Originally published in 1979, Perceiving Others is an excellent, short introduction to the area of social psychology known as ‘person perception’, ‘social perception’ or ‘impression formation’ – how people interpret each others’ moods, predict each others’ behaviour and sum up each others’ characters. The way people see each other determines the way they behave towards each other making the study of ‘person perception’ essential to the understanding of social behaviour.
Mark Cook poses three questions about how people form opinions of others: what are the processes involved, what information is used and how, and how accurate are they? He provides an answer to these questions in the three main sections of the book, giving a comprehensive survey of the theory and research arising from the issues involved. The topics covered include the meaning of trait descriptions, intuition, social skill and non-verbal communication, the impression formation paradigm, stereotypes, implicit personality theories, attribution theory, Cronbach’s components and psychiatric diagnosis. By drawing many of his illustrations from everyday encounters, the author effectively bridges the gap between theory and reality to create a thoroughly readable and comprehensible study.
Table of Contents
Preface. 1. The Problem: Issues in Person Perception Part 1: Processes Involved in Perceiving Other People 2. Inference or Intuition? The Mechanisms of Person Perception 3. Putting the Pieces Together: Processing Multiple Cues Part 2: Sources of Information in Perceiving Other People 4. Information Received: Inferences from Superficial Characteristics 5. The Reason Why: Inferences from Behaviour 6. Implicit Personality Theories: Inferences from Inferences Part 3: Accuracy in Perceiving Other People 7. ‘Cronbach’s Components’: The Methodological Problems of Accuracy Research 8. The Good Judge of Others: Accuracy in Everyday Encounters 9. The Interview: Accuracy in Professional Encounters. Bibliography. Name Index. Subject Index.