Chapter 3 –social cognition.
• Social cognition=thinking about social objects
• Social objects=object that has ability to engage in social
• Automatic thinking
o thought that is unconscious, unintentional, implicit,
involuntary and effortless
o Helps us understand new situation by relating them to our
o Priming is a good example of automatic thinking because it
occurs quickly, unintentionally, and unconsciously.
o Automatic thinking dominates our thinking because we
don’t have enough time to just analyze every problem and
think critically about our choices before we make a
o “things like associating, low level and resource in terms of
• Controlled thinking
o Takes over and influences our behaviour when unusual
events occur-sometimes for better or for worse.
o Defined as thinking that is conscious, intentional, voluntary
o People can usually turn on or turn off this type of thinking
o “the more resources you have to spend time on, the less
you will have later”
• A) Perception
o Becoming aware of something through the senses
Pre-attentive processes: rapid processing of
complex scene (Rapid = less than 250ms)
• Complex scene: large, multi element display of
Gaze detection: notice someone who is looking at
• B) Processing/Encoding Information
o 1) Encoding : selecting information from the environment
and storing it in the memory. Why? Because it has
something to attention.
o 2)Attention=selective perception.
Highlights the idea that we pay attention to what we
really want to o 3) Schemas= Mental structures used to organize
knowledge about the social world around themes or
subjects(=set of expectations) if we didn’t have em, no
expectations! thus we’d have to think about everything we
do(life would suck)
Shooter task 1=tool vs. gun, half white faces + half
black faces. Participants told to pay attention only to
2ndpic + had to respond fast.
• MUCH MORE that misidentified blacks as
Shooter task 2= game by whites. In game, half
participants white+black, half gun+cell phone.
• MUCH MORE blacks shot down even when
o “Gun Bias”, it shows that:
“Given a label, we fill in the
blanks with all kinds of schema-
consistent info” in ERRONEOUS
Function of schemas?
• Useful in:
o 1) Filling in knowledge gaps, thus
o 2) Organizing + Making sense of
world, thus reducing ambiguity
o 3) Memory guides
More likely to remember stuff
consistent with schemas
Fill in memory gaps with schema
• E.g. if dog likes cat, probably
gonna add to gap that dog
Leads schemas to become
resistant to change o_o
Persistence of schemas?
• Perseverance effect=people’s beliefs about
themselves+world persist EVEN AFTER BEING
DISCREDITED with evidence!!!
• When people encounter new evidence or have
old evidence discredited, they tend to NOT
REVISE their schemas as much as we might
Self fulfilling Prophecy • Our expectations for our social world shapes
our social world.
• It occurs when we have an expectation about
what another person is like that influences how
we act toward that person, which in turn,
caused that person to behave consistently with
o E.g. attractiveness study
• C) Storage & Knowledge retrieval
o Prototype theory of categorization= Objects are
classified based on similarity to a prototype.
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
o Semantic Network=We store closely related concepts
are stored close to each other, and therefore they are
much faster to retrieve.
Spreading activation: thinking about a certain
concept will activate/make accessible/prime a related
concept &&& inhibit unrelated concepts! Whoa!
• D) Retrieval
the extend to which schemas and concepts are at
the forefront of our minds and therefore are likely to
be used when we are making judgments about the