In class exercise
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In Class Exercise. Break into groups of three. We are going to play a trivia game. 1 person will ask another 5 questions, 1 person will observe The group will determine which person is the Quizmaster, the contestant, and the observer by playing rock – paper – scissors.

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In Class Exercise

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In Class Exercise

  • Break into groups of three.

  • We are going to play a trivia game.

  • 1 person will ask another 5 questions, 1 person will observe

  • The group will determine which person is the Quizmaster, the contestant, and the observer by playing rock – paper – scissors.

  • Quizmaster has 5 minutes to make up difficult but not impossible questions that they know the answer to (e.g., how many symphonies did Beethoven write).

  • The Quizmaster asks the questions to the contestant, the observer watches.

Social Perception

  • Social perception involves two basic tasks:

  • The need to uncover the temporary causes of behavior (e.g., emotion).

  • The need to uncover the stable causes of behavior (e.g., personality).

  • We rely on several nonverbal channels to gather this information:

  • Facial expressions

  • Eye contact

  • Body movements

  • Postures

Facial Expressions

Facial expressions are one of the first things we notice about another person and a rich source of information about underlying emotion.

Research suggests that there are at least 6 basic facial expressions.

What are these babies experiencing?







Basic facial displays now show up in some other interesting ways. Electronic communication is often augmented with emotion markers:

‘-) Wink ;- ) Incredulity :-o Surprise

:-, Smirk :-| Disgust =8-0 Shock

: - ) Smile :-X Kiss

: - ( Frown :*) Clowning around

|- ( Anger or :-J Tongue in cheek Sleepy

  • It is relatively easy to control facial expressions so we look to other nonverbal cues to provide additional information:

  • Eye contact

  • Body movements

  • Posture (and gait)

  • Touching (and interpersonal distance)

Women are better encoders and decoders of nonverbal cues. Why?

Form an Impression:

  • intelligent

  • industrious

  • impulsive

  • critical

  • stubborn

  • envious

Form an Impression:

  • envious

  • stubborn

  • critical

  • impulsive

  • industrious

  • intelligent

Attribution: Uncovering the Stable Causes of Behavior

Often we wish to know more than the temporary causes of a person’s behavior.

We wish to know if behavior is due to enduring characteristics of the person that might allow predicting behavior in the future.

Two prominent theories have been developed to describe how we engage in this attribution process.

1) The Theory of Correspondent Inferences(Jones and Davis)

According to this theory, we rely on observable behaviors to make inferences about the corresponding underlying traits that produced them.

e.g.: if someone did a ‘kind’ behavior we may then label them as a ‘kind’ person.

2) The Covariation Model(Kelley)

Kelley offers another view of the attribution process, one that argues that a basic distinction that we need to make is between internal causes and external causes.

Example: John smiled at Sarah on Tuesday.

Why did John smile? Is it something about John? Something about Sarah? Something about Tuesday?

  • According to Kelley’s model, we use three types of information to help us decide whether an event was caused by internal or external factors:

  • Consensus Information – how do others behave toward the actor

  • Distinctiveness Information – how the actor responds to others

  • Consistency Information – how often do we see the same behaviors from the same actor under the same circumstances

Patterns of attribution

Jenna got angry with her date, Josh, on Friday.

  • How accurate is the attribution process? Despite its basis in the desire to accurately explain, predict, and control the social world, the attribution process has some important biases:

  • 1) The Fundamental Attribution Error

  • 2) Actor-Observer Bias

  • 3) Self-Serving Bias

Fundamental Attribution Error

Why does the FAE happen?

  • People tend to underestimate the effects of the environment when explaining other’s behaviors.

  • Tend to focus on the person and not the environment – perceptual salience

  • Taylor and Fiske (1975)

Taylor and Fiske

Results of Taylor and Fiske

Actor-Observer Bias

The actor-observer bias refers to the tendency to make dispositional attributions for the behavior of others but situational attributions for our own behavior.

The Self-Serving Bias

The tendency to take more credit for success than is warranted and to deny blame for failure more than is warranted.

This bias is responsible for the positive illusions that most people have about their abilities and prospects.

The Self-Serving Bias

One interesting example of the self-serving bias is the above-average effect.

Average Person


Attributions are made very quickly. We gather information and form first impressions very rapidly.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression . . .

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