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Chapter 2: Social Perception. Chapter Outline u Nonverbal Communication u Attribution Theories and Errors u Impression Formation and Impression Management.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 2: Social Perception. Chapter Outline u Nonverbal Communication u Attribution Theories and Errors u Impression Formation and Impression Management."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 2: Social Perception

2 Chapter Outline u Nonverbal Communication u Attribution Theories and Errors u Impression Formation and Impression Management 2.3Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

3 Social Perception Social Perception- process through which we seek to understand other persons u What do nonverbal cues tell us? u How do we explain other’s behavior? u What types of errors bias our thinking? u How do we form first impressions of others? 2.4Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

4 Nonverbal Communication Nonverbal Communication- an unspoken language of expressions and body language u Basic channels u facial expressions- reveals current moods/feelings u eye contact- reveals friendliness, shyness, aggression u body language (position, posture, movement)- reveals emotional states, status, cultural emblems u touching- reveals affection, interest, dominance, caring, threat, aggression 2.5Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

5 Facial Expressions and Social Thought u Cognitive tuning model (Schwarz, 1990) u when others smile, we sense that the current situation is safe so we process information superficially (heuristic processing) u when others frown, we sense that careful thought about their words is required (systematic processing) 2.6Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

6 Facial Expressions and Social Cognition Based on data from Ottati, Terkildsen, & Hubbard, 1997

7 Attribution Theories Attribution- seek to determine causes behind others’ behavior u Correspondent inference- infer others’ traits from observing their behavior, especially. when behavior: u is freely chosen u person rallying for women’s rights is feminist u is socially undesirable (or unusual) u teacher who wears tie-dye shirts is free spirit u yields noncommon effects (one cause only) u woman who marries rich, stupid, ugly man is probably marrying for money 2.7Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

8 Inferences Using Noncommon Effects Prestigious School Clinical Program Desirable Location Lots of Requirements Prestigious School Desirable Location Lots of Requirements

9 Inferences Using Noncommon Effects Prestigious School Clinical Program Desirable Location Prestigious School Lots of Requirements Desirable Location

10 Attribution Theories (con’t) u Causal attribution theory- we attribute the cause of others’ behavior to internal or external factors 1 u internal- caused by person’s traits (disposition) u external- caused by situation To explain other’s behavior we use: u consensus- extent others behave in same way u consistency- extent person always behaves this way u distinctiveness- extent person acts differently in other situations 1 Other dimensions include: u stable/unstable; controllable/uncontrollable 2.8Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

11 Why Was Student Late? u Internal attribution (e.g., student is lazy) made if: u Low consensus: no one else came in late u High consistency: in the past, student has come in late u Low distinctiveness: student is late to other classes u External attribution (e.g., more time needed between classes) made if: u High consensus: other students came in late u High consistency: in the past, student has come in late u High distinctiveness: student is only late to this class 2.9Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

12 Why did student do well on exam?

13 Handling Multiple Causes u When multiple causes are present the following may occur: u Discounting Principle- tendency to downplay importance of one cause if others exist u Why is woman claiming harassment? Good Samaritan or spurned lover? u Augmenting Principle- tendency to increase importance of one factor when behavior occurs in the presence of an inhibitory factor u Woman claims sexual harassment even though she strongly supported the president is more believable 2.10Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

14 Attributional Errors u Attributional Errors u Fundamental attribution error (correspondence bias)- tendency to overestimate internal causes of other’s behavior while ignoring external causes u Actor-observer effect- tendency to attribute own behavior to external causes, but others to internal u Self-serving bias- tendency to take credit for success and blame failures on the situation Western (individualistic) cultures are more susceptible to these biases than Eastern (collectivistic) cultures 2.11Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

15 Attributional Errors (con’t) u Actor-observer effect occurs because: u differences in perceptual salience u to actor- the situation is most salient u to observer- the actor grabs attention u difference in information u observers have no access to actor’s behavioral history u western culture- predisposes us to assume that people, not situations cause events u Self-serving bias occurs because: u need to protect and enhance our self-esteem 2.12Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

16 Applications of Attribution Theory u Attribution and Depression u depressed persons often show a self-defeating pattern of attributions opposite of the self-serving bias u attribute positive events to temporary, external causes u attribute negative events to internal causes cognitive therapy that reverses pattern is effective u Attribution and Rape u people with a strong belief in a just world (“bad things happen to bad people”) are more likely to blame the rape victim 2.13Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

17 Impression Formation Impression Formation- how we form impressions of others u central traits (e.g., warm-cold) strongly shape the overall impression of a stranger u primacy effect- information presented first often has stronger impact on impressions u impressions of others consist of both exemplars (examples of specific behavior) and abstractions (mental summaries of general behavior) 2.14Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

18 Impression Management Impression Management- efforts to produce a favorable first impression u Techniques include u self-enhancement- boost one’s appeal u boost physical appearance, use immodesty u other-enhancement- induce positive moods in others u flattery, express liking, agree with target’s views if overdone, however, “slime effect” can occur techniques not always under conscious control 2.15Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon

19 Impression Accuracy u Social perceptions of others are often accurate because: u physical and psychological traits stem from same genetic factors u psychological traits cause physical traits to develop u actions may be reflected in our faces u physical traits cause psychological traits to develop u attractive people are treated differently u people gradually develop the traits others expect them to have (self-fulfilling) 2.16Baron & Byrne- Social Psychology 9/e, Allyn and Bacon


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