Chapter 4 - Social Perception Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 4 - Social Perception Deck (59):

What is social perception?

A social psychological process that involves forming impressions of other people and making interpretations out of them


Define encoding and decoding.

Encoding: Expression
Decoding: Interpretation


Is there evidence to prove that the encoding of 6 primary emotions is more or less universal?

Studying the decoding ability of the South Fore, a preliterate tribe that had no contact with Western civilization at that point of time
Told the Fore people brief stories with emotional content and then showed them photographs of American men and women expressing the 6 emotions
The Fores’ job was to match the facial expressions of emotions to the stories.
The Fores were as accurate as Western subjects.
The researchers then asked the Fore people to demonstrate, while being photographed, facial expressions that would match the stories they were told.
These photographs, when later showed to American research participants, were also decoded accurately,
This research yielded considerable evidence that the ability to interpret the 6 major emotions is cross-cultural - part of being human and not a product of people’s particular cultural experiences.


Are there other emotions that have cross-cultural universality too? If so, what are they?

Pride and contempt.


People in _______ cultures will be much less inclined than others to express shame. Why so?

Western cultures. In such cultures, shame is a negative, stigmatized emotion that one tends to hide rather than display.


Despite the universality associated with the encoding of the 6 primary emotions, are there any differences between how cultures interpret emotions?

Individuals from Western cultures maintain more rigid boundaries between the 6 major emotions when applying them to faces, whereas Asian respondents show overlap in their use of these categories.
While research has supported universality when asking participants from across cultures to match emotional labels to faces, evidence of cross-cultural differences has also been found when allowing people to freely sort faces into their own grouping system.

tldr: Asians use less rigid boundaries when deciding on their own what a person is feeling atm.


Why is decoding sometimes difficult?

Results from affect blends: facial expressions in which one part of the face registers one emotion while another part of the face registers another emotion.

Do recall that culture can play a part in making decoding difficult. Eg: Asian culture --> more fluid in how they interpret emotions?


How long do we take to form first impressions of people based on facial appearance and when are we able to do so consistently?

Less than 100 milliseconds. 3 y/o


What do you refer to the act of drawing meaningful conclusions about another person’s personality or skills based on an extremely brief sample of behaviour.



Discuss the priming effect in the formation of first impressions.

When it comes to forming first impressions, the first traits we perceive in others influence how we view information that we learn about them later.
What we learn first about another person colours how we see the information we learn next.
In addition, we also have schemas regarding which traits tend to appear together in clusters. → use a few know characteristics to determine what other characteristics a person likely has.


Use an example to illustrate how priming effect and belief perseverance work hand in hand in forming first impressions.

Use Kevin vs Keith example.
The traits you see first will shape your first impression of a person. You are likely to tailor information presented to you about the person at a later time in accordance with your first impression despite having the cognitive ability to do otherwise. A sign of belief perseverance.


What does Amy Cuddy's research about power posing reveal about high-power poses?

Immediately after holding the high-power poses, participants reported feeling more powerful.
Adopted a riskier strategy on a gambling task .
Saliva analysis indicated that they even experienced a surge of testosterone compared to the low-power poses, who also felt less powerful and became more risk averse.
Perhaps it is possible for you to psych yourself into a more emboldened, impressive performance before an interview.


Why is it important for you to do your best to make your interviewer have a good impression of you?

They are all humans who are susceptible to belief perseverance and thin-slicing.

Explain first impressions using: thin-slicing --> priming effect --> belief perseverance


What's an internal and external attribution?

Internal attribution: The inference that a person is behaving in a certain way because of something about the person, such as attitude, character and personality
External attribution: The inference that a person is behaving in a certain way because of something about the situation he/she is in. The assumption is that most people will respond the same way in that situation


How do internal and external attributions manifest themselves in relationships?

The importance of internal/external attribution dichotomy in real life
Spouses in happy, satisfied marriages make very different attributions about their partners than spouses in troubled, distressed marriages.
Tend to make internal attributions for their partners’ positive behaviours (Eg: He helped me because he’s kind) and external attributions for their partners’ negative patterns (He said something mean because he is so stressed at work right now)
Spouses in distressed marriages tend to display the opposite pattern
Their partners’ positive behaviours are chalked up to external causes (He helped me because he wanted to impress our friends), whereas their partners’ negative behaviours are attributed to internal causes (He said something mean because he is a jerk)
This pattern only makes the situation worse and can have dire consequences for the future of the relationship


Define the covariation model.

