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Chapter 5

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McGill University
PSYC 473
Mark Baldwin

Chapter 5 – Dual-Process Models  People have a tendency to rely on “less effort” and categorical thinking when evaluating others o leads them to apply faulty and inaccurate categories (to depend on stereotypes, schemas and prior expectancies) o Fail to use objective and creative analysis of others  Martin Luther King’s assumption: people have the cognitive flexibility to rise above simplistic ways of thinking and use objective appraisals  basic premise of dual –process models o Top-down or theory-driven processing: relying on general, pre-existing theories (heuristics, schemas, stereotypes, expectancies) about others to make inferences about specific individuals  This automatic effortless strategy has evolved out of a need to manage the complexity of the environment with a cognitive system that has limited resources  Restrictions on cognition can arise from working on many tasks at once (big cognitive load with limited capacity); working on a deadline (time pressure limits time to deliberate about the qualities of others, need for speed); working on tasks that are complex and difficult (other individuals are highly ambiguous: even with time and capacity for effortful analysis, one may never truly understand the person); thus, people simply rely on cognitive shortcuts o Bottom-up or data-driven processing: examining qualities when constructing an impression effortful and elaborate processing of information about an individual (personalization, elaboration, systematic processing and attribute-oriented processing)  A tension created in the mind is what motivates people to rise from “prejudice” to “understanding”: o Tension comes from a top-down thinking deemed unacceptable o Tension is viewed as aversive, which motivates people to reduce it through engaging in more elaborate processing of information o Forces them to analyze others carefully and reanalyze their own prior views o From King’s approach:  Tension initiated by the behavior of the person being observed who consistently acts in a manner that is clearly opposed to prevalent biases, stereotypes and expectancies (e.g. nonviolent protest to challenge the stereotype that African Americans were more violent and less intelligent than Whites)  Can motivate a shift away from stereotypic processing and trigger elaborate and detailed thinking about an issue or person  Those who have the flexibility to shift from theory-driven to data-driven processing can be viewed as flexible interpreters or motivated tacticians  However, effortful evaluation does not guarantee being fair and objective: rationalizations are often an effortful way to maintain beliefs people wish to maintain Brewer’s Dual-Process Model of Impression Formation  Dual-Process model: comprehensive theory of the process involved in impression formation; term was coined by Brewer (1988)  Bridge between research on how people use schemas categories and heuristics to judge others automatically, and research focused on the rational and methodical processes used when forming attributions of others. 1 Identification: attend to a stimulus and No. If does not hold self-relevance, identifies it through automatic processing; the perceiver stops processing. primitive categorization Self-relevance? Perceiver determines if object identified holds any self-relevance for the perceiver Automatic Processing Controlled Processing Yes: if person is relevant, perceiver begins a Yes: perceiver becomes Self-involvement: decides if personally involved in controlled process of person is important to know evaluating the person. learning about the person, free of stereotypes, schemas Categorization or top-down No. Perceiver has no need and prior expectancies processing: using stereotypes, or desire to know the prior expectancies and schemas to person on an individual place the person in a specific and personal level category Personalization: Fit? Does the perceiver has gotten Yes. category fit to know the person the person? Perceiver on a personal level Individuation: perceiver decides is satisfied this person is an exception to the and knows the person as an rule. Rather than changing the No. category, person is seen as a individual, not a special instance representative of a Stop category or group Previous models shared assumptions in which impressions formation is organized according to stages that occur sequentially, such that the perceiver will not expend resources for further processing unless certain conditions are met.  Research in the 1960s-70s on attribution considered motivation as an explanation why people are biased and rational processes break down –rather than being seen as central to the process as it is seen now, it was viewed as a disruption Identification  Processing begins at the automatic level (preconscious), with attention and identification: focus attention on the person and identify the person as being present, having certain features, and having performed certain types of behaviors 2  Some form of information is perceptually salient enough to cue a social category (e.g. age, ethnicity, race, and sex); which category is the superordinate one that will organize subsequent impression and processing depends on features of the context, the perceiver (e.g. accessibility, mood), and the target  Sometimes the categories we used are wrong – the event or does not fit it, but our behavior was rational, based on high probability  But categorization is an essential and functional part of our understanding of the world – label and classify stimulus we encounter in a fast, efficient, economical and relatively accurate way Determining Relevance  Preconscious decision whether further processing is necessary – categorization will allow to decide if person is relevant or irrelevant to us  If person is at least somewhat relevant, impression formation processes are triggered  Depends on goals (i.e. relevance!)  