The process of impression formation consists of the following three sub-processes:
(a) Selection: we take into account only some bits of information about the target person
(b) Organisation: the selected information is combined in a systematic way
(c) Inference: we draw a conclusion about what kind of person the target is
- The order or sequence in which information is presented affects the kind of impression formed.
- Primacy effect, the information presented first has a stronger effect than the information presented at the end. In Recency effect, the perceiver may be asked to pay attention to all the information whatever information comes at the end may have a stronger influence. ,
- Halo effect, a tendency to think that a target person who has one set of positive qualities must also be having other specific positive qualities that are associated with the first set.
- Attribution of Causality:
- Bernard Weiner: When we assign a cause to a person’s behaviour, we can broadly classify the cause as being internal (something within the person) or external (something outside the person). Stable factors are those causes that do not change with the time, while unstable factors are those that do.
- Fundamental Attribution Error: There is an overall tendency for people to give greater weight age to internal or dispositional factors, than to external or situational factors. Indians tend to make more external (situational) attributions than Americans do.
- There is a difference between the attribution made for success, and the attribution made for failure. In general, people attribute success to internal factors, such as their ability or hard work. They attribute failure to external factors, such as bad luck, the difficulty of the task, and so on.
- Actor-Observer Effect-A distinction is also found between the attribution that a person makes for his/her own positive and negative experiences (actor-role), and the attribution made for another person’s positive and negative experiences (observer-role, external).
Behaviour in the Presence of Others:
In 1897, Norman Triplett observed that individuals saw better performance in the presence of others than when they are performing the same task alone because of the eagerness to get praise or reward is stronger.
(i) Zajone performance on specific tasks is influenced by the mere presence of others because the person experience arousal, which makes the person react in a more, intense manner.
(ii) Evaluation apprehension (Cottrell): The person will be praised if the performance is good (reward), or criticised if it is bad (punishment). We wish to get praise and avoid criticism, therefore we try to perform well and avoid mistakes.
(iii) Nature of the task in the case a simple or familiar task, the person is sure of performing well and the eagerness to get praise or reward is stronger. In case of complex or new task, the person may be afraid of making mistakes. The fear of criticism or punishment is stronger. So the individual performs worse in the presence of others than he/she does when alone.
(iv) If the others are also performing the same task, this is called a situation of co-action. In this situation, there is social comparison and competition.
Social Loafing: The larger the group, the less effort each member puts in. This phenomenon is based on diffusion of responsibility.
Pro-social Behaviour: Pro-social behaviour is very similar to ‘altruism’, which means doing something for or thinking about the welfare of others without any self-interest.
- Aim to benefit or do good to another person or other person,
- Be done without expecting anything in return,
- Be done willingly by the person, and not because of any kind of pressure, and
- Involve some difficulty or ‘cost’ to the person giving help.
- Factors influencing Pro-social Behaviour:
- Based on an inborn, natural tendency in human beings to help other members of their own species. ”
- Influenced by Learning: Individual who are brought up in a family environment that sets examples of helping others praises helpfulness.
- Cultural Factors: Some cultures actively encourage people to help the needy and distressed. In cultures that encourage independence, individual will show less pro-social behaviour, because people are expected to take care of themselves.
- When the situation activates certain social norms that require helping others.(a) Social responsibility: We should help anyone who needs help, without considering other factors.-(b) Reciprocity: We should help those who have helped us in the past.(c) Equity: We should help others whenever we find that it is fair to do so.
- Expected reactions of the person who is being helped. For example, people might be unwilling to give money, to a needy person because they feel that the person might feel insulted.
- Individuals who have a high level of empathy, that is, the capacity to feel the distress of the person who is to be helped, such as Baba Saheb Amte and Mother Teresa. Pro-social behaviour is also more likely in situations that arouse empathy, such as the picture of starving children in a famine.
- Factors such as a bad mood, being busy with one’s own problems or feeling that the person to be helped is responsible for his/her own situation (that is when an internal attribution is made for the need state of the other person).
- When the number of bystanders is more than one. This phenomenon is called diffusion of responsibility. On the other hand, if there is only bystander, this person is more likely to take the responsibility and actually help the victim.
Words That Matter
- Actor-observer Effect: The tendency to make different attributions for one’s own experience or behaviour in case of another person (observer).
