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Chapter 4

PSY 220 CH.4 summary.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Dolderman

PSY 220 CH4Social Cognition Thinking About People and SituationsOur 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 completeThe way information is presented including the order in which it is presented and how it is framed can affect the judgements we makeWe dont just passively take in information We often actively seek it out and a pervasive bias in our informationseeking strategies often distorts the conclusions we reachOur preexisting knowledge expectations and mental habits can influence the construal of new information and thus substantially influence judgement2 mental systemsintuition and reasonunderlie social cognition and their complex interplay determines the judgements we makeWhy Study Social CognitionField 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 futureSocial stimuli rarely influence a persons behaviour directly it often happens indirectly through the way it is interpreted or construedThe Information Available For Social CognitionSocial cognition depends first of all on informationMinimal Information Inferring Personality from Physical AppearanceA great deal of what we conclude about people based on their faces is determined almost instantaneouslyPerceiving Trust and DominancePeople 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 dominantBaby 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 bankingThe Accuracy of Snap JudgementsCurrent evidence is mixed Possibilities can explain it Person A seen as submissive trustworthy or shy Person B treats person A as such and therefore person A falls into the rolePeoples snap judgements may hold a kernel of truth but just a very small kernelDo snap judgements correspond to the majority opinion Often yes Students rating professor after 10 seconds compared to those after a semester often matched judgementsMisleading Firsthand Information Pluralistic IgnoranceFirst hand information is through direct contact second hand would be things like gossip biographies textbooks etc
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