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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
  mean.

 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
                         words
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
Behavior

 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
   disinterest)

 Americans like a bigger comfort bubble
Culture Specific Nonverbals

 Some nonverbal signs are culture specific




Emblems
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
     time”

 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

				
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