Textbook Notes (362,734)
Canada (158,032)
Psychology (2,948)
PSY220H1 (200)
Chapter 4

PSY 220 CH.4 summary.docx

8 Pages
Unlock Document

University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

PSY 220 CH.4 Social Cognition: ThinkingAbout People and Situations • Our judgements are only as effective as the quality of the information on which they are based, yet the information available to us in everyday life is not always accurate or complete. • The way information is presented, including the order in which it is presented and how it is framed, can affect the judgements we make. • We don’t just passively take in information. We often actively seek it out, and a pervasive bias in our information-seeking strategies often distorts the conclusions we reach. • Our pre-existing knowledge, expectations, and mental habits can influence the construal of new information and thus substantially influence judgement. • 2 mental systems – intuition and reason – underlie social cognition, and their complex interplay determines the judgements we make. Why Study Social Cognition? • Field of social cognition is the study of how people think about the social world and arrive at judgements that help them interpret the past, understand the present, and predict the future. • Social stimuli rarely influence a person’s behaviour directly, it often happens indirectly through the way it is interpreted or construed. The InformationAvailable For Social Cognition • Social cognition depends first of all on information. Minimal Information: Inferring Personality from PhysicalAppearance • Agreat deal of what we conclude about people based on their faces is determined almost instantaneously. Perceiving Trust and Dominance • People often make judgements on whether people should be trusted or avoided, and where they are likely to stand in a power hierarchy. • Baby faces often seen as trustworthy. These people are judged to be relatively weak, naive, or submissive. People with small eyes, small forehead, and angular jaw tend to be judged to be competent, strong, and dominant. • Baby faced people are more trusted as a defendant in court, but have a harder time to be seen as appropriate for ‘adult’jobs such as banking. TheAccuracy of Snap Judgements • Current evidence is mixed. Possibilities can explain it. PersonAseen as submissive, trustworthy, or shy. Person B treats personA as such and therefore personAfalls into the role. • People’s snap judgements may hold a kernel of truth, but just a very small kernel. • Do snap judgements correspond to the majority opinion? Often, yes. (Students rating professor after 10 seconds compared to those after a semester, often matched judgements) Misleading Firsthand Information: Pluralistic Ignorance • First hand information is through direct contact, second hand would be things like gossip, biographies, textbooks, etc. • First hand information often more accurate, but can be deceptive. Ex. People can change how they are acting to create a good impression. • Pluralistic ignorance: Misrepresentation of a group norm that results from observing people who are acting at variance with their private beliefs out of a concern for the social consequences – actions that reinforce the erroneous group norm. • Example of pluralistic ignorance is a difficult lecture, prof asks if there are any questions, you have a question but don’t raise your hand because no one else is. • Another example involves ethnic differences. Meet someone who is ethnically different, you don’t interact with them because you assume that they don’t want to cross the ethnic lines, and vice versa. Misleading Second-hand Information • Often rely on second-hand information when making judgements, but we are often getting a biased opinion. Ideological Distortion • Transmitters of information often have an ideological agenda – a desire to foster certain beliefs or behaviours in others – that leads them to accentuate some element of a story and suppress others. Distortions in the Service of Entertainment: Overemphasis on Bad News • Often there is a desire to entertain others, so our telling of stories focus on that. • Media often focuses on the bad because it has entertainment value. Effects of the Bad-News Bias • Can lead people to believe that they are more at risk then they actually are. • Correlation between the amount of time spent watching tv and the fear of victimization. DifferentialAttention to Positive and negative Information • People often prefer to hear about the bad news, why it is more reported. Often we are more attentive to negative information than to positive information because the former has implications on our well-being. How Information is Presented • By manipulating the messages people receive about various products through marketing, producers hope to influence consumers’buying impulses. • The way information is presented has a great impact on how much influence it has. Order Effects • Asking people about their dating lives then happiness led to a stronger correlation than asking about happiness then dating lives. • Primacy effect: The disproportionate influence on judgement by information presented