Chapter 16 - Chapter 16: Social Cognition and Relationships...

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Chapter 16: Social Cognition and Relationships 1) Constructing Social Reality a) Social Psychology - the study of the ways in which thoughts, feelings, perceptions, motives, and behavior are influenced by interactions and transactions between people. b) Social Cognition - the processes by which people select, interpret, and remember social information c) Social Perception - the process by which people come to understand and categorize the behaviors of others. d) The Origins of Attribution Theory i) Attribution Theory - a general approach to describing the ways the social perceiver uses information to generate casual explanations. ii) Fritz Heider- people are all intuitive psychologists who try to figure out what people are like and what causes their behavior, just as professionals do (1) Believed the questions that dominate most attributional analyses are whether the cause of a behavior is found in the person (internal/dispositional causality) or in the situation (external/situational causality) ad who is responsible for the outcomes iii) Harold Kelley (1) Observed that people most often make causal attributions for events under conditions of uncertainty (2) Covariation Principle - suggests that people should attribute a behavior to a casual factor if that factor was present whenever the behavior occurred but was absent whenever it didn’t occur (3) Suggested that people make this judgment by assessing covariation w/ respect to three dimensions relevant to the person whose actions are trying to be explained. (a) Distinctiveness: is the behavior specific to a particular situation? (b) Consistency: has this behavior occurred repeatedly in the past? (c) Consensus: do other people produce the same behavior in the same situation? e) The Fundamental Attribution Error (FAE) - the dual tendency for people to overestimate dispositional factors i) Can be beaten by assessing whether a situation brings about the behavior observed ii) Western culture plays a part in this; non-Western cultures are less likely to focus on individual actors in situations. f) Self-Serving Bias - leads people to take credit for their successes while denying or explaining away responsibility for their failures. i) People tend to make dispositional attributions for success and situational attributions for failure g) Expectations and Self-Fulfilling Prophecies i) Self-Fulfilling Prophecies - predictions made about some future behavior or event that modify behavioral interactions so as to produce what is expected (1) Have the greatest effect on the lives of low-achieving students h) Behaviors that Confirm Expectations i) Behavioral Confirmation - the process by which someone’s expectations about another person actually influence the second person to behave in ways that confirm the original hypothesis
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ii) Expectations have greatest effect when the actual state of the world is ambiguous or uncertain. In those circumstances, one is most likely to go beyond the “data” to make inferences about the underlying reality
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Chapter 16 - Chapter 16: Social Cognition and Relationships...

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