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Chapter 3 Social Cognition: How We Think About the Social World.

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1 Chapter 3 Social Cognition: How We Think About the Social World

2 Chapter Outline I. On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking

3 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking Social cognition is the study of how people select, interpret, and use information to make judgments about themselves and the social world.

4 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking People use mental shortcuts to simplify the amount of information they receive from the environment.

5 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking Social cognition is pragmatic, adopting different procedures depending on the person’s goals and needs in a situation.

6 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas Schemas are mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects: schemas affect what information we notice, think about, and remember.

7 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas Schemas act as filters, screening out information that is inconsistent with them. Although we may notice and remember glaring exceptions, usually we attend only to schema-consistent information.

8 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas Accessibility: the ease with which schemas can be brought to mind. Priming: the process by which recent experiences make schemas, traits, or concepts come to mind more readily.

9 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking People as Everyday Theorists: Automatic Thinking with Schemas Perseverance effect: the tendency for people’s beliefs about themselves and their world to persist even when those beliefs are discredited.

10 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking People as Everyday Theorists: Schemas and Their Influence Self-fulfilling prophecy: whereby people have an expectation about what another person is like, which influences how they act toward that person, which causes that person to behave in a way consistent with the original expectation.

11 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking Mental Strategies and Shortcuts Judgmental heuristics are mental shortcuts people use to make judgments quickly and efficiently.

12 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking Mental Strategies and Shortcuts The availability heuristic is a mental rule of thumb whereby people base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind.

13 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking Mental Strategies and Shortcuts The representativeness heuristic is a mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case. Base rate information is information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population. It usually is not considered when people are using mental shortcuts.

14 On Automatic Pilot: Low-Effort Thinking Mental Strategies and Shortcuts The anchoring and adjustment heuristic is a mental shortcut that involves using a number or value as a starting point, and then adjusting one’s answer away from this anchor. One example of anchoring and adjustment is biased sampling, whereby people make generalizations from samples of information they know are biased or atypical.

15 Chapter Outline II. Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking

16 Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking Controlled thinking is conscious, voluntary, and effortful unlike automatic thinking which is nonconscious, effortless, and involuntary.

17 Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking The Motivated Social Thinker In many studies, people make judgments that are of little importance to them. When the importance is increased, people may use more sophisticated strategies, are more accurate, and are more likely to notice facts that conflict with their schemas.

18 Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking Ironic Processing and Thought Suppression Being preoccupied reduces our ability to engage in thought suppression, or the attempt to avoid thinking about something we would just as soon forget.

19 Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking Ironic Processing and Thought Suppression According to Wegner, thought suppression depends on two processes: “monitoring” (searching for evidence that the unwanted thought is about to intrude) and “operating process” (finding a distraction).

20 Controlled Social Cognition: High-Effort Thinking Counterfactual thinking is mentally changing some aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have been.

21 Chapter Outline III. A Portrayal of Social Thinking

22 A Portrayal of Human Thinking People as “flawed scientists”: Though people are brilliant thinkers, they are often blind to truths that don’t fit their theories and sometimes even treat others in ways that make their theories come true.

23 Chapter Outline IV. Improving Human Thinking

24 Improving Human Thinking Teaching Reasoning Skills Often we have more confidence in our judgements than we should. To try to improve reasoning skills, we need to break through this overconfidence barrier and make people more aware of the limits of their cognitive abilities.

25 Study Questions What is social cognition? What do researchers in this area study?

26 Study Questions What are the advantages of automatic thinking? When is this type of thinking problematic?

27 Study Questions Why are schemas so important to study? What role do they play in people’s understanding and interpretations of themselves and the social world? What are examples of cognitive processes that are influenced by schemas?

28 Study Questions What functions do schemas serve? Why does their use sometimes have adaptive value? How is their use maladaptive? How do accessibility and priming affect schema use?

29 Study Questions What is the relationship between schemas and the perseverance effect?

30 Study Questions Why does the self-fulfilling prophecy occur? What function does it serve? How can it affect resistance to schema change?

31 Study Questions How do cultures influence schema content?

32 Study Questions Why do people use judgmental heuristics? What are three heuristics that people use to make judgments? When people rely on these heuristics what kind of information are they not taking into account?

33 Study Questions What are the effects of motivation on judgment formation? How is automatic thinking different from controlled thinking? What effects does cognitive load have on these two types of thinking?

34 Study Questions How do automatic processing and controlled processing interact to allow for successful thought suppression?

35 Study Questions What is the relationship between the occurrence of counterfactual thinking and emotional reactions to events?

36 Study Questions What is perhaps the best metaphor for the social thinker? Why?

37 Study Questions What can we teach people so that they overcome the overconfidence barrier and increase their reasoning ability?


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