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Social Perception

The study of how we form impressions of and make inferences about other people

Nonverbal Communication

The way people communicate intentionally or unintentionally without words


To express or emit nonverbal behavior such as smiling or patting someone on the back


To interpret the meaning of nonverbal behavior; such as deciding that a pat on the back was an expression of condescension and not kindness

Affect Blend

A facial expression in which different parts of the face register different emotions

Display Rules

Culturally determined rules about which nonverbal behaviors are appropriate to display


Nonverbal gestures that have well-understood definitions within a given culture. ("ok" sign)

Implicit Personality Theory

A schema people use to group various kinds of people together (ex. many people believe that kind people are also generous)

Attribution Theory

A description of the way in which people explain the causes of their own and other people's behavior

Internal Attribution

Inference that a person is acting a certain way because of something internal (such as attitude)

External Attribution

Inference that a person is acting a certain way because of the situation which a person is in (the assumption is that most people would respond the same way in that situation)

Correspondence bias

People expect others' behavior to correspond with their own beliefs and personalities

Perceptual Salience

the seeming importance of information that is the focus of people's attention

Two Step Process of Attribution

analyzing another person's behavior first by making an automatic internal attribution and only then thinking about possible situationl reasons for the behavior, after which one may adjust the origial iinternal attribution

Actor/Observer Difference

The tendency to see other people's behavior as dispositionally caused but focusing more on the role of situational factors when explaining one's own behavior

Self-Serving Attributions

Explanations for ones successes that credit internal, dispositional factors and explanations for one's failures that blame external, situational factors

Defensive Attributions

Explanations for behavior that avoid feelings of vulnerability and morality

Belief in a just world

A form of defensive attribution wherein people assume that bad things happen to bad people and that good things happen to good people

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