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Chapter 4
Social Perception
• The study of how we form impressions of other people
and make inferences about them
Reading Other People: Non-Verbal
• Facial expressions
• Body posture and movement
• Tone of voice
• Gestures
• Touch
• Eye contact
Reading Other People: Basic Facial
• Fear
• Anger
• Surprise
• Sadness
• Happiness
• Disgust
Inaccurate Decoding
• Affect Blends
• Cultural display rules
• Hiding of emotions
Implicit Personality Theories
• The stereotype without a group.
• Cultural
• People who act like that also . . .
Categorization (stereotyping)
• Available information
• Visual
• Auditory
• Stereotype availability
• Known groups
• Familiar groups
• Motivation
• Short-term
• Long-term
Explaining People’s Behavior: Attributing
• Internal attribution: any explanation that locates the
cause as inside the person (personality)
• External attribution: any explanation that locates the
cause as outside the person (situation)
Covariation Model
Fundamental Attribution Error
• Too much emphasis on personal motivation
• Too little consideration of the situation
• Perceptual Salience
• Two-step Process.
• East vs. West
• Analytic vs. Holistic thinking
Other tendencies
• Self-serving attributions
• Just-world hypothesis
• Blaming the victim
• Bias blind spot
Inferring Cause & Effect in the Social World
• Fritz Heider (Gestalt) 1958 common-sense psychology
• Rules that govern the organization of physical, visual sensations
also govern impressions of people in social situations
• Important factors are the locus of causality: internal vs. external
• And the stability of internal causality
• These affect the impression of the actor and his/her probable future
• Entity theorists believe that the attribute is a fixed (unchangeable) trait.
• Incremental theorists believe that the trait is malleable (changeable)
Inferring Cause & Effect in the Social
• If the trait is fixed, you make negative, stable attributions
and eschew opportunities for change. (fixed mindset)
• If the trait is malleable, you set goals and persist after
failures. (growth mindset)
• A well-known example is Carol Dweck’s analysis of the
correction of poor student performance.
Thinking about People
• We rely on memory. How long do we remember?
• Remembering is how we learn from past experience.
• Short-term memory is encoded
• Long-term memory is consolidated
• Most memory is automatic
• Reasons we don’t remember include:
• Encoding failure
• Retrieval failure
• Interference, decay, motivation
The Computers’ Information-Processing
System Has Been a Useful Model for
Human Memory
• According to the information-processing model of
memory, there are three basic processes that
information goes through:
Encoding process: incoming information is organized
and transformed so it can be entered into memory
• Storage process: involves entering and maintaining
information in memory for a period of time
• Retrieval process: involves recovering stored
information from memory so it can be used
Memory as Information-Processing
• In the encoding process, information from our surroundings
is transformed into neural language through:
• Visual encoding: Information is represented in memory as a picture.
• Acoustic encoding: Information is represented in memory as a
sequence of sounds.
• Semantic encoding: Information is represented in memory by its
meaning to you.
• The type of encoding used—visual, acoustic, or semantic—can
influence what is remembered.
The Atkinson-Schiffrin Model
• Three memory systems or stages
Sensory memory: a memory system that very briefly
stores the sensory characteristics of a stimulus
Short-term memory: a limited-capacity memory system
where we actively “work” with information
Long-term memory: a durable memory system that has
an immense capacity for information storage
Overview of the Information-Processing
Model of Memory
Sensory Memory
Sensory memory serves as a holding area, storing information
just long enough for us to select items for attention.
Information not transferred to short-term memory is quickly
replaced by incoming stimuli and lost.
Sensory memory consists of separate memory subsystems:
Iconic memory: Visual sensory memory is the fleeting memory of an
image, or icon.
Echoic memory: Auditory sensory memory is often experienced like
an echo.
Figure 21.1 Atkinson-Shiffrin’s three-stage processing model of memory
Myers: Exploring Psychology, Sixth Edition in Modules
Copyright © 2005 by Worth Publishers
Short-Term Memory:
a “Working Memory” System
• Short-term memory: the memory area where we actively
“work” with information
Referred to as working memory and has three basic components:
Phonological loop: temporarily stores auditory input
Visuospatial sketchpad: temporarily stores visual and spatial images
Central executive: supervises and coordinates the other two
Encoding Strategy 1:
• Chunking
• organizing into familiar, manageable units
• 1776149218121941
• use of acronyms
• HOMES-Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior
Encoding Strategy 2: Meaning
Ebbinghaus – learning meaningful
information requires only 1/10 the
effort of learning nonsense
Encoding into Long-Term Memory
• Elaborative rehearsal: rehearsal that involves thinking
about how new information relates to information already
stored in long-term memory; involves semantic encoding
• Semantic encoding
• Ignoring details and instead encoding the general underlying
meaning of information
Encoding Strategy 3: Imagery
- mental pictures
- a powerful aid to effortful processing, “piggybacks” on automatic
Mnemonics - memory aids
• especially those techniques that use vivid imagery and
organizational devices
• Method of loci, stories, peg-words
Long-Term Memory Stores Different
Types of Information
Semantic memory: more general in nature
Explicit /Declarative
General knowledge about the world
Episodic memory: factual information acquired at a
specific time and place
Events in own life—autobiographical memories
Long-Term Memory Stores Different Types
of Information
Procedural memory: retains information of how to
perform skilled motor activities
Habits, activities so well-learned that we carry them out
Results of conditioning
Long-Term Memories Can Be Explicit
or Implicit
• Explicit memory: the conscious recollection of previous
Also referred to as declarative memory
Episodic and semantic memories are explicit memories.
