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Encyclopedia of Psychology Alan E. Kazdin, PhD, Editor-in-Chief

ATTRACTION

The reciprocity of attraction effect has been demonstrated experimentally, as well as in more naturalistic interaction situations, providing validation for the accepted dictum that “attraction breeds attraction.”

One possible exception to the attraction reciprocity effect that has received attention concerns people who possess low self-esteem: for such individuals, incongruent expressions of high esteem from others may cause cognitive dissonance and discomfort

Although one form of dissimilarity, personality “complementarity” (e.g.. a “dominant” individual paired with a “submissive person”). was initially hypothesized to produce attraction, there is little evidence to support the hypothesis.

It has been demonstrated that people prefer to like others rather than dislike them even when there are countervailing pressures.

Wheeler, L., & Kim, Y. (1997). What is beautiful is culturally good: The physical attractiveness stereotype has different content in collectivist cultures. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23, 795-800.

ATTRIBUTION

The “Why,“ “When,” and “What” of Attribution Processes

Why do we, as perceivers, attempt to discern the underlying causes of our own or others’ behaviors? According to all of the major theorists, people engage in attributional analyses because of their functional needs to understand, predict, and control what goes on around them.

For example, the chronic feelings of control deprivation often characteristic of depressed perceivers have been shown to be related to more attributional activity (Weary & Edwards, 1996).

According to Kelley, social perceivers use three kinds of information in analyzing the covariation of potential causes and effects: consensus over persons, consistency over time and modality, and distinctiveness over other entities. In essence, perceivers ask three questions: Is everyone behaving in a hostile fashion toward the tar- get, or is the hostile behavior particular to this person? Does the person always behave in a hostile fashion toward the target, or is the hostility particular to a certain time or setting? Is the person hostile toward all other targets, or is there something distinctive about this particular one? Generally, effects that are low in consensus, high in consistency, and low in distinctiveness will be attributed to persons; and effects that are high in consensus, high in consistency, and high in distinctiveness will be attributed to the entity.

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