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Chapter 14

chapter 14

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PSYC 2040
Dan Yarmey

Chapter 5 - Social Cognition - automatic thinking: a type of decision-making process that occurs at an unconscious or automatic level and is entirely effortless and unintentional - heuristics: mental shortcuts that are often used to form judgements and make decisions. “rule of thumb”. - controlled or effortful thinking: thinking that is effortful, conscious, and intentional - social cognition: how people think about the social world, and in particular how people select, interpret, and use information to make judgements about the world How Can Shortcuts Lead To Errors In Thinking About The World? - study on articles  results: articles that had very salient titles (birds of a feather flock together or opposites attract) were very influential on participants judgements.Articles with less appealing titles (research examines similarity as a source of liking) were given less weight in participants overall decision, even though the information contained in each research summary was the same  study illustrates a particular type of shortcut, namely the availability heuristic. Intuition - one of the most common shortcuts instead of relying on more objective information - intuition: a decision-making shortcut in which we rely on our instinct instead of relying on more objective information Drinking Lemonade Can Improve Decision-Making? - study: gave participants glass of lemonade that was sweetened with either real sugar or splenda. Did a task in which they imagined they were searching for new apt and had to choose among 3 options. 1 apt was better than other 2, but it required though about the relative features - results: students who drank the lemonade with real sugar were more likely to choose the “right” apt (because they were less likely to rely on quick heuristics) than those who drank with splenda - we believe that sometimes, our intuition can pay off, and particularly when it comes to multiple-choice exams, where we tend to believe that its better to go with our first though than to second guess ourselves - study: researchers looked at psych midterms of 1500 students. Counted number of times students erased answers, and the impact of this answer change on students final grades. - results: 51% of the changes were from wrong to right, whereas only 25% were right to wrong (remaining 23% were wrong to wrong). Given that changes from wrong to right 1 were more frequent than right to wrong, you should probably rethink relying on your first instinct when you aren’t quite sure of the answer Availability - availability heuristic: a mental shortcut in which people make a judgement based on how easily they can bring something to mind - the tendency to estimate the likelihood of an event based on how easily instances of it are “available” in memory, with events that come to mind more easily being seen as more likely or prevalent - people are more influenced by the salience of events than how often they occur - availability heuristic explains why people are often highly concerned about things that they really don't need to worry about, whereas they fail to worry about those things that are most likely to occur - involves automatic processing and uses little cognitive effort. The downside of automatic processing is that people sometimes make judgemental errors as a result of heuristics\ - on the other hand, controlled cognitive processing is slower and requires some cognitive effort. The advantage of this is that it reduces errors - people engage in both types of processing depending on the importance of the decision to be made and the level of attention that is given to a decision The Impact of Past Experiences: - schemas: mental structures that organize our knowledge about the world and influence how we interpret people and events - recent experiences are particularly likely to increase availability, which in turn influences our judgements - study: men completed word recognition task that consisted of identifying a series of either sexist or nonsexist words about women. Words included babe, bimbo, playboy, whereas the nonsexist words included mother, sister, nurturer. Participants then interviewed a female confederate for a job and rated her competence. - results: those who had been exposed to the sexist words rated the woman as less competent than those who saw the nurturing words. Therefore, even subtle factors can increase the accessibility of certain words or concepts which then influence behaviour - there are different types of schemas: - person schemas: beliefs about other people, their traits, and goals - self-schemas: our memory, inferences, and information about ourselves - role schemas: behaviours that are expected of people in particular occupations or social positions - event schemas: scripts that people have for well-known situations which help them prepare for the expected sequence of events - content-free schemas: rules about processing information 2 The Role of Unconscious Priming: - priming: increase accessibility to a given concept or schema due to a prior experience - priming can influence peoples physical behaviour in a variety of spheres; for ex., performance of a motor task or seeking the help in an interpersonal context - study done at McGill  primed with words presented on a computer screen to prompt either positive or negative interpersonal expectations. Participants were unmarried female students. Asked to listen to a scenario and answer a series of questions about how they would react to a situation described (one where they discover that they’re accidentally pregnant). - results: participants primed for positive interpersonal expectation gave more reports of seeking emotional support and made less use of self-denigrating coping. Those primed for negative interpersonal expectations gave fewer reports of positive affect and of growth-oriented coping The Information Available: - we mistakenly judge the likelihood of an event occurring on the amount of information we have - study: German researchers asked participants to recall either 12 examples of their own assertive behaviour or recall