first in a body of evidence. • Recency effect: The disproportionate influence on judgement by information presented last in a body of evidence. • Rate an individual using the words intelligent, industrious, impulsive, critical, stubborn, and envious. Whether the words were presented forward or reverse affected how this hypothetical person was received. Substantial primacy effect. (SolomonAsch) • Order effects can arise for various reasons. Ex. Being focused at the start of a presentation, but not at the end. • Recency effects typically occur because the last items were easier to recall, so they exert more weight than information earlier on. • Order effect can also arise because information presented earlier on affects how we judge information later. Framing Effects • Framing effect: The influence on judgement from the way information is presented, such as the order of presentation or how it is worded. • Order effects are a type of ‘pure’framing effects. The frame of reference changed but the information is exactly the same. Spin Framing • Spin framing is a less pure form of framing because it varies the content, not just the order in which it is presented. • Companies will frame an item such that their better qualities are brought to light. (Better price, better performance, more grease-fighting power). • Pro choice vs. the right to live, terrorist vs. freedom fighter, torture vs. enhanced interrogation, death tax vs. inheritance tax, etc. Positive and Negative Framing • Most things in life are a mixture of good and bad, and can be framed in a good or bad light, with predictable effects on people’s judgements. • 10% failure rate vs. 90% success rate, 75% lean meat vs. 25% fat, etc. • Negative information tends to attract more attention and have greater psychological impact than positive information, so information framed in negative terms tend to elicit a stronger response. Temporal Framing • Being asked early on if you can help a friend move versus being asked the day of can affect whether you agree or not, even if you weren’t going to be busy. • Construal level theory: A theory that outlines the relationship between psychological distance and the concreteness versus abstraction of thought. Psychologically distinct actions and events are thought about in abstract terms; actions and events that are close at hand are thought about in concrete terms. • Actions and events come framed within a particular time perspective. • Tend to think of distant events in abstract terms (Being generous (abstract) vs. giving a panhandler 1$ (concrete)). • Things that seem great in the abstract are sometimes less thrilling when fleshed out in all their concrete detail, so we regret making some commitments. • Abstract can sometimes be less desirable than the concrete as well. Ex. Diet or indulge. How We Seek Information Confirmation Bias • Confirmation bias: The tendency to test a proposition by searching for evidence that would support it. • GroupAasked to find information on whether working out before a tennis match led to winning. Group B asked to find out whether working out before a match led to a loss. Could look at # to work out and win/lose, and # to not work out and win/lose. Participants mostly looked for info to confirm their hypothesis. • Almost anything can have some sort of backing information, so only looking for evidence that supports a hypothesis is not the best thing to do. To truly test something, we must look for evidence supporting and refuting it. Motivated Confirmation Bias • People who fall prey to the confirmation bias often feel no particular motivation to confirm a particular outcome. They believe to be simply testing the proposition. But they end up engaging in biased research. Though some people do deliberately search to confirm their expectations. Top-Down Processing: Using Schemas to Understand New Information • Bottom-up processes: “Data-driven” mental processing, in which an individual forms conclusions based on the stimuli encountered through experience. • Top-down processes: “Theory-driven” mental processing, in which new information in light of pre-existing knowledge and expectations. • Stored information is not filed away bit-by-bit, instead information is stored in coherent configurations, or schemas, in which related information is stored together. The Influence of Schemas • Schemas affect our judgements in many ways, such as directing our attention, structuring our memories, and influencing our construals. Attention • Attention is limited, and a situation directs what gains our attention. (Video of basketball match, asked to count number of passes to people in white shirts, missed gorilla walking by. Weren’t expecting to see a gorilla, therefore didn’t notice it.)(Simons & Chabris). Memory • Most likely to remember those things that have captured our attention. • ‘Attention in the past tense.’ • Many judgements are based off of memories, so schemas are also important for judgements. • Students watch tape of husband and wife at dinner. Told the woman is either a librarian or a wai
More Less

Related notes for PSY220H1

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.