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Chapter 16

PSYC 1010 Chapter Notes - Chapter 16: Social Perception, Ethnocentrism, Physical Attractiveness

Course Code
PSYC 1010
Gerry Goldberg

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CHAPTER 16: Social Behaviour
Social Psychology- the branch of psych concerned with the way individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and
behaviours are influenced by others
There are 6 topics of Social Psychology
1. PERSONAL PERCEPTION: Forming Impressing of Others
Person perception- the process of forming impressions of others
Physical Attractiveness- a person’s appearance influences personal perceptions
- people tend to assign personality characteristics to those who are good looking vs. those who are
deemed less attractive
-Good Looking People: the beautiful = the good, obtain better jobs, “baby-faced” = honesty, trust
-Less Attractive People: less competent
- Observers are quick to draw conclusions of people based on their style of nonverbal
Schema- cognitive structures that guide information processing
-social schema: organized clusters of ideas about categories of social events and people
opeople depend on these because the schemas help them to efficiently process and store
wealth of information that they take in by others interactions
Stereotypes- widely held beliefs that people have certain characteristics because of their membership in a
particular group
- products of personal experiences, also part of their shared cultural background
- gender, age, ethnic, and occupational are different types
- ignores diversity inaccurate perceptions of people
- self-fulfilling prophecy
Illusionary Correlation- occurs when people estimate that they have encountered more confirmations of
an association between social traits than they have actually seen
- illusion of asymmetric insight- the finding that people tend to think that their knowledge of their
peers is greater then their peers’ knowledge of them
Social perception’s biases were adaptive in humans’ ancestral environment. Humans are programmed by
evolution to immediately classify people as members of an…
-in-group: a group they belong to, or identify with
-out-group: a group that does NOT belong or identify with
- the human tendency is to automatically categorize others, may reflect the primitive need to quickly
separate friend from foe
2. ATTRIBUTION PROCESSES: Explaining behaviour
Attributions- are inferences that people draw about the causes of events, others’ behaviour, and their own
- people make attributions because they have a strong need to understand their own experiences
make sense of their own behaviour
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Internal Attributions- ascribe the causes of behaviour to personal dispositions, traits, abilities and
External Attributions- ascribe the cause of behaviour to situational demands and environmental
Personal (internal)
Situational (external)
Bernard Weiner’s model of attributions for success and failure: assumes that people’s explanations for
success and failure emphasize…
- internal vs. external causes (dimensions)
- unstable vs. stable causes
Unstable Cause
Stable Cause
Internal Cause effort
External Cause luck
task difficulty
Example: Getting a job.
I-U … your hard work to assemble a superb resume
I-S … your excellent ability
E-U … good luck
E-S … lack of “top-flight” competition
Fundamental Attribution- observers’ bias in favour of internal attributions in explaining others’
- example: actors favour external attributions for their behaviour, while the observers are more
likely to explain the same behaviour with internal attributions
Defensive Attribution- tendency to blame victims for their misfortunes, so that one feels less likely to be
victimized in a similar way
- people don’t want to face the reality that this might just happen to them
-Belief in just world theory: we want to restore evidence of the world being unjust
Self-serving bias- the tendency to attribute one’s successes personal factors … one’s failures
situational factors
Individualism- putting personal goals ahead of group goals; defining ones identity in terms of personal
attributions rather then group memberships (ex. marriage for love)
Collectivism- putting group goals ahead of personal goals; defining ones identity in terms of the groups
they belong to (ex. marriage arranged)
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