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Lecture

feb 2 2012- psych 215.docx

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 215
Professor
Michael Sullivan
Semester
Winter

Description
Thursday, February 2nd, 2012 Self Defeating Behaviour Different kinds of things that go on in your head when you make certain behaviour choices. If the cost of a decision is far enough removed, we don’t seem to give them equal weight in our decisions (eg: concert ticket example). So while we know that smoking is associated with bad consequences, it is not today that you will have cardiovascular disease or lung cancer. Important in health and mental health is that non-compliance with medication is one of the biggest problems. Trade-offs Usually there is a short term benefit for behaviour that has long term consequences. Our minds do not weigh these long term benefits very much. Suicide People are in such a state of internal pain that they just want to end it. NEXT POWER POINT Social Cognition Cognitive: computer-like, input and output functions, computer metaphor for what is happening inside your head. Understanding the mechanics of cognition will help us understand some of the social things. Attributions How humans try to ascribe causes to behaviours they see in other people. If you make an internal attribution for a negative event, you will feel worse than if you make an external attribution for it. When we see someone acting in a certain way, we will ask if it is because of something about them, or something about the situation. Attributions (3) When you see someone walk across the street and notice that someone dropped a glove and returned it: you will not be aware that you did attributional processing (it is not always in consciousness). Some would say that in order to understand the event, you had to have made attributional inferences (asking yourself why they did it). You will think of it as a helpful act only if you think of them as a helpful person; you can only do that if you did attributional processing. Attribution gives the observation meaning, and without them observations would have no meaning. Negative or unexpected events: eg someone randomly breaking up with you. Typically, when it is a positive outcome you won’t engage in as much attributional processing. Eg: if a team comes in that just won a game; they just replay the event in stories. But if they lost, then you will hear a lot of attributions being made. Next Slide It is thought that in our heads we think about how much of a behaviour we attribute to a person, and to what degree we will explain it by elements of the situation. Why? One of the things you ask is why the person did it. A courtroom situation is all about attributional processing. You want the judge to make an attributional inference if you are the prosecution, and you do not want this to happen if you are the defence (then you would want situational information to be thought of). Heider Fritz Heider is a philosopher who in the 1950s put out a book where he put forward what would become the foundation of the domain of social cognition. He was the first to emphasize the importance of attributions and the inferences we make about the causes of events. He said that this is something that we have to do, and without it there is no coherence in social perception. He was pretty much suggesting that attributions were the basic units of analysis in social psychology. Interesting about the inferences that we will be making about other people’s behaviour is that if we were going to be making the same behaviour in ourselves, we would not be attributing the same causes at all. For yourself, you will be much more likely to appeal to external causes for bad things. Even in a positive situation, you do not make internal attributions as easily as you would when watching someone else (eg: giving spare change). Slide with scale (1-7) One of the things that Heider tells us is that when we can, we will favour dispositional attributions for other’s behaviours, even when it does not make much sense. Eg: if we see a person behaving in a way consistent with a certain dispositional inference, we will opt for it. Why would we sometimes neglect other information that might be important in favour of a dispositional inference? Whether they are accurate or not, it allows us to have a sense of certainty about people’s behaviour in the future. Heider says that this gives us a sense of predictability in the world. Without this, our world would be more chaotic. Attributions One question raised: if they really our your building blocks in our sense of coherency in the world, they really should be something automatic (without thinking). But it is hard to measure something outside of consciousness (you cannot tell someone what is happening below the level of consciousness in the mind). Automatic? Example: your brain keeps track of basic frequency information even if you were not paying attention (last bullet); it is automatic. This is something that we are born with. Next Slide Example: pretend you’re in a study, read the sentences. We are shown ~70, and then after we are supposed to remember all of the sentences we heard. Recall all the sentences They give you different types of clues. The two groups are different types of cues. The top ones are words in the sentences that were read, and the bottom ones are dispositional inferences that we might have made about the person enacting the behaviour. Next Slide The dispositional inferences were better cues than the words in the actual sentences. Since this is better for recall, this strongly suggests that when we stored the information about the sentence, we also stored the dispositional inferences. This was not additional processing that we had to do in understanding the sentence. This gives some insight on the degree of automaticity. All studies suggest that in comprehending information, we are making dispositional inferences that will be favoured over other ones. Next Slide People generally have a positive impression of psychotherapists. Next Slide They focus only on us for an entire hour. Because they l
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