- Arbitration: Explaining our own or others behaviour by pointing out the causes.
- Arousal: The tension experienced at the thought of others being present and/or performance being evaluated.
- Attitudes: States of the mind, thoughts or ideas regarding a topic, containing cognitive, affective and behavioural components.
- Attitude Object: The target of an attitude.
- Attribution: Explaining our own or others’ behaviour by pointing out the cause(s).
- Balance: The state of an attitude system in which the attitudes between a person (P) and another individual (O), the person (P) and the attitude object (X), and between the other individual (O) and the attitude object (X) are in the same direction, or logically consistent with each other.
- Beliefs: The cognitive component of the thoughts or ideas regarding a topic.
- The centrality of Attitude: The extent to which a specific attitude affects the entire attitude system.
- Cooperation: Groups work together to achieve shared goals, we refer to it as cooperations.
- Conflict: A state of disturbance or tension resulting from opposing motives, drives, needs or goals.
- Co-action: A situation in which many people are performing the same task individually in the presence of others.
- Cognitive Consistency: A state in which thoughts or ideas are logically in line with each other.
- Cognitive Dissonance: The state of an attitude system in which two cognitive elements are logically contradictory, or inconsistent.
- Congruent Attitude Change: Attitude change in the same direction as that of the existing attitude.
- Congruent altitude change: Altitude change in the same direction as that of the existing attitude.
- Discrimination: Behaviour that shows a distinction between two or more persons, often on the basis of person or person membership of a particular group.
- Diffusion of Responsibility: The thought that when others are present, one person alone will not be held responsible for doing or not doing something; other members are also responsible and will, therefore, do the task.
- Empathy: Reacting to another’s feeling with an emotional response that is similar to the others feelings.
- Extremeness of attitude: It refers to how far an attitude is from the neutral point.
- Evaluation Apprehension: The fear of being evaluated negatively by others who are present.
- Fundamental Attribution Error: The tendency to attribute internal causes more than external cause for behaviour.
- Halo Effect: The tendency to link positive qualities with other positive qualities about which information is not available.
- Identity: The distinguishing character of the individual, who each of us is; what our roles are, and what we are capable of.
- Identification: The process of feeling one with another person, usually resulting from liking or extreme regard for the other person.
- Intergroup conflict: A process in which either an individual or a group perceives that others have opposing interest and both try to contradict each other.
- Kernel of Truth: The small element of truth that may be perceived in over-generalised clusters of beliefs about groups (stereotypes).
- Negotiation: Reciprocal communications so as to reach an agreement in situation in which there is a conflict.
- Norms: Standards of test performance that permit the comparison of one person’s score on the test to the scores of others who have taken the same test.
- Persuasibility: The degree to which people can be made to change their attitudes.
- Prejudice: A prejudgment, usually a negative attitude that is unverified, and is often towards a group.
- Primary Effect: The stronger role of information that comes first.
- Pro-social Behaviour: Behaviour that does good to another person, is done without any pressure from outside, and without any exception of a reward or return.
- Prototype: A schema in the form of a category representing all the possible qualities of an object or a person.
- Recency Effect: The stronger role of information that comes last.
- Scapegoating: Placing the blame on a group for something that has gone wrong, because the blamed group cannot defend itself.
- Schema: A mental structure that guides social (and other) cognition.
- Self-fulfilling Prophecy: Behaving in a way that confirms the prediction others make.
- Simplicity or Complexity (Multiplexity) of Attitude: Whether the whole attitude consists of a single or very few sub-attitudes (simple), or contains many sub-attitudes (multiplex).
- Social Loafing: In a group, each additional individual puts in less effort, thinking that others will be putting in their effort.
- Social Cognition: The process through which we notice, interpret, remember, and later use social information. It helps in making sense of other people and ourselves.
- Social Facilitation: The tendency for people’s performance to improve in the presence of others, or an audience.
- Social facilitations: The tendency for people’s performance to improve in the presence of others, or an audience.
- Superordinate goals: A mutually beneficial to both parties, hence both groups worl cooperatively.
- Stereotype: An over-generalised and unverified prototype about a particular group.
- Valence of Attitude: Whether an attitude is positive or negative.
- Values: Enduring beliefs about ideal modes of behaviour or end-state of existence. Attitudes that have a strong evaluative and ought aspect.