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Chapter 3


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PSYC 2100
Cheryl Harasymchuk

 2 modes of social cognition: Automatic (Thinking that is non-conscious or unintentional). Controlled (Thinking that is conscious, voluntary and effortful, requires motivation and cognitive capacity (energy))  Distinction-not clear cut, there are different degrees of control in thinking “driving home on ‘automatic pilot’”  Thought Suppression: Try to avoid thinking about something Wegner, Schneider, Carter and White: Examined suppression, people were asked to report their stream of consciousness in 5 minute segments (with a tape recorder)  Independent variable #1 (within-subjects variable): Suppress: In the next 5 minutes please verbalize your thoughts but DON’T think of a white bear, every time you do though ring the bell. Express-Same instructions but they are told to think of the white bear.  Independent variable #2 (between-subjects variable): Suppression first, then expression task; expression first, then suppression task  Dependent Variable: Number of bell rings  Results: People who were asked to think of a white bear thought of it more and rang the bell more times than though in the suppression condition, however it is important to know that people who were asked to NOT think of a white bear found it hard to not think about it. Also, this was more true for people who were asked to use suppression first, therefore people who were first asked to NOT think of the white bear were more likely to think of the white bear when they were next told to do the same thing but to think of one, suggests a rebound effect  Concept-thought suppression Controlled thinking  Counterfactual reasoning: it is a form of controlled thinking; we mentally change some part of the past by imagining what might have been.  We are more likely to participate in controlled thinking when a negative unusual outcome has occurred, especially when close to avoiding negative outcome (narrowly avoiding a car crash). Also more likely to engage in controlled thinking when we just miss a positive outcome because it leads to feeling of regret (missing an A by one percent) Upward Counterfactual Downward Counterfactual Imagine events that are better than reality Imagine events that are worse than reality Experience Regret Experience Relief  Positive: Can help us prevent similar things happening in the future. Negative: Might think about a particular event for too long Gilbert  Errors in perception of value (pleasure, worth): Comparison points can change our perception of the value of things, we do not rationally select the right comparison points, which can lead to bad decisions (inappropriate comparisons to the past-price used to be higher than what it is now, lost ticket/lost money) (Inappropriate comparisons with the possible, comparisons can shift)  Shifting Comparisons: The comparison points that we use when we are making decisions can change when we are consuming the product (potato chips vs. godiva chocolates, potato chips vs. spam; how much you say you will enjoy it matters if you are comparing it, but not when you are actually eating it)  Modern Social Psychology: Focus on cognition ie, tries to understand human behaviour based on how we think. We have schemas so we can organize information in the world, including how we think about the social world.  Function: Schemas help to sort through information and reduce ambiguity (make the unfamiliar seem familiar) and provides continuity (ties everything together)  Availability/Accessibility: Schemas are primed by social cues in environment  Perseverance: Schemas stick around even with disregarding evidence  Making them come true: we unconsciously find ways to make our schemas come true (self-fulfilling)  Thinking about our social world forces us to make decisions which sometimes involves us taking shortcuts (heuristics, availability heuristic,)  We think about the social world in automatic and controlled ways such as suppression. Even when we do take the time to make controlled decisions there are always biases (errors in perception)  Social Perception: The study of how we form impressions of and make inferences about others. It makes our world more predictable (keeps us away from danger, bad relationships, liars), makes our world seem more predictable (gives us the feeling of control)  Non-verbal communication: an important way to form impressions of others. It is the way that people communicate intentionally or unintentionally without words (facial expressions, body language, voice tone). The purpose of this is to express emotion, communicate, convey attitudes and communicate personality traits. How good are we at decoding non-verbal behaviour? Frank, Ekman and Friesen  Examined people’s ability to detect smiles of enjoyment and peoples impressions of others based on their smile. They developed the Facial Action Coding System (FACS), stores movement, intensity and laterality of the facial muscle action (ex around eyes, mouth) Study 1:  Goal: Obtain samples of smiles from people. Smiles obtained by people being videotaped while they are watching film clips which are designed to elicit certain emotional re
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