PSYC473 - Lecture 2 Notes
Examples of Social Psychological Topic Areas:
• We were presented with an ambiguous social situation and inferred things about the two actors intentions identities and ac-
We apply the same tools to normal and strange situations. It’s just that in strange it takes longer.
• Social cognition looks at the processes whereby we make sense of things and feel confident we understand what is going
• When ambiguous information has a label we understand it and therefore can remember the details much more precisely.
• Social experiences have so much going on and it’s so ambiguous, but we have frameworks that help us make sense of it.
• Social experience happens so quickly and most of the time we don’t notice it, but occasionally it turns out we were wrong
and you tackle the owner instead of the criminal who are both black.
In the same way that we extract meaning of Dalmatian from black spots, we extract meaning of social experience and
once we see the dog, we can’t not see it. So once perceived, we can’t see it just as a bunch of dots.
• Palin-Going Rogue - she’s trying to create an image. First we ask ourselves “Do we know what rogue means? Does she fit
the label? How easily does the label come to mind?”
The question: When we see Sarah Palin, does the word rogue get activated? Activation is defined as the retrieval of an
element of social knowledge from long term memory. So does Palin activate rogue? Was there something that gets acti-
• This is an interplay of bottom up or data driven and top down or knowledge driven influences. When we look at
the cow, the data was there but it wasn’t enough to activate a clear perception. Once we look at the label, we had a
clear perception so it’s an interplay of bottom and top information.
Determinants of Activation:
• 1) Availability: It is a necessary condition that we have the definition available in our memory. Rogue is unorthodox and unpre-
dictable. Another example is when Baldwin says he looked at a ‘Humbucking Pickup’ last night. We need to understand its for a gui-
tar to extrapolate the necessary information.
• 2) Applicability: It is the overlap or fit between attended features of a stimulus and the features stored in