Social Cognition Lecture 3 01/14/2013
How people think of themselves and the social world = social cognition
How we select social information is important, as it can lead to very different results.
How we interpret situations – they can come to different conclusions based upon many things, such
as preconceived notions, can lead to…
How we remember situations – if you’re not interested in it, chances are you’re not going to retain or
hang onto the information.
How we use situations/memories – ex. If you REMEMBER what people wear a lot, you might use it to
make judgments on them.
We are constantly bombared from so much sensory information, so we use and apply schemas –
giving us the ability to process information quickly
Low effort thinking – driven by schemas ▯ if you walk by a bunch of people with balloons and a cake
with candles, you don’t need to overly think to no that’s a birthday party.
Schemas allow us to organize knowledge around themes or topics. There are many different types, such
Object schemas – what represents a chair, they may look different but you can tell they are still chairs.
Selfschema – ourselves, which guides our thought process and decision making
Relational schemas – how we relate to others, if you meet a higher status person (a CEO) you might have
an idea of how you should behave around them,
Schemas – we use them to fill in blanks about people, and it allows us to assume behaviours of others (like
Shooting Errors study – white and black people holding either a gun or a cell phone, police officers had to
choose If they would shoot/if they were armed or yield of they had a cell phone. the conclusion: hf the
person was white – the officer made the same amount of mistakes of whther they were armed or not… The
officers were more likely to make errors to shoot the black man/make mistakes and think the black person
was armed when they weren’t. what determines what schemas we use? = accessibility – the degree to which schemas are accessible in
ones minds, If they lead you to the wrong conclusion it is refered to as accessibility bias. There are 2 types
of accessibility schemas
1. Chronicy accessibly – deeply rooted in our every day experience – working with students, going to
strengthen and widen your schema about students… “somebody didn’t shuvle their drive way” “oh it
was probably just a student house they probably don’t have enough time”
2. Temporary – recent or immediate experiences – knowing is priming
Whats put in our head can structure our behavior. Words having to do with being polite… put into a
situation to measure your patients… if you are primed with the words for being polite you’ll be patient for
ever, if you’re primed with words being rude you’ll intrupt/be rude immediately. Tests are flaud – especially
if the person that is taking the test is primed that you will do bad.
• Study with candy and money/number counting – those who counted money, then had to do a candy
test ate 50% more then those who counted paper with #’s on them. This is priming – later a women
dropped a stack of stuff some of those who counted the money didn’t help hwere as those who counted
paper did. It changes the way we feel. Also, later, there was a bucket of water, those who counted the
money had a pain reducing affect – they could put their hand in the ice for longer. Money = power and
Self Fulfilling prophecy – situation when somebody has an expectation (or a schema) which influences
their actions towards a target, which causes the target to act consistently with the expectation. This leads
to the idea that social perceptions can lead to social realities.
Ex. Study of math majors… a math test /experiment half were told that there was a gender difference in the
rsults (men do better then women on the exam) women did worse them men, however, the other half
weren’t informed of any gender difference and women did as good as men.
Problem solving strategies
Algorithm tries every possibility and generates the correct answer.
Heuristics – mental short cuts
Ex. Scrambled words : smalmam – mammals – you don’t try all 40,000 ways this can be made (Algorithm)
or you use a mental short cut, and use schema of grammer – 2 vowels….
using information that’s more prominent in senses or memory. rd
Words that start with d vrs words with d as the 3 letter – ur more likely to find it easier to start with d cause
its more available to us, however, d in the 3 letter (maD) is more common/ there are more then words that
start w d
famous names – subjects hered famous womens names and generic male names, when asked if they
heard more guy or girl names they thought girl names even though there were equal amount of both
genders names – but it was more available to them because it was mre remember able
if a person is given a base rate – 100 p, 70 artist and 30 scientists, is bob more likely to be an arist or
scientist? Logistically, an artist, but when personality is put into it, we can be lead to errors.
Confirmation bias: people tend to try and confirm rather than disconfirm their theory (ask questions
for which yes is the answer)
Thinking without awarenesS: usful in situations where speed ensures survival – loud noise – predator,
Continue next time… (Wed. 16 Jan.)
Power of the Unconscious study
Have to make a choice… 3 conditions/groups – 1 = make your mind up immediately 2 you have a
little while to make up your decision = Conscious and 3 very long time away to think about it =
unconscious. They said that having some time to think about it/ conscious did the best…
Thinking without awareness…
Benefits: rapid, needed to ensure survival – hearing a loud noise, you jump, they could be telling us
something of potential danger.
Cons: inaccurate, split brain patients ▯ corpus coloses severed (important for exchange of information from
left and right hemispheres of brain). Left = story telling, conscious and verbal side… right = engaged in
pattern recognition, automatic processing. Experiment with people with this disorder, the word WALK was
shown to the right side of people, which can’t communicate, they would automatically walk but wouldn’t
know why… / wouldn’t remember seeing the word WALK.
Dual Response: Sensory Input
Rapid Emotional Response Unconscious
Amygdala = fear response, emotional responses.
Ex. If you see something that looks like a snake, and you’re scared of snakes you might jump out of the
way… then you look at it after and it’s only a piece of rope… it’s immediate but sometimes inaqurate.
Once you realize… the second response is occurring:
Less Rapid Emotional Response
• Counterfactual thinking can lead to depression. Counterfactual thinking is when you change some
aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have happened. Ex. You miss your flight, you think
“if I were here 5m inutes earlier I would have made my flight…”
• Over confidence barrier: the tendency to be more confident than correct.
