Social Psychology_1_ by malj


									Social Perception and Attraction

                Module 32
What is social psychology?

   How do situations influence people’s thoughts, feelings, and
     –   Emphasis is on the power of the situation rather than the predictive
         power of individual differences.
   Topics of study
     –   How do we form impressions of others?
     –   How do we infer the causes of our own and others’ behaviors?
     –   What causes interpersonal attraction?
     –   What are attitudes? What causes attitude change?
     –   What causes people to conform to behaviors (conformity) or to
         orders (obedience) that they know are wrong
     –   Does being a member of a group change behavior?
Learning Objectives

   How do we understand other people and why
    they do what they do?
   What errors do we make when trying to
    understand others?
   Do you ever get a second chance to make a
    first impression?
   To whom are we attracted and why?
Attribution processes

   Attribution is an inference that people make
    about the causes of their own and others’
    –   Usually make attributions when behavior is
        unexpected and negative
    –   Personal or internal attributions
            Behavior is attributed to personal dispositions or traits
    –   Situational or external attributions
            Behavior is caused by the situation or the environment
Covariation model of attribution

   Three types of information influence our perceptions
    about the causes of others’ behavior
   Consistency
    –   is the actor’s behavior consistent across time?
    –   Does Jack always flirt with Janet or is this the first time?
   Distinctiveness
    –   is the actor’s behavior specific to this target?
    –   Does Jack flirt with everyone or only with Janet?
   Consensus
    –   do other actors respond to the target in a similar way?
    –   Does everyone flirt with Janet or only Jack?
So why did Jack flirt?

   Internal attribution
    –   Jack flirted because he is a player
    –    consistency (Jack always flirts with Janet)
    –   distinctiveness (Jack flirts with all women)
    –    consensus (No one else flirts with Janet)
   External attribution
    –   Jack flirted because of the situation (e.g., Janet)
    –    consistency (Jack always flirts with Janet)
    –    distinctiveness (Jack only flirts with Janet)
    –    consensus (Everyone flirts with Janet)
Attributional biases

   Do we always perceive the causes of
    behavior accurately or do we systematically
    mess up?
   Fundamental attribution error
    –   People tend to make dispositional attributions
        even when situational causes are salient
    –   People appear to make dispositional attributions
        first, then correct for situational influences
    –   Insufficient correction for the situation
Self Serving Attributions

   Do we bias our attributions in a way that favors us or
    people close to us?
   Success => Internal Attribution
    –   I passed the test because I am smart
    –   G.W. Bush beat Gore because he was the better candidate
        (Republican sentiment)
   Failure => External Attribution
    –   I failed the test because it was too hard
    –   G.W. Bush beat Gore because the Supreme Court handed
        him the election (Democratic sentiment)
Are attributions consistent across

   No ---
    –   Western cultures focus on the individual
    –   Non-Western cultures are more likely to focus on
        relationships among people (communal concerns)
   What attributions do you make when you see
    one fish swimming in front of a group of fish?
    –   Americans saw a fish leading other fish
    –   Chinese saw a fish being chased by other fish
Person Perception

   Primacy effect = Early information is more influential
     –   Warm, intelligent, industrious, critical, stubborn
     –   Cold, intelligent, industrious, critical, stubborn
   Behavioral confirmation
     –   Perceiver expectations influence perceiver behavior
     –   perceiver behavior influences target behavior
Interpersonal attraction

   Similarity
     – Race, Age, Social class, Intelligence, Attitudes
     – We avoid those who are different
     – We seek those who are similar
     – Similarity predicts relationship longevity
   Physical attractiveness
     – Matching hypothesis - people select mates who are similar
        in attractiveness
     – Halo effect--What is beautiful is good
   Attractiveness trumps similarity (computer date study)

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