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Canada (158,052)
Psychology (9,545)
PSYB10H3 (611)
Chapter 3

Chapter 3 - How We Think About the Social World

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Elizabeth Page- Gould

Chapter 3How We Think About the Social Worldie Kevin Chappell was on his way to the topwas 1988 and 29yo with IQ 147 had been accepted to medical school graduated top class from Trent and working on Masters Avid soccer player played lead guitar On January 30 1988 he decided to go for a run after a hard day of studying it ws dark rainy evening and he crossed a street and was hit by a car He sustained severe brain damage leaving him unable to recognize things He could see objects but didnt know what they were visual agnosia Psychologist Gordon Winocur specialist in memory at Trent met Chappell Chappell didnt touch the cup of coffee that Dr Winocur served hi which wasnt unusual One day however Chappell happened to run into Winocur and greeted him by name It became apparent that Chappell does recognize faces He doesnt recognize arms legs or feet or faces that are upside downsideways Chappell was teamed up with 2 neuropsychologists and found that he was able to recognize faces extending to photographs caricatures and cartoon faces Gautheir Behrmann and Tarr 1999 Moscovitch WinocurBehrmann 1997 Social Cognition The way people think about themselves and the social worldhow they select interpret remember and use social information to make judgments and decisions Need to distinguish between 2 different kinds of social cognition1 Automatic Thinking When we effortlessly classify an object as a chair2 Controlled Thinking More effortless and deliberate Often automatic and controlled modes of social cognition work very well togetherOn Automatic Pilot LowEffort Thinking We form impression of people quickly and effortlessly and navigate new words without much conscious analysis of what we are doing When we do these things by engaging in automatic analysis of our environments based on our past experiences and knowledge of the world Automatic thinking Thinking that is nonconscious unintentional involuntary and effortlessPeople as Everyday Theorists Automatic Thinking with Schemas AT helps us understand new situations by relating them to our prior experienceswe create mental scripts automatically telling us that this is what we do in certain situations People use schemas which are mental structures that organize our knowledge about the social world These mental structures influence the information we notice think about and remember This term is very general it encompasses out knowledge about many thingsother people ourselves social roles Our schemas contain our basic knowledge and impressions that we use to organize what we know about the social world and interpret new situation Schemas also influence the way in which we process information ie there is evidence that information relevant to particular schema is processed more quickly than information unrelated to it For example English speaking students living in Quebec were asked to rate the characteristics of various groups ie English Canadians French Canadians males females Participants were faster when rating stereotypical characteristics for example when target groups were males characteristics such as rugged impatient and talkative were rate more quickly than irreligious artistic and impolite We also tend to fill in the blanks with schemaconsistent information When given a label we fill in the blanks with all kinds of schemaconsistent information Stereotypes about Race and Weapons When applied to members of a social group such as gender or race schemas are commonly referred to stereotypesst ie In 1 study nonblack students saw pairs of pictures in rapid succession on a computer screen The 1ndpicture was always a face and 2 picture depicted a tool or gun Participants were told to pay attention only to ndthe 2 picture and press 1 key as rapidly and accurately as they could if it was a tool and another if it was a stgun They had only half a second to identify the picture and press a key Half of the faces in the 1 picture were of whites and half were blacks Did the race of the face influence peoples perception of whether they saw a gun or a tool in the second picture Indeed it did people were significantly more likely to misidentify a tool as a gun when it was preceded by a black face than when it was preceded by a white face In another study people performed a task that mirrored the dilemmas that police face in real life ParticipantS were especially likely to pull the trigger when the person in a picture was black whether or not he was holding a gun The errors they made were the result of automatic thinking that probably is rooted in the pervasive stereotypes in North American culture about black people and violence
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