Long-Term Memories Can Be Explicit
or Implicit
Implicit memory: information that influences our thoughts
and actions without conscious recollection
Long-Term Memory Subsystems
Types of
With conscious
Without conscious
and cognitive
Dispositionsclassical and
Long-Term Memory Organization: Schemas
Semantic networks are less helpful in explaining
how information is clustered into coherent
wholes, called schemas.
People are more likely to remember things that
can be incorporated into existing schemas than
things that cannot.
Information in Long-Term Memory Can Be Organized
around Schemas
• Participants given a schema in which to understand a
story recalled twice as many ideas.
• Further studies—schemas help us remember and
organize details and speed up processing time.
Cross-cultural research indicates that cultural utility
plays an important role in what kind of schemas
develop and, thus, what is remembered.
Memory is Reconstructed during Retrieval
• Memory is stored in a distributed fashion
It may be fragmented
• Schema consistency is important
• Schema-consistent information is remembered more easily.
• Schemas serve as frameworks for initial memory storage.
Reconstruction of Memory
• Elizabeth Loftus
• What a person usually recalls is not a replica, but a reconstruction
of the event
• A reconstruction is an account which is pieced together from a few
highlights, using information which may or may not be accurate.
Memories Are Reconstructions of the Past
• The scientific belief in the reconstructive nature of
memory was first proposed in the 1930s by Sir
Frederic Bartlett.
• By testing people’s memories of stories they had read,
Bartlett found that accurate recollections were rare.
• Errors increased over time.
Memories Are Often Sketchy
Reconstructions of the Past
• Bartlett concluded that –
The parts that participants were most confident of remembering were
often those that they had created.
People systematically distort details (facts and circumstances).
People are largely unaware they have reconstructed the past, and
Information already stored in memory strongly influences how new
information will be remembered.
Conditions that Bias Memory
• Present experience
• Mood congruence (rosy recollection bias)
• Cultural difference (holistic vs. analytic)
• Misinformation effects
• Bugs Bunny study
• Elizabeth Loftus experiments
• Father Pagano
Repressed/Recovered Memories ofChild
• Can we repress memories?
• Are they still there?
• Can we recover old memories?
• How accurate are they if we do?
• Are there alternate explanations for this phenomenon?
• Possible motives?
• Blaming someone else
• Revenge
• Money - attorney
Two Types or Theories of Motivated
Suppression occurs when a person consciously tries to
forget something.
Repression occurs when a person unconsciously pushes
unpleasant memories out of conscious awareness.
These memories continue to unconsciously
influence the person’s thoughts, feelings, and
Can people repress & later recover memories?
• Many memory researchers believe:
• It is naive to assume that people can accurately recover
memories that were previously unconsciously repressed
• People can unknowingly manufacture false memories.
• False memories can be implanted into the minds of both
children and adults.
Can people repress & later recover memories?
Many psychologists believe that memories “recovered” in therapy are
actually false or pseudo memories.
Many research participants who are instructed to imagine that a
fictitious event happened later develop a false memory of the
fictitious event.
False childhood memories can be experimentally induced.
Can people repress & later recover memories?
Garry & Loftus implanted a false memory of being lost in a shopping
mall at age 5 in 25% of their research participants (aged 18-53) after
verification of the experience by a relative.
“Memories” from the first years of life are very suspect. Psychologists
believe that the brain in insufficiently developed to create or sustain a
long-term (until older childhood or adulthood) memory in a child
under age three.
Repressed & Recovered Memories?
• Simply repeating imaginary events to people
causes them to become more confident that they
actually experienced these events.
• Certain techniques used in therapy to recover
childhood memories of abuse (hypnosis and dream
interpretation) can distort patients’ recollections of
past events and create false memories of abuse.
Repressed Memories Controversy
• Current evidence supports the possibility of repressed
memories and also the construction of false memories in
response to suggestions of others.
• American Psychological Association, American
Psychiatric Association,
• American Medical Association
Availability Heuristic
• Ease of retrieval effect
• May be frequency of experience
• May be frequency of remembering
• May be another motivation (e.g., desire for closure)