• Social Perception 01/14/2013
Social perception: how we form impressions and make inferences about other people. It’s strongly
influenced by: Social Perception 01/14/2013
1. Emotions – nonverbal behavior. The way we feel at a time of the event has a big impact of social
judgments. Ex. If people feel good they’re more likely to find others attractive, if people are fearful
they’re more likely to see others as being aggressive. If you’re in a bad mood you’ll remember negative
things that occurred, and if you’re in a positive mood you’ll remember positive things that occurred.
Information can affect of we feel and will effect how we make judgement. Non verbal communication
reflection can be transferred across species. Ex. Yonning, other animals mimic yoaning. It seems like
we have a system in our brain that potentially can explain why we mimic others. Non verbal behavior is
useful in expressing emotions, conveying attitudes and personality traits, and it can substitute or
facilitate verbal communication.
• Encoding: expressing or emitting non verbal behavior, smiling vrs giving the finger.
• Decoding: interpreting the meaning of others’ non verbal behavior. Ex. If somebody else is smiling does
it mean they’re happy or is it an evil smile?
• Darwin thought that coding and decoding were species specific and universal – anybody can do it,
across the globe, showing pictures of major emotions they’ll get them. Pretty much everybody agrees
there are certain emotions that are universal (fear, surprise, happiness, sadness). In a study, there was
a target person with a certain expression and bystandards… people from the u.s. were more likely to
zone in one the target and be able to state their emotional display where as Asians would look at the
others and make their judgement on the more common expression. Ex. If the target looks happy but
bistandards are sad they are more likel to think the target looks sad. If men and women are equally
assertive they aren’t seen the same… it’s more exceptable to be a man and aggressive. In
individualistic cultures expression is encouraged and in collectivist cultures expression is strongly
discourages, particularly negative expressions.
• Implicit personality theory: people use a type of schema to group personality traits together… if you
meet somebody and they are very outgoing in meeting you, you might assume other traits of these
people... common pairings include:
Kind + generous
Helpful + sincere
Practical + cautious Social Perception 01/14/2013
▯ Study done in cultural cariation in implicit personality theories: bilingual chinese people, personality
descriptions of people described in a story… somebody artistic: you might attach other traits – artistic
isn’t a word in Chinese/ an implicit personality schema… but shi gu is – it means something in chinese
but we don’t have it in English. The bilingual chineise and unilingual English people had to give their
impressions… if the English person read the story they used a lot of different schematic traits that
weren’t in the story then shi gu personality type schemas… a chinese person who read the story in
English also used more descriptive schema words that weren;t in the story… but when those chinese
people read the story in chineise they thought there were more shi gu personality traits.
Attribution theory: how we explain other people’s behavior this is due too..
Internal dispositions: personality traits, attitudes and motives…(something to do with them)
External situations: the particular situation.
how do we make this decision? There are a few ways:
Consensus: other people, same stimulus… if very few people would react this way in the same situation the
consensus is low… but if most people would react this way the consensus is high.
Distinctiveness: if they respond the same way to different stimuli its low – they always act this way,
consistency: same actor, same stimulus, across time and situations
Fundamental Attribution Error/ Correspondence Bias: tendency to underestimate situations and
Why do we make these attribution errors:
Perceptual salience: Social Perception 01/14/2013
You’re more likely to pay attention of the actors then the stage... we make the attribution because we
see the people, we either blame or credit people…
people who had a full view of actor A thought he took charge more often… people who saw actor B thought
the same about him and those who saw both equally thought they both took equal about of control…
Self Serving attributions: Self Knowledge 01/14/2013
Course code for online supplements:
Stamp61027 OR stamp77014
The Quantified Self: TED Talk
Tools are changing the self
▯ people have a tendency to find themselves really interesting and what to know things about them –
through technology over self doing it.
Gordon Gallup: exposed apes to mirrors to see what they would do. He put red dots on their heads when
they slept, then the next day there was mirrors around… chimps, arrangatangs and dolphins recognize
themselves in the mirror… monkey’s and gorilla’s do not. It’s not specific to all primates. Children don’t
respond to the red dot until they’re about 2 years old – their sense of self is somewhere on par with a gorilla
before age 2.
Duality of self:
Self concept – thoughts beliefs and attitudes: the known or “me” vrs self awareness – the knower or the “I”
– active information processor
Function of the self: why do we have a self? How do other animals manage without a sense of self?
Ego Depletion study – READ IT AVAILABLE VIA DAL LIBRARY –
The cover story will be in the exam!
▯ cookies and radishes experiment:
people came into the lab and all had skipped a meal (so they’re hungry).
Group 1: told to taste radishes Self Knowledge 01/14/2013
Group 2: told to eat cookies and chocolates
Group 3: no food
All the food was in the same room with all the groups, so it made it more tempting… they baked cookies in
the room so it smelled like cookies but 2/3’s of them weren’t allowed to eat them. No body cheated… they
were trained on some math stuff then had to solve a problem that was impossible to solve… ▯ they were
interested in the time and number of trials they had before they gave up…
His belief: if your self regulation was to not eat cookies you’re not gonna have the same resources to have
the patients and determination to continue with this task…
Self schemas – extent to which knowledge about the self is stable, clear and consistently defined.
Self reference effect: tenendy for people to remember information better if it relates to themselves.