Impression formation (Biases (Negative items have more weight in…
Negative items have more weight in impression formation:
General bias of negativity
- Pratto and John (1991) negative information automatically attracts attention more than positive information and leads to higher free recall --> measured the capture of attention by asking p's to name the colors in which trait words were printed. P's significantly slower to name colors for negative traits (23 ms across three studies) because negative traits captured more of their attention
- is this only when subjects do not have an impression formation goal??
- Klein (1996) showed that negative personality traits were more predictive of overall evaluations and voting behavior than positive traits.
Skowronski and Carlston (1989) category diagnosticity approach = cues (traits, behaviours, etc.) have more weight if they are more diagnostic of the dimension or category of judgment
- Diagnosticity = reducing uncertainty in choosing among responses or categories. Coupled with the observation that negative (and extreme) behaviors are generally more diagnostic = negativity effects.
- diagnosticity reflects perceivers’ implicit theories of relations between cues and judgments, which may or may not be captured by cue properties alone, such as how novel or ambiguous or counter-normative the cues are. Critically, the diagnosticity of cues depends on their meaning in the context of particular judgment tasks and is not inherent in any invari- ant property of the cues in isolation.
- Support: Reeder and Brewer’s (1979) work on how schemata for judging ability and morality differ, with a positivity bias more common for ability and a negativity bias more common for morality. Superior performance (which is positive) is more diagnostic of high ability than poor performance (which is negative) is of low ability because anyone can have a bad day, whereas immoral behavior (negative) is more diagnostic of morality than is moral behavior (positive) because even evil people can act good = behaviour diagnosticity is not independent of domain or valence.
Motives alter impression formation e.g. observers often downplay negative information they learn about ingroup members
- Hughes et al. (2017) P's learned +ve and -ve info about ingroup and outgroup social targets = p's worsened their impressions of outgroup, but not ingroup, targets. This tendency was associated with a failure to engage neural structures including lateral prefrontal cortex, dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, temporoparietal junction, Insula and Precuneus when processing -ve info about ingroup (but not outgroup) targets. To the extent that participants engaged these regions while learning negative information about ingroup members, they exhibited less ingroup bias in their impressions = consistent with a model of 'effortless bias', where perceivers fail to process goal-inconsistent information in order to maintain desired conclusions.
Halo effect = idea that "beauty is good" - positive characteristics are attributed to physically attractive people.
- unattractiveness is a disadvantage, consistent with negativity bias
- e.g. Langlois et al. (2000) raters agree about who is and is not attractive, both within and across cultures; attractive children and adults are judged more positively than unattractive children and adults, even by those who know them; attractive children and adults are treated more positively than unattractive children and adults, even by those who know them; and attractive children and adults exhibit more positive behaviors and traits than unattractive children and adults.
- Actually suggested that its not that attractive is good but rather that unattractiveness is bad --> Griffin & Langlois (2006) people who are unattractive receive evaluations that are significantly below those of medium and high attractive people, rather than people who are attractive receive evaluations that are significantly above medium attractive and unattractive people
- thought that these quick impressions we form from peoples appearance are based on stereotypes we have developed over time, but are these actually truthful ones to draw? Kramer and Ward (2010) composed an experiment in which there were images of women, each either high or low on each of the big 5 personality traits. They measured the accuracy of raters in identifying each of these traits from just the internal features and from the full face. Results demonstrated that raters were accurately able to discriminate 4 out of 5 personality traits (conscientiousness being the exception) and physical health, from viewing just the internal face features = found that 4 of the Big Five personality traits could be perceived with some accuracy.
Ratner et al. (2014) Know that people prefer members of their ingroup in their impressions, attitudes and behaviours, but also propose that people form different mental images of minimal ingroup and outgroup members
- P's assigned to one of 2 groups depending on performance on a numerical estimation test (grouped as either over or under achievers). Ingroup = same category as you, outgroup = different category.
-Found that ingroup face sig. more likely than the outgroup face to elicit favourable impressions (e.g. trusting, caring, intelligent attractive). Minimally defined ingroup and outgroup faces differed primarily on traits dimensions that signal whether a target should be approached or avoided, but they did not differ on traits found to signify dominance (link to Todorov et al.) = sharing a minimal group membership with another person can indeed bias facial representations, in a manner that evokes more favorable impressions on a range of traits.
- Further study found that ingroup face representations elicited more positive implicitly measured attitudes and trusting behavior than did outgroup face representations. Also found that participants’ representation of facial trustworthiness more closely resembled the information contained within an ingroup face representation than an outgroup face representation.
= people form subtly different mental images of ingroup and outgroup members that can contribute to significant differences in trait impressions, attitudes (sufficient to prejudices), and behaviours (trust decisions) and that the difference in mental images can be driven, in part, by the ascription of trustrelated features to the ingroup face.
Hutter and Linden (2017) patients in diagnostic evaluation often elicit negative responses in other persons by a dysfunctional first impression formation.
- 92 people given 2 photos of same female, one with hair combed back, the other with open curly hair. Made ratings for each picture on Bipolar rating scale (judgments on 23 bipolar impressions).
- Found ratings for each picture differed sig. for 16 out of 23 items --> Curled hair = more open-hearted and trusting impression, combed-back hair = more reserved, earnest, and defiant. = People come to far-reaching conclusions about the “personality” of other persons (first impression formation) based on the outer appearance --> Implications for diagnosis.
