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Cognitive Schemas: hypothetical cognitive structures that consist of prior knowledge which affects how we categorize and interpret incoming information.

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Presentation on theme: "Cognitive Schemas: hypothetical cognitive structures that consist of prior knowledge which affects how we categorize and interpret incoming information."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cognitive Schemas: hypothetical cognitive structures that consist of prior knowledge which affects how we categorize and interpret incoming information Types of Schemas: a)Person b)Events (e.g., weddings and funerals) c)Role d) Self Effects how we --- attend encode retrieve information

2 Schemas and memory Occupational Labels WaitressLibrarian Consistent and inconsistent descriptive information given about the traits, interests, etc. of a waitress and librarian Memory of facts Job title (schema) given before or after descriptive information

3 The procedure is really quite simple. First you arrange things into different groups. Of course, one pile may be sufficient depending on how much there is to do. If you have to go somewhere else due to lack of facilities that is the next step; otherwise you are pretty well set. It is important not to overdo things. That is, it is better to do too few things at once than too many. In the short run this may not seem important, but complications can easily arise. A mistake can be expensive as well. At first the whole procedure will seem complicated. Soon, however, it will become just facet of life. It is difficult to foresee any end to the necessity for this task in the immediate future but then, once cam never tell. After the procedure is completed one arranges the materials into different groups again (Bransford & Johnson, 1972, p. 722)

4 Schemas and perception Car accident (shown on film) “Hit” “Smashed” 34 mph 41 mph 2x more likely to indicate presence of glass in the accident (none was present) versus

5 Schemas and behavior Physical attractiveness of female described to males Low High Phone conversation with males Females did not know how they were described to males Males were warmer, more friendly, and used more humor when talking to the “attractive” female Females behavior was warmer and more friendly when they were described to the male as “attractive”

6 Heuristics : C ognitive shortcuts Availability heuristic: What information is most available (seen, noticed); what to comes to mind quickly (media influence) Example: Death by plane crashes Representative heuristic: Classifying things (objects, people) based on how similar it is to a typical (average) member of a group Base rate information: Data about the frequency of occurrence of something in the population (often underutilized) Sampling bias: Making judgments based on a sample that is small or skewed (not typical)

7 Representativeness Heuristic Belief in the “Law of Small Numbers” Hot Hands, Streaks, “Momentum,” etc. Base rate neglect Comparison of clinical predictions and actuarial (statistical) predictions

8 Availability Heuristic Substituting ease of access for data on frequency of occurrence Factors that increase availability –Emotionality of events –Recency of events –Ease of visualization –Imagining events –Vividness of events or testimonials

9 Self-Fulfilling Prophesies Confirmation bias Pygmalion effect –Distortion of observations –Creation of demand characteristics that elicit predicted behaviors

10 “It will never happen to me” Positive outcomes are overestimated (especially with respect to oneself) Negative outcomes are underestimated Students estimate that they are 15% more likely to experience a positive outcome than the average student Students estimate that they are 20% less likely to experience a negative outcome than the average student

11 Counterfactual Thinking (what might have been; what could I have done different?) Negative Event Imagine doing something different (“better”) Enhances positive mood May allow for the development of new strategies for future use

12 A B Grades Test Score Lowered counterfactual thinking (satisfaction) Upward counterfactual thinking (dissatisfaction) Counterfactual Thinking (cont.)

13 Inaction Inertia 75% Off Sale Plan or think about buying an item but don’t do so 25% Off Sale Unlikely to buy the stock now even though it may still be a good purchase Stock is selling for $5.00/share Plan or think about buying the stock but don’t do so Stock rises to $10.00/share Unlikely to buy the item now even though it may still be a good deal

14 Psychological Accounting You are on vacation and want to go to the theater. Do you spend $30 on a theater ticket if you –Discover that you lost the $30 ticket you purchased earlier in the day –Discover that you lost $30 from your wallet while touring earlier in the day

15 Psychological Accounting You are going to buy a jacket and a calculator. The jacket costs $125 and the calculator costs $15 at the store. You learn that you can buy the calculator at a different store (20 minute drive away) for $10. Do you drive to the other store to get the calculator? You are going to buy a jacket and a calculator. The jacket costs $125 and the calculator costs $15 at the store. You learn that you can buy the jacket at a different store (20 minute drive away) for $120. Do you drive to the other store to get the jacket?

16 Sensitivity to the ratio of costs Size of the ratio of the high cost to the lower cost influences the decision more than the absolute size of the savings Calculator example $15/$10 – ratio is 1.5 (drive seems worthwhile!) Jacket example $125/$120 – ratio is 1.04 (prices seem nearly identical)

17 Coughing Sneezing Disease diagnosis; need for certain treatment Priming: Process where recent experience increases the use of a concept, trait, or schema 50% success rate Significantly more people in this group recommend the drug be approved Experimental Drug for cancer treatment 50% failure rate

18 Social Desirability Problems with “catch phrases” and emotionally loaded wording Allow versus forbid is question wording –Should we allow speeches against democracy? (62% disagreed) –Should we forbid speeches against democracy? (46% agreed) –Questions are equivalent but produced different frequencies of endorsement with different wording

19 Causes of deathNumberTotal deaths Percent of total deaths Deaths per 100,000 All causes 2,403, % Diseases of heart710, Malignant neoplasms (cancer)553, Cerebrovascular diseases (stroke)167, Chronic lower respiratory diseases122, Accidents (unintentional injuries)97, Diabetes mellitus69, Influenza and pneumonia65, Alzheimer's disease49, Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis37, Septicemia (infection)31, Suicide29, Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis26, Hypertension and hypertensive renal disease18, Assault (homicide)16, Pneumonitis due to solids and liquids16, Source: U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Report, vol. 50, no. 15, Sept. 16, 2002

20 Leading causes of death differ somewhat by age, sex, and race. In 2000 as in previous years, accidents were the leading cause of death for those under 34 years, while in older age groups chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease were the leading causes. The top three causes for males and females— heart disease, cancer, and stroke—are exactly the same. However, suicide and chronic liver disease ranked 8th and 10th for males but were not ranked among the ten leading causes for females. Similarly, Alzheimer's disease ranked 7th for females but was not among the top ten for males. For white males aged 15–34, the top two causes are accidents and suicide, while for black males in the same age group, the top two causes of death are homicide and accidents. Footnote regarding causes of death (demographic differences)

21 1.Motor vehicle crashes Deaths per year: 43, Falls Deaths per year: 14, Poisoning by solids and liquids Deaths per year: 8, Drowning Deaths per year: 4, Fires and burns Deaths per year: 3, Suffocation Deaths per year: 3, Firearms Deaths per year: 1, Poisoning by gases Deaths per year: Medical & Surgical Complications and Misadventures Deaths per year: Machinery Deaths per year: 350 Top 10 Most Common of Accidental Deaths

22 Thought Suppresion Effectiveness of not thinking of something (e.g., an event, person) Effectiveness of replacing negative thoughts with positive ones Talking about negative event (s) rather than trying to “forget” them

23 Magical Thinking Law of contagion: things which were once in physical contact maintain a connection even after physical contact has been broken; the essence of things (good/bad) spreads by contact (e.g., (sweater owned by someone with a disease) 2)Law of similarity: If things resemble each other (look alike) they are alike.” (e.g., refusing to eat a piece of cake that looks like a roach) 3) Thoughts and actions can influence physical world outside oneself (sitting the same way and in the same seat will bring you good luck; watching a team play will cause them to lose; celebrating winning a bet before the game is officially over can cause one to lose the bet)


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