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Public CharactersThe Politics of Reputation and Blame$
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James M. Jasper, Michael P. Young, and Elke Zuern

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190050047

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190050047.001.0001

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The Psychology of Creating Persons

The Psychology of Creating Persons

(p.71) 3 The Psychology of Creating Persons
Public Characters

James M. Jasper

Michael P. Young

Elke Zuern

Oxford University Press

Starting from the hero Jon Snow, in Game of Thrones, this chapter turns to several traditions of psychology to show the cognitive processes by which people put together small pieces of information in order to see others as “persons.” Public characters are a prominent special case of this process. According to affect control theory, strength, morality, and activity represent three basic dimensions along which people judge others—and build them into characters in public arenas. People make snap judgments about others’ morality and strength, and move away from these judgments reluctantly and slowly in the face of contrary evidence. People tend to see more consistency and coherence in others than the evidence warrants.

Keywords:   ordinary personology, group stereotypes, fast thinking, affect control theory, essentializing

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