Chapter 3: Social Perception Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 3: Social Perception Deck (27):

Social perception

The process through which we seek to know other people. This process involves understanding the ways we gather and analyze information about people


Nonverbal communication

Information conveyed by cues other than the content of spoken language, as well as our efforts to interpret it. Inner feelings are often irrepressible, allowing emotions to leak out via nonverbal cues. 5 basic nonverbal channels of communication: facial expressions, eye contact, body movements, posture, and touching.



When another person gazes continuously at another individual, maintaining eye contact regardless of what the other person does. Often interpreted as a sign of anger or hostility.


Body language

Nonverbal behaviors that reflect our current moods and emotions in the positions, postures, and movements of our bodies.



Body movements that carry specific meanings in a given culture.


Factors of physical touch

The meaning of a touch depends of various factors:
- Who does the touching? (stranger, friend, male, female)
- Nature of physical contact (brief, prolonged, gentle, rough, area of body being touched)
- Context in which the touching takes place (dr. office, social or business setting)
Depending on the combination of these factors, touch can suggest sexual interest, friendliness, aggression, etc.



A type of nonverbal communication involving vocal effects other than speech, such as tone or pitch. Emotions are often expressed through the quality of specific sound of voice that is independent of the words that are used.



An attitude or feeling conveyed through sound



Highness or lowness of sound


Facial Feedback Hypothesis

The view that facial expressions can actually trigger emotions



fleeting facial expressions lasting only a few tenths of a second. Such reactions appear on the face very quickly after an emotion-provoking event and are difficult to suppress.


Interchannel discrepancies.

Discrepancies between people's facial expressions and their body language. People who are lying often find it difficult to control all channels of communication at once.


Exaggerated facial expressions

Smiling more frequently than usual or showing an exaggerated level of interest in what we are saying can reflect attempts to engage in deception.


Linguistic style

Aspects of speech apart from the meaning of words, such as pitch, speed, or pattern (rhythm), are indications that a person may not be telling the truth.



The process through which we seek such information and draw inferences to understand not the "why" behind people's behavior. This knowledge can help us understand them better and also help us predict their future actions, even sometimes helping us understand the causes behind our own behavior


Correspondent Inference theory

- proposed by Jones and Davis in 1065
- says that we are most likely to conclude that others behavior reflects their stable traits (i.e., we are likely to reach correspondent inferences between their behavior and their personal qualities), when their behavior 1) is chosen freely, 2) yields distinctive, noncommon effects, and 3) is low in social desirability or otherwise violates social norms.


Noncommon effects

Conditions that can be caused by one specific factor, but not by others. Not to be confused with uncommon effects, which means infrequent effects.


Covariation theory

- Proposed by Kelley in 1980
- says that in our attempts to answer the "why" behind others' behavior, we focus on three types of information: 1) consensus (low/high), 2) consistency (low/high), and 3) distinctiveness (low/high).
More like to attribute behavior to internal causes when:
- consensus and distinctiveness are low, and consistency is high
More likely to attribute behavior to external causes when:
- consensus, consistency, and distinctiveness are all high.



The extent to which other people react to a given stimulus or event in the same manner as the person we are evaluating



The extent to which the person in question reacts to the stimulus or event in the same way on other occasions, over time



The extent to which the person reacts in the same manner to other, different stimuli or events.


Fate Attributions

the belief that events occur because they are "destiny", and free will does not amount to much. This belief in fate is believed by psychologists to be linked to 1) a belief in God, and 2) a belief in complex causality


Complex Causality

The idea that many causes influence events, and no one cause is essential


Action identification

The interpretation we place on an act, in terms of differing degrees of abstraction.
- when we view others actions more concretely, interpreting only the specific action itself, we tend to make fewer attributions about their intentions or higher-order cognition
- when we view others actions more abstractly, as having greater meaning, we attribute more mental activity to them, and see them as reflecting much more..the person's goals, characteristics, etc.


Correspondence bias

The tendency to explain others' actions as stemming from (corresponding to) their dispositions, even in the presence of clear situational causes. Also, the inclination to overlook potential external causes in the presence of seemingly clear behavior. Interestingly, this bias is mostly applied to others, and not ourselves.


Fundamental Attribution Error

- What the correspondence bias has been referred to in the field of psychology
- that we tend to perceive others as acting as they do because they are "that kind of person", rather than because of the many external factors that many influence their behavior. Appears strongest in situations where both consensus and distinctiveness are low.


Actor-observer effect

A type of attributional bias, the tendency to attribute our own behavior to situational (external) causes, but the behavior of others to dispositional (internal) causes. (Ex. when another person trips and falls, they are clumsy - when we trip and fall, the ground is slippery)