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Chapter 11

Chapter 11 - Behaviour In A Social Context summary

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Western University
Psychology 1000

Behaviour In A Social Context Social Thinking & Perception Attribution: Perceiving Causes of Behaviour Attributions 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 Consistency Consistent over time Distinctiveness Distinctiveness of response Consensus 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 ourselves 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 individualism Culture also influences attributions for our own behaviour 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 survival Primacy effects decreaseand recency effects (giving greater weight to the most recent information) may occur Mental Sets & Schemas: Seeing Whats 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 Schemas o Mental frameworks that help us organize and interpret information o Cold, shy, or distracted - activate set of concepts & expectations Stereotype 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 Attitude o Positive or negative evaluation toward a stimulus Do Our Attitudes Influence Our Behaviour? Study: 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 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? Self-justification Festingers 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 Ex. 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 Dissonance 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 Self-perception 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 Example 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 o Dissonance theory better explains why people change their views after behaving in ways that openly contradict their clearly defined attitudes, particularly when such behaviours threaten their self-images o Self-Perception is better with situations in which counterattitudinal behaviour does not threaten one's self-worth and have weak attitudes behaviour is
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