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Chapter 3

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PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

Chapter 3 Categories and Category Structure: How Person Memory Illuminates Impression Formation Processes -Categories: mental representations of the classes/groups of events/things/people that help us structure our knowledge -Grouping based on important/essential features that define class of things constituting category -Overlap -Whatever organizational unit underlying cognitive operations -Concept: mental representation set of examples picked out by category -Allport: knowledge/experience is clustered – fit new experiences into one of our existing categories -Person perception provides too much information to do a bottom up approach -Mental representations must be structured in a way that can account for the fact that people fail to perceive a perfectly literal transcription of the world outside, and are involved in the production of what is experienced -Piaget – Structuralism -Schema: how we produce/experience world around us Categories and Categorization -Categorization: placement of an object/person/event into some class of familiar things -Before we categorize, we perceive – so some preliminary cognition has occurred Stages of Categorization -Bruner: primitive categorization – information to which we have attended gets focused on for analysis -Cue switch: analyze features and check them against categories containing similar features and match them -Inference: new experience actually just another instance of something we’re already familiar with and place this into one class, as opposed to a divergent class of experiences -Category activation: end product of interaction between stimulus in environment and human perception – category attains heightened state of accessibility and readiness by being retrieved from memory -Caused by cues – cues are information outside the mind, as well as within them – that have inherent associations with concept to be activated -Threshold: once category activation reaches this, category is activated -Additive in activation The Qualities of Categories and Categorization -Classical view of categories: -Composed of defining attributes – necessary sufficient for category membership -Categories contain set of features that define/are central that if the stimulus does not have it, not considered a category -Malt/Smith: degree of fit to category  leads to variability among perceiver’s assessments of how well a given member represents category -Provided with list of birds and asked to rate how typical they are to category -Rosch: categories do not need to possess required/necessary requirements -Participants differed in speed in which they could identify members of category -True/false paradigm – response time recorded -Took people longer to say true to real instance of category when less typical -Defining features: no longer seen as necessary or required to be present -Rosch/Mervis: family resemblance -Set of defining/less essential features used to categorize an object =Fuzzy qualities as they lack clear demarcations for categorization -Sloman/Ahn: just because feature is central to defining category, doesn’t mean that it is central to how we think about category -Fiske/Taylor: category games -Categorization not dependent on perfect fit between features of stimulus/all features in mental representation  depends on a sufficient degree of overlap between representation and stimuli’s features Categories are Socially Shared 1 -Due to the fact they are representative of the various theories people hold about the world which are taught by their respective culture -Whorfian Hypothesis: language influences not just how we communicate, but also structures their thought -Morris/Peng: culture powerful in defining cognitive styles -Western autonomy – individualism -Eastern collectivity – collectivism emphasis =Overall influences their cognition – especially when explaining away causes of behavior (eastern: social forces, western: individual-focused) -How two murders were being reported in News Papers – American reporters made more allusions to person characteristics, Eastern reporters more socially-focused -Participants reading this had same, based on their culture, explanations Categorization Is an Act of Inference -Feature matching leads to a degree of probability inference – but an unconscious, automatic one Categorization Typically Proceeds Automatically -Cue-category linkage: links between attributes/category are clear, well learned, familiar, well [practiced -If low, we do not simply experience and feature matching/attempt at placement don’t occur as automatically – have to consciously match it -Categorization can be incorrect Categories Need Not Be Accurate -Various stereotypes due to culture Categories Need Not Correspond to Outer Reality -Santa Claus, etc. The Functions of Categorization -Saves us from needing to consciously figure out what something is every time we encounter it -Bransford/Johnson: “Doing Laundry” example -Bruner/Goodnow/Austin: categorizing reduces the complexity of environment =Labels stimulus quickly and easily -Can also tell us what we can expect  allows us to make predictions -Sherman/Lee/Bessenoff/Frost: people make predictions about behavior of stranger based on social categories to which stranger belongs -Sherman/Bessennoff: skinhead vs. priest presentation, then read attributes and asked to remember later who fit who attributes -Misremembered unfriendly for skinhead, friendly for priest -Mather/Johnson/DeLeonardis: same results in memory for Democrats vs. Republicans -Veridical: predictions people make from categories to varying degrees (truthful) -Bruner et al.: categories provide direction for instrumental activity Categorization and Control -Ability to predict  sense of control over outcomes Categories and Communication -Essential – need it to make inferences of qualities and content of communication being received -Grice: analyzed factors governing communication 1. We should try to be truthful when speaking to others 2. Should assume others are being truthful when speaking to us -Maxim of Quality: speakers should say only that which they believe and have adequate evidence for -Maxim of Relation: only speak what is pertinent to conversation -Maxim of quantity: informative in communication, don’t stray from point -Maxim of manner: must be clear/unambiguous Person Memory: Clever Ways to Study the Structure of Person Impressions and Social Perception -Hamilton/Katz/Lierer: impression -Perceiver’s organized cognitive representation of another person 2 -Hamilton studying Asch: studying impression formation can be done by presenting people with sets of traits/examining the ways they are integrated and made to cohere together -But because it asks people to form impressions that connect a set of traits, could have influence on overall result -What needs to happen is to be able to look at what people remember as an index of how information is structured in memory  person memory Memory Systems and Category Activation -Long-term memory: storing large amounts of concepts over long period of time -Acquired language/all knowledge of categories/concepts -Recorded permanently -Subtypes of LTM -Episodic: experiences/events/people/situations  Exemplars -Semantic: memory for facts/definitions – declarative knowledge  Schema -Procedural: instructions of how thins proceed =Judgments of people rely both on episodic and semantic -Short-term/Working memory: conscious awareness/subject to conscious proceedings – can be lost easily -Limited capacity – time-sharing -Retrieval: from LTR  WM Recollection vs. Familiarity -Successful recollection depends on how memory is encoded in first place – original source of info/context of acquisition -Allport/Lepkin: Rumor transmission during WWII -Strongest belief in rumors was simply the repetition of rumors -Source confusion: poorly formed memory trace leading to errors -Johnson et al.: people can label something imaginary as really happening -Confused about source -Unable to remember context – which can be selectively impaired by time delays, selective attention, aging -Context-free memory trace  feeling of fluency – understand that it is familiar, but not sure why -Manlder: Two independent types of memorial information 1. Recollection: exact/detailed information that leads to accurate reports of details/context of encoding  source of remembered information - controlled 2. Familiarity: vague information that signals pastness/prior contact – more automatic Retrieval as Horse Race -Triggering  leads to race between constructs – one that is used more quickly is ultimately used to describe stimulus Spreading Activation and A
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