MCAT Content / Attributing Behavior To Persons Or Situations / How Perceptions Of The Environment Shape Our Perceptions Of Others

How Perceptions of the Environment Shape Our Perceptions of Others

Topic: Attributing Behavior To Persons Or Situations

The influence of our perceptions of the environment affects our attributions and perceptions of people.

Perceptions of one’s surroundings can affect perceptions and beliefs about others. For example, perceptions of the environment can influence conscious or unconscious stereotype activation. One study by Schaller et al. (2003) found that dark surroundings, which indicated the possibility of danger, led to subconscious activation of danger-related stereotypes in participants who were shown images of black men. In other words, the perception of the environment as dangerous led to the perception of other people as dangerous which, in this case, involved the activation of related stereotypes.


Key Points

• Perceptions of one’s surroundings can affect perceptions and beliefs about others.

• Perceptions of the environment can influence conscious or unconscious stereotype activation.


Key Terms

stereotypes: categories of objects or people that help to simplify and systematize information so the information is easier to be identified, recalled, predicted, and reacted to



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