What is the social cognition of behaviour?
McClelland, Koestner, and Weinberger (1989)
o Implicit and explicit motivation
o Implicit measure – Asked people to tell them a story after looking at a photograph
o There may be some achievement themes for certain people
o Implicit vs. explicit motivation
Implicit measure – tell a story
Explicit measure – self-reports
o DV: learn picture –word pairs
Show a boat and a dog and then later ask them what two words are paired
They were trying to see how motivated people would be to learn these word pairs
o IV – ½ given instructions highlighting “doing well”
o Implicit measure predicts performance in all conditions
o Explicit measure predicts only when the achievement is emphasized
o So even when person isn’t consciously focused on doing well, implicit motivation seems to guide
o Does their premeasured motivation correlate with how well they do on the task?
Yes, the degree to which people talked about achievement themes following the
photograph were more likely to do well on the task
Here, the implicit motivation guided the behaviour
o This is one of the first studies that launched to show how these types of motivations can be
John Bargh was later wondering if you can activate goal related structures
o Is this due to activated goal-related structures?
o Task 1: Prime via scrambled sentences
IV: 1/3 primed with rudeness (bold, interrupt)
1/3 primed with politeness (respect, courteous)
1/3 control condition
o Experimenter deep in conversation
o DV: would S interrupt?
o Politeness: 20%
o Control: 40%
o Rudeness: 60%
o Theprimes did influence behaviour. This was one of theearliest studies that youcan treat a goal
and see fairly influential effects on behaviour.
o Can we activate goals rather than scripts?
o We can have behavioural goals but we can also have cognitive goals
o S reading about target person
o Portrayed as mostly honest or mostly dishonest
o IV: ½ S’s subliminally primed with impression words (impression, judgment)
If people were primed to say: try to form an impression saw the person in different ways Simply using words managed to prime this mindset relating to a goal
o Primed S’s formed more extreme impressions
o Do activated goals have behavioural effects?
o IV: prime via word-search task
½ S’s searched for achievement words (achieve, succeed)
½ control condition (neutral words)
o Next task: make words from 9 scrabble tiles
o Stop when signal sounds
o How many worked beyond the stop signal:
Primed: 55% (primed with achievement words) – the idea is that they’re motivated to
achieve so this produced the behavioural effect
Behaviour that is guided by goals that the person has can function implicitly
So goals can be activated and have behavioural effects:
o What kind of cognitive structure would need to be involved, to convert activated goals in
o E.g., responding to environmental input, to trigger behaviour, to deal with obstacles, etc.
This goal related behaviour could be a fairly simple system – cognitive nuts and bolts
o The book “Vehicles” has some suggestions
o E.g., how to make a vehicle to achieve a goal of movement in a complex space
o How would you create an action-oriented thing with very simple bits
o You can build some fairly intelligent things out of very s