Once deemed relevant, automatic (preconscious) processing is no longer engaged – any processing that requires a goal (i.e. the need to know more about the person because of potential relevance to us) for its initiation, as opposed to mere presence of a stimulus in the environment, is not considered automatic; however, can occur with very little effort, or without awareness  The degree to which conscious effort and awareness are engaged by subsequent processing is what distinguishes the following stages and establishes the two broad modes of processing (categorization vs personalization) that involve the dual processes in the model Categorization/Typing  Motives determine how we think about others (does not mean it will be effortful!)  Categorization/typing: relatively effortless type of thinking anchored by and directed by categories that have been triggered – based on available “person types” (stereotypes, etc.) or schemas that are matched to the information at hand; “pattern-matching” is conducted until an adequate fit is found between the categories in memory and the target’s characteristics  Starts with general/vague categories  more detailed subtypes of the category (e.g.: older men  businessmen  “uptight authoritharian boss who is a tightwad and a stickler for detail”)  Where process begins can be determined by what categories are triggered, cues in the current situation and processing goals of the perceiver. E.g. If a teenager is a writer for Rolling Stone magazine (counterstereotypic role!), will be organized in a specific type of teenager  “a whiz kid”. BUT if told about an age-unspecified writer, the initial impression will start with a more general category  “writer” (rather than “whiz kid”)  Category-driven impressions/judgement will still serve as anchor and starting point for any subsequent judgement, even if the impression later evolves and is transformed (will influence later processing and final judgement)  If initial match is not successful, the first attempt will not be discarded for a new irrelevant schema; instead, the search for an appropriate category will be directed “downward” among subtypes rather than “horizontally” among alternative categories at the same level of abstraction  therefore, another way that initial category constrains the final category selection Individuation and Personalization  Individuation: fairly effortful category-based processing; information inconsistent with the category label is not disregarded, instead, individual is treated as an isolated case of the particular category 3 o Qualities are processed in detail, not to make the individual fit, but to create a specific and detailed new instance of the category  Personalization: when no form or category-based processing is deemed appropriate, the individual becomes the basis for organizing information  attributes serve as the organizing framework o E.g.: “Janet is a nurse”; can treat as “Janet” =a type of the category “nurse” (nurse as organizing structure) OR “nurse” is only a feature of the properties of the individual “Janet” (Janet as organizing structure – contains only aspects of nursing that are characteristic of Janet, not those not applicable to her) o Personalization implies some degree of affective investment – person’s relationship to receiver, similarity, linked to important goals (e.g. coworker, manager) The Heuristic-Systematic Model  People’s thinking/judgements about themselves and others can be described in terms of two broad information- processing strategies, which are end-points on a continuum of processing effort: o Heuristic processing: reliance on prior knowledge (heuristics, shortcuts, rules of thumb, etc.), learned through experiences in the social world (e.g.: “Consensus implies correctness” – If most people agree, perceivers will agree too, using consensus as basis for their opinion) o Systematic processing: detailed evaluation of qualities and behaviors of others, as well as the re- examination of personal thoughts and prior beliefs about the stimulus – requires a sufficient amount of our limited cognitive capacity or processing resources, so need some degree of motivation to instigate it  Why assume one of them is the default mode, and what motivation shifts from default to other mode? Answers: The least-effort principle and the sufficiency principle  Least-Effort Principle: when performing cognitive tasks, people prefer less mental effort o Thus default processing strategy would be the least effortful one – heuristic o Study by Petty, Cacioppo and Schuman (1983) to illustrate  Investigated why people are persuaded by celebrities who endorse a product in a commercial  See if rely on simple rules such as “Famous people are trustworthy” or “Attractive people know a lot about dietary and cosmetic products” rather than evaluating the details about the products  Participants could read the text of the endorsement carefully and evaluate the product based on its merits, or superficially evaluate the product and rely on the word of the endorser (celebrity vs regular guy); If used first