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Chapter 3

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School
University of Toronto Scarborough
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYB10H3
Professor
Elizabeth Page- Gould
Semester
Fall

Description
Social Psychology; Chapter 3 - Social Cognition  social cognition - how people think about themselves and the social world; more specifically, how people select, interpret, remember and use social information to make judgements and decisions  need to distinguish between 2 different types of cognition - automatic and controlled thinking  often they work well together On Automatic Pilot: Low - Effort Thinking  people typically size up a new situation very quickly: they figure out who is there, what is happening and what might happen next  we do these things by engaging in an automatic analysis of our environments, based on our past experiences and knowledge of the world  automatic thinking - thought that is non-conscious, unintentional, involuntary and effortless People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas  automatic thinking helps us understand new situations by relating them to our prior experiences  people use schemas  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  schemas also influence the way in which we process information  given a label, we fill in the blanks with all kinds of schema-consistent information Stereotypes about Race and Weapons  when applied to members of a social group such as gender or race, schemas are commonly referred to as stereotypes  stereotypes can be applied rapidly and automatically when we encounter other people  participants played a video game in which they were supposed to "shoot" a man if he was holding a gun and withhold fire if he was not - people were influenced by the race of the men in the pictures - people were prone to make mistakes by "shooting" black men who were unarmed  shooter bias - people made relatively few errors when a black person was holding a gun but also they made the most errors, shooting an unarmed black person  schemas are typically useful for helping us organize and make sense of the world and to fill in the gaps of our knowledge  it is 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 particularly important when we encounter information that can be interpreted in a number of ways, because they help us reduce ambiguity  danger comes when we automatically apply schemas that are not accurate Schemas as Memory Guides  schemas also influence what we remember  people are more likely to remember information that is consistent with their schemas  memory errors also tend to be consistent with people's schemas 1 Social Psychology; Chapter 3 - Social Cognition  people fill in the blanks in their memory with schema-consistent details suggests that schemas become stronger and more resistant to change over time Which Schemas are Applied? Accessibility and Priming  accessibility - the extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of people's minds and are therefore likely to be used when making judgements about the social world  schemas can be accessible for 3 reasons: 1. some schemas are chronically accessible due to past experience - these schemas are constantly active and ready to use to interpret ambiguous situations 2. schemas can be accessible because they are related to a current goal - ex. the concept of mental illness might not be chronically accessible to you, but if you are studying for a test in our abnormal psychology class and need to learn about different kinds of mental disorders, this concept might be temporarily available 3. schemas can become temporarily accessible because of our recent experiences - a particular schema or trait is not always accessible but happens to be primed by something people have been thinking about or doing before encountering an event  priming - the process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait or concept  ex. right before the man on the bus at down and you were reading a novel about patients in a mental hospital - given that thoughts about mental patients are at the forefront of your mind, you would probably assume that the man's strange behaviour was attributable to mental illness  thoughts have to be both accessible and applicable before they will act as primes, exerting an influence on our impressions of the social world  priming is a good example of automatic thinking because it occurs quickly, unintentionally and unconsciously The Persistence of Schemas After They Are Discredited  schemas can take on a life of their own, even after the evidence for them has been completely discredited  perseverance effect - people's beliefs about themselves and the social world persist even after the evidence supporting these beliefs is discredited  Experiment : people were told they had done very well or very poorly on a test of their social sensitivity - they were then told that the feedback was bogus and had nothing to do with their actual performance - those who had received the very well feedback still thought they had gotten more of the items correct and would do better on a second test than did people who had received the done poorly feedback 2 Social Psychology; Chapter 3 - Social Cognition Making Our Schemas Come True: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy  people often act on their schemas and in doing so, can change the extent to which these schemas are supported or contradicted  people can make their schemas come true by the way they treat others -  self-fulfilling prophecy - the case whereby people (A) have an expectation about what another person is like which (B) influences how they act toward that person which (C) causes that person to behave consistently with their original expectations  a self-fulfilling prophecy: a sad cycle in four acts: 1. you have an expectancy or social theory about the target person 2. you behave toward the target in a way that's consistent which your theory 3. the target responds to your behaviour in a similar manner 4. you see the target's behaviour as proof that your expectancy was right - you don't realize the role you played in causing the target's response  self-fulfilling prophecy occurs automatically is because our schemas may be quite resistant to change  "reign of error" - whereby people can cite the actual course of events as proof that they were right from the very beginning Cultural Determinants of Schemas  an important source of our schemas is the culture in which we grow up in  schemas are a very important way in which cultures exert their influence - by instilling mental structures that influence the very way we understand interpret the world  the schemas our culture teaches us have a large influence on what we notice and remember about the world  ex. Cattle are a central part of the Bantu economy and culture therefore the Bantu have well developed schemas about cattle that they can tell the difference between one person's cow and another person's cow - to a person who grew up in a different culture, one cow might look like any other  the amount of information we have to face every day is so vast that we have to reduce it to a manageable size - one way we deal with this is to rely on schemas, which help us reduce the amount of information we need to take in and help us interpret ambiguous information  these schemas are one form of automatic thinking - another form of automatic thinking is to apply specific rules and shortcuts when thinking about the social world Mental Strategies and Shortcuts: Heuristics  we use mental strategies and shortcuts that make our decisions easier, allowing us to get on with our lives without turning every decision into a major research project  shortcuts used: schemas to understand new situations by applying previous knowledge, but when there are too many schemas that could apply and it isn't clear which one to use we use:  judge
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