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PSYB10H3 Lecture Notes - Social Cognition, Eleanor Rosch, Parallel Computing

Course Code
Elizabeth Page- Gould

of 3
Lecture 1
Social Cognition
- Fundamental basis of social psychology
- What is social cognition?
- Thinking about social things/social objects.
- Social Objects: refer to people but also nonpersons.
- A physical object that has the ability to engage in social cognition
- An object that can think about other objects and can think about other social objects.
- You can consider them and be aware of them
Social Cognition (Basics)
- Thinking:
- 1) Automatic cognition
- 2) Controlled cognition
- Cognition:
- 1) Perception
- 2) Processing/Encoding
- 3) Storage/Knowledge Representation
- 4) Retrieval/Application
- Become aware of something/ perceive it in the environment.
- Occurs through the senses
- Pre attentive processes when you rapidly process a complex scene
- Rapid = less than 250 milliseconds
- Complex = large, multi-element display of information
- Something that catches your eye or pops out at you
- Gaze Detection: Face that is looking at us stands out more and we tend to look at that more.
- Encoding: selecting information from the environment and storing it in memory
- Attention:
- Selective perception
- Schemas:
- Mental set of expectations for a person or a situation for pretty much anything about the social
- Mental structures used to organise knowledge about the social world around themes or
- Facilitate efficient processing
- Guide attention and memory
- Lead to a bias against schema incongruent information (ie stereotypes)
- Speed VS accuracy trade off when using schemas (esp in social world)
- Self Fulfilling Prophecy Experiment
- Our expectations shape our own perceptions and behaviours and that is propagated into social
networking/the social world.
Storage/Knowledge Perception
- Prototype Theory of Categorization (Rosch 1973)
- Objects are classified based on similarity to a prototype
- Semantic Network: Related concepts are stored closely together in memory
- Spreading Activation: Thinking about one concept will “activate”, “prime”, or make “accessible”
a related concept AND inhibit unrelated concepts
- Accessibility: the extent to which concepts are at the forefront of your mind.
- Accessible concepts shape social cognition
- Ironic Effects of Thought Suppression
- White bear “don’t think about the white bear
- Suppressed thoughts become hyper accessible
- In order to think you don’t want to think a thought you have to think about the thought you
don’t want to think about, but if you distract yourself with something completely different then
that works.
- Priming: The process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of another concept.
- Algorithms: Mechanical, step by step answer.
- Slow and deliberate, effortful.
- Highly successful (i.e, low error rates)
- Heurisitics: Mental shortcuts:
- Fast and efficient
- Parallel processing
- Error prone
- Key Heuristics:
- 1) Availability Heuristic
- A mental shortcut whereby people base a judgement on the ease with which they can bring
something to mind.
- Stems from the way our knowledge is organized (ie semantic network) and accessibility.
- 2) Representativeness Heuristic
- A mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical
- Base rate bias
- The tendency to underestimate the impact of base rates on accurate prediction
- Due to our reliance on the representativeness heuristic, we exhibit the base rate bias
- 3) Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic
- Anchoring: The mental shortcut whereby people make judgements using the first answer that
came to them as an “anchor”
- Adjustment: The bias whereby even when people learn their anchor is untrustworthy, they do
not adjust sufficiently away from it
- attempt to adjust away from our first guess but we don’t sufficiently adjust away from our first
guess such that the first number that is thrown at us at some quantitative making decision
affects the outcome of the decision
- 4) Simulation Heuristic
- A mental shortcut whereby people overestimate the probability of an event if they can imagine
or “simulate” it in their minds
- Counterfactual Thinking
- Thinking of something that has already occurred and you imagine what if it had been another
- This is counterfactual because the event already occurred (fact) and what if it went someway
- The more you can simulate that alternative, the more obsessed you become with the alternative
and the more you see the people who stood in your way as the only reason why you didn’t
reach it. You really think it is probable because you can visualize it being true.
- People who missed the plane by 5 minutes are much more angry than those who missed by 30