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Social cognition

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PSYC 102
Delroy Paulhus

Social psychology-how people think about, influence, relate to others 13.1 Social Cognition Impressions/Perceptions of Others =how people use cognitive processes (perception, memory, thought) to make sense of others + selves -usually we expect ppl to be some way based on sex, looks, race, clothes (this is adaptive to use background knowledge to anticipate possibilities) Physical Appearance (age, gender, race, looks) -produces strongest expectancies (b/c from first impression, we use salient information) -not good for long-term, but adaptive as short-term strategy b/c looks so apparent eg. dirty vs. clean (at least clean follows some of society’s standards/norms) Social Schemas = in LTM, relates to social experiences/people; reconstructs past + interprets/organizes experience eg. dirty man activates negative social schema (scraggly+ dirty = criminal) -> we alter behavior Stereotypes =collection of beliefs + impressions about a group (commonly based on gender, race, age) =social schemas concerning traits + behaviours of group (some are true) Prototype theories- we store typical features of group, then judge based on similarity to prototype Exemplar theories-we store memories of individuals/exemplars (eg. blacks athletic- based on Woods) -automatically activated, especially if just exposed to stereotypic belief (more exposure if simple/salient) Self-Fulfilling Prophecy Effect =expectations about actions of person lead to person behaving that way eg. phone call -> man expects woman to be hot so talks nice -> woman is nice too Prejudice: The Canadian Context -stereotypes focus on differences between groups (eg. men and women) instead of within groups Prejudice-unrealistic, negative evaluation of group (prompted by negative stereotypes) Discrimination-behave in unfair way to group (don’t hire b/c black) Besides stereotype prompt, 3 others (independent of each other): 1. Symbolic beliefs about out-group (eg. they violate family values/respect for law) 2. Emotional responses to out-group (group you don’t belong to) 3. Past experiences with out-group -conservative, right wing ppl more prejudiced, favour in-group more (symbolic, rather than stereotype) Ethnocentrism-regard your own group more positively than other groups “contact” and “mere exposure” effects lead to greater comfort around different groups The Personal/Group Discrimination Discrepancy =minority individuals agree their group is discriminated against, but have little experience of it themselves (maybe they refuse to acknowledge it) Auto-stereotype-belief system about discrimination, widely shared by group members -but not from individual experience of discrimination -> ppl think cause of media Meta-stereotype-person’s beliefs about the stereotypes others have about their group Attribution Theory Attributions-inference processes people use to relate cause and effect to behavior Covariation model of attribution: Covaries-happens with behavior change (eg. aerobics class -> happy after) -model says, look to 3 things to make inference: 1. Consistency-change always occurs with event (eg. always happy after aerobics) 2. Distinctiveness-change only occurs with event (eg. only with aerobics) 3. Consensus-do other people change too with event? Internal vs. External Attributions External Attribution-cause of behavior due to external event (eg. aerobics) -> high in above 3 (C, D, C) Internal attribution-due to internal personality trait -> high in consistency, low in other two Fundamental Attribution Error =when making attributions to behavior, we underestimate external and overestimate internal eg. driver behind tailgating -> you think they’re jerk -> maybe they’re taking sick kid to hospital Self-Attributions Actor-Observer Effect-tend to attribute others’ behavior to internal, but our own to external forces Self-serving bias-if our behavior leads to +’ve outcome, we attribute to internal forces, and vice versa eg. get A=I’m smart, but if get F=test too hard Attributions upside: adaptive b/c let us make fast decisions about behavior causes + feel good bout self Downside: lead to incorrect conclusions Evolutionary Source of Bias -bias help with reproduction -people who overvalue themselves are more successful b/c more confident -but can affect task performance after failure -brain can deceive us about stored info (info in one part of brain can be isolated from other parts) -classify people into out/in groups b/c ancestors needed to make critical + fast decisions bout strangers Attitudes and How they Change Attitude-positve/negative belief/evaluation about something, may affect behavior 3 components: 1. Cognitive-what people know/believe about object (eg. landlord is jerk) 2. Affective-feelings brought about by object (eg. landlord makes me angry) 3. Behavioural-predisposition to act (eg. look for new apartment, complain to friends) -attitude not always lead to behavior (can be nice to landlord)-depends on situation How Attitudes Form -experiences + how we interpret them (depends on inborn intellectual + personality), help form beliefs Mere exposure-how much something is shown to us, easily changes attitudes (esp. new/weak ones) -direct positive/negative experience is biggest factor -can be classically conditioned w/ signal (eg. ads pair product w/ hot people) -can be instrumentally conditioned w/ reward/punishment (eg. your opinion reinforced by ppl you like) -observational learning/modeling (eg. political beliefs follow parents’, other beliefs follow friends) How Attitudes Change - the elaboration likelihood model theory says 2 routes to persuasion 1. Central Route-hear, then weigh/judge strength of argument -> likely to change attitude (lasting) eg. buy car because has good gas mileage! 2. Peripheral -appeal to affectiv
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