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Lecture II Jan. 23rd.doc

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Lecture II January 23 2012rd Social Cognition Thinking about people People think about other people more than anything else! People influence our automatic and controlled processes. This focus on people helps illustrate our social nature, that the social world is important to us, that we have a great need for our belongingness goals to be met, it assists us in maintaining strong social relationships and helps keep those relationships long-lasting. Although we need people to meet our goals (such as belongingness), we also compete with them for other goals. We pay attention to other people’s emotions to gauge how we are doing and how we, ourselves, are feeling. There are three gaols of social thinking Getting the right answer Confirming the desired answer Reaching this answer quickly People are cognitive misers. They do not want to think more than necessary and expend cognitive resources when we don’t have to. The Duplex Mind This is similar to Freud’s theory of the dual mind composed of the conscious and unconscious. There are two systems, that automatic and the conscious. The Automatic: is like a robot helper that helps you with things you are already good at and don’t need to think about. It’s all about quick decisions, effortlessness, good with familiar things, and things you have done often. This is kind of like Freud’s unconscious. Like counting to ten. The Controlled: careful, effortful thinking and decision making. Thinking on purpose. Conscious. Like is someone asked you to list the first ten numbers in alphabetical order. Automatic Thinking Lacks intention – we do not do it on purpose Lacks control – it is outside our control Lacks effort – there is no effort involved Efficiency – high degree of efficiency, it is more focused on quick rather than correct. Knowledge Structures Schemas Representations of objects or categories of them. Information of concept, attributes, and relationships to other concepts. For example, the schema of a 2 year psychology course. Collection of information about what some members of a category might be Includes expectations, past experiences, things we have heard from others, etc Scripts ‘Should do’ lists that we follow in certain situations Expectations about how a certain process should go Anything different violates scripts and means that we cannot rely on them, thus preventing the experience from being an automatic process. For example, we all haves scripts for restaurants, classes, parties, etc. Priming The activation of a concept in the mind When you are reminded of something Can influence subsequent thinking and ideas or concepts that you recall afterwards When people re primed with similar schemas they answer faster than those who are not. This is important for social thinking It can trigger automatic processing and it, itself, often is. Bargh, Chen, Burrows (1996) Randomly assigned participants to a priming condition; rude, polite, or neutral. Participants where asked to unscramble a series of words into a sentence and where instructed to go outside into the hallway and tell the experimenter once they where done. Rude: they/her/bother/see/usually Polite: they/her/respect/see/usually Neutral: they/her/send/see/usually When the participants would go out into the hallway for the experimenter, they would find them engrossed in a conversation with another individual. What they measured was how long it took each person to interrupt the conversation. Those who where primed with rudeness violated rules of social etiquette. Thus, priming determined subsequent behaviour that was a part of an unrelated task. Thought Suppression This is something that is extremely hard to do. When we try to suppress thoughts, there are two processes at play: The automatic: which scans the mind for information relating to the unwanted thought and constantly watching to see if you think about the thought you don’t want to think about. (The White Bear Effect) The controlled: substitutes other thoughts, tries to direct attention elsewhere, and finds other things to think about. When you let go of the controlled, the automatic mind reminds you non-stop of the thing you do not want to think about. Herman & Mack, 1975 Illustrate some of the automatic and controlled processes that influence eating behaviour. The researchers hypothesised that dieters and non dieter’s would eat different amounts of food based on their eating patterns. Participants where asked to come into the lab after not haven eaten for several hours. They where randomly assigned to eat 0, 1, 2, or 3 milkshakes. After the independent variable (milkshakes) they where given three large containers of ice cream to taste and rate. The dependant variable was the ice cream eaten. They found a predictable pattern for non dieters and a less and counter intuitive pattern for dieters. The non dieters ate the most amount of ice-cream when they didn’t have any milkshakes. When they where full of milkshakes, they ate less of it. This pattern wasn’t there for dieters. When they hadn’t any milk shakes at all, they ate the smallest amount of ice-cream relative to conditions where they had the milkshakes beforehand. They ate the highest amount of ice cream when they had more milkshakes beforehand. This seems counterintuitive. They where subject to a process called counter-regulation. This is where indulging in a behaviour you are trying to regulate after the failure of regulation. It’s the “I blew my diet phenomenon”. Dieters have this script and this salient idea that they shouldn’t be eating ice cream. They are constantly primed with this idea. When they consume the milkshakes another schema comes into play: the diet has been broken so it’s time to gorge! It’s the notion “well I blew my diet so now I am going to go crazy”. Heuristics These are mental shortcuts for everyday judgement. They are automatic. Representativeness The extent to which an instance represents the larger schema or script. This ignores chances, etc. Consider the William; classics professor or truck driver example. Saying he is a classics professor based on the information given, ignores the base rate information since there are more truck drivers than classics professors. Availability The ease of which things come to mind. Things that seem common. Based on actuality, frequency, recency, and attention paid. When things fit into the above categories, they come to mind easily because the automatic system pulls them up, and examples are readily available. Tversky and Khaneman 1973 “The letter R” Participants are asked which is more likely and occurs more often, R as the first letter or third. People say first although it is actually morel likely for it to be third. This is because we organize letters by first letter. So that is a more salient piece of evidence. Thus, this also ignores base rate information. Anchoring and Adjustment Whatever we chose as a starting point will influence later on thinking and decision making. It is judging the likelihood of something by using a starting point and adjusting from that point. This influences the final adjustment. Tversky and Khaneman 19
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