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Ch 4 Notes - Chapter4:PerceivingPersons SocialPerception:...

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PSYCH 215 Reading Notes Chapter 4: Perceiving Persons Social Perception: the processes by which people come to understand one another Observation: the Elements of Social Perception Persons - Attempts overtime to deduce character traits from physical ones: o In 500 BCE, Pythagoras looked into the eyes of students to see if they were  gifted o At the same time, Hippocrates used facial features to make diagnoses of life  and death o In the 19th c., Franz Gall introduced a science which attempted to assess  people’s character by the shape of their skulls called phrenology - People’s first impressions of others are always based on physical appearance - We are also influenced by the colour of a person’s clothing: o Aldert Vrif: crime suspects are seen as more aggressive when dressed in black  (associated with evil and death in many cultures)  - We may even be influenced by a person’s name: o Robert Young: old names= less intelligent, new names= more - Physiognomy: o Practiced since the time of the ancient Greeks o Study by Ran Hassin and Yaacov Trope on the conclusions people draw about  a photograph’s subject based on facial features (round face, curly hair = kind- hearted) o Grant, Button, Hannah and Ross study Examined the attitudes that we infer from looking at someone’s face  (attractive people = most liberal, older adults = most conservative) o Diane Berry and Leslie Zebrowitz-McArthur study Adults with baby-features seen as kind, honest, naive, etc. Adults with mature features seen as stronger, more dominant, etc. Small-claim courts- judges are more likely to favour baby-faced  defendants accused of intentional wrongdoing, but rule against them if  accused of negligence - Why are we so quick to judge? o We are genetically programmed to respond positively to infantile features  (babies) and associate them with helplessness o Maybe there is a link between character and physical traits, as demonstrated  by a study where participants produced impressions of strangers they saw in  videotapes which matched the self-descriptions of the strangers themselves  Situations - We all have ‘scripts’ which help us navigate social situations - John Pryor and Thomas Merluzzi study of the North American ‘first date’ o Asked participants to help them identify sixteen events which comprise a  typical first date
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PSYCH 215 Reading Notes o Researchers mixed up the dates, asked participant to arrange them in order,  and discovered that those with prior dating experience were much more adept  o This is an example of a preset ‘script’ - Scripts influence social perceptions in two ways: 1. We see what we expect to see in a particular situation
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