A theory that states to form an attribution about what caused a person’s behaviour, we systematically note the pattern between the presence or absence of possible causal factors and whether or not the behaviour occurs.


What are possible causal factors? --> Meaning, from what angles can you look at to figure out a causal factor?

Consensus information (Actor)
Distinctiveness information (Target)
Consistency information (Context): Information about the extent to which the behavior between one actor and one stimulus is the same across time and circumstances


What is consensus information concerned with?

Information about the extent to which other people behave the same way towards the same stimulus as the actor does
Do other people react to the target in the same way as the actor?


What is distinctiveness information concerned with?

Information about the extent to which one particular actor behaves
Does the actor react in the same way to different targets?


What is consistency information concerned with?

Consistency Information: Does the actor behave in the same way to the same target across various situations? Ie: Does your boss yell to John in many situations, or just this one time/a one-off situation?


What would you conclude about a situation that has high consistency, high consensus and high distinctiveness?

Something about the target (John)

People are most likely to make an external attribution (deciding that the behaviour was due to something about John)

You would be pretty confident that the boss yelled at John because John was incompetent if:
Everyone else yells at John during work.
Your boss yells at John only.
Your boss yells at John at every chance he gets.


What would you conclude about a situation that has high consistency, low consensus and low distinctiveness?

Something about the actor (boss)

People are most likely to make an internal attribution (deciding that the behaviour was due to something about the boss)
You would be pretty confident that the boss yelled at John because he is an impatient or vindictive person person if we knew:
Nobody else yells at John at work.
The boss yells at other employees as well.
The boss yells at John at every chance he gets


what about low distinctiveness, high consensus and low consistency?

Something about the situation
Everyone else yells at John during work
The boss yells at other employees as well
But the boss doesn’t yell at John every chance he gets.


What about low consistency, low consensus, high distinctiveness?

Something special about the target-actor relationship?

maybe trying to ask someone for a favour?


What is an important assumption in the covariation model

People make causal attributions in a logical, rational way.


While research has shown that people often make causal attributions in such a way, in what instances does this not occur? What do people do instead?

People don’t use consensus information as much as Kelley’s theory predicted; they rely more on consistency and distinctiveness when forming attributions.
People don’t always have the relevant information they need on all 3 of Kelley’s dimensions.

Sometimes they distort information to satisfy their need for high self-esteem → reduce cognitive dissonance
At other times, they would rely on heuristics (mental shortcuts) that, although often helpful, can lead to inaccurate judgments.

Missing info becomes very open to interpretation.


Define the FAE and what type of bias it is.

The tendency to overestimate the extent to which other people’s behaviour is due to the internal, dispositional factors and to underestimate the role of external, situational factors. Also known as the correspondence bias.
Cognitive bias.


Why does the FAE occur?

Results from the fundamental theory or schema most of us have about human behaviour: that people do what they do because of the kind of people they are, not because of the situation they are in


Why does the FAE occur?

Results from the fundamental theory or schema most of us have about human behaviour: that people do what they do because of the kind of people they are, not because of the situation they are in

We fall prey to the fundamental attribution error because when we try to explain someone’s behaviour, our focus of attention is usually on the person, not on the surrounding situation.
Inclined to do because the situation is difficult to observe.


What triggers the FAE? Define this trigger.

Perceptual salience. The seeming importance of information that you focus on

We fall prey to the fundamental attribution error because when we try to explain someone’s behaviour, our focus of attention is usually on the person, not on the surrounding situation.
Inclined to do because the situation is difficult to observe.


What triggers the FAE? Define this trigger.

Perceptual salience. The seeming importance of information that you focus on


Do people or situations have perceptual salience? What can the resulting phenomenon be described and defined as?

People: we pay attention to them and think that they alone cause their behavior.

This results in the actor-observer effect: the tendency to attribute others' behaviour to internal causes but to attribute our own causes to external causes.


How does perceptual salience influence how we view a higher stakes conversation? GIve an example.

