Individual differences in the beliefs about appearance and reality
Sui, Hui Ching
Date of Issue2017-12-08
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
People tend to hold differing theories when making appearance-based inferences about other people, objects or organizations encountered in their daily life. Namely, the two theories of concern are the convergence and divergence theories of appearance. When adopting a convergence theory of appearance, it is assumed that appearance is a direct and accurate reflection of reality. Adopting a divergence theory of appearance would assume that appearances are a misleading reflection of reality. For example, if a person presents a competent outward appearance, someone with a convergence theory of appearance would infer that the person is indeed competent. However, someone who holds a divergence theory would infer that the person, contrary to their appearance, is not as competent. Underlying these theories is the belief in whether or not appearances are deceiving, which influences how people view the world, and make judgements, and in turn affects the actions they then take. These theories are often employed when making inferences across many social domains, including people, interpersonal relations, and countries. The current study examines how priming the belief that appearances are deceiving, influences the theory of appearance adopted in the social perception of a real-life scenario. Results suggest that priming North Americans with the idea of deception facilitated their use of the divergence theory, and influenced their perception of competence of a potential threat. Implications on decision making across various domains are discussed.
Final Year Project (FYP)