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Title: The relationship between dimensions of visual trait assessment and social decision-making strategies
Author: Mulvaney, Poppy
ISNI:       0000 0004 6058 0158
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2015
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Though it is natural to assume that people must be using social information when engaging in social interactions, little research has investigated whether trait assessments have any influence on social behaviour. This thesis explored the relationship between the basic dimensions of social perception; formidability and trustworthiness, and social decision-making behaviour. Chapter 2 examined the impact of assessing facial formidability and trustworthiness on social decision-making, and found that formidability was the primary trait influencing participant's behaviour. Chapter 3 looked at whether cross-cultural differences in trait influence exist, and found similarities between UK and Swiss behaviour, i.e. that formidability was the primary influencing trait, but an opposite pattern in two US populations, where trustworthiness has a larger impact on decision-making strategies. A further study examined possible underlying factors for this cross-cultural difference in behaviour, but the results were inconclusive. Chapter 4 looked at whether manipulating state anxiety altered participant's trait perception and decision-making strategy, and found no effect of increased state anxiety. Chapter 5 examined whether participants would assess personality traits from biological motion, as depicted by point-light walker stimuli, and whether they would use this information to inform their decision making. The findings suggest a nearly identical pattern to that found in a UK population using facial stimuli. Chapter 6 looked at whether assessments of prestige or dominance had a bigger impact on social behaviour and found level of prestige, taken from manipulating clothing on the presented stimuli, to entirely remove any impact of formidability on participant's social decision-making. Finally, Chapter 7 examined whether a participant's own level of formidability, taken from skeletal and muscular morphological measurements, altered their facial trait perception and social behaviour. No significant relationship between physical morphology and behaviour was found. These findings suggest that a relationship exists between the basic dimensions of social perception and social decision-making, although these strategies vary cross culturally.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available