strategy, would see both products are equally good; if heuristics, celebrity should be more persuasive  Results = didn’t use the text but based themselves on the endorser  Thus, instead of evaluating people and products in detail, people rely on simple and easy rules  Sufficiency Principle: for whatever task people are confronted with, there is a point at which they feel their task is completed and they can move on – they feel confident that they have sufficiently performed the task that was set before them – that point is the sufficiency threshold o People may not always desire to have extreme confidence in what they say or do – happy with moderate confidence; but that is subject to change from situation to situation  E.g. TV commercial: feel relatively confident in the opinion we form despite barely listening BUT when evaluating a love interest, we cling to person’s every word and seek to feel extremely confident that our responses are accurate and appropriate – set threshold for confidence quite high  The relationship between Effort and Sufficiency o Although people prefer least effort, they must exert enough effort to reach the sufficiency threshold o If people desire the feeling that their judgements are good enough, they will only rely on heuristics if they give them a sense of judgemental confidence – that they have acted or judged in a reasonable manner 4 o If heuristic processing produces inadequate actions, judgement or feelings that make the level of confidence fall short of the threshold, people will exert more effort and continue working on the task at hand until a feeling of sufficiency is achieved and the threshold is surpassed o When relying on “least effort” yields judgemental products that are not sufficient (fall below sufficiency threshold), a confidence gap is created, an uncomfortable and displeasing state of psychological tension which the perceiver is motivated to reduce by pushing processing effort upward; this creates the shift from effortless to effortful thinking, the perceiver will now process information in a more systematic manner The Motivation to make the transition from less to more effort  The impact of heuristic processing on judgement will be greatest when motivation for systemic processing is low 5  Humans process heuristically by default – suggests that on balance, the trade-off between less effort and sufficiency is adequately met by heuristic processing; sufficiency threshold is set low  What motivational circumstances are required to instigate systematic processing? How a confidence gap is produced or how to get people to experience their current judgement as insufficient is key: o One’s confidence in a judgement can be undermined (create doubt – threshold itself does not change! Existing confidence slips below threshold)  Initially perfectly satisfied with using little processing effort and heuristics, but confidence later undermined because new information has introduced doubt and lowered the confidence in the conclusion  Maheswaran and Chaiken (1991) – study how consumers respond to advertising messages by reading about and evaluating a new product, the XT-100 answering machine  Were first given information that prior consumer tests showed 81% liked the product very much, making the participants ready to evaluate the product positively  Two groups: one group received subsequent negative information, incongruent with claim; unexpected information, inconsistent with “majority” heuristic induced doubt and made confidence fall below threshold – engaged in more systematic processing. Second group received a positive report (congruent info) and processed heuristically, exerting relatively little effort when doing their evaluation of the product  The report had two parts, detailed information about how the product performed, and a general, overall summary about the quality of the product. Those systematically processing the message paid attention to the details in the report, as they were better able to remember details when asked. Heuristic processors focused on the more general thoughts that summarized the overall quality  Both groups had equal amounts of confidence they desired to have in their judgement  Minority influence: over the past 30 years, growing empirical support for the idea that a minority that expresses opinions and behaviors incongruent with how the majority group expects others to think and act is able to force the majority to re-examine the expectancies previously held  One problem with relying on behavior that violates expectancy is that behavior often is not clear- cut – typically complex and multi-faceted, open to interpretation. Motivating people to attend carefully to others requires that the burden be placed on these others not only to articulate valid and engaging ideas, but to worry about how these ideas are being presented  But perceivers can, of their own accord, be motivated to engage in systematic processing ↓ o Desired confidence can be raised by a shift in the sufficiency threshold – a raising of the amount of effort needed in order to feel confident  The perceivers can adopt goals that promote systematic processing – they desire greater certainty in their judgements than least-effort processing will allow  People are flexible enough to occasionally set high sufficiency thresholds that require elaborate processing; this creates a confidence gap because the desired level of confidence drifts upward  When people do not desire extreme accuracy, minimal pr
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