IV: Camera focus - on suspect, detective or both
DV: How voluntary or coerced the confession appears to be

Found that a focus on the suspect led courtroom judges and police officers to think that the suspect voluntarily confessed and all thought he was actually guilty.

PS is found in the form of paying attention to the person who you can see better due to visual salience. You would think this person is more important.

Dangerous because what if the FAE prevents them from seeing that this person might be innocent or is actually innocent.


In the experiment where 6 participants observed 2 "participants" talking, what was a main takeaway from this experiment?

The person they could see better was the person they thought was leading the convo and choosing the topics.

So if you could only see A, you would think that A was leading the convo. But if you saw both A and B you would think both were equally influential.


Describe the 2 step attribution process.

1. You make a quick, automatic internal attribution about someone's behaviour, assuming that the person's behaviour was due to something about the person
2. Later, you attempt to adjust this attribution by making an external attribution and looking at external, situational factors that might have caused the person to behave this way.
But not many people carry out this step/make enough of an adjustment in this step.


Why do people not want to consider situational factors?

They dont make enough of an adjustment because:

This process of making an external attribution for someone else's behavior is not as automatic? It's more conscious and effortful --> controlled thinking.
- Not cognitively alert?
- No motivation to find out why a person is acting this way --> won't go out of the way to do so.

(hmmm but is it possible that if you engage in such thinking it will actually point out obvious situational factors, but it runs counter to what you believe in? so you choose to ignore this?)


Is there evidence to show that people are less likely to think about situational factors after thinking about dispositional ones spontaneously first?

Brain-imaging studies provide evidence at a neural level that our tendency to spontaneously consider the internal, mental states of actors often leaves us less likely to think later about potential situational explanations for their actions.


When do we go through the second step?

If we are cognitively alert and motivated to make as accurate a judgement as possible, OR
If we are suspicious about the behaviour of the target person - eg believing that the person has ulterior motives.


Define self-serving attributions and what type of bias is this?.

Explanations for one's successes as due to internal dispositional factors, and one's failures as due to external, dispositional factors.


While the self-serving attribution does appear as a bias, are there any ways whereby it can be advantageous/helpful to us?

Can possibly protect our self-esteem and allows for a favourable self-presentation (link to self-handicapping and impression management)


People with the ______ mindset are prone to using the self-serving attribution (or at least people who show signs of this in the aspect in question). Why so?

Fixed mindset: feel that their ability is set and cannot be changed.

Doesn't feel good to know that you are not good at something, can damage your self-esteem.

Make an external attribution to feel better about yourself and helps to protect your self-esteem


How do people with the growth mindset work towards something they are weak at?

Growth mindset means that they feel they are able to take some actions to improve themselves.

would be less likely to use a SSA, more likely to attribute your failure to internal causes and work on improving yourself.


How do we use the SSA to tell ourselves that we are safe from threats or traumatizing incidents? ( eg fatal accidents, rape, abuse)

Hint: You have to recognise that such incidents deal a huge blow to our self-esteem if they actually happen.

1. Difficult to understand the occurrence of such events?
2. Disturbing even to strangers who have not experienced it, yet it reminds them that if it can happen to others, it can happen to them too.
3. Wants to preserve high self-esteem --> should not be overwhelmed by thoughts of your own mortality (link to terror management theory)
4. However, you do so by convincing yourself that the world is just and such people really deserve what happened to that
5. By convincing yourself this, you would think "oh im a good person! this wont happen to me" --> restoration of self-esteem (whether in a good way or not is another question) AND you ignore that there is a certain randomness to becoming a victim.


The belief in a just world is an example of a ________ attribution.

Defensive. Explanations for behaviour that prevents feelings of vulnerability and mortality.


What is the bias blind spot?

The tendency to think that other people are more susceptible to attributional biases in their thinking than we are. Reflects why we make FAE or SSA.


Are there any evidence to show that we are prone to being blind to our biases?

