Chapter 4 – Perceiving Persons

Perceiving Persons
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Social Perception:
the process by which people come to understand one another
What are situational scripts?
Situational Scripts: expectations of what’s likely to occur in a given situationWe sometimes see what we expect to see in a particular situation.We use the social situation to explain the causes of behavior.
What specific aspects of nonverbal behavior contribute to our social perceptions?
Nonverbal Behavior:
Behavior Evidence
Nonverbal Behavior
1) Detecting emotion
2) Situational cues
3) Body language
4) Eye contact/ gaze
5) Touch
Behavior that reveals a person’s feelings without words, through facial expressions, body language, and vocal cues.
Central Traits:
Traits that exert a powerful influence on overall impressions.
Why is Heider credited as the “father of attribution theory”? What did he contribute to our understanding of this process?
Attribution Theory:
Fritz Heider (1958)
The “father of attribution theory”
A group of theories that describe how people explain the causes of behaviorWe observe, analyze, and explain other’s behavior in terms of attributions that are either:
Clearly distinguish between internal (Personal Attribution:) and external (Situational Attribution:) attributions.
Personal Attribution to internal characteristics of an actor, such as ability, personality, mood, or effort.
internal (personal, dispositional), -OR-

Situational Attribution to factors external to an actor, such as the task, other people, or luck.
external (situational)

Be familiar with Jones & Davis’ (1965) Correspondent Inference
“Correspondent Inference Theory”
People try to infer whether others’ actions correspond to dispositions or not.ChoiceExpectedness of behaviorIntended effects (a.k.a. non-common effects)
Theory and Kelley’s Covariation Theory.
Co-variation Principle: A principle of attribution theory that holds that people attribute behavior to factors that are present when a behavior occurs and are absent when it does not.

Comparison across people: How do others react to the same stimulus?
Comparison across time: How does the person react to this stimulus on different occasions?
Comparison across situations/stimuli: How does the person react to different stimuli?
Availability Heuristic:
The tendency to estimate the liklihood that an event will occur by how easily instances of it come to mind.
Base-rate Fallacy:
The finding that people are relatively insensitive to consensus information presented in the form of numerical base rates.
Counterfactual Thinking:
The tendency to imagine alternative events or outcomes that might have occurred by did not.
False-consensus (uniqueness?) Effect:
The tendency for people to overestimate the extent to which others share their opinions ,attributes, and behaviors.
Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE):
The tendency to focus on the role of the personal causes and underestimate the impact of situations on other people’s behavior.
actor-observer difference
We tend to see other people's behaviors as being caused by their personal disposition, whilst perceiving our own actions as due to situational factors.
self-serving bias
A self-serving bias occurs when people attribute their successes to internal or personal factors but attribute their failures to situational factors beyond their control
defensive attributions
we assume that the victims of serious occupational accidents tend to attribute their accidents to external factors, while their coworkers and foremen tend to attribute the accidents to the victims' own action
Belief in a just world

The belief that individuals get what they diserve in life, an orientation that leads people to disparage vistims.
What is the main idea of Information Integration Theory?
Information Integration Theory: The theory that impressions are based on (1) perceiver dispositions; and (2) a weighted average of a target person’s traits
Mind Perception:
The process by which people attribute humanlike mental states to various animate and inanimate objects, including other people.
The tendency for recently used or perceived words or ideas to come to mind easily and influence the interpretation of new information.
Implicit Personality Theory:
A network of assumptions people make about the relationships among traits and behaviors.
Primacy Effect:
The tendency for information presented early in a sequence to have more impact on impressions than information presented later.
target characteristics
estimates of the statistical characteristics.
Need for Closure:
The desire to reduce cognitive uncertainty, which heightens the importance of the first impression.
Impression Formation
The process of integrating information about a person to form a coherent impression
Distinguish between the summation and averaging models of impression formation.

Which model is more supported by research?
Summation vs. average models
is knowing four outstanding things about you be more powerful and make a better impression or would three good things and one okay thing, be better?
The okay thing dilutes the impact of the greater things.
would you average them out? no.
summation model is more supported.

Belief Perseverance:
The tendency to maintain beliefs even after they have been discredited.

confirmatory hypothesis testing (confirmation bias)
Confirmation bias: The tendency to seek, interpret, and create information that verifies existing beliefs.
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
The process by which one’s expectations about a person eventually lead that person to behave in way that confirm those expectations.
What are some suggestions to improve our perceptions of other people?
Accuracy is improved by motivation --BE MOTIVATED to BE ACCURATE!
Consider cultural-differences, put yourself in their shoes.

More experience leads to more accuracy- the more your practice, the less you will discriminate.

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