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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Social Cognition

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PSYC 260
Janelle Jones

PSYC 260 – Fall 2012 Book Notes: Chapter 3 – Social Cognition Social Cognition – the way people think about themselves and the social world: how they select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make judgments and decisions Two kinds of Social Cognition: 1. Automatic Thinking – nonconscious, involuntary, unintentional, effortless thinking • i.e. effortlessly identifying/naming an object • also called “Low-Effort Thinking” 2. Controlled Thinking – effortful and deliberate thinking • Analyzing a situation slowly and deliberately or carefully contemplate what’s going on around us • i.e. Should I go to university? What do I take? What do I want out of life? ____________________________________________________________________________________________ Automatic or Low-Effort Thinking Automatic Thinking with Schemas – helps us understand new situations by relating them to prior experiences - Schemas – mental structures that organize our knowledge about the social world 1. These influence the information we notice, think about and remember 2. Contain our basic knowledge and impressions that we use to organize what we know about the social world and interpret new situations 3. i.e. stereotypes, fill in the blanks (when given a label) - Stereotypes – applied to members of a social group e.g. gender or race 1. Shooter bias – study shows.. more likely to shoot a black man, armed or unarmed 2. Responses can be altered by the environment i.e. closed space vs. open field Cultural Determinants of Schemas – the content of our schemas is influenced by our culture - i.e. Hockey to Canadians vs. Hockey to Koreans Schemas: Function – Why do we have them? - Typically very useful in helping us organize and make sense of the world and to fill in the gaps of our knowledge - Useful when we encounter information that is confusing or ambiguous because they help us figure out what’s going on Schemas: Accessibility – the extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of our minds and therefore likely to be used when we make judgments about the social world - Schemas can be accessible for three reasons 1. Schemas are chronically accessible because of past experiences – these schemas are constantly active and ready to use to interpret ambiguous situations 2. Schemas are related to a current goal – i.e. studying for a test and the information you studied is temporarily accessible 3. Schemas can become temporarily accessible because of recent experiences – i.e. watching a horror movie and then taking a dark path on the way home (priming) Priming – the process by which recent experiences increases the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept - Thoughts have to be accessible and applicable before they will act as primes - Example of automatic thinking The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy/Theory – the case whereby people have an expectation about what another person is like, which influences how they act toward that person, which, in turn, causes the person to behave consistently with their original expectation - i.e. the study with teachers and students who were likely to “bloom.” Teachers likely to change.. 1. they create a warmer emotional climate for bloomers, giving them more personal attention, encouragement, and support 2. they give bloomers more material to learn and material that is more difficult 3. they give bloomers more and better feedback on their work
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