Social networking: extreme popularity = more opportunity for people to make first impressions about all people
- Kramer et al. (2017) FB involves people posting self-portraits ("selfies") --> are these evaluated differently by perceivers, do they lead to different impression formations?
-photos shown which differed according to type (selfie, taken by others), gender, and no. people in photo
-found selfies evaluated more negatively --> people rated as less trustworthy, socially attractive, open to new experiences, more narcissistic and extroverted than the same person in photos taken by others
-Males rated as more narcissistic and less trustworthy than females
-negative evaluations of selfie posting individuals were mainly driven by the perceived motivation of impression management = selfies are likely to be evaluated less positively than producers of selfies might suppose.
- But, based on young population (max age 29), as is often the case with social media = hard to generalise, but does this matter because this is the target group???
Social cognitive transference:
= Takes existing conceptions of significant others as the starting point for forming impressions of strangers.
- If a stranger shares some features with a significant other, additional features of the significant other are extrapolated onto the stranger
- social cognitive transference engages a wider range of dependent variables and extends the usual definition of an “impression”.
- Todorov et al. (2008) personality trait impressions from a wide range of computer-generated faces with neutral expressions. Found that trait inferences can be represented within a 2d space defined by valence/trustworthiness and power/dominance evaluation of faces. Trustworthiness based on similarity to expressions signalling approach or avoidance behaviour and dominance based on features signalling physical strength
- Dotsch and Todorov (2012) extended work: included hair on morphed images --> trustworthiness judgments differentiated between dimensions better than dominance i.e. dominant also judged less trustworthy than submissive = in line with work to suggest that people are primarily oriented toward warmth information
- Leach et al. (2007) pointed out that warmth includes both sociability and morality and found morality is more important than competence or sociability in affecting ingroup evaluations and group-related self-concept.
Self-regulation affects social inferences:
Gilbert et al. (1988)
- People don’t always mean what they say, its very easy to craft behaviours = these are self-regulatory processes
- may also have a cost by affecting the social perceiver’s ability to draw accurate inferences about others
- In forming social inference must: 1) categorise/identify the actions of others, 2) Characterise/draw dispositional inference about the character, 3) use info about the situation to correct/adjust these characterisations
- Categorisation and characterisation are over learned (need little conscious attention)
- Correction is effortful and deliberate that requires sig. cognitive resources
=If characterisation is easy and correction is hard then perceivers who become involved in self-regulation processes (which use cognitive resources) should be able to characterise others fine, but should be less able to correct those characterisations
- p’s watched clips of an interview: in 5 of the clips the target appeared depressed/unhappy. 1/2 learned that the target had been answering sadness-inducing q’s, others learned they had been answering happiness inducing q’s
-1/2 in each did self-regulatory task (try to avoid looking at words that appeared on the bottom of the screen) and rated target’s dispositional sadness
- unregulated p’s used situational info to correct (discount sadness) their characterisations of the target, but self-regulating p’s considered the target equally sad regardless of the type of q answered
= self regulated p’s showed no evidence of inferential correction
- Found same results in more real life situation with interviewer trying to make dislikable interviewee like them (self-regulation) = social interaction (which generally requires self-regulation of ongoing behaviour) profoundly affects the way in which active perceivers process info about others
Asch (1946) study
- gave list of traits for person that only differed for one trait, either warm, cold, blunt or polite.
- rate person on measures such as generosity, popularity, happiness, sociability, altruism
- Warm rated very positively, cold very negatively. Not much difference between blunt and polite.
= some traits (warm, cold) are central to impression formation, in that they had more effect on the overall impression and on the meanings of other traits. Others are more peripheral and have less influence
= Individual Traits are evaluated in relation to other known traits, and develop an overall picture where all the traits fit together consistently
- Wishner (1960) found that central traits are those that correlate highly with those that are assessed --> polite-blunt can be made central by tapping impressions on scales that correlate highly with it
- e.g. Zanna and Hamilton (1972) can change impression ratings on one dimension without affecting the other - Industrious vs. lazy affected ratings on only the intellectual dimension, whereas warm vs. cold affected the social dimension.
- Orehek et al. (2010) this structure depends on perceivers’ beliefs about traits’ unidirectional implications for other traits (‘if X then Y’’ but not necessarily ‘‘if Y then X’’) --> situationally manipulating the strength of unidirectional rules influences the impact of traits on impressions and this impact is reduced when it is difficult to discern the rule and when processing resources are limited.
Williams and Bargh (2008) bodily experience can unconsciously affect behaviors and cognitions
- p's formed impressions of target person described by the same list of traits that Asch used, but without the traits warm or cold
- p's held either a warm or a cold cup of coffee before making their ratings
- warm/cold cup had the same effect on impressions as Asch demonstrated with traits 62 years ear- lier. - p's completely unaware of these effects, suggests that awareness of some stimuli’s relevance (or irrelevance) for the task at hand is not required for trait centrality effects.
- Modern psychology regards the properties we “see” in others as largely inferred, assumed, felt, and/or enacted
- usually assume that mental events (desires, intentions, beliefs) cause actions, but this view is not universal
Cultural differences associated with individualism and collectivism --> latter has greater sensitivity to situations (Kitayama et al. 2007)
- Impression formations = process of integration of a diversity of traits or dimensions that describe a target to predict the overall impression