Social Psychology: Personal Perspectives (Chapter 14) Lecture Outline: Social Cognition Attributions and Biases Impression management
Social Cognition: • How we perceive and interpret information from ourselves and others • Cognitive-Consistency Theory: • A match between thoughts and behaviors gives peace of mind. • Conflict leads to cognitive dissonance: • As a student, I accidentally killed a rat, but concluded they would have died soon anyway • Justification of effort: working hard to get an A
Self-perception theory • You infer your attitudes from your behaviors • Roommate drags you to hockey games, and you spend your whole time talking, yet you are now a “hockey fan” • A dreary course you suffered through is recommended to a friend • Impression management: Girl Guide cookies at an Apple Blossom tea
Attributions: Explanations for behavior • “I don’t want to dance”. Why? • Because I am a loser (personal attribution) • Because they are too wrapped up with their friends (situational attribution) • I didn’t really want to (cognitive dissonance) • Someone bumps you in line. Why? • Because they are an !@?&#!!.. This is a fundamental attribution bias where we over-emphasize internal causes behavior
Self-serving bias • Internalize success and externalize blame • Winning a hockey game because “we’re a good team”, losing because they were “lucky” or you “did not get the bounces” • Self-handicapping is the opposite, e.g., pass a test because “it was easy”, fail “because I am stupid”
How do you form impressions? • You meet someone at a party. You form an initial impression of them. What is your initial impression based on?
Impression Formation • Primacy effect: Initial impressions matter • Hard to get over bad start • Confirmation bias: We notice things consistent with our beliefs • Teenagers “hang around and are up to no good” • Leads to self-fulfilling prophecies • Person-positivity bias: Individuals can be regarded more highly than groups