing on the focal object and the context in which it is situated - Western cultures tend to be analytic thinkers, focusing on the central object Why is Decoding Sometimes Inaccurate? - People frequently display affect blends AFFECT BLENDS: A facial expression in which one part of the face registers one emotion while another part of the face registers a different emotion - People try to appear less emotional than they are so that no one will know how they really feel - Has to do culture Culture and Nonverbal Communication - Display rules are particular to each culture DISPLAY RULES: Culturally determined rules about which emotional expressions are appropriate to show EMBLEMS:Nonverbal gestures that have well-understood definitions within a given culture; they usually have direct verbal translations, such as the "okay" sign The E-mail Dilemma: Communicating Without Nonverbal Cues  STUDY:  Although message senders were highly confident they could communicate sarcasm, sadness, anger, and seriousness in all of the three types of messages (e-mail, voice only, face-to-face), they were in fact most likely to fail to communicate the emotions accurately over e-mail  This occurred whether the e-mail recipients were their friends or strangers Implicit Personality Theories: Filling in the Blanks - Schemas allow us to form impressions quickly IMPLICIT PERSONALITY THEORY: A type of schema people use to group various kinds of personality traits together; for example, many people believe that if someone is kind, he or she is generous as well Culture and Implicit Personality Theories - Implicit personality theories are strongly tied to culture  STUDY:  People formed impressions of characters in stories that were consistent with the implicit personality theory contained in their language  For example, when Chinese-English bilinguals read stories about people in English, they were likely to form impressions consistent with a Western implicit theory, the artistic personality (which is not present in Chinese culture)  When Chinese-English bilingual participants read the same stories in Chinese, they were likely to form impressions consistent with a Chinese implicit theory, the shi gú personality (which is not present in Western culture) Exam Notes Page 1 Causal Attribution: Answering the "Why" Question ATTRIBUTIONTHEORY: A description of the way in which people explain the causes of their own and other people's behavior The Nature of the Attributional Process - Fritz Heider is frequently referred to as the father of attribution theory - One of Heider's most valuable contributions is a simple dichotomy: → When trying to decide why people behave as they do we can make one of two attributions: 1) An internal attribution, or 2) An external attribution INTERNAL ATTRIBUTION: The inference that a person is behaving in a certain way because of something about him or her, such as his or her attitude, charact
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