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Chapter 2

Attitudes & Opinions - Chapter 2.docx

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Psychology 3721F/G
Cheung/ Maxwell

Chapter 2Social PerceptionSocial CognitionSocial cognitionour thought processes about other people ourselves and social situationshow we understand and make sense of social stimuligather organize and interpret infoCharacteristics of Perceptionst 1 stage of social cognition is perceptionthe reception and organization of sensory info 5 CHARACTERISTICS OF PERCEPTION o 1 Perception is immediateno apparent delayo 2 Perception is selectiveattention only focuses on a few objectsonce it is an active process o 3 Perception is structuredthe separate groups of stimuli are integrated into a structured whole o 4 Perception is stableBest illustrated by our constancies in perception apparent size shape and color of objects remain constant even though we view them from different distances and angles and in different amounts of lighto 5 Perception is meaningfulOur perceptual experience is organized into meaningful categories Some ways in which perception of people is unlike perception of objects o 1 We perceive people as casual agents they have various intentions and personal traitso 2 We perceive personal interactions as being dynamic other people adjust their behavior in response to us and vice versa o 3 bc we expect other people to have basic human characteristics like our own we typically perceive them as having specific emotions and attitudes that are not directly observable Our perception of the world around us is quite accurate or veridicalhowever senses can be fooled through illusions Social perception is much more likely to be inaccuratesuffers from numerous sources of subjectivity and unreliabilityCommon Thought ProcessesThere are many thought processes that people use to simplify and give order to their everyday decisions and interactions w othersHeuristicsconvenient informal guides that people find helpful and often follow in making decisions or predictionso 1 Availability heuristicthe use of readily available salient info about events such as instances that are easily remembered or imagined Often used in making estimates of the frequency or probability of events Often aids people in making accurate estimates can lead to incorrect judgments as well Ex Hearing news report of violent crime leads people to increase their estimates of the frequency of such crimes and substantially overestimate the occurrence Media coverage contributes to their salience and subjective judgmentsSimulation heuristicthe use of ones imagination to construct scenarios of possible future eventsUnsqueaky wheel trapex In planning to prevent such terrorism attack as 911 focus was largely on deterring use of truck bombs and small planes being flown into buildings failed to imagine use of commercial jet linerCommercial jet linerunsqueaky wheel which gets little attentiono 2 Adjustment heuristicmaking estimates or predictions by starting w some salient initial value an anchor and adjusting it upward or downward However adjustments people make usually too small and result is an anchoring effectthe initial value over influences the subsequent predictions Frequently use our own norms or habits as the anchor when we are estimating the behaviour of other people Experiments have established the important finding that anchoring effects can positively or negatively influence estimates of ones own abilities and those estimates in turn can effect ones later behavioural persistence in a task becoming selffulfilling prophecieso 3 Representative heuristicmethod of making judgments or predictions about probability by relying on bits of info that you consider representative typical feature of a group or category While using these limited cues people commonly ignore other useful data such as amount of evidence available the reliability andor validity of the evidence and base rates of behaviour being predicted ie its probability in the population at large Biasesoften result from or are combined w the preceding heuristics and they can produce many errors in judgmentdealing w purely cognitive biases not motivational ones o 1 The fundamental attribution errorhuman tendency to overestimate the importance of personal characteristics as the cause of other peoples behaviour and to underestimate the importance of situational influenceso 2 Underestimation of rolerelated aspects of behaviour holding social role teacher boss member of upper class confers considerable control over ones personal interactions and offers many opportunities to display ones strengths and conceal weaknesses cognitive tendency to overlook the extent of rolerelated behaviour adds to our overestimation of the importance of personal characteristics closely related to FAE o 3 false consensus biasmost people overestimate the frequency of other peoples acting or thinking the same way as themselveso 4 Overlooking nonoccurrencespeoples tendency to overlook nonoccurrences because they are less salientless easily classified and remembered
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