Psychology 2550A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 15: Perceived Control, Carol Dweck, System On A Chip

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Chapter 15 – Social Cognitive Processes
Principles of Social Cognition applied to personality
Draw heavily on principles and concepts about social cognition that have been
discovered in the years since the cognitive revolution began
Social cognition and personality
In 80s, many social soc psychologists adopted the constructs and methodologies that
had begun in cognitive psychology and proved to be fruitful
Social psychologists studied how people processed info about the social world
Term social cognition refers to this large movement within soc psych, and its
increasingly active and influential, freely crossing the loose boundaries b/w personality
and social psych
The emotional and behavioural reactions that unfold are influenced by the mental
representations, or schemas, with which people interpret the objects and social
situations in their world, including themselves and their own psych states as well as
other people
Are important for understanding mental functioning because they are basic units for
organizing info
oGuide what we notice and what we remember
Are knowledge structures made up of collections or attributes or features that have a
family resemblance to each other
People categories info in order to organize and simplify vast amounts of info so that it
can be used to make inferences and decisions
These knowledge structures often have clear exemplars = prototypes
Schemas help one to make sense of new events by recognizing what they are like in
terms of their similarity to cognitive structures that already exist
Schemas include prototypes of types of people
Schemas become activates when other thoughts that are associate with them become
activated; when activated can influence what people see
Effects of Schemas
Directing attention and influencing memory
Schemas that are activated direct our attention, affects our memory
Helps people not become overwhelmed with info but can have bad effects
E.g. shooting of Amadu Dialo by NYC police when he was holding wallet but mistaken for
Making inferences
Schemas affect how we make inferences and form personality impressions, and how
they do so often in indirect and subtle ways
Allow us to fill in gap or make inference
oe.g. shown photo of professor, bunch of words describing them. Asked if you
think they are generous. The two sides saw the exact same description expect
either warm or cold. Based on that it impacted if they thought they were
generous or not. 91% who saw warm said was generous, only 9% who saw cold
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Self Fulfilling Prophecies
schemas can also create self-fulfilling prophecies
when expectations creates about others shape how one interacts with a person, which
in turn causes that person to act in the way that was initially expected
obeginning of school year teachers told random set of students were on verge of
intellectual spurt. At end of 8 months IQ test administered to class and students
in spurt sample scored higher than rest
oteachers predictions made them act in way that caused the student to excel
Activation of Schemas
is determined by availability, accessibility, applicability and salience
availability = whether the schema exists or not
oif it doesn’t, then you will not use it
accessibility = how easy it is to access the schema
applicability = whether the schema is applicable to the situation
salience = refers to degree to which particular social object stands out compared to
other social objects in a situation
priming = process that increases temporary accessibility
The Self
the self in personality psych figures in concepts like “self-actualization”, “self-
evaluation”, “self-regulation” and “self-control”
at social cognitive level of analysis, the self is viewed not as a thing but as a set of
schemas, a basic cognitive category, that serves as a vital frame of reference for
processing and evaluating experiences
Self Schemas
the self-schemas within an individual consist of interconnected knowledge structures of
many different sorts based on a wide range of experiences in the course of development
self-schemas include generalizations about the self, such as “I am an independent
person” or “ I tend to lean on people”
othese cognitions arise from past experiences and once formed, guide how we
deal with new info related to the self
people have better recall for info about traits that they believe describe them than for
traits that aren’t self-descriptive
are highly accessible personal constructs that a person is ready to use for encoding info
people differ stably in their self-schemas
also have motivational implications
each person develops a self-theory; this theory is a construction, set of concepts about
the self  its created by the child from experience, but it in turn affects future
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