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PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

• naive realism: we tend to believe that what we see is reality, that we are perceiving directly from the world around us ◦ no concept of interpretation • social cognition: we select information, we are biased when we think of our identity ◦ gives rise to a flexibility in how we see things • we are not necessarily wrong though; often we're right in our perceptions, but we must break through our naive realism • we have naive realism of ourselves ◦ still mediated by interpretations/selectivity of information ◦ however, physical existence is concrete ◦ symbolic self has space for construction ◦ due to culture or feedback from others ◦ we may downplay or ignore many aspects of ourselves ◦ prejudice or stereotyping of ourselves Automatic Processing • subliminal projection company: major breakthrough in advertising • image of Coke and popcorn flashed at 1/3000th of a second in a movie theatre • popcorn sales went up 57% and Coke 18% • after these claims, laws were passed about subliminal manipulation • this study apparently never happened --> just trying to attract attention to his com- pany • provokes an interesting idea about how the mind works • psychologists tried to replicate these claims but it didn't work • however, the question of "could it happen?" still exists • how much of our lives goes on outside of our consciousness? ◦ reason why researchers are drawn to this topic • claims of subliminal persuasion: ◦ advertising --> subliminal seduction: manipulating you with things that we are not aware of ■ pictures used in advertising may be embedding ideas to the uncon- scious mind about sex and violence that would influence purchas- ing ■ showed an alcohol ad with the word "sex" hidden in the image to his university students, asked them how they felt --> 50% felt some- what sexually aroused ■ problem: college students usually are ■ study doesn't show anything, this is not evidence ■ mixed results, generally no evidence to confirm subliminal manipu- lation as valid ◦ rock music and music with embedded messages ■ heavy metal: evil, satanic messages ■ people who listen to heavy metal generally have loose mottos, and use drugs ■ problem: correlation isn't causation ■ researcher had people guess the type of messages conveyed but no one got the message right --> no evidence ◦ self-help tapes --> listening to calming sounds, messages hidden in the sounds that conveys some useful message (e.g. lose weight, feel better about yourself) ■ self-hypnosis ■ people who use it obviously think it works ■ study with commercially produced and marketed tapes --> sup- posed content of "memory" and "self-esteem" ■ for half the people, he switched the labels (memory tape labelled "self-esteem" or self-esteem tape labelled "memory") ■ no actual difference according to supposed content of messages ■ no actual effect on people, no selective improvement ■ self-perceived improvement differences, as a function of label only ■ memory improvement for so-called "memory" tapes, self-es- teem improvement for "self-esteem" tapes ■ resembles placebo effect, except that they didn't actually change • "subliminal": the stimuli influencing us are below threshold of perception • So, research on subliminal persuasion is very sketchy and evidence suggests sub- liminal tapes do not work • Is there any evidence of unconscious processing? Of thinking and acting without awareness? ◦ Yes, though claims of subliminal persuasion field is not supported ◦ e.g. getting in a car ■ at some point, you had to learn it ■ now, you do it without thinking about it ◦ "mindlessness": not a lot of conscious, deliberate thought into what you're doing ■ automaticity ■ ask "can I use the copier?" or "can I use the copier because I'm in a rush" ■ usually, we don't let others go ahead of us unless there's a reason (rush) ■ small favour (5 pages) or big favour (20 pages) ■ "can I use the copier?" for a small favour --> 60% ■ "can I use the copier?" for a small favour "because I'm in a rush" --> 94% ■ "can I use the copier?" for a big favour --> 24% ■ "can I use the copier?" for a big favour "because I'm in a rush" --> 42% ■ if people were mindlessly following the script (ask for a favour and give a reason), it doesn't matter what the reason is as long as it fits the script ■ "placebic" reason: "because I have to make copies" ■ if it's a big favour, people are not mindless about it and actu- ally stop to think about it --> 24% (thus, same as not giving a reason) ■ if it's a small favour, "placebic" reason is just as good as a real reason --> 93% ■ both better than no reason ■ what we do socially usually follow scripts ■ if the script (interaction pattern) is overlearned, you're more likely to do it without much thought ■ When the demands of the situation were minimal, people seemed to be on "automatic pilot", not really thinking about what they were doing but just acting out the script ■ Seems very different from when we are fully aware and very delib- erate in our thoughts and actions • Dual Process Models: ◦ controlled processing
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