Chaper 3 notes

Chapter 3 is about Personality, Perception and Attributions.  Personality is a relatively stable set of characteristics that influence one’s behavior.  Perception is the process of interpreting information about another person.  Attribution is understanding the cause and effect behind behavior.

The first concept is Lewin’s B = f(P,E), or behavior is a function of the person and the environment.  It’s a pithy way to say that both relevant.  One interesting point in the text was that a person is changed by a situation (environment) and also actively changes the environment.

A useful characteristic described is self-monitoring.  This is the process of taking cues from other people and situations and adjusting behavior accordingly.  It’s related to another concept called impression management–controlling other’s impression of oneself.  The upside is that one is more actively involved with other and the situation, the downside is that one can appear too flexible.  This behavior seems very useful in appropriate situations.

The text also describes some common errors.  It’s a reminder to me to watch for these behaviors in myself.  Some of the errors are fundamental attribution, self-serving bias, and selective perception.  People often commit these errors when trying to deflect failures to others or accept success for themselves.

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