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									Affect control theory (hereafter ACT)
offers a dynamic model of social
action that focuses on how people’s
attitudes toward identities,
behaviors, social settings, and
emotions (i.e., the key aspects of
social interaction) inform the actions
that individuals take toward one
What’s the first thing that you have to do when
            you walk into a room?

  You have to figure out who you
    Symbolic interaction
    Impression formation
    Impression management
    Cognitive dissonance
         Core Ideas of ACT

Discerning a social event changes individuals'
feelings about the elements in the event through a
process of impression formation.
Impressions of individuals translate into
expectations about the emotions that the
individuals should be feeling.
Individuals construct events to confirm or restore
their feelings about the cultural elements that are
salient in the situation.
Social roles emerge as individuals construct events
to confirm their salient social identities in the
Interpersonal interactions are reduced to
symbolism and general attitudes, and molded
                 EPA Sentiments

     The interaction between identities, emotions,
     behaviors, and settings can be reliably understood
     and predicted on the basis of three dimensions:

bad, awful                                    good, nice

                         Potency                      +4

little, weak                                  big, strong

-4                       Activity                     +4
inactive, slow                                active, fast

-4                                                    +4
EPA Sentiments: Airline Pilot

For example, males in our culture give
airline pilots the following ratings: 1.38
1.74 0.62.
Females in our culture give the following
ratings of airline pilots: 1.33 1.71 0.47.
Both males and females feel that airline
pilots are somewhat good, somewhat
strong and neither active nor inactive.
Finding out who we are when we walk
             into a room

Imagine that sentiments are floating
around the room we’re in. Good things are
near the front wall. Bad near the back.
Strong things are near the ceiling. Weak
near the floor. Active things are on the
right. Inactive things are on the left.
Now, where would you “look” for an airline
pilot? For a doctor? A child? A gangster?
Re-interpretation & Re-identification

What happens if the airline pilot isn’t
where you look for him/her?
  Processes of re-interpretation and re-
  defining begin and actions, feelings and
  behaviors follow.
    An alternative example: How differently
    would you think about your boss if he/she
    didn’t seem to care about your exceptional
    work efforts?
Diagram of Interpersonal Relations
      Re-interpretation: Employee and

1.   The employee perceives that the
     employer is a giver of wages and is
     positively disposed toward him/her.
2.   The employer ignores the employee,
     whereupon the employee re-identifies the
     employer as a "stuffed shirt."
3.   The employee continues the work, but
     now feels angry and begins considering
     the injustice of the transaction. Work
          Dynamics of EPA

Fundamental sentiments: The way that you feel in
general about a person, place or thing (e.g., a
teacher is seen by the culture as somewhat nice,
somewhat strong, and neither active nor inactive).
Transient impressions: Social interactions create
transient impressions of who the person is (e.g., a
student brings the teacher an apple; this implies
that the teacher is someone who is very nice,
rather than only somewhat nice).
Deflections: Discrepancies between fundamental
sentiments and transient impressions (e.g., a
teacher’s socially defined identity is that she is
somewhat nice, but the student’s gift suggests
that she is very nice).
          Dynamics of EPA

Identity-confirming behaviors: People behave as
the culture expects a person in that role-identity to
behave (i.e., a person with an identity
corresponding to an EPA profile of 2,2,1 engages in
behaviors that correspond to an EPA profile of
Identity-restoring behaviors: Whenever social
interaction creates a discrepancy, people use a
variety of means (discussed shortly) to remove the
deflection and to restore their identity.
Interact is a computer program that
displays verbal descriptions of what people
might do in a given situation, of how they
might respond emotionally to events, and
of how they might attribute qualities or
new identities to themselves and other
interactants in order to account for
expected and unexpected happenings.
The program demonstrates how complex,
yet predictable behavior can be.
Program Overview

        Users create
        scenarios based on
        prescribed identities,
        emotions, behaviors
        and settings.
        Predicted outcomes
        based on EPA ratings
        of prescribed
        identities, emotions,
        Number of scenarios
        virtually limitless.
      Application of Interact

Try to predict behaviors, emotions and
perceptions of identity that would arise from the
following scenario:

A student enters the class late, creating some
disturbance, and explains brusquely that he had
trouble getting his paper printed. He sits down,
and as the professor tries to get the discussion
back on track after the student's entrance, the
student asks, "Just how much time were we
supposed to put into this paper?" The professor
stares at the student and quietly, very quietly,
says, "As much as it takes." The student
mutters, "Oh. All right." He looks away and
makes no further disturbance.
What happened to the Professor and the
  Interact in The Classroom

Seamless integration of new data
into the simulation.
Laboratory activities
Predicting and interpreting events in
one’s life
Interpreting literature
Research projects
Supporting other psychological
               On the Web

 Go to the following website to
 download Interact and find out more
 about affect control theory:

• This PowerPoint presentation can be
  downloaded from:

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