Person Perception PERCEIVING PEOPLE • Personal perception affects communication. • Perception is active process. People perceive selectively, organize, and interpret what they perceive. • Perceptual filters. 1. Perceptual filters 1.1. Selective attention • Selective attention - the ability to process certain of stimuli available to us while filtering out others. • “Cocktail party phenomenon” Cherry (1953). • A listener differs between physical characteristics of particular voices - timbre, pitch, gender, localization • Experiments: It was difficult to perceive a meaning of two information, if speakers had Selective filter • Broadbent (1958) - selective filter • Attention acts as a selective filter, which prevent our mind to information overload 1.2. Psychological filters • The other kind of filters influencing our perception are psychological. • Psychological sets - our expectancies or predispositions to respond had effect on our perception of objects. • Psychological set affect our perception of other people. Expectations based of our previous experiences. 1.3. Culture and perception • One of the most powerful determinants of psychological set is culture. • Consider the two parallel straight lines in figure. Which one is longer? Müller-Lyer illusion • People living in a Western culture perceive the bottom line as being longer of the two. • Well-known phenomenon Müller-Lyer illusion. • Explanation: People who live in a visual environment in which straight lines and right angles prevail learn to make certain visual deductions. • They tend to interpret acute and obtuse angles as right angles that are extended in Müller-Lyer illusion • People who live in a culture that has very few structures made up of straight lines and cornes - are not likely to experience the Müller-Lyer illusion because they do not tend to make such deductions about perspective. FORMING IMPRESSIONS 2. A Private Theory of Personality • Many people are confident of their perceptions about others (amateur psychologists) • Each of us seems to have what has been described as a private theory of personality. • The terms refers to how we select and organize information about other people on the basis of what behaviors we think go together. Experiments by S. Asch (1946) • Suppose you are given the following list of words describing a man you never met and are asked to write a personality sketch of him: • Energetic • Assured • Talkative • Cold • Ironical • Inquisitive • Persuasive • Asch asked a group of students to write a full impression of the person descibed by these adjectives. Unity • All students were able to organize the poor information they received and create a consistent, unified impression (though there was a great variation in their personality sketches). Two examples: 1. He seems to be the kind person who would make a great impression upon others at a first meeting. However as time went by, his acquaintances would easily come to see through the mask. 2. Possibly he does not have any deep feeling. He would tend to be an opportunist. Likely to succeed in things he intends to do. He tends to be skeptical. Central traits • Certartain traits are more central, more influential than others in forming impressions of personality. • When one of the adjectives on the list was replaced by its opposite, the personality descriptions were radically different. • The adjective „cold“ was the crucial one. • Half of students were read the list with the trait „warm“ • In another experiment Asch substituted the pair polite – blunt for warm-cold, but these traits were not central – they had relatively little effect on the way personality impressions were formed. • To most subjects, whether a person is warm or cold was more important than whether he is blunt or polite. Halo effect • Halo effect - the tendency to extend a favorable or unfavorable impression of one trait to other traits. • If you might thing of somebody as honest and polite, just becouse you consider him intelligent. • Asch: certain traits carry weight and are clearly more decisive to our judgment than others. 2.1. The First Impression and the Primacy Effect • The first impression - explanation and prediction behavior on the basis of very limited information. • First impressions form our future perceptions of another communication. • Ideally, as we learn more about someone, we continually revise or refine our impressions in the light of new information. Experiment: • Luchins (in Hovland et al., 1957) • Experiment: • Subjects read two paragraphs describing a young man named Jim. • One paragraph described actions of Jim’s that were predominantly introverted, the other described actions that were predominantly extraverted. • All subjects read the same two paragraphs, only their order varied. • It was found that the first information we receive about a person is the most decisive in forming our impression. • The first information we receive about a person is the most decisive in forming our impression. • Thus, first meeting - especially the very first minutes of those meetings - are important • Rightly or wrongly, most people feel quite confident about their judgments. • We all know how often a first impression can be mistaken one. • It is also know how often decisions depend on first impressions. • Example: We are interview for our first job. We are very nervous, we make an obvious grammatical mistakes in speaking. What is likely to be the Experiment • Luchins (in Hovland et al., 1957) • If people were warned not to make snap judgments, the primacy effect was reversed or eliminated completely. 