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PSYC 1002 Lecture Notes - Social Perception, Stereotype, Collective Behavior

Course Code
PSYC 1002
Mara Fuentes Avila

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Social interaction
Group processes
Collective behavior
Basic concepts associated with social influences – how social environments
influence others
Social Psychology
Social interaction
Process of social influences (individual behavior in a social context)
Individual thoughts, feelings and how they are influenced by others
Person Perception
When you interact with another person – immediately/automatically derive from
that person
influences the process of person perception
People have considerable creativity when deriving information from others when
they meet, but impressions are often inaccurate
3 major factors used in social psychology to explain why sometimes our
perception of others is inaccurate: (there are more than 3) -> factors that change
our perception of others and why we derive the wrong/inaccurate information
1) Cognitive Schemas
2) Stereotypes
3) Subjectivity
1)Cognitive schemas
Schemas : cognitive structures that guide information processes
organized cluster of ideas about specific categories of events or people
Social Categorization Theory
Whenever we deal with a specific social environment, we have to derive/understand it
in terms of personal senses.

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classify the social environment by dividing it into different categories
use criteria in order to divide the environment
once we make the division, we classify the members of that environment
according to the categories we created
ie: social environment -> 400 students ->gender (m/f) -> social role
1)students, 2)prof -> race/ethnicity
Different criteria that a person can use in order to classify the environment
at the psychological level, we assume the existence of attributes that will
categorize the different groups
ie: students/professor role, will assume that students are young, impatient,
and pro is older, knowledgeable etc…
once classification is established there are several consequences:
1) Look at the social environment
2) Will expect people to behave in the same way you defined the attributes associate
with each category
-Attributes (cluster of ideas) is the social scheme
the factors that affect the process of person perception
Where do they come from? (cognitive schemas): the categorization process –
automatic process
Whenever we are dealing with a new social situation, the process will be
triggered unconsciously
Cluster of ideas comes form categorization
we need to make a personal sense (not social sense) in order to successfully
deal with the social environment
Psychological consequences:
1) Once the social environment is divided into different groups, at the psychological
level, the accentuation effect will occur
Accentuation effect: once you make the decision, it will affect the way we
perceive the categories
Exaggerating the differences between categories

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Exaggerating similarities within categories
ie: perceive yourself more similar than you really are and perceive the
differences between other people more different than they really are
this is a distortion of the perception (social perception)
2) Categories are going to be called in-groups and out-groups
In group: group that we are part of and identify with
Out group: contrary – the group that we are not part of, don’t identify with
The division between in groups and out groups – the sociological understanding
that there is the division has consequences:
in group bias: we always are going to make decisions that favor our in group
and always are going to make decisions to discriminate against the out group
The process is called in group bias – because of accentuation effect, will perceive
more similar or more different than you really are
When we classify (at the psychological level) we are putting together things that
at the psychological level are similar
but with the accentuation effect, we are even more similar than we really are
Because we are similar, at the psychological level, experience similarities –
favoring in group members (who represent own psychology) “self – esteem”
try to protect your self concept by favoring members of your in
People can increase their level of self esteem by favoring their in group members
The factors/variables that affect the process of person perception
beliefs/ideas, not emotions
Beliefs that people have about people that belong to a particular group
ie: gender stereotypes: women are emotional, nurturing.. Etc…
ie: elderly people are forgetful, tollerant etc….
Sometimes stereotypes have underlying truths – not absolutely different form
over generalizations about reality
Social categorization theory stereotypes come from attributes form the different
categories we thought belonged to a group
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