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Chapter 13

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Psychology 1000

Psychology 1 Chapter 13 Behaviour in a Social Context How we think about and perceive our social worldsocial thinking and social perceptionHow other people influence our behavioursocial influenceHow we behave toward other peoplesocial relationsSOCIAL THINKING AND PERCEPTION Attributions judges about the causes of our own and other peoples behaviour and outcomesAttributions influence our subsequent behaviour and emotions Ex If I attribute my A to hard work and ability I will feel greater pride and continue to exert more effort than if I attribute it to an easy testFritz Heider a pioneer of attribution theory maintained that our attempts to understand why people behave as they do typically involve either personal attributions or situational attributionsPersonal internal attributions infer that peoples behaviour is caused by their characteristics Ex Bill insulted Carl because Bill is a rude personSituational external attributions infer that the aspects of a situation cause a behaviour Ex Bill was provoked into insulting Carl3 types of information determine the attribution we make 1 Consistency 2 Distinctiveness 3 ConsensusWhen consistency distinctiveness and consensus are all high we are likely to make a situational attributionWhen consistency is high and the other 2 factors are low we make a personal attributionFundamental attribution error We underestimate the impact of the situation and overestimate the role of personal factors when explaining other peoples behaviourThe fundamental attribution error applies to how we perceive other peoples behaviour rather than or own ex page 495When people have time to reflect on their judgements or are highly motivated to be careful the fundamental attribution error is reduced Selfserving bias making relatively more personal attributions for success and more situational attributions for failuresEx If you win a game you attribute it to personal factors such as We played great defense and hung in there but if you lose a game you attribute it to situational factors such as bad officiating Psychology 2Culture influences how we perceive the social world For example American and British schoolchildren make more personal attributions for other peoples criminal behaviour than do Korean university students and Nigerian schoolchildrenCulture also influences attributions for our own behaviour For example Chinese students take less credit for successes and more responsibility for their failuresPeople who think more holistically than their peers took more information into account when making attributions Thus the same underlying psychological principle a link between holistic thinking and beliefs about causality seems to account for informationseeking differences between cultures as well as among individuals within each cultureAs social beings we constantly form impressions of other people just as they form impressions of usPrimary effect refers to our tendency to attach more importance to the initial information that we learn about a personNew information can change our opinion but it has to work harder to overcome that initial impression for 2 reasons 1 We tend to be most alert to information we receive first 2 Initial information may shape how we perceive subsequent informationPrimacy is the general rule of thumb in impression formationPrimacy effects decrease and regency effects giving greater weight to the most recent information may occur when we are asked to avoid making snap judgements are reminded to carefully consider the evidence and are made to feel accountable for our judgementsWhether perceiving objects or people the same stimulus can be seen in different ways Our mental set which is a readiness to perceive the world in a particular way powerfully shapes how we interpret a stimulus ex top of page 498Schema mental frameworks that help us organize and interpret information Example By telling you that someone is shy cold or distracted a set of concepts and expectations your schema for how such a person is likely to behave is activatedStereotype a generalized belief about a group or category of people type of schemaSelffulfilling prophecy occurs usually without conscious awareness when peoples erroneous expectations leads them to act toward others in a way that brings about the expected behaviours thereby confirming the original impressionIn interacting with others our initial unfounded expectations can influence how we behave toward them thereby shaping their behaviour in a way that ultimately confirms our expectationsATTITUDES AND ATTITUDE CHANGEGordon Allport called attitude social psychologys most indispensable conceptAttitude a positive or negative evaluative reaction toward a stimulus such as a person action object or concept3 factors help to explain why the attitudebehaviour relationship is strong in some cases but weak in others
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