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PSY100 - motivation

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Dan Dolderman

Top-down processes, efficiency gains, accuracy costs* the power of suggestion: - people can fabricate “memories” of events which have not occurred, following leading questions/suggestions - Class examples: o getting lost in a shopping mall o Disneyland—Bugs Bunny sighting—1/3 people recalled o A man “remembering” the liberation of Holland - Eyewitness testimony  highly questionable reliability: o Can be influenced by: o race of witnesses + alleged criminal o leading questions o misleading post-event info Leading Questions: Loftus & Palmer - Participants viewed video of car crash - 2 condiitions: o control question: how fast were the two cars going when they contacted each other? o leading question: how fast were the two cars going when they smashed into each other? - Smashed = 65.7km/h - Contacted = 51.2 km/h - Various scenarios—subjects could also be lead to remember broken glass (where none), stop signs, other details, etc. - Therefore, wording of questions can alter memories Children’s Testimony: - child abuse cases  memories can be biased very easily; thus, people can be wrongly convicted for crime/unjustly not convicted - children—particularly suggestible, tend to confabulate memories o suggestibility influenced:  age (very young = most suggestible)  whether interviewers’ expectations clear  whether other children’s memories also accessible More ways our brains deceive us... - as you activate one construct, related constructs also activated: processes info more efficiently, but less accurately - Another way we deceive ourselves—heuristics—cognitive shortcuts o E.g. stereotypes, social scripts (social settings in which ‘how you should behave’ is intuitively known) o Because... o Ellen Langer—photocopy study o wanted to see likelihood of people being allowed by people in line to butt in front  “Excuse me...may I use the machine?”  “ “ ...because I’m in a rush?”  more likely  “ “ ...because I have to make copies?”  same proportion as “I’m in a rush” excuse  just as persuasive an excuse as being in a rush, though it makes no sense o When dogs listen to humans, they don’t hear anything else but their recognized name o Similarly, the word “because” for people (on autopilot) functions as a heuristic, because it implies reason. o Another example: a short, slim person, who likes to read poetry. Is this person more likely to be a Prof. of classics or truck driver? Most people would answer the former. Statistically, the latter is much more likely to occur, based on the proportion of people who become truck drivers vs. classics professors. Lesson: we don’t think statistically; we think heuristically.  Representativeness heuristic  a short, slim person who likes to read poetry is more “representative” of a classics professor than truck driver. Ignoring Base Rates: - making decisions based on extend to which information seems similar to a category you have in mind - E.g., doctors often ignore base rates of illnesses  diagnoses - Investors  oft ignore base rates of business failure in a sector when making investment decisions (“it looks like a good business plan...”) - Fundamental attribution error = tendency to make assumptions about a person based on a perceived behaviour  assume characteristics of a person o involves basic process—  i.e., we see a certain kind (category) of behaviour look for “representative” explanation  e.g. explanation—that person is just that kind of person, ignoring ‘base rate’ represented by situation’s common influence over people • E.g. rude behaviour = rude person • helpful behaviour = helpful, kind person • lazy, undisciplined behaviour = lazy, undisciplined person  Underemphasize situation(al influences), overemphasis behaviour in the situation Power of labels: - E.g. framing effects—choosing frame through which you’re going to look at something through o Environmental campaign to get people to take stairs instead of elevators: why should you take the stairs instead of the elevator? --‘save the world?’ or ‘tone your butt?’ o But, it’s not representative of the purpose of the campaign/situation - Why would the American gov’t change the name of the War Department— Defence Department? - Or consider examples: o use of term “insurgents” vs. “members of the resistance movement” o ‘freedom fighters’ vs ‘terrorists o ‘we inflicted some collateral damage’ vs. ‘we slaughtered innocent civilians’ o ‘liberating force’ vs ‘occupying army’ o ‘vietnam’ vs ‘world war II’ o ‘meat’ vs ‘dead flesh’ vs ‘pet on a plate’ o Mrs. vs Ms o ‘people’ vs ‘citizens’ vs ‘consumers’
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