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Chapter 3

PSY220 Chapter 3

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University of Toronto St. George
Jason Plaks

Chapter 3 Social Beliefs and Judgments  G20 protesters: “Black Bloc” Tactics, and the polices’ action to detain innocent people: We perceive events through the filters of our own assumptions, we judge events by our intuition, we explain events by attributing them to the situation or to the person, and we expect the events. 3.1 Perceiving our Social Worlds  We respond not to reality as it is but to reality as we construe it Priming  Priming: activating particular associations in memory; it’s the awakening or activating of certain associations in the brain  Experiment done by John Bargh et al. (1996): completing the sentence change the participants’ walking speed.  Experiment done by Rob Holland et al. (2005): “clean” and the students’ attitudes towards keeping clean  Ex. for priming: watching scary movie  interpreting furnace noises as intruder, emotions affects how we think, and psychology students reading about psychopathologies make them anxious about themselves as potential psychopaths  Much of the social information processing is automatic, unintentional, out of sight and happens without our conscious awareness. Perceiving and Interpreting Events  Kulechov Effect  Spontaneous Trait Transference: When we say something good or bad about someone else, people will tend to associate that trait with us. Belief Perseverance  It is hard to demolish a false belief  Belief Perseverance: persistence of your initial conceptions, as when the basis for your belief is discredited but an explanation of why the belief might be true survives  Anderson et al (1980): firefighter experiment  Explaining the opposite would be a good way to avoid belief perseverance  Not only the opposite outcome, explain any alternative outcome would be good to be the remedy for belief perseverance. Constructing Memories of Ourselves and Our Worlds  Misinformation Effect: incorporating “misinformation” into one’s memory of the event, after witnessing an event and then receiving misleading information about it (consolidation: multiple traces theory of hippocampus)  Reconstructing Past Attitudes  Daryl Bem & Keith McConnell (1970): students survey experiment  The speed, magnitude and certainty of the change in the attitudes student hold was striking  People whose attitudes have changed often insist that they have always felt much as they now feel  Rosy Retrospection: people feel happier when they recall the mildly pleasant events than the time they experienced the events, because recalling will minimize the unpleasant or boring aspects and remembering the high points.  We change our attitude through revising the recollections of other people (as the relationship state changes)  Reconstructing Past Behaviour  We under-report bad behaviour and over-report good behaviour  We misrecall our past as more unlike the present than it actually was. 3.2 Judging our Social Worlds Intuitive Judgments  Unconscious does control much of our behaviour  Most of person’s everyday life is determined noy by the conscious intentions but by mental processes that are put into motion by features of the environment and that operate outside of conscious awareness and guidance.  The Powers of Intuition  Controlled Processing (PSY270): “Explicit” thinking that is deliberate, reflective, and conscious  Automatic Processing (PSY270): “Implicit” thinking that is effortless, habitual, and without awareness; roughly corresponds to “intuition”. Automatic processing is where the reason does not go, which includes:  Schemas: mental templates  Emotional Reactions, which happen instantaneous before there is time for deliberate thinking  Sufficient expertise: people may intuitively know the answer to a problem by massive pass experiences  Without thinking with rational, unconscious decisions may guide us toward a more satisfying choice  People lost ability to form memories can still keep the implicit memories intact  Blindsight Subliminal effect: frowning pope experiment by Mark Baldwin et al. from McGill (1989)  The Limits of Intuition  Demonstrations of how people create counterfeit beliefs do not prove that all beliefs are counterfeit Overconfidence  Intellectual conceit evident in judgments of past knowledge extends to estimates of current knowledge and predictions of future behaviour.  Silly Guelph students think they would still exercise more in the coming month even if they realized the realistic obstacles (Newby-Clark, 2005)  Overconfidence Phenomenon: the tendency to be more confident than correct –to overestimate the accurate of one’s beliefs  Experiment of the distance between New Delihi and Beijing  Incompetence feeds overconfidence: ignorance sustains our self-confidence  It happens mostly on relatively easy seeming tasks.  University students’ self-predictions are wrong nearly twice as often as they expected to be  Usually because people often give too much weight to their current intentions when predicting their future behaviour  Confirmation Bias  People tend not to seek information that might disprove what they believe; we are eager to verify our beliefs but less inclined to seek evidence that might disprove them  Confirmation Bias: a tendency to search for information that confirms one’s preconceptions  Confirmation bias helps explain why our self-images are so stable; we tend to pay more attentions on our behaviors that match our assumptions of who we are  Remedies for Overconfidence  Be careful about other people’s dogmatic statements  Three techniques: 1. Prompt feedback 2. Reduce “planning fallacy” overconfidence: more realistic estimates of completion time 3. Get people to think of one good reason why their judgments might be wrong Heuristics: Mental Shortcuts  Heuristic: A thinking strategy that enables quick, efficient judgments  Representativeness Heuristic  Representativeness Heuristic: The tendency to presume, sometimes despite contrary odds, that someone or something belongs to particular group is resembling (representing) a typical member  Linda the feminist bank teller: conjunction fallacy  Availability Heuristic  Availability Heuristic: A cognitive rule that judges the likelihood of things in terms of their availability in memory. If instances of something com readily to mind, we presume it to be commonplace.  People are slow to deduce particular instances from a general truth, but they are remarkably quick to infer general truth from a vivid instance  Probability neglect by Sunstein (2007): we worry about remote possibilities while ignoring higher probabilities. For example, we would fear airplane incidents more than car incidents (which kill more people statistically), and we would fear H1N1 more than the common flues.  Emotions plays a major part that neglect the statistical possibility (which create readily available memories)  For most air travellers, the most dangerous part of the journey is the drive to the airport lol Counterfactual Thinking  Counterfactual Thinking: Imaging alternative scenarios and outcomes that might have happened, but didn’t  Imaging worse alternatives helps us feel better; imaging better alternatives and pondering what we might do differently next time, helps us prepare to do better in the future  Counterfactual thinking underlies our feelings of luck.  We imagine a negative counterfactual when we barely escaped a bad event, and we feel “good luck”. On the other hand, we imagine a positive counterfactual when the bad events that did happen but might not have and we feel “bad luck”.  The more significant the event, the more intense the counterfactual thinking  Both Asian and Western cultures show counterfactual thinking Illusory Thinking  Illusory Correlation  When we expect significant relationships, we easily associate random events  Illusory Correlation: Perception of a relationship where none exists, or perception of a stronger relationship than actually exists  People easily misperceive random events as confirming their beliefs  We are more
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