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PY 372: Week 4 Notes

by: Jordana Baraad

PY 372: Week 4 Notes PY 372

Jordana Baraad
GPA 3.9

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Covers in-class material from Week 4, periods Tues 9/6 and Thurs 9/8, on topics Social Cognition and Attitudes. What's in black was covered in class; what's in blue was included in lecture PDF's p...
Social Psychology
William Peter Hart
Class Notes
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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jordana Baraad on Thursday September 8, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to PY 372 at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa taught by William Peter Hart in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 23 views. For similar materials see Social Psychology in Psychology at University of Alabama - Tuscaloosa.


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Date Created: 09/08/16
9/6/16 Social Cognition (Pt. 2) Errors and Biases  4. Belief Perseverance ­ Persistence of one’s initial conceptions, even in the face of opposing  evidence ex. politician in interview insists that crime rates rising, even though they’ve been dropping when confronted with stats that expose him as wrong, he says “conspiracy”  5. Overcomfidence phenomon: people more often are confident than they are correct; they  overestimate the accuracy of their beliefs ex. problem w/ “certainty” in eye witness testimony mostly an unconscious/ unwilling process fallacious experience of the world ex. sports opponents genuinely disagree on calls each feels the other is being unreasonable • 6. Illusory correlation ­ Overestimating the relationship between two variables (where none  actually exists)  – evolutionary advantage to rapid prediction – eagerness to predict  overdoing perceived associations – ex. plane crashes—90% of survivors paid attention during safety briefing, so imp to pay  attention • flaw: we don’t what % of dead people paid attention – relevant to stereotypes • need to consider alternate group • 7. Regression toward the mean ­ Misunderstanding the statistical tendency for extreme behavior  to return toward one’s average  – easy to understand, hard to apply – when someone does something amazing, the next thinking is likely to be normal/ a  letdown – Example: The Sports Illustrated cover jinx • Probability for upward mobility is far lower than for fall – Apply this principle to explain why some people believe that rewards don’t work.     8. Base­rate Fallacy: Tendency to ignore statistical information in favor of dramatic/ vivid stories  a.k.a. Base­rate Neglect o “But I knew someone who…” o easier to wrap mind around vivid account than stats  but typically more biased  reason why testimonials are such an effective ad strategy  9. Anchoring and Adjustment ­ Tendency for numerical estimates to be biased by an initial, even arbitrary, starting point, or "anchor."  Errors and Biases   Heuristics ­ A judgment strategy (a rule of thumb or a mental shortcut) that is quick but imperfect o Mental shortcuts that often produce good decisions (quicker, less energy) o But sometimes, they don’t  Ex. Do more people die each year of… . diabetes or homicides?  ...floods or infectious hepatitis?  ...strokes or all other accidents?  ...asthma or tornadoes?  ...lightning or appendicitis? accidents or cancer of the digestive system? The less “scary” one is often cause of far more fatalities.  Errors and Biases  Heuristics are often helpful, but can lead us astray…  Availability Heuristic ­ Used to evaluate the frequency or likelihood of an event on the basis of  how quickly examples are readily available in your memory  o Assumed frequency correlated with ease of recall o Often true, BUT  Less news reports on car crashes than plane crashes than car crashes   overestimation of plane crashes  wrong idea of how to protect self  More reporting of violent crime  reduction in perceived safety despite increase  in actual safety  Representativeness Heuristic ­ Used to estimate the extent to which a person (or thing) is  representative of the average person (or thing) in the category o “If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.” o BUT…  Sometimes we call guy w/ long hair “ma’am”  Most effective bank robber succeeds bc he doesn’t “look the part” o Categorizations socially negotiated, so mistakes are often corrected  Fluid process Automaticity  • Automatic vs. controlled processing  • Automatic processing is defined by the “four horsemen of automaticity” (Bargh):  – Controllability – Ability to stop or alter process that has already been started  o Opposite: UN­controllable (inability to stop if want to)  i.e. blushing, pupils dilating in response to attraction – Intentionality – Control over whether process is started  o Opposite: UN­intentional (no conscious will to start)  i.e. same as above – Awareness – Of stimulus, processing, and/or influential factors  o Opposite: lack of awareness (you don’t know it’s happening)  i.e. developing accent, change in phone voice – Efficiency – Degree to which process requires cognitive resources  o Doesn’t use up cognitive capacity  o Consciousness  messing up process  Ex. walking, breathing o Occurs thru practice/ proceduralization  Not all the same actions are automatic for everyone Attribution Theories  • Theories of how people go about explaining others’ (and their own) behavior  • Two general categories of causes of behavior:  – External attributions (Situational causes) ­ All causes are external to the person  o (pressure from others, money, the situation, etc.  – Internal attributions (Dispositional causes) ­ All causes are internal to the person  o (moods, attitudes, personality traits, abilities, etc.)   ex. Miss SC gave nonsensical interview answer o many assign internal attribution that she’s dumb o many external attributions possible  situational anxiety, trained talking points, etc. o takeaway: we often don’t understand people’s situations before judging them Attribution Theories  • Heider (1958) assumed that person perception is very similar to object perception  • Core ideas:  – Behaviors express traits – Attribution extracts traits from behavior  – Attribution is vital  – Attributions are not necessarily conscious  – Attribution is a form of causal analysis  • Kelley’s theory of attributions:  – To explain behavior, we use three factors:  1. Consistency:  2. Distinctiveness:  3. Consensus:  • Example: Attribution Theories  • 2 key Dimensions of Causality:  – Locus of causality: Is the cause internal or external?  – Stability: Is the cause permanent or not?  Pessimistic explanatory style:  What is it? The tendency to see negative events as caused by internal and stable factors  Consequences?  Attribution Theories  9/8/16 Social Cognition (wrap­up) Attribution Errors  • Fundamental Attribution Error ­ Tendency for observers to underestimate situational influences and  overestimate dispositional influences upon others’ behavior  – a.k.a., Correspondence bias  – attribute behavior to person’s nature, even though explained by environment – ex. David Chapelle—Oscar is grouchy bc lives in garbage can (Sesame St) – ex. Miss SC (9/6) – ex. Louis CK’s lion joke – Ross, Amabile, & Steinmetz (“Alex Trebek Effect;” 1977)  o He seems smart, bc he knows all the answers on Jeopardy… read off cue cards Why does the Fundamental Attribution Error occur?  • 1. Actor­observer difference –  • 2. Actor­observer bias ­ Tendency to explain others’ behavior as due to dispositions and our own behavior as due to the situation we often fail to take another perspective into account takeaway: decenter and consider another perspective Attitudes (Pt. 1) Definition and Description • Attitude: An evaluation, either positive or negative, of a person, object, event, etc., that is manifested in our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors toward the attitude object.  Favor/disfavor  Ex. positive attitude about ice cream  Negative attitude about spiders • Three parts: The ABCs of attitudes • Affect (feelings) • Behavior • Cognition (thoughts) particularly A and B multidirectional behavior can influence feelings and vice versa  can examine behavior to assess feeling  feelings can cause you to act a certain way Attitude Formation • There are three views of how attitudes are accessed: 1. Memory based 2. On-line construction 3. Both 1 and 2 are true Attitude Functions • We form attitudes for a number of reasons: – Self-Knowledge function – Utilitarian (instrumental) function: evolved; helped us survive o Safer to approach or stay away? – Ego-defensive function: makes us feel better about selves/ lives o Place what you have (materials, skills, etc.) on pedestal; denigrate what you don’t / can’t have – Value-expressive function: show/tell others what’s important to us o guide for how we want to be treated/ regarded – Social-adjustive function : we often temporarily change views to fit in o People like us more when we agree with them o We care deeply about being liked o Change often not lasting Do attitudes predict behavior? I.e. Do we say one thing and do another? • Lapiere (1934) - First study to demonstrate inconsistency between attitudes and behaviors • Corey (1937) - Study of cheating found almost no correlation between attitudes and behavior • Wicker (1969) – Reviewed literature and concluded no attitude- behavior consistency  92% Americans believe pollution is a serious threat BUT fewer than 50% do anything beyond recycling bottles / cans  Americans value honesty, but 91% lie regularly  75% believe we should volunteer; 33% volunteer regularly Why don’t attitudes predict behavior? • Three potential causes of inconsistency: 1. Instability of attitudes/intentions – a. Can be overshadowed by social norms/ considerations i. Ex. bullying—don’t like it, but we do nothing, out of fear of making waves ii. Ex. hyper-aggressive people anti-fighting but feel they have no choice 2. Intention-behavior incompatibility 3. Measurement issue – Multidimensionality of attitudes When will attitudes predict behavior? • Theory of reasoned action (Ajzen & Fishbein) –Three predictors of behavior: 1. Attitudes toward the behavior 2. Subjective norms: How would it look? How would others react? 3. Both of these result in the construction of a behavioral intention… which is the BEST predictor of behavior When will attitudes predict behavior? • 1. When we assess a “true” attitude rather than social desirability. – Bogus Pipeline (Jones & Sigall, 1971) o Fake lie-detector test  better predictions Another idea… People sometimes forget what they stand for, so… When will attitudes predict behavior? • 2. When attention is focused on the attitude. – Make attitude salient • Snyder & Swann (1976) (affirmative action and gender discrimination) – Make people privately reflective • Diener & Wallbom (1976) cheating study 71% cheating w/o mirror v. 7% cheating w/ mirror takeaway: we neeed to be reminded of values we’re well meaning but frequently “mess up” better ways to stay true to values: write values daily at start of each day look in mirror Another Idea… Some ideas are weakly held, without much passion Not good predictors of behavior Ex. environmental beliefs “passion gives juice” so…. When will attitudes predict behavior? • 3. When the attitude is formed by active experience. – Fazio et al. (1977) sleeping on a cot study o Cornell over-assigned students to housing/ under- ordered beds o Some students slept on cots o All reported agitation over poor handling of situation o Cot-sleepers far more willing to actually take action about it


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