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                Images]   Social Behavior I: Person Perception & Attribution [Outline]

Social Psychology: How an individual's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others.

Person Perception: Forming Impressions of Others

   Reaction to Others

What factors go into the way we perceive or judge people?

A. Effects of Physical Appearance

B. Stereotypes

= widely-held beliefs (within a specific culture) that people of a certain group have certain characteristics

C. Subjectivity in Person Perception

D. Evolutionary Perspective

Movies - Romeo & Juliet and West
          Side Story
conflict over refugees


Attribution Processes: Explaining Behavior (to ourselves)


= Inferences (conclusions or beliefs) people draw about the cause of events and their own and others' behaviors

   A. Internal vs. External Attributions

   B. Success or Failure Attributions: Stable vs. Unstable Causes
[B. Weiner]
Bernard  Weiner's
2-Dimension Theory
Dimension 2 (Stability)

Dimension 1

(Self or Not)

Internal Mood, Feeling

"I've been worried about some stuff at home and it interfered with my last job rating."
Ability, IQ

"They realized that I don't have the skills necessary for the job"
External Luck, Chance

"The company had to lay off employees because the economy is in a dip these days"
Changes in the World

"The jobs have moved overseas and the company can't afford American workers any more."

   C. Biases in Attributions

1. Actor-Observer Bias

Actor = the one doing something (acting)
Observer = the one watching someone else (observing)

Fundamental Attribution Error (? the most important theory in social psychology)

In general, actors favor external attributions while observers favor internal attributions

2. Self-Serving Bias (giving yourself the benefit of the doubt)

D. Culture & Attributions

Grey = Not Surved

 Cultures defined by Harry Triandis (above, left) as


    • versus Japan's "self-effacing" bias


Geert Hofstede
What are the ties like between individuals?
  • "Loosely bonded" cultures (Individualist) vs.
  • "Tightly bonded" cultures (Collectivist)


This page was originally posted on 11/05/03 and last updated on November 5, 2016