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Lecture 17

Psychology 1000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Fundamental Attribution Error, Observational Learning, List Of Muppets

Course Code
Psychology 1000
Allen Scott

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There is now an entire generation of people who have never had to make a decision, because they are babied so much.
We should not prevent children from playing; it doesn’t help them.
Thinking About the Social World
Social problems are no different from processing information.
Social Cognition (Social Information Processing)
It’s how we process the social behaviour of others, and take a step back, and look at ourselves.
It uses cognitive process such as perception, memory stems, attention, thought, and emotion to make sense of
ourselves and others.
We have to encode social cues, interpret them, and whatnot. It is all about what is perceived to have
happened in a situation. All of that is based upon a wealth of social knowledge that is gained by having
children interact with other children and adults.
Encode Social Cues —> Interpret social cues—> formulate social goals —> generate problem solving
strategies —> evaluate the likely effectiveness of strategies and select a response —> enact a response
—> peer evaluation and response.
The response is all dependent on the child’s mental state, past social experiences, social
expectancies, knowledge of social rules, and emotionality and emotional regulation rules.
How Social Are We?
Humans have a long evolutionary history of the social behaviour - the critical factor in what is means to be human.
We like faces; faces are important to us, and our brain likes them.
We can read-non-verbal behaviour with faces, body postures, etc.
We read eyes; which way people are looking,etc.
We communicate; tone of voice, style of language.
We use categorization; we store different examples of things in the world, and we make an automatic judgement.
This comes from seeing their clothes
We also use social learning, or observational learning. When we are exposed over and over again to a behaviour or
something, and we end up mimicking their behaviour.
Humans have highly specialized brain regions to interact with the social work and to reason about social problems.
We know when we should do something, and when we shouldn’t.
Humans have a desire to associate with other, regardless of the purpose; this is afflictive behaviour.
To cut people off, this is extremely debilitating.
During early childhood, we form structures that help up interpret the world. We form Social Schemas, which is General
Knowledge structures in long term memory, that relates to “others” and social experiences.
We categorize others, make decisions about others, and exhibit a habitual response towards certain people. There is a
certain type of person that we don’t like. Much of this is learned through socialization. We teach children who to like and
who to not like; it is often done without even realizing it.
Humans are driven to form In-Groups vs Out-Groups. This becomes an “us vs them” scenario. In part, this stems from
people we know, that we trust. People we don’t know, we don’t.
How Do We Form Attitudes?
Attitudes are ingrained ways of responding or thinking.
Implicit Attitudes are automatic and relatively unconscious.
They are related to implicit memory systems.
Attitude has three parts
Cognitive: Knowledge about the object.
Affective: Emotional feelings.
Behavioural: Predisposition to act.
The Mere Exposure Effect
This is a term in psych for people who form their attitudes merely because they have formed their habits over and
over and over again. If you eat hamburgers a lot, you must like them. If you have always associated with a particular
group of people, and if you’re asked if you like them, you might think that you like them. We use our experiences.
Categorizing Others
Stereotype: A collection of beliefs and impressions held about a group and it’s members.
This carries no weight or value. It is neither good or bad. They’re automatics and implicit.
They are known as a adaptive heuristic; that is, it is an expectation of behaviours and attitudes.
However, indiscriminate categorization can lead to prejudice and discrimination.
Attitudes don’t always correlate with overt behaviour
The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
When our expectations about the actions of another person or ourselves, lead that person (or you) to behave in the
expected way.
I’m having a bad day, but you’re a(n) _________.
Attribution. We attribute or explain behaviour and the source of it in other people and in ourselves.
Dispositional. These are a personal or internal characteristics and enduring personality traits.
Situational. The context. The characteristics of the circumstances and the personality states.
Errors and Biases in Attribution
The Fundamental Attribution Error
All humans overestimate the influence of dispositional traits, and underestimate the
influence of situational states, in forming an impression of others.
The biggest issue is trying to stop this, because it is completely automatic. We also tend
to use different attributions for our behaviour.
The Actor - Observer Effect
All humans have a bias to attribute his or her own behaviour to situational states, but the
behaviour of others to dispositional traits.
The History of Social Psychology and the “Classic” Experiments
Conformity and blind obedience to a leader
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