Lecture 9 Monday, February 4 , 2013
-‘Knowing How’: knowledge exercised in the performance of some task.
-Testing hypotheses, coping strategies, motivational strategies, problem solving,
social skills, evaluating persuasive messages, social reality.
-How do we go about making judgments of causality?
-How do we answer the question ‘why?’
*Understanding the social world involves understanding why something is
happening. (Ex: Why is a friend being mean? Several possibilities in answering why:
She is always this way, or, She is under a lot of stress. What is the meaning of this?)
-Ex: Professor shakes student’s hand. What did we see? A greeting? An interaction?
What was the professor doing? Shaking hands, being friendly, demonstrating
something. We can characterize his behavior in different ways.
-Any segment of behavior can be identified in many different ways.
(Being a “friendly person”, acting in a friendly manner, going for a visit, seeing if
someone is home, ringing the doorbell, moving a finger).
-If-Then productions: IF someone visits someone else THEN conclude the person is
-Begins as declarative knowledge.
-Becomes more efficient, automatic with practice – like any skill or habit.
*Study: Smith et al. (1992)
-Subject makes repeated judgments of behaviors.
-Friendliness or intelligence.
-7 days later: faster, especially on items seen before.
*People came into the lab and made repeated judgments of behaviors. Half the
people made judgments about friendliness of the person, and the other half made
judgments about intelligence of the person. Brings participants back 7 days later
with some of the same items and some new items making the same judgments. They
were faster on items they had seen before. They are faster even on items they
haven’t seen before; Learned some skill on how to make a friendliness judgment.
*Study Part 2:
-Make judgments about the social desirability of various behaviors. New behaviors
that subjects hadn’t read about. Some items had mixed information:
-“Tried to fix his friends refrigerator but ended up making it worse”. Does this
reflect better or worse on the person? If you are thinking in terms of friendliness,
this is a desirable thing (person is being friendly and trying to help his friend). If you are thinking in terms of intelligence, it reflects poorly on him (he made things
-Judged mixed behaviors in terms of practiced dimension. (The dimension that
people focused on reflected the dimension that they had practiced a week earlier:
friendliness vs. intelligence).
*Spontaneous trait inferences: Demonstrating that we do make quick judgments
even when we are not trying.
-Winter & Uleman (1984)
-Told to read a list of sentences about people.
-Then told to memorize the sentences and later asked to recall them.
*Specific cues helped them remember the behavior. Also, trait terms helped in
remembering what they had seen (Ex: friendly). Trait terms helped in recall.
*‘Proceduralization’ – with practice, the inference process becomes automatic.
-Follows IF…..THEN production.
-Behavior is function of disposition and situation.
-Internal: E.g., Personality characteristics, motives, abilities.
-External: Everything external to the person, particularly situational pressures.
-Attributions for outcomes:
Stable ability task difficulty
Unstable effort, mood luck