PSC 152 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: In-Group Favoritism, Ingroups And Outgroups, Social Cognition

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Published on 15 Jun 2020
Mental Representations
Social cognition approach in action
Example: intergroup bias
We tend to have favorable reactions to ingroups & negative
reactions toward outgroups
Prejudiced personality?
Prejudiced society?
Both personality and societal factors can contribute toward intergroup
Can arise out of normal cognitive processes
Category Accentuation
The labels caused people to
Rate lines in Group A as very similar
Rate lines in Group B as very similar
Report large differences between lines in Group A and lines in Group B
Adding group labels → Exaggerate similarity within groups; exaggerate
differences between groups
Minimal Group Paradigm
Arbitrarily assign people to groups
Participants were either assigned as overestimators or underestimators
Ex: over vs. under - estimators
More favorable attitudes & behavior toward (minimal) ingroup
If you were assigned as a overestimator, you would favor
other fellow overestimators
Based on simple categorization into “us” vs. “them” + esteem
Like ingroup for esteem needs and desire to feel good about the groups we
belong to
Mental representations
Knowledge, beliefs, & expectancies from some domain that we have
accumulated from past experiences
Mental representations are Built, stored, & used for future prediction & to guide
Mental representations let us take advantage of our past experiences &
the knowledge we’ve accumulated to act more efficiently in daily life
Don’t have to start anew every time we encounter an object/person/situation
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Ex: if you’ve already formed a mental representation of a dog, then you
don’t have to start from scratch
Types of mental representations
1. Concepts
Stored understanding of the meaning of something
Concepts can be objects or abstract ideas
Ex: bike
Ex: fear
Concepts are Sometimes called schemas
What you think about yourself
Person schemas- a particular known other person
What you think about another person (ex: friend)
Group schemas - stereotypes
Attributes you associated w/ specific group
Role schemas
Attributes that go w/ a particular role
Ex: teammate; boss etc.
Scripts - schemas about sequence of events in common situations
Ex: going to a restaurant
2. Categories
A class of related entities or concepts
Once something is categorized, it tends to be treated like all other
members of the category
Categorization has efficiency advantages, but can also lead to
How do concepts & categories form?
Classical view
Aristotle - categories are discrete groupings with defining features
1. Many have no defining features (“fuzzy boundaries”)
2. Category members (i.e., exemplars) vary in typicality
Prototype view
Summary of the features of category exemplars
Abstracted across individual instances
Typicality of individual exemplars determined by comparing with
Ex: comparing various birds to see commonalities
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