Social Perception

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1.Social perception has many psychological concepts, which include The Primacy and Recency Effect and The Halo Effect. Firstly, the Primacy Effect is the theory that a person’s initial impression of a subject based on information given, is one in which they are most likely to remember; whereas the Recency Effect focuses on the impact of further information given about a subject later on. A very striking study was conducted by the psychologist Luchins. In 1957, Luchins produced two description of ‘Jim’ to two groups of people. Group A were given a paragraph to read describing Jim as an extrovert, therefore, in reading the description, came to the conclusion that Jim was warm and friendly. Group B were given a paragraph which described Jim as an introvert, thus producing the opposite effect from Group A. This proved that, based on the information we receive, we automatically make an overall assumption about a subject. However, Luchins then asked the two groups to read a comic for 15 minutes and then exchanged the descriptions between the two groups. After both groups had read the second description, most changed their opinion of Jim after receiving different information, consequently, demonstrating the Recency Effect (Atkinson 2006). Similarly, another concept of social perception which involves people making assumptions about a subject is The Halo Effect. This theory explains that one particular good or bad trait that a person may know about a subject will define whether or not that subject has general positive traits or general negative traits. This method of thinking is identified as Implicit Personality Theories. One study which supports this concept was directed by Kelley in 1950 whereby one group of students were given a drawing of an unfamiliar lecturer who was described as warm to the group, while the second group of students were given an identical drawing although told the lecturer was a cold person. Upon being given this piece of information the first group regarded the lecturer as popular, considerate, humorous and good natured yet the second group of students ranked the lecturer in the opposite light (Gross 2010) Therefore, immediately stereotyping that subject as a positive or negative person based on the limited information the two groups had.

2.Stereotyping has many harmful and in fact, positive effects on the way a person can live their lives. In particular, a possible effect of prejudice and discrimination is depression, caused by the feeling of being unable to cope in certain situations where they are exposed to prejudice and discrimination. Also, restricted opportunities such as having limited wheelchair access can lead to loss of motivation. One of the main effects of prejudice and discrimination is having a distorted perception of a certain group of people due lack of education, parenting styles and through the media. One example of the effects of prejudice and discrimination is studied by the effects of a Self-fulfilling Prophecy. This is the theory which through the belief of a prediction becoming true, expectations can be reached in order for a person to fulfil that prophecy. Rosenthal and Jacobson (1968) carried out a study in which they claimed they could identify how each individual in a class of school pupils would academically achieve based on a sophisticated IQ test. A list of potential achievers was handed to the class teacher, unbeknown to the teacher, the pupils on this list were actually chosen at random. After an 18 month period, Rosenthal and Jacobson retested the class to which they found that the pupils predicted to achieve high in fact improved on the test, whereas the others had not. (Anon) Therefore, this portrays signs of prejudice and discrimination through the techniques used by the teacher to drive the ‘high achievers’ to their ‘full potential’, at the same time reducing the low achiever’s chance of succession. Although there are some positive effects of prejudice and...
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