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49 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

What is the primary function of perception?


1. Warmth - liking, sincerity, communion, friendliness and affiliation

2. Competence - respect, agency, efficiency, skill, intellect, dominance

Both determine affective and behavioural reactions to others

Warmth judgements

- Made before competence judgements

- Determine approach-avoidance tendencies

- Predict valence of interpersonal judgements

- Sensitive to information that disconfirms rather than confirms warmth

Competence judgements

- Determine intensity of approach-avoidance tendencies

- Sensitive to information that confirms rather than disconfirms competence

Competence and Warmth stereotypes' intergroup effects (Cuddy, Fisk & Glick 2007)

Low Competence + Low Warmth = Contemptuous stereotype: low status, competitive; eg: welfare recipients, poor

Low Competence + High Warmth = Paternalistic s: low status, not competitive; eg: housewives, elderly, disabled

High Competence + Low Warmth = Envious s: high status, competitive; eg: Asians, Jews, rich people

High Competence + High Warmth = Admiration s: high status, not competitive; eg: in-group, allies

How are warmth and competence detected?

1. Facial features: trustworthy or not, signalling approach/avoidance behaviour and strength

2. Posture: high vs low power body language

3. Pain behaviour

What factors can create errors in impression formation?

- Selective perception

- Projection

- Functional projection

- Contrast effects

- Stereotyping

Selective perception

We see what we expect and want to see

Information is processed in harmony to our current beliefs and goals


Attributing one's own goals, emotions and desires to someone else

Over-perceiving emotions and goals that are currently active in you

Functional projection

Chronic or temporarily activated goals lead to stronger perception

Contrast effects

Ambiguous target is compared and contrasted with available comparison standards

Why do 1st impressions last?

- Primacy effect

- Hypothesis-confirmation bias

- Fundamental attribution error

- Generalisation vs Contextualisation

Primacy effect (Asch 1946)

The tendency for information presented early in a sequence to have more impact on impressions than information presented later

Because we pay less attention to subsequent info once our opinion is made and we interpret inconsistent info in light of new impression

Hypothesis-Confirmation bias

We are unlikely to change our minds once they are made up

We have a tendency to attribute others' behaviour to their (stable) dispositions rather than their (unstable) situation

Generalisation vs Contextualisation

G: when first impressions invoke dispositional attributes, these attributes are generalised to other contexts

C: when presented with counter-attitudinal info in novel situations, new info is contextualised or interpreted as 'an exception to the rule'

Three stage model of attribution

Identification -> Attribution -> Situational Correction

Automatic dispositional inference

Benefits of dispositional attributions

- Automatic, persistent and stable

- Allow for an understanding of events that a perceptually conspicuous or salient

- Give us predictability, a sense of control and certainty

Continuum model of impression formation (Fisk & Nueuberg 1990)

Impressions are formed when individuals automatically categorise others in social categories. Process:

- Initial categorisation

- Personal relevance

- Attention allocation

- Confirmatory categorisation

- Recategorisation

- Individuation

Judgements are therefore influenced by counter-stereotypical info.

Cognitive representation

A body of knowledge that an individual has stored in memory

Why do we form impressions?

To guide our actions in ways that meet our needs for both concrete rewards and connectedness to other people

What are the raw materials for first impression formation?

- Visible cues: physical appearance, non-verbal communication, environment and overt behaviour

- Familiarity

- Salient cues

Impressions from physical appearance

Endless ideas about the meanings of physical cues

Beauty, facial characteristics

Impressions from non-verbal communication

- Facial expressions

- Body language

Impressions from familiarity

We usually have positive feelings about frequently encountered people

Impressions from environments

Environments constructed by people contain cues about personality, behaviours and values

Which cues capture attention?

Characteristics that are different


The ability of a cue to attract attention in its context


A link between two cognitive representations

The 2nd association or concept is activated or brought to mind by the 1st

eg: the concept of stealing is associated to the trait of dishonesty


The processing principle that individuals' and groups' views of the world are slow to change and prone to perpetuate themselves

The more accessible the knowledge, the more likely it is to come to mind automatically

What influences accessibility?

1. Concurrent activation by other sources: current thought (moods, expectations, situation) can affect our interpretations

2. Recent activation (a cognitive representation that has been recently activated remains accessible for a time) "priming"

3. Frequent activation (chronic accessibility)


The activation of a cognitive representation to increase its accessibility and thus the likelihood that it will be used

Correspondance bias/Correspondant Inferences/Fundamental Attribution Error

The tendency to infer an actor's personal characteristics from observed behaviours, even when the inference is unjustified because other possible causes of the behaviour exist (eg: situational or external factors)

Fundamental Attribution Error: Experiment: Jones and Harris 1967

Subjects read for and against Castro essays

Asked to rate pro-Castro attitudes of writers

When subjects believed:

- Writers freely chose positions: essay corresponded to their actual attitudes

- Writers told position: and still thought attitudes corresponded to essay!

Subjects could not refrain from attributing sincere beliefs to the writers.

Conditions where a correspondant inference is justified (Davis and Jones 1965)

1. Individual freely choose to perform behaviour

2. Behaviour has few effects that distinguish it from other courses of action

3. Behaviour is unexpected

Cultural-specific limits of the correspondance bias

Western: inner dispositions cause behaviours (because of independent and autonomous views, responsibility for own actions)

Eastern: a wider range of alternatives are considered to explain behaviour (because of interdependent views, actions and thoughts are influenced by others)

Superficial processing

Relying on accessible information to make inferences or judgements while expending little effort in processing

Requires minimal effort and thought

Relies on past judgements and evaluations

Systematic processing

Giving thorough, effortful considerations to a wide range of information relevant to a judgement; requires motivation and cognitive ability

Algebraic approach: analysing the advantages and disadvantages and weighing each according to importance relevance

Configurable process: fit info together into a meaningful whole using causal reasoning

Causal attributions

A judgement about the cause of a behaviour or other event

The more accessible the potential cause, the more likely it is to be taken as an explanation of behaviour.

Covariation Information

Information about potential causal factors that are present when the event occurs and absent when it is not

Kelley 1967, 3 categories of possible causes for a social event

1. Distinctiveness: explained by something about the actor

2. Consensus: due to something about the stimulus or target

3. Consistent information: due to something about particular situation


Reducing a belief in one potential cause of behaviour. Process:

1. Labelling the behaviour

2. Characterising person

3. Use causal reasoning to correct impression

Overall how to form complex impression of an other

1. Additional inferred traits (based on knowledge and observations)

2. Linked multiple components due to inferred causal connections

3. Overall evaluations

Implicit personality theories

People may infer that a person has many positive qualities on the basis of one positive one (vice versa for negative)

Negative effect

We tend to give negative information more weight than positive information when we integrate impressions.

As negative info is generally surprising and unexpected.

Perseverance bias

The effects of impressions on interpretations can persist even if initial impression is discovered to be false

What is the most effective way of reducing perseverance bias?

Explicitly consider the opposite possibility

Self-fulfilling prophecy

The process by which one person's expectations about another become reality by eliciting behaviours that confirm expectations

Evident in the classroom and workplace: high impressions lead to high achievement

Inconsistent information: why is it unwelcome?

Challenges two central social motives:

1. Sense of mastery and understanding

2. Ability to maintain a relationship or social interaction with the person

Inconsistent information: how to deal with them

1. Firstly try to ignore them and process superficially

2. Attempt to explain in various ways

3. Take into account and assume other person has changed

4. Actively seek change

But most of the time, they are stable and difficult to change

Inconsistent information: how to deal with them: requirements

Adequate time and cognitive capacity and memory