CH3 Textbook Notes

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Published on 10 Feb 2011
School
UTSG
Department
Psychology
Course
PSY220H1
CHAPTER 3 SOCIAL COGNITION: THINKING ABOUT PEOPLE
- categorization: the process of recognizing and identifying something. The most basic
process we use to understand and structure our world
- we constantly identify objects around us so we can know how to behave
- social cognition: the study of how information about people is processed and stored
- generally thought to be two basic motives underlying human information processing
- to perceive the world accurately
- view the self positively
How Does the Mind Work?
Schemas: The Building Blocks of the Mind
- to understand the mind, we are less interested in its physical/biological elements than
we are in its underlying theoretical elements
- schemas: mental representations of objects or categories of objects
- or concepts, they contain the principle features of the object or category and
simple assumptions or theories” about how it functions
- Baldwin (1992) relational schemas: schemas for specific interpersonal interactions
- much of a childs early learning involves forming schemas
Categorization
- basic function of schemas is to categorize objects in ways that impose meaning and
predictability
- we must identify (categorize) anything before we can behave effectively toward it
- occurs automatically and effortless with majority of things encountered everyday
- allows us to form impressions and make decisions quickly and efficiently, without
having to think carefully about every object we encounter
Going Beyond the Information Given
- when we categorize something, we assume it possesses the characteristics of the
schema even if we cant perceive them directly
- we infer other, non-visible characteristics
Selective Information Processing
- schemas influence how information is processed
- Cohen (1981) participants watched videotape of woman having a birthday dinner
- half of participants told (before watching) the woman was a server at a local
coffee shop and the other half fold she was a librarian
- schema of server or librarian was activated which influenced what participants
noticed and recalled whether assess immediately or up to a week later
- schemas also influence interpretation of information
- ambiguous information is interpreted in accordance with the schema
- anything that obvious contradicts our expectancies will grab our attention
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Accessibility: Whats On Your Mind?
- accessibility: the ease with which the schema comes to awareness
Priming of Schemas
- when a schemas has been used recently, it is more accessible
- Carver et al. (1983) showed participants videotape of a businessman speaking to
assistant, businessman was either hostile or calm toward assistant
- participants then read a paragraph about a young man behaving in ambiguous
ways that could be interpreted as hostile or other ways
- participants exposed to hostile videotape rated the young man as more hostile
than participants exposed to the non-hostile videotape
Chronic Accessibility of Schemas
- extent to which schemas are easy activated for an individual across time and situations
- Higgings, King, Mavin (1982) had students describe two male & female friends using 10
traits, researchers looked for traits student used for themselves plus at least one friend
or for at least three friends
- two weeks later, students were brought back for a different experiment testing
their memory for chronically accessible traits and non-chronically accessible traits
- results showed participants were more likely to remember and include (in
description) actions that exhibited their own chronically accessible traits
Cultural Differences in Accessible Schemas
- western cultures emphasize in socialization individuality, freedom, independence
- eastern cultures emphasize socialization harmony, obedience, interdependence
- e.g. individual achievement he is a math wizard vs. group membership his family is
religious”
- Forgas, Bond (1985) asked Australian & Hong Kong university students to sort a set of
27 different social events
- Australian students tended to organize in terms of how competitive events were
- Hong Kong students tended to organize in terms of number of people involved
Stereotypes: Schemas in the Social Domain
- a set of characteristics that someone associates with members of a group; a cognitive
structure containing the beliefs that members of a group share particular attributes
- includes occupations, racial/ethnic groups, religious groups, age groups
Going Beyond the Information Given
- stereotypes reflect our attempt to categorize an object and draw inferences about it
- assumptions may often be oversimplified or wrong
- we ourselves are members of groups about which we have stereotypes
- ingroup: a group to which a perceiver belongs to
- outgroup: a group to which a perceiver doesnt belong
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Document Summary

Categorization: the process of recognizing and identifying something. The most basic process we use to understand and structure our world. We constantly identify objects around us so we can know how to behave. Social cognition: the study of how information about people is processed and stored. Generally thought to be two basic motives underlying human information processing. To understand the mind, we are less interested in its physical/biological elements than we are in its underlying theoretical elements. Schemas: mental representations of objects or categories of objects. Or concepts, they contain the principle features of the object or category and simple assumptions or theories about how it functions. Baldwin (1992) relational schemas: schemas for specific interpersonal interactions. Much of a child"s early learning involves forming schemas. Basic function of schemas is to categorize objects in ways that impose meaning and predictability. We must identify (categorize) anything before we can behave effectively toward it.