Social Cognition (Pg 57-87)
• Social cognition: thinking about social objects. How to perceive and
process the social world.
• Social objects: can be a person, in a basic level any object that are
bounds with the laws of physics however there are other forces such a
processing the world, perceptions of environment etc.. It makes it harder to
predict. A physical object that has the ability to engage in social cognition.
• Automatic cognition: things like associating, low level and resource in
terms of thoughts that we do not specifically process. You don't need to think to
much and more so a script you follow.
Controlled cognition: the more resources you have to spend time on,
the less you will have later.
• Becoming aware of something through the senses
• Pre-attentive processes: rapid processing of complex scene
Rapid = less than 250ms.
o Complex scene: large, multi element display of information.
o Gaze detection: notice someone who is looking at you.
• Encoding : selecting information from the environment and storing it in
the memory. Why? Because it has something to attention.
• Attention is selective perception.
• Highlights the idea that we pay attention to what we really want to
Scripts or sets of expectations that we have.
o Mental structures used to organize knowledge about the social
world around themes or subjects
o It is important because efficient processing, guide attention and
memory, bias against schema incongruent information.
If we didn't have schemas we'd be thinking about everything we
do because than we wouldnt have expectations.
• Self fulfilling prophecy
o How does attractiveness shape our interactions?
Develop stimuli (20 females pose for pictures, 20
males rate pictures on attractiveness)
Schedule male and female participants in pairs
(males given either attractive picture or unattractive pictures, talk
for 10mins over the phone, conversations were recorded)
Participants rate each other and the conversation
Female judges later listened to the conversation
and rated the women based on the same dimensions and never
met or have seen the women. • Result: Both the men and female judges thought the
unattractive was unsociable, awkward and serious. And the attractive
was sociable, poised and humorous.
o Our expectations for our social world shapes our social world.
Storing and Knowledge Representation
• Semantic Networking: Prototype theory of Categorization
o Objects are classified based on similarity to a prototype.
o Prototype: The most common idea for an object. Therefore the
closer the object is to the prototype in your head the faster you are able to
identify the object.
o We store closely related concepts are stored close to each other,
and therefore they are much faster to retrieve.
o Spreading activation: thinking about a certain concept will
activate a related concept.
o If you think about one concept that's not related, is implicit
• Accessibility and Priming
o Accessibility: To the extent which concepts are brought to the
forefront of your mind.
o Affects the ability we think of the world.
o Ironic effects of thought suppression: by telling oneself to not
think about something you are thinking about it and therefore becomes
o Priming: the process by which recent experiences increase the
accessibility of another concept.
o Heuristics: mental shortcuts. Humans are rational agents,
because we think of rationality and use shortcuts. It involves parallel
processing, and error prone.
o We make errors because we are able to go through the world so
quickly that it is common to make errors.
o Algorithms: mechanical step by step process for arriving at an
o Availability Heuristics: You base a judgement on frequency of
how accessible a concept is in mind.
o Representative Heuristics: classify it in terms of how similar it is
to a typical case, and ignore base rates and rely on similarity
o Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristics: make a judgement based
on the first starting guess as an anchor. We tend to stay closer to our first
guess and don't adjust accordingly to the other.
o Simulation Heuristics: substitute normal outcomes to
exceptional ones. People feel more upset if they miss their plan in 5mins,
however it doesn't matter because you missed your flight. Because it was
closer it seems worse.
Chapter 3- Social Cognition (Pg 57-87) • 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.
o Automatic cognition: it is effortless, easy, involuntary,
nonconscious, and unintentional such as classifying an object as a chair.
Controlled cognition: more effortful and deliberate, conscious,
intentional, voluntary such as where to go to university, what major and
whether or not to break up with your gf/bf.