PSYC 213 Lecture Notes - Cognitive Psychology, Sclera, Social Cognition

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25 Apr 2012
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April 5th Lecture - Social Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary field
Unifies biological study of behaviour and social phenomena
Social psychology + neuroscience
Social psychology deals with things that are less tangible than cognitive psychology
Applies multiple level approach - biological, cognitive, and social levels
Applies neuroimaging methods to understand social processes
e.g. influence of social status on social behaviour - a study that has been widely covered
Monkey 'pay per view' - monkeys value an opportunity to acquire different classes of
social visual images differently
Rhesus macaques sacrificed juice to view female perinea and faces of high status
monkeys, but required more fluid to view faces of low status monkeys - preferred to
look at a grey square rather than low status monkey faces
These monkeys have a very strict social status colonies
Follow up study - wanted to see if something similar could be tested with humans
Familiarity was a confined, but can't test with unfamiliar faces because that makes it
hard to recognize the person's status
Suggestion - tasting people in the military; don't have to be familiar with the
person because status is recognized from uniform
Sex difference - female students tended to follow the gaze of male professors
Social Attention
Understanding mental states of others (Theory of Mind)
Understanding that others have a different mind from our own
We are not born with this ability
Social cognition investigates how we represent mental states of others
Underlies a lot of our social cognitive processes - how we relate to others
What is our ability to attribute beliefs to others ? Attribute false beliefs to others (even
though we have a true belief)?
Kids of up to 4 years of age do not have this ability, they think everyone is the same
After 4, they understand that things can be deceptive and that others have
different thoughts
At first it was thought that the Theory is an all or nothing - but now is understood to be a
continuous learning process
ToMM (Theory of Mind Mechanism)
Fractioned into modular components
Each coming online at different at different times in development
Can have parts of the mechanism without yet acquiring ToMM
Founder -> S. Baron-Cohen
ToMM
SAM (Shared Attention Mechanism) - feeds into ToMM - computes triadic
relationships (two people can understand by shifting attention to where
others are looking - paying attention to the same object)
EDD (Eye Direction Detector)- feeds into SAM
Present at birth, very basic process - babies like to look at
open eyes
Our ability to detect eyes and compute eye direction
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