just six examples of such behaviour. - results: participants who had to recall 6 examples report higher assertiveness than those who had to recall 12. This is because participants use their ease of their as a guide to determine whether that trait describes them - and its naturally easier to recall 6 examples than 12 - as well, opposite can happen: when they were asked to think of 12 examples of themselves being unassertively, participants ended up rating themselves as relatively assertive, whereas when they had to think of only 6 examples of unassertiveness, they rated themselves as relatively unassertive Representativeness - representativeness: the tendency to perceive someone or something based on its similarity to a typical case - tendency to perceive someone or something as belonging to a particular group or category on the basis of how similar this object is to a typical object in this category - although using the representativeness heuristic allows us to quickly and efficiently reach the right answer, in other cases, relying on this shortcut can lead to errors, or at least a delay in arriving at the correct answer Base-Rate Fallacy - base-rate fallacy: an error in which people ignore the numerical frequency, or base rate, of an event in estimating how likely it is to occur - explains why people are often very nervous about dying in a plane crash but they’re rarely concerned about dying in a car accident - explain why people make errors when they use the representativeness heuristic Anchoring andAdjustment 3 - anchoring and adjustment: a mental shortcut in which people rely on an initial starting point in making an estimate but then fail to adequately adjust from this anchor - rely on an initial starting point in making an estimate and then fail to adequately adjust their original decision - study: some students asked if Gandhi died before or after age of 140, and other students were asked if he died before or after age 9. All students were then asked how old he was when he died. - results: those who had been asked the first question (anchor of 140) guess on average that he died when he was 67 years old. Those asked the second question guessed on average that he was 50 when he died - study: found that home sellers get higher prices when they provide precise number ($252, 500) than a rounded number (250,000). When people are bidding on something that costs a round number, they think in terms of dollar. But more precise number leads people to think in smaller denominations Counterfactual Thinking/Stimulation - counterfactual thinking: the tendency to imagine alternative outcomes to various events - can influence how people experience both positive and negative events Factors Influencing the Use of Counterfactual Thinking: - the desire to avoid the regret caused by counterfactual thinking can also influence our behaviour, and in fact, make us less likely to act at all - concert ticket normally $100. On sale for a week for $40, but you missed the sale. They are currently selling for $90. Those who knew of the previous sale but missed it were less likely to buy the tickets for $90 than those who didn't know about the $40 price. They are concerned that they’ll continue to be reminded of the higher cost they’re paying and will therefore experience ongoing regret The Benefits of Counterfactual Thinking - people can use counterfactual thinking to make themselves feel better when they have narrowly missed experiencing a negative outcome. - serve to motivate future behaviour in a constructive and positive way when a better outcome was narrowly missed How Does Presentation Influence How We Think About the World? - contrast effect: the relative difference in intensity between 2 stimuli and their effect on each other - this effect applies at perceptual and cognitive levels 4 - the information or target is precisely the same in different situations, but the way we perceive that information is very different depending on how its presented Contrast Effect - people’s beliefs about one thing are influenced by what they have just seen or heard - see a sweater for $70 and think it’s expensive until they see it was originally $200 and then see it as a bargain. This contrast “seals the deal” - people eat more when they’re eating on large plates than from small plates. The same portion simply looks larger on a small plate, and we use perceived portion size as a cue that tells us when we’re full - explains why media images of attractive others can influence how we judge our own and others attractiveness - study: male university students watching TV (Charlie’s angels or police show without attractive female stars) were asked to rate photo of a potential blind date. Those who were watching Charlie’s angels rated the photo as less attractive than those who were watching other show. Also found that we find ourselves less attractive after seeing photos of highly attracted people of same gender Framing - framing: heuristic that refers to the tendency to be influenced by thy was an issue is presented (framed) - 90% success rate sounds better than a 10% failure rate - the way health messages are framed influences how well they persuade people to engage in healthy behaviours - but in different ways for different types of behaviours - when messages goal is to get people to adopt a new behaviour that will help them detect a health problem, such as cancer, framing the message negatively, meaning in terms of the costs of not engaging in the behaviour, is most effective - gain-framed messages, meaning those that emphasize the benefits engaging in a behaviour, are more effective in promoting behaviour to prevent a problem from developing - more effective than loss-framed ones at increasing intentions to use condoms - reconstructive memory: the process by which memories of a given event are altered after the event occurred How Do We Form Impressions of People? - implicit personality theory: the theory that certain traits and behaviours go together - the theory that knowing that a person has a given trait leads us to assume that he/she also has certain other traits - one way in which we form impressions (sometimes wrongly) of others
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