Study: Presenting participants with descriptions of a number of biases, with a focus on self-serving attributions and victim blaming.
The descriptions the participants read never used the word “bias” (which makes it sound like a bad thing); instead, they were described as “tendencies” to think in a certain way, which were then explained.
Participants were then asked to rate how susceptible they thought they were to each of these thought tendencies, using a scale ranging from “not at all” to “strongly”
Next, the participants made the same ratings for how susceptible they thought the average American was to these tendencies.
The results indicated a striking difference:
Participants felt they were only “somewhat” susceptible to self-serving attributions, while the average American was rated as much more susceptible, an ironically self-serving belief in its own right.
Similarly, participants felt they rarely committed the “blaming the victim” attribution, but the average American was judged as much more likely to do so.
Thus, it appears that we realize that attributionally-biased thinking can occur in other people, but we are not so good in spotting it ourselves.
Our own thoughts seem rational and sensible, but other people, to use, are susceptible to biases.
These findings reveal that we often need to reflect more carefully on our judgement processes, check our conclusions and remind ourselves that a bias blind spot might be lurking.


Which cultural group is more susceptible to the FAE?

People from Western/individualistic cultures because they are more likely to consider dispositional factors


fMRI has been used to examine where in the brain cultural experience predicts perceptual processing. What evidence is found?

Their participants, East Asians and Americans, underwent fMRI brain scans while making judgements about the length of lines inside boxes.
Some participants were told to ignore the box around each line (“ignore context”) and some were told to pay attention to the box around each line (“attend to context”).
Although participants from the 2 cultures were equally accurate at judging the lengths of the lines, they showed significantly more brain activity when they had to follow the instructions that were the opposite of their usual cultural thinking style.
American participants showed greater activation in higher-order cortical regions (frontal and parietal areas) when told to pay attention to the context.
East Asian participants showed greater activity in the same brain regions when told to ignore context.
Greater cortical activation means that the participant had to exert more attention (in a sense, had to work harder cognitively) when asked to perceive objects in a way that was not typical.


ERPs have been used to measure brain activity among individuals from different cultures. What did it find?

In one study, researchers presented participants with a series of simple perceptual tasks that involved visual information about “targets” and context.
Used Americans who had grown up in American culture but were of different ethnic backgrounds (European Americans and East Asian American)
The pattern of ERPs indicated that the European American participants paid more attention to the targets, while the East Asian American participants paid more attention to the context surrounding the targets.


People in _________ cultures prefer dispositional attributions about others, whereas people in collectivist cultures prefer ____________ attributions about others.

individualist; situational


Are cross-cultural differences in social perception inborn or molded over time by culture, which actually is a situational factor in itself?

Molded over time.

Researcher also analysed attributions of 8-, 11- and 15 y/o children.
Unlike the significant differences she found among the adults, children from the USA and India were more or less indistinguishable in terms of how they explained their friends’ behaviours.
Cross-cultural differences in social perception do not appear to be inborn; rather, we arrive in this world with a flexibility of thinking style that is molded over time by cultural and other influences.


Why did researchers show the HK Students different pictures?

HK students are bicultural - identify with both Chinese and Western cultures

show different pictures to prime aspects of their identity.


how did they test if the priming worked?

showed them pictures of a fish swimming in front of other fish and asked them why this fish was in front.

coded their reasons for explaining it in terms of dispositional factors and situational factors.

found that those who were primed with pics of Western culture gave a dispositional reply (leading other fish) and those who were primed with pics of Chinese culture gave a situational reply (being chased by the other fish)


What countries show the highest and lowest levels of SSA respectively?

Highest: USA, Aust, NZ (basically Western countries), also prevalent in Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia.

Lowest: Asian countries and Pacific Islands


How does the US media describe their athletes' victories?

described the performance of their medallists in terms of their unique abilities and talents + focused more on positive aspects than negative ones, consistent with a self-serving attributional style


How does the Japanese media describe their athletes' victories?

described the performance of Japanese gold medallists in much broader terms, including the individual’s ability but also encompassing his/her past experiences of success and failure and the roles of other people such as coaches, family, teammates etc in his/her success + focused equally on positive and negative aspects.


How are self-critical attributions useful to Asian societies?

In some Asian cultures, self-critical attributions are a common and important “glue” that holds groups together.
In response to self-criticism, others offer sympathy and compassion, which strengthens the interdependence of the group members.


What type of societies are more susceptible to believing that the world is a fair and just place?

With high income inequality.


What are emblems?

Gestures that have clear, well-understood definitions WITHIN cultures