2.2. Physical attractiveness • Physically attractive people are considered by others to be more sociable, more popular, more sexual, more successful, and more persuasive. They are also thought to be happier and to have more appealing personalities (Berkowitz, 1974). • “The Beautiful People” in newspapers, magazines Experiment: • Photographs of unknown people were shown to subjects. • If they were physically attractive, subjects inferred that these people were happily married, were successful professionally, and had engaging personalities (Dion et al., 1972) The attraction is linked with perceptions of power and status. Experiment: • Hewitt and German (1987) - when women ranked men in terms of four modes of attire - military uniform, suits, slacks/sweater, shirt/jeans - men in uniform were judged to be most attractive whereas men who were dressed in jeans and a shirt were perceived as least attractive. Association of beauty with talent Experiment: • Male college students were asked to grade essays presumably written by females. Attached to each essay was a photograph of the author. The same essay received a higher grade when the photograph showed an attractive author than it did when the photograph was of a homely author. (Landy and Sigall, Communicative competence and perception of physical attractiveness • Perception of physical attractiveness is not entirely static and can increase with increased communicative competence (Duran and Kelly,1988). Person perception in the public sphere • Can campaign consultants manipulate voter preference by shaping the appearance of political candidates they present? • Studies by Rosenberg and McCafferty (1987) conducted in 1984 during elections in USA evaluated the impact of different photographs of the same candidate in an effort to answer just that Experiment: manipulation of voter preference • It was found that image manipulations was possible: different photographs of the same person could produce quite different images of that person’s likeableness, integrity, competence, and general fitness for public office. • The results also indicate that different presentations of a given candidate’s appearance result in differences in how many votes a candidate receives. • Limitation of the research: artificial elections. Conclusion: physical attractiveness • In general, researchers tend to agree that the influence of physical beauty is most powerful early in a relationship. • As we acquire more and more information about a person, the effect of physical appearance diminish considerably. 2.3. Personal Generalization and Stereotypes • Stereotype is a generalization about a class of people, objects, or events that is widely held by a given culture. • We cannot say categorically that all stereotypes are false. • Some of them are accurate enough to provide a very limited basis for making judgment about group of people we hardly know. But when applied to a specific individual, most stereotypes are inappropriate and highly inaccurate, and many are false. • Relying on stereotypes rather than on direct 2.3.1. Stereotyping by age • In our culture there is a strong emphasis on youth • Many older people find that despite their professional experience, it is difficult to change job - age discrimination. Stereotyping by age in the mass media • (Liebert and Sprafkin, 1988) Content analysis elderly people are represented in between no more than 1.5 to 3 percent of all roles (although about 15 percent of population of USA is now over age 65). • Older people are rarely represented in romantic situations. They are often portrayed as unhappy and inept. They are seen as having difficulty solving their own problems. • According to study by Bishop and Krause (1984) on Saturday programming for children, over 90 percent of all statements made by other 2.3.2 Physical Attributes • Longstanding American stereotype concerning the advantages of being blonde. • In some cultures, people are regarded as more intelligent, reliable, and industrious when they wear glasses. • On the other hands, the information we have about other people affects how we perceive their physical attributes. • Example: women who support the women’s liberation movement have been judged as less attractive physically than women who do not support it (Goldberg et al., 1975). Information about status differences also affects our perception of physical attributes. • In study by Wilson (1968) a speaker named Mr. England was introduced to each of five college classes by a different title - “A student from Cambridge” all the way up to the social scale to “Professor England from Cambridge.”. Students were later asked to estimate Mr. England’s high. • The higher his status, the taller students thought he was. • Many evidences that we tend “to judge people of high status and people we like as taller than people of low status and people we dislike 2.3.3 Some effects of Stereotyping • A person is considered to have attributes generally ascribed to the groups of which he or she is a member. • That person is not perceived as a unique human being but as a member of certain category of human beings Japanese, Americans, blondes, professors. (1) Some generalization about categories are valuable to us in daily experience (2) Generalization about human beings - especially generalizations about how they think and how they are likely to behave - tend to distort our perception and to interfere with our ability to make accurate judgments. SOME VARIABLES INVOLVED IN ACCURATE PERCEPTION 3.1. Perceiver Traits that Affect Accuracy • Theorist generally agree that certain characteristics are associated with perceptions of others. • (1) Intelligence is a prime factor. • (2) Ability to draw deductions about people from their behavior seems related to accurate perception • (3) People who score low on test of authoritarianism tend to be better judges of others – They are less rigid in their expectations, judging more from what they know about the person • (4) People with a high degree of objectivity about themselves tend to have insight into the behavior of others. IMPROVING PERCEPTION AND COMMUNICATION • Failures in communication frequently occur because people have inaccurate perceptions of each others. • It would seem then an easy matter to facilitate communication by simply improving the accuracy of our perceptions. Improving perception and communication • The primary element in accurate person perception is empathy. • Empathy involves experiencing the other’s perception - that is, seeing and feeling things as the other does. • Perceiving something the way the other person perceives it. Improving perception and communication • Another requirement of accurate person perception is an awareness that our own perception may be inaccurate. • Improved perception and communication can occur only if we are willing to acknowledge that our perceptions are subjective. • More accurate person perception always makes for more effective communication.