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Lecture 3

Lecture 3 - Social Cognition and Social Attribution

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY220H5
Professor
Emily Impett
Semester
Fall

Description
PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 3 - September 26, 2013 Social Cognition and Social Attribution Outline of today’s lecture: - Part one: Social cognition: How do we select, interpret, and remember information about ourselves and others? - Part two: Social attribution: How do we form impressions of and make judgments about other people? Social Cognition Social Cognition - What is the key premise of social cognition? - What are schemas? - What are heuristics? - Are we idiots? What is the key premise of social cognition? Key Premise - The human mind has a limited capacity to process social information - 56-4632 o Our short term memory tends to remember plus or minus 7 words - As a result, people are “cognitive misers” - We take shortcuts to understand our world What are schemas? What is a Schema? - A mental structure that helps people organize knowledge about a stimulus - Makes the world more predictable (we know what to expect) Soloon Asch - Group 1: intelligent, skillful, industrious, warm, determined, practical, and cautious o Generous? 91% (good-natured and humorous too) - Group 2: intelligent, skillful, industrious, cold, determined, practical, and cautious o Generous? 9% 4 Things Schemas Do - Guide our Attention o There is a lot of info out there for us to take in, and schemas help us determine what is important to keep a note of - Influence our memory - Provide us with “scripts” so that we know what to expect - Profoundly influence our behavior Waitress/Library Study (Example of influencing our memory) - Participants watched a video of a husband and wife having dinner together - ½ of the participants told that women was librarian - ½ told that woman was a waitress - Later, took a quiz assessing their memories - Some features fit schema of waitress, - Results: PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 3 - September 26, 2013 o Participants who were assigned that the woman was a waitress, they remembered her drinking beer, and received romance novel as a gift o Participants who were assigned that the woman was a librarian, they remembered her drinking wine, and received a history book as a gift Scripts - A schema that describes that expected sequence of events in a well-known situation, such as going to a restaurant - What if we don’t have a script for something? o People get confused Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - Something that happens when we: - (a) Have an expectation about what another person is like, which… - (b) Influences how we act toward that person, which… - (c) Causes that person to behave consistently with our original expectations Elementary School Study - IQ test given all students in school - Teachers are told that some students scored high - “Bloomers” were in fact chosen randomly - How did the bloomers and other students do in school? - Teachers said that… o They spent slightly less time with the students labeled as bloomers than the “other” students - Teachers actually o Gave bloomers more personal attention, encouragement, and support  A warmer emotional environment for them o Gave bloomers more material to learn and material that is more difficult o Gave bloomers more and better feedback on their work o Gave bloomers more opportunities and a longer time to respond - Who Got Smarter? o The graph shows that everyone’s IQ got smarter o Also, the “bloomers” o The effect of the teachers expectations of the “bloomers”, which impacted the “bloomers” to preform better and increase their IQ Recap: - We are cognitive misers - Schemas help us make sense of the world - But they can lead to important bases - They influence how we feel and what we do - They can be self-fulfilling What are heuristics? Heuristics - Mental shortcuts that people use to make judgments quickly, though sometimes inaccurately, for decision about uncertain events Class Poll (example of heuristic) - Which series of coin tosses is more likely? PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 3 - September 26, 2013 o (a) Sequence A: HHTTHTHTTH o (b) Sequence B: HHHHHTTTTT o (c) The sequences are equally likely Representativesness Heuristic - The tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by the extent to which it resembles that typical case Why Knowing about this Matters - A patient comes into the office and complains of all the things that a person with angina would complain of, but he was the picture of health - He was in his 40s, trim, athletic, didn’t smoke and had no family history of heart attack - The doctor wrote off the patient’s chest pains as “overexertion” - The next day, the patient had a heart attack Class Poll (example of availability heuristic) - Does the letter “r” occurs more often as: o The first letter of a word o The third letter of a word - People overwhelming choose a o Because it is easier to generate words that begin with the letter “r”, - In reality, b is more common Availability Heuristic - The tendency to judge the frequency or likelihood of an event by the ease with which relevant instances come to mind Planning Fallacy - The tendency for people to be unrealistically optimistic about how quickly they can complete a project - Students asked to predict when they would complete their honours thesis o As accurately as possible o If everything went as poorly as it possibly could - 1/3 of students who completed thesis by the time they had estimated - ½ of students who Poor Planning (example of planning fallacy) - Opera house in Sydney Australia o Projected: 6 years; $7 million o Actual: 16 years, $102 million - Montreal Olympics in 1976 o Projected: $120 million for the whole Olympics o Actual: $120 for special stadium with special roof (and it wasn’t even built until 1989!) - We are not good with predicting of how long things will take and cost Are we Idiots? NO! - The human mind is ingeniously constructed to allow us to make automatic judgments - Schemas and heuristics are helpful a lot of the time, but in many cases they are not - But we are not helpless victims of how our minds work! PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 3 - September 26, 2013 Automatic and Controlled - We don’t just respond to events in our world automatically (although this does happen at times) - We also possess the ability to think effortfully and deliberately about our social world o We can consider multiple alternatives o We search for disconfirming information Social Attributions Key Premise of Social Attribution - We are meaning makers: we constantly “Ask why” people behave the way that they do - We make att
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