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Flashcards in Perception: Role of Motivation Deck (5)
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Piecemeal vs. Categorical

High need for accuracy: When we have the motivation to be more accurate and get to know people better, we think of people in a more individual way. But even when we have a high need for accuracy, we still may use categorization in certain situations

o interpersonal (more piecemeal)
o inter-group (categorical)


Goal Instrumentality

We seem to categorize people based on whether they can help us fulfill a goal

e.g. depressed mood→ may be more piecemeal, see the world as uncertain, there's a lack of control
• might be more willing to exert effort to understand individual elements (piecemeal)


Effect of motives in general→ Balcetis and Dunning

We see what we want to see: researchers studied the impact of motivation states on perception. People interpreted ambiguous shape

 Study 1: interpreting ambiguous figures as a letter or number (B or 13) would result in drinking orange juice or an unpleasant smelling health drink. Subjects motivation influenced what they saw and would report seeing interpretation that offered them preferable drink.
 Study 2: horse-seal figure associated with either positive or negative points. People saw what they wanted to see.
 Study 3: designed to provide evidence that what participants reported was the only interpretation that came to consciousness: measured initial eye movt: Saccade test: showed that they weren’t seeing both – whatever they look at first was probably what they saw first.
 Study 4: Lexical decision task: needed to decide if certain string of letters was a word. they would be quicker to categorize as word if is associated with concept that person desired
• If lexical decision task was after the ambiguous stimulus, they were quicker to categorize the word if it has to do with the desired figure - primed to see words that have to do with desired concept: perceptual set


Evolution-Based Social Motives

Mate seeking
o men: more likely to perceive features that indicate interest
o women: when most fertile, most biases against outgroup members

We are innately motivated to believe out-group individuals are more aggressive than they really are


Clinical Implication of Motivation

Accuracy of self-report must always be considered

Inaccurate/distorted/exaggerated self-report may be occurring on a non conscious level – unintentionally misreporting

We also need to make sure that our own clinical opinions aren’t distorted based on our perception/motivation.

How do we counter these distortions?
* Generate alternate explanations
*Collaboration, ratings/opinions of other clinicians