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Lecture 3 - Social Cognition

by: Leslie Ogu

Lecture 3 - Social Cognition PSYC 2012

Marketplace > George Washington University > Psychlogy > PSYC 2012 > Lecture 3 Social Cognition
Leslie Ogu
GPA 3.01

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About this Document

Notes on social cognition that explains why we act the way we do, why we pay attention to certain things and react certain ways, etc.
Social Psychology
Stock, M
Class Notes
Social Cognition, social psychology, reactions, personality
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This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Leslie Ogu on Thursday February 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PSYC 2012 at George Washington University taught by Stock, M in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 20 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychlogy at George Washington University.


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Date Created: 02/04/16
Leslie Ogu PSYC 2012  01/21/2016 ­ Social Cognition    Intro  ➢ Social Cognition​ : study of how people think/feel about themselves and the social  world  ○ It is how we organize, interpret, remember, and use social information to  make decisions  ➢ Low­Effort​ : activities or things you are used to   ○ automatic thinking  ○ unintentional, effortless, nonconscious  ➢ High­Effort​ : learning something new  ○ controlled, intentional  ○ voluntary, effortful    Purposes of Automatic Thinking  ➢ It’s not possible take everything in because there’s just too much information  ➢ We need shortcuts to understand and/or predict the social world  ➢ It increases efficiency by saving time  ➢ Our past experiences provide a filter to help us interpret and evaluate new  people or events    Schemas  ➢  Definition: mental structures that help organize knowledge about the social world  and guide the selection, interpretation, and recall of information  ○ this helps make social environment more predictable  ○ helps us organize information  ○ influences behavior  ○ schemas applied to groups are called s ​tereotypes  ○ schemas can also be applied to specific individuals and to ourselves  ➢ People develop theories to interpret reality  ○ Ex: social roles such as policemen and librarians  ○ Ex: social norms such as how to act in church  ○ Scripts​  are a step­by­step order of events for a particular situation; it  helps us know what to expect, and we may have the tendency to fill in  things that didn’t actually happen  ➢ Influences attention in terms of what we concentrate on the most in certain  environments  ➢ Influences behavior  ➢ How we decide which schema to use?  ○ Depends on schema accessibility  ■ Ex: Situational cues ­ if a woman is the only woman in a group of  men, female stereotype may be silent  ○ Priming  ○ Personal chronic constructs ­ accessibility due to past experience  ➢ Can be problematic  ○ Confirmation Biases​  ­ tendencies to interpret, seek, and create  information that verifies our preexisting beliefs or schemas    Priming  ➢ Definition: the process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of  a scheme, trait, or concept  ➢ Can affect:  ○ Impressions  ■ Ex: If we are primed with positive or negative words or mood, we  can have a more positive or negative impression of a person  ○ Behavior    Self­Fulfilling Prophecies  ➢ Not about ourselves!  ➢ Definition: a false belief that leads to its own fulfillment  1. Perceiver develops false belief about a target  2. Perceiver treats target in manner consistent with false belief  3. Target responds to the treatment in such a way as to confirm the originally  false belief  ➢ Example  ○ I mistakenly believe that Mike is a rude guy  ○ Because of this belief, I don’t greet him when we pass on the street  ○ Since I didn’t greet him, he doesn’t greet me either. Therefore, I  conclude that he is actually a rude person    Heuristics  ➢ Definition: shortcuts that people use to make judgements about the frequencies  of past events and the likelihood of future events  ➢ Reasons for their use:  ○ Cognitive miser ­ we as humans value our mental processing resources  and try to find different ways to save time and effort when negotiating the  social world  ○ Limited processing capacity  ➢ Using heuristics is ​not​ in itself irrational or illogical  ➢ Availability Heuristic  ○ Definition: basing a judgement on how easily you can bring something to  mind  ■ Ex: When being asked if you are assertive, most of us find it easier  to find to think of times we were assertive compared to being asked  if we weren’t and thinking of examples when we were not  ○ This is not just influenced by the actual frequencies, but also:  ■ salience (e.g., the media)  ■ recency (recent events are overrepresented)  ■ attention (our interests direct our attention)  ■ familiarity  ➢ Representative Heuristic  ○ Definition: the tendency to assume that someone or something belongs to  a particular group if similar to a typical member  ■ Insensitive to prior probability and sample size  ○ People are poor at assessing base rate information and instead rely on  representativeness  ○ If no representative information is given, people can properly use  base­rate information  ○ Law of Large Numbers:​  the larger the sample you draw from a populatio,  the closer its average will be to the population average    Anchoring and adjustment  ➢ Definition: the process in which people make an estimate of some value by  starting from an initial value (an anchor) and adjusting  ➢ Situations it is used:  ○ First impressions  ○ Judges and penalty decisions  ○ Personal experiences    High­Effect Processes  ➢ One purpose: correct for low­effort mistakes  ➢ Requires ability and motivation  ○ Ex: buying a car  ■ Low effort ­ color, status  ■ High effort ­ gas mileage, dependability, cost  ○ Ex: perceiving someone  ■ High effort ­ don’t use your first impression, stereotype  ➢ Counterfactual thinking  ○ Definition: mentally changing an aspect of the past and imagining what  might have been  ○ Enhances thoughts of cause and effect 


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