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					Social Perception
           PSYC231 Fall 2010
                     Class 5
Today’s Agenda

 What is social perception?

 Non verbal behavior

 Culture, gender, and nonverbal behavior

 Attribution theory
Some housekeeping stuff

 Exam 1 is next week

 Bring a Scantron form and #2 pencil

 50 points, multiple choice

 Study guide will be revaluated for next exam

 Remember, you can drop the lowest score!
How can I best study for the exam?

Some word
Some definition to that word

                               Some definition in
   Some Word                    your own words
How can I best study for the exam?

 Know the basic definitions, but also.
    …how to apply the concepts
    …how to rephrase the definitions

 Memorization will only get you part of the way!
What is social perception?

 Other people are not easy to figure out

 General fascination with EXPLAINING behavior
   But all we have is observable behavior

 We have no way of knowing what these behaviors actually

 Social Perception
 The study of how we form
   impressions of and make
   inferences about other people.
How does social perception work?

 Sometimes we don’t have much to go by

 Nonverbal communication can include
   Facial expressions
   Tone of voice
   Body position
   Gaze
   Etc…
                         Nonverbal Communication
                         The way in which people communicate,
                         intentionally or unintentionally, without
Nonverbal Behavior

 Nonverbal cues serve many functions in communication
   “I’m happy”
   “I’m mad (and creepy)”
Facial Expression

 Paul Ekman
   Basis for Lie to Me

 Broke down human facial expression into component parts
Facial Expression

 These are universal for the six major emotional expressions
   Anger, happiness, surprise, fear, disgust, and sadness

 All humans express these in the same way

 All humans can decode them with equal accuracy
Facial Expression

 Other emotions such as guilt, shame, embarrassment, and
   pride occur later in human development

 Less universality

 More closely tied to social interaction
When We Can’t Interpret Nonverbal

 Sometimes these cues can contradict the spoken word
    Sarcasm

 People try to appear less emotional than they really are

 One part of the face registers one emotion and another part
  registers another

 Cultural inaccuracies
Culture and Nonverbal Communication

 Each culture has certain display rules
    Dictate what kinds of emotional expressions people are
      supposed to show

 Americans discourage crying in public for men

 Japanese women may hide a smile behind their hands

 Japanese people may negative facial expressions with
   positive ones
More Examples

 Not looking someone in the eye is a sign of disrespect (or

 Americans like a bigger comfort bubble
Culture Specific Nonverbals

 Some nonverbal signs are culture specific

Nonverbal gestures that have well-understood definitions within a
given culture; they usually have direct verbal translations.
Gender and Nonverbal Communication

 Women are better at detecting nonverbal cues

 Except for deception

 Don’t worry about the social role stuff
Multiple Channels

 Most information we receive comes from multiple channels

 What happens when we receive nonverbal information across
  multiple channels?

 We don’t have mental picture-in-picture

 We can rely on only one channel to get this information

 How accurate is this information?
Mirror Neuron

 Sounds made up, but it’s not

 I promise
                                              I’m real!
 Respond when we perform an action

 But also respond when we see someone else
  perform an action
Mirror Neuron

 Appear to be the basis for out ability to feel empathy

 When we see someone crying, these neurons fire the same
   way they would if we were crying
Implicit Personality Theory

 Helps us to fill in the blanks about people we meet

 Uses our schemas to group people together

 For example, someone that is kind is probably also generous

Implicit Personality Theory
A type of schema used to group various
  kinds of personality traits together
Implicit Personality Theory

 Sometimes this may not work
   Stereotypes!

 We may falsely believe that someone who is good looking
  may have a good personality as well

 Can also be culturally-based
   “artistic personality”
Casual Attribution

 Does this person really mean this?
   He could be acting out of politeness
   Could be outright lying

 Sometimes nonverbal communication is easy to    It’s great to
  decode but sometimes our own implicit schemas     see you!
  do not help us accurately answer the question
Attribution Theory

 What happens when something happens to us?
   Why did this happen?
   What does it mean for me?

 We try to determine why people do what they do.

 This helps us understand the social world

                                                 The book
                                              doesn’t explain
                                              this as well as it
                                                 should be!
Attribution Theory

 When something good or bad happens to you there’s two
  broad ways to explain it

 These ways of explaining these events are some of the
  biggest known predictors of depression!

 So what are these two ways?
   Stable and global
   Temporary and specific
Attribution Theory

 Stable and global: represents everything about you and will
  never change

 Temporary and specific: represents only one thing about you
  that will change (or is situational)
Attribution Theory

 You fail a test
    Stable and global: “I failed this test, so I’m pretty much a failure
     in everything and that’s not changing”
    Temporary and specific: “Eh, I’ll study more and do better next

 You get an A on a test
    Stable and global: “Dang I’m smart! Heloooo grad school!”
    Temporary and specific: “I got lucky.”
Attribution Theory

 Global and stable attributions for negative events is one of
   the biggest predictors of depression

 Temporary and specific attributions for positive events is also
   bad, but not as bad.
Attribution Theory and Other People

 We can also explain our behavior about other people in
  similar ways

 Internally: Someone behaves in a certain way because of
  something about their attitude, character, or personality.

 Externally: Someone behaves in a certain way because of the
  situation they’re currently in.

 Does this sound familiar?
Attribution Theory and Other People

 Our example from the first class:

    What a jerk! He’s a               He must have been
     horrible driver!                 tired or something.

            Internal                     Internal
To Wrap Up

 Social Perception: The study of how we form impressions of and
   make inferences about other people.

 Nonverbal Communication: The way in which people communicate,
   intentionally or unintentionally, without words

 Attributions are one of the most important facets of social and
   clinical psychology