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24 Feb 2011
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Chapter 3
Social Cognition
Automatic thinking- thinking that is unconscious, unintentional,
involuntary and effortless
Example: we form impressions about new people quickly and
effortlessly
Navigate new roads without much conscious analysis of what we are
doing
Schemas-mental structures people use to organize their knowledge
about the social world around themes or subjects and that influence
the information people notice, think about, and remember
Schema- very general, it encompasses out knowledge about many
things- other people, ourselves, social roles
Example; what a librarian or an engineer is like or what usually
happens when people eat a meal in the restaurant
Schemas contain our basic knowledge and impression that we use to
organize what we know about the social world and interpret new
situations
Also influence the way we process information
When we are given a label, we fill in the blanks with all kinds of
schema-consistent information
This tendency to fill in the blanks allows for more efficient
information processing but can also have tragic consequences
Automatic thinking is the root of stereotypes in Canada
Important to us to have continuity, to relate new experiences to our
past schemas, that people who lose this ability invent schemas where
none exist
Schemas are important when we encounter information that can be
interpreted in number of ways, because they help us reduce ambiguity
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It is dangerous when we automatically apply our schemas that are not
accurate
I know that often that I would not see a thing unless I thought of it
first
Schemas also tend to influence what we remember
Considerable evidence that people are more likely to remember
informations that is consistent with their schemas
There is a commonly held schema of schema of white caldron as better
than native children
Memory errors are also consistent with peoples schemas
Schemas That Are Applied: Accessibility and Priming
Accessibility- the extent to which schemas and concepts are at the
forefront of peoples minds and are therefore likely to be used when
making judgments about the social world
Schemas are chronically accessible due to past experience
Schemas that are accessible in our memories can influence our
judgments about other people. If you has just been talking to a friend
about a relative who had an alcohol problem. You might more likely to
think that this man has an alcohol problem as well, because alcoholism
is accessible in your memory
Schemas can be more accessible because they are related to a current
goal
Notice people having disorders because you are studying for abnormal
psychology test
Priming-the process by which recent experiences increase the
accessibility of a schema, trait or concept
Schemas can become temporarily accessible of our recent experiences
More likely that you will use this information to interpret a new event,
such as the behavior of the man on the bus- even though this new event
is completely unrelated to the one that is originally primed the schema,
trait, concept
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