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Chapter 3 How does the mind work.doc

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Jennifer Fortune

Chapter 3 How does the mind work? Categorization: the process of recognizing and identify something ex common symptoms of a stroke - this is the most basic process we use to understand and structure our world - we match features of an object With our knowledge about the defining characteristic and once we have categorized the object, we can make informed decisions Social cognition: the study of how info about ppl is processed and stored There are 2 basic motives that underlie human information processing 1- to perceive the world accurately- we are more likely to survive if we categorize objects correctly, draw valid inferences about ppl and predict actions 2- to view the self positively- we want to see ourselves as good ppl who want to succeed Schemas: the building blocks of the mind Schemas: mental representation of objects or categories, which contain the central features of the object or categories as well as assumptions about how the object or category works - more simply, schemas are mental rep of objects or categories of objects - we have schemas for television, girlfriends, how you act in a restaurant (relational schemas) etc - aka concepts - schemas/concepts contain the principal features of the object or category s well as simple assumptions or theories about how the object or category functions - schema of Ipod: small, white, play MP3, holds many songs, - when you see an ipod, you compare the object to your schema of ipod, if it matches, then you have an ipod Schemas & Categorization - the basic function is schemas is to categorize objects in ways that gives meaning and predictability - when we encounter an object we have to identify it (categorize it) before we interact with it Going beyond the info given - How does categorization impose meaning on the world? - When we see something and categorize it, we assume that it has characterize of the schema even it we cannot perceive it directly ie fire is hot - We go beyond the info given – we infer non visible characteristics on the basis of our categorization - Categorization allows us to form impressions and make decisions quickly and efficiently and allow us to direct our attention to aspects in the environment that are most important - However sometime we make faulty assumptions based on our schemas ie when we categorize a person into a group ie lawyer, French Canadian and assume that he possess the a[particular characteristics of that group ie stereotyping Selective info processing – see page 69 Accessibility: What’s on your mind? A factor that influences whether a schema will be used is its accessibility Accessibility: the ease with witch a schema comes to awareness Priming of Schemas Priming: the process where activating a schema makes it more likely that the schema will be activated again in the future - ex: someone compliments your hair, you will be looking at everyone else’s hair during the day – the compliment primed the schema of haircut - if the schema is on your mind, it is more likely to be activated again - videotape of businessman - 2 variations, one primed hostile and one primed calm and relaxed then after they read an passage about another man whose actions were ambiguous and could be taken as hostile or relaxed, afterward participants who watched the hostile business man said that the second man was hostile and same with the relaxed man - if your wife is pregnant you will keep looking at babies and keep wondering if chubby ppl are pregnant Chronic Accessibility of Schemas Chronic accessibility: the degree to which schemas are easily activated for an individual across time and situations - in layman terms, how accessible are certain schemas for ppl ex: a high school basketball coach has height as a chronically accessible schema when meeting new stuendts ie “O this guy would make a good center” Stereotypes: Schemas in the social domain Stereotype: a set of characteristic that a perceiver associates with members of a group; it is a cognitive structure containing the individuals beliefs that members of a group share particular attributes Stereotypes are a kind of schema and guide our perceptions and impression of almost everyone we meet They can be positive (doctors, firefighters) or negatives (telemarketers and drug addicts) Going beyond the info given - stereotypes is a type of categorization – we see an object and we try to infer things about it ex: we learn a person is a lawyer and we expect that she is smart, wealthy etc and these inferences guide our actions towards her - however sometime assumptions we make about members of groups are oversimplified/wrong - a group to which a perceiver belongs is called his ingroup ex mine include university students, males, Chinese ppl, Canadians - out-group is a group to which a perceiver does not belong ex mine include women, black ppl etc - in-group = positive stereotype vs out-group = negative stereotypes - perceivers habitually use perceptions of their in groups as implicit standards of comparison when judging out-groups and since in-gorup is positive, this makes judgments about out-groups more negative - ppl have a tendency to overestimate the similarity within groups is much stronger for out-groups than for ones own in-groups ex everyone in that out-group are the same however the ppl in my in-group have diverse characteristics. Another example is yeah Americans are all the same they are all rude, however, Canadians are a mix of rude and nice ppl Out-group homogeneity effect: the tendency for ppl to overestimate the similarity within groups to which they do not belong Selective info processing Our stereotypes can change how we interpret ambiguous behaviour - participants watch a video of a 9 year old white girl named Hannah - 2 conditions - she was in an inner city vs surbia - Participants then rated Hannahnd academic ability (baseline condition) - Other participants watch a 2 video where Hannah answered general knowledge questions (performance condition) - Those who saw Hannah in the inner city focused on her wrong answers and rated her academic ability poorly vs those who saw Hannah in surbia rated her ability good - The same performances was interpreted differently based on expectancies derived from social class stereotypes - Research by John Darley and Paget Gross Automatic vs Controlled processes - People do not have full control over all of their mental process, many thoughts and judgements occur whether we want them to or not. We are not even aware of some of our cognitive processes Automatic process: a judgement or thought that we cannot control, which occurs without intention, very effectively and sometimes beneath our awareness - cant turn them on or off - very efficient, can occur at the same time as other processes - ex categorization ie recognizing and identify an object - we automatically categorize object and don’t have to stop and think. Has to be fast and effortless so we can assign our limited attention resources to more demanding task Controlled process: a judgement or thought that we command which is international, req significant cognitive resources and occurs within our awareness - reqs power so it may not occur during other cognitive processes - ex thinking about why lily behaved that why, deciding how to behave in a certain situation etc - one function of controlled process is to correct errors from automatic process if we suspect that errors have occurs ex we may deicide that someone who acted in a hostile way (swearing) is not really hostile because he was responding to a prior threat Categorization of ppl also occurs automatically - sex, race and relevant schema/stereotypes are activated automatically whether we want to or not ie stereotyping Reconstructive memory Reconstructive memory: the process of trying to rebuild the past based on cues and estimates ie memory is not much like reading a book as it is like writing one from fragmentary notes Autobiographical memory: stored info about the self, such as goals, personality traits, past experiences and other qualities ie our personal history - important bc info about the self has major implications for identify and self esteem - Michael Ross has demonstrated that autobiographical memory involves estimating what we were like in the past bc we ay not be able to retrieve concrete info - This estimating of memories can be influence by our motives and beliefs - Participants who complete the current and past self rated the current self more favourable than the 16 year old self – Ross said that many of the participants did not really access valid memories about themselves in the past but instead estimated the past self based on a desire to see the current self positively – one way to feel good about ourselves is to believe that we are steadily improving over time and getting better on most qualities - Another possible interpretation is of Ross’s findings is that participants past and present ratings were guided by their beliefs that pl generally improve over time on most characteristics - When participants were ask to rate the current and 16 year old self and an friend, th
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