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Tom Farsides: 08/10/03. Perceiving Persons. Lecture Overview. Attribution theories Cognitive heuristics, errors, and biases Priming effects Implicit personality theories Primacy effects Confirmation biases. Social perception.

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lecture overview
Lecture Overview
  • Attribution theories
  • Cognitive heuristics, errors, and biases
  • Priming effects
  • Implicit personality theories
  • Primacy effects
  • Confirmation biases
social perception
Social perception
  • “This subject concerns the qualities that people perceive in others and the factors...that contribute to these perceptions”
  • Zebrowitz (1995, p. 583)
nonverbal behavior
Nonverbal behavior
  • The six innate and universal basic emotions (SHAFDS)
attribution theories
Attribution theories
  • Attribution theories describe how people attempt to explain the causes of behaviour.
  • Heider (1958) differentiated between ‘personal’ and ‘situational’ attributions.
  • Another common distinction is between stable and unstable causes of behaviour.
  • Another is made in terms of controllability.
correspondent inference theory jones davis 1965
Correspondent inference theory (Jones & Davis, 1965)
  • What is a correspondent inference?
  • Influenced by
    • Perceived choice (CI if high)
    • Intended effects (CI if few benefits to actor)
    • Expectedness (CI if unexpected)
kelley s 1967 covariation theory
Kelley’s (1967) covariation theory
  • We attribute causality to factors that co-vary with behaviours.
  • Behaviour can be attributed to the actor, a stimulus they are reacting to, or the situation they are acting in.
  • Three types of covariation information may be used.
    • Consensus
      • Same stimulus: Different people.
    • Distinctiveness
      • Same person: Different stimuli.
    • Consistency
      • Same person: Same stimulus.
kelley s 1967 covariation theory8
Kelley’s (1967) covariation theory

LOW

Other people

do not

stroke Defor.

LOW

You tend to

stroke any

dog you see.

HIGH

You stroke

Defor every

time you meet.

PERSONAL

ATTRIBUTION

You like dogs.

You stroke

Defor (a

dog).

HIGH

Other people

tend to

stroke Defor.

HIGH

You tend

not to

stroke dogs.

HIGH

You stroke

Defor every

time you meet.

STIMULUS

ATTRIBUTION

Defor is cute.

LOW

Other people

do not

stroke Defor.

HIGH

You tend

not to

stroke dogs.

LOW

You have never

stroked Defor

before or since.

SITUATION

ATTRIBUTION

You were

locked in a

room with Defor.

CONSENSUS DISTINCTIVENESS CONSISTENCY

x-persons x-stimuli x-situations

cognitive heuristics
Cognitive heuristics
  • Cognitive heuristics (“rules of thumb”)
    • effective
    • often adequate
    • a greater chance of being wrong
  • E.g., The availability heuristic
the fundamental attribution error ross 1977
The fundamental attribution error (Ross, 1977)
  • In explaining another’s behavior, we over-emphasise personal factors and downplay situational factors.

Jones & Harris (1967)

slide11

Miller (1984)

Individualism and the correspondence bias

slide12

Gilbert & Malone (1995)

A two-step model of the attribution process

the actor observer effect jones nisbett 1972
The actor-observer effect (Jones & Nisbett, 1972)
  • Actors tend to attribute their behaviour to situational factors while observers tend to attribute the same behaviours to dispositional factors.
  • Differential information explanation.
  • Differential focus explanation.
primacy effect
Primacy effect
  • The tendency for information presented early in a sequence to have more impact on impressions than information presented later.
  • Asch (1946)
    • “Intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn, and envious” leads to more positive impressions than the other way around.
  • ‘Lazy’ and ‘stubborn’ explanations.
implicit personality theories
Implicit personality theories
  • The network of assumptions commonly made about relationships among types of people, traits and behaviours.
  • Knowing one trait a person has leads us to assume or infer the person has other traits and behaviors.
    • e.g., blondes...
  • Asch (1946)
    • “Intelligent, skillful, industrious, _____, determined, practical and cautious.”
priming
Priming
  • The tendency for frequent or recent concepts to easily come to mind and influence the way we interpret new information.
  • Higgins et al. (1977)
    • Impressions of same adventurer affected by positive or negative primes.
  • Bargh & Pietromonaco (1982)
    • Subliminally presented primes have most influence on subsequent impression formation.
  • Bargh & Chartrand (1999)
    • Primes affect subsequent behaviour.
  • Bargh et al. (1996)
    • Primes influence subsequent social behaviour too.
slide17

Bargh et al. (1996)

Priming of social behavior

biases confirming expectancies from stereotypes
Biases confirming expectancies from stereotypes

Darley & Gross (1983)

Viewing Hannah’s mixed performance led to perceived verification of both low and high expectations, with evidence of the opposite ignored or rationalised

confirmatory hypothesis testing
Confirmatory hypothesis testing
  • Darley & Gross (1983)
    • demonstrate that people will interpret ambiguous or mixed information in ways to confirm existing theories.
  • Snyder & Swann (1978)
    • demonstrate that people with existing theories will bias the information they collect when evaluating those theories.
    • The evidence collected is biased enough to cause others shown it to ‘confirm’ the original person’s existing theory.
  • Cf. Adorno et al.’s (1950) validation of the authoritarian personality.
resisting confirmation biases
Resisting confirmation biases
  • Elaborate alternative theories, reasons they might be true, and potential evidence for them.
  • Be sceptical about the truth of existing beliefs and seek accuracy instead of confirmation.
  • Be wary of information and information-seeking tools provided by others.
  • Bias information-seeking in favour of trying to disconfirm your expectations.
the self fulfilling prophecy
The self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Perceiver’s expectations can lead to their own fulfilment (Merton, 1948).
  • Rosenthal & Jacobson (1968)
    • Pygmalion in the Classroom
    • Teachers told ‘late bloomers’ had IQ scores indicating an imminent growth spurt.
    • Eight months later, these randomly selected children had higher IQ increases and received better teacher evaluations than control children.
    • Remember Darley & Gross (1983) and Snyder & Swann (1978).
challenging the self fulfilling prophecy
Challenging the self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Rosenthal (1985)
    • Teacher expectation successfully predicts student performance 36 percent of the time.
    • Brehm et al. (2002) report this as confirmation of the self-fulfilling prophesy.
  • Jussim et al. (1996)
    • Point out that - unlike in Rosenthal & Jacobson (1968) - teachers often have good reasons for their expectations.
    • Students perform in accordance with these expectations because both the performance and the expectations are caused by some third factor, e.g. talent and application.
    • Is Rosenthal (1985) evidence against the self-fulfilling prophesy, i.e., only 36% (with 64% of expectations not being fulfilled)?