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Chapter 3

Chapter 3 Social Cognition.pdf

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Psychology 2070A/B

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Chapter 3: Social Cognition January-27-14 8:41 AM On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking AUTOMATIC THINKING: Thinking that is non-conscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas SCHEMAS: Mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects and that influence the information people notice, think about, and remember - Information relevant to a particular schema is processed more quickly than information unrelated to it Stereotypes About Race and Violence - When applied to members of a social group such as one of gender or race, schemas are commonly referred to as stereotypes  STUDY:  Participants played a video game in which they were supposed to "shoot" a man if he was holding a gun and withhold fire if he was not  People were influenced by the race of the men in the pictures, and were more prone to make mistakes by "shooting" black men who were unarmed  Their responses were the result of automatic thinking that is rooted in the pervasive stereotypes in North American culture about black people and violence Cultural Determinants of Schemas - The content of our schemas is influenced by our culture The Function of Schemas: Why Do We Have Them? - Schemas are particularly useful when we encounter information that is confusing or ambiguous because they help us figure out what is going on Which Schemas Are Applied? Accessibility and Priming ACCESSIBILITY: The extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of people's minds and are therefore likely to be used when making judgements about the social world - Schemas can accessible for three reasons: 1) Some schemas are chronically accessible because of past experience 2) Schemas can become accessible because they are related to a current goal 3) Schemas can become temporarily accessible because of our recent experiences - These are examples of priming PRIMING: The process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept  STUDY:  People read the paragraph about Donald and formed an impression of him  In a prior study, some people had memorized words that could be used to interpret Donald in a positive way, while others had memorized words that could be used to interpret Donald in a negative way  Those who had memorized the positive words formed a much more positive impression of Donald than did those who had memorized the negative words - Thoughts, then, have to be both accessible and applicable before they will act as primers, exerting an influence on our impressions of the social world Making Our Schemas Come True: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY: The case whereby people have an expectation about what another person is like, which influences how they act towards that p erson, which, in turn, causes that person to behave consistently with their original expectations Mental Strategies and Shortcuts: Heuristics JUDGEMENTAL HEURISTICS: Mental shortcuts people use to make judgements quickly and efficiently How Easily Does it Come to Mind? Availability Heuristic AVAILABILITY HEURISTIC: A mental shortcut whereby people base a judgement on the ease with which they can bring something to mind  STUDY:  People who were asked to think or six times they behaved assertively found it easy to do so and therefore concluded that they were pretty assertive people  People who were asked to think of 12 times they behaved assertively found it difficult to think of so many examples and therefore concluded that they were not very assertive people  Similar results were found among people asked to think or either 6 or 12 times they behaved unassertively  These results show that people often base their judgements on availability, or how easily they can bring information to mind How Similar is A to B? The Representativeness Heuristic REPRESENTATIVENESS HEURISTIC: A mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case
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