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Chapter 3

PSYB10 Chapter 3 Social Cognition

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Elizabeth Page- Gould

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Chapter 3 Social Cognition Social cognition - How people think about themselves and the social world - How people select, interpret, remember, and use social information - Thinking about social objects Social objects - A physical object that has the ability to engage in social cognition Automatic thinking - Thinking that is non-conscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless - Automatic analysis of our environments based on our past experiences and knowledge of the world - Helps us understand new situations by relating them to our prior experiences through the use of schemas Cognition - Perception  Becoming aware of something through the senses o Pre-attentive processes  rapid processing of a complex scene  Rapid is less than 250 ms  Complex is a large, multi-element display of information  Something that “catches your eye” or “pops out at you”  Reflect something that is more fundamental for survival  E.g. weapons bias  When you see a table of random objects and one of them is a gun, then people quickly look at the gun first o Gaze detection  If you are walking through a crowd and if someone is starting at you, then you might stare back - Processing / Encoding o Encoding  Selecting information from the environment and storing it in memory o Attention  Selective perception  E.g. selective visual attention test  Are you able control your attention on seeing only the white shirts? o Schemas  Mental structures used to organize knowledge about the social world based on similar concepts, themes or subjects  Contain our basic knowledge and impressions that we use to organize what we know about the social world and interpret new situations  Efficient processing  Guide attention and memory  Bias against schema incongruent information  Self-fulfilling prophecy o Our expectations changes our behaviour which, in turn, causes the other person to behave consistently with our original expectations o Our expectations for a social situation actually changes the social environment to create what you expected o Your expectations shape the social environment o E.g. teachers’ expectations for students become reality  Those whom the teachers expected to do well actually improved more than the other students  Stereotypes about race and violence  Schemas are commonly referred to as stereotypes when applied to members of a social group o Automatic thinking about race and crime o Not limited to stereotypes about black people  Stereotypes can be applied rapidly and automatically when we encounter other people  E.g. Shooter task o Participants were more likely to pull the trigger when the people in the picture were black, whether or not they were holding a gun  Participants made few errors when a black person was holding a gun  Participants made the most errors when a black person was not holding a gun o Participants were more likely to make mistakes by shooting black men who were unarmed  Function of schemas  To have continuity  To relate new experiences to our past schemas  Schemas as memory guides  Persistence of schemas  Perseverance effect  The schema’s resistance to change even in light of contradictory information - Storage / Knowledge Representation o Prototype
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