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Copyright © Allyn and Bacon 2005 1 Chapter 3 Social Cognition.

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1 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Chapter 3 Social Cognition

2 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon What is Social Cognition? Social Psychology the study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others Cognitive Psychology the study of how people process, store, and retrieve information Social Cognition the scientific study of how individuals attend to, interpret, and remember information about their social worlds Social Psychology the study of how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others Cognitive Psychology the study of how people process, store, and retrieve information Social Cognition the scientific study of how individuals attend to, interpret, and remember information about their social worlds

3 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Four Core Processes of Social Cognition Attention Interpretation Judgment Memory Attention Interpretation Judgment Memory

4 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Four Core Processes of Social Cognition Attention – the process of consciously focusing on features of the environment or oneself Attention is limited, and different people may focus on different features of the same situation. Attention – the process of consciously focusing on features of the environment or oneself Attention is limited, and different people may focus on different features of the same situation.

5 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Four Core Processes of Social Cognition Interpretation – the process through which we give meaning to the events we experience Many social situations can be interpreted in more than one way. Interpretation – the process through which we give meaning to the events we experience Many social situations can be interpreted in more than one way.

6 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Is Media Bias in the Eye of the Beholder? In one study, students with pro-Israel or pro-Palestine views watched identical news broadcasts of a conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. esearch

7 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Pro- Israeli Neutral Pro- Palestinian Anti-Israeli Anti-Palestinian Interpretation Perceived bias in media presentations Compared to neutral students, pro- Israeli students thought the presentations were biased against Israelis.

8 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Pro- Israeli Neutral Pro- Palestinian Interpretation But pro-Palestinian students thought the opposite – that the reports were biased against Palestinians. Anti-Israeli Anti-Palestinian Perceived bias in media presentations

9 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Four Core Processes of Social Cognition Judgment – the process of using information to form impressions and make decisions Because we often have limited information, many social judgments are “best guesses.” Judgment – the process of using information to form impressions and make decisions Because we often have limited information, many social judgments are “best guesses.”

10 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Four Core Processes of Social Cognition Memory – storing and retrieving information for future use Memory can influence our decisions by affecting what we pay attention to, and how we interpret it. Memory – storing and retrieving information for future use Memory can influence our decisions by affecting what we pay attention to, and how we interpret it.

11 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon The Goals of Social Cognition Conserving Mental Effort Managing Self-Image Seeking Accuracy Conserving Mental Effort Managing Self-Image Seeking Accuracy

12 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon The Complex, Information-Rich Social World GOAL: Conserving Mental Effort Simplification Strategies: Expectations Dispositional Inferences Other Cognitive Shortcuts The Limited Human Attentional Capacity

13 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort We often think in ways that tend to preserve our expectations We pay attention to behaviors relevant to our expectations. We interpret ambiguous events/behaviors in ways that support our expectations. We remember people and events consistent with our expectations. We often think in ways that tend to preserve our expectations We pay attention to behaviors relevant to our expectations. We interpret ambiguous events/behaviors in ways that support our expectations. We remember people and events consistent with our expectations.

14 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort Self-fulfilling prophecy – when an initially inaccurate expectation leads to actions that cause the expectation to come true

15 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Avoiding a Negative Self-fulfilling Prophecy Before participating in a mock interview, students were given one of the following instructions: “Go with the flow” “Make sure you make the impression you want to make.” Before participating in a mock interview, students were given one of the following instructions: “Go with the flow” “Make sure you make the impression you want to make.” esearch

16 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Applicants instructed to “make the impression you want to make” were able to overcome the interviewer’s negative expectations. Interviewer holds negative expectation for applicant Interviewer holds positive expectation for applicant Performance Go with the flow Present your desired image

17 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort Dispositional inferences – judgments that a person’s behavior was caused by his or her personality

18 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort Correspondence bias (fundamental attribution error) – the tendency for observers to overestimate the causal influence of personality factors on behavior and to underestimate the causal role of situational influences

19 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort Actor-observer difference – the tendency for individuals to judge their own behaviors as caused by situational forces but the behavior of another as caused by his or her personality

20 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort Cognitive heuristics – mental shortcuts used to make judgments

21 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Conserving Mental Effort Representativeness heuristic– a mental shortcut – classifying something as belonging to a certain category to the extent that it is similar to a typical case from that category e.g., judging a student to be a fraternity member because he drinks beer, reads sports magazines, and has many friends Representativeness heuristic– a mental shortcut – classifying something as belonging to a certain category to the extent that it is similar to a typical case from that category e.g., judging a student to be a fraternity member because he drinks beer, reads sports magazines, and has many friends

22 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Availability heuristic

23 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Think of a number from 1 to 9.

24 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Subtract five from that number.

25 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Multiply the new number by three.

26 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Square this number.

27 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Add the digits of this new number until you get a one digit number. (If you had the number 46 you’d add to get 10 then add to get 1.)

28 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon If this number is less then five, add five, otherwise subtract four.

29 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Multiply by two.

30 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Subtract six.

31 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Map the digit to a letter in the alphabet. 1=A, 2=B, 3=C, etc.

32 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Pick a name of a country that begins with that letter.

33 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Take the second letter of that country’s name and think of a mammal that begins with that letter.

34 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Think of the color of that mammal.

35 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon How many of you have a gray elephant from Denmark?

36 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon What’s the trick? Denmark is an available “D” country – it easily comes to mind. Elephant is an available “E” mammal – it easily comes to mind. And gray elephants are more available than other-colored pachyderms. Denmark is an available “D” country – it easily comes to mind. Elephant is an available “E” mammal – it easily comes to mind. And gray elephants are more available than other-colored pachyderms.

37 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Availability Heuristic Availability heuristic – a mental shortcut – estimating the likelihood of an event by the ease with which instances of that event come to mind

38 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon False Consensus

39 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon False Consensus If you had to choose one, would you prefer to die by fire or by drowning?

40 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon False Consensus Now estimate what percentage of your classmates would prefer to die by fire and what percentage would prefer to die by drowning.

41 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Raise your hand if you preferred death by fire. For those of you who preferred fire: What percentage of the class did you estimate would agree with you?

42 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Usually only about twenty percent of people choose fire. But people who choose fire over- estimate what percentage of the class will agree with them (It doesn't work for the drowning folks because of ceiling effects). But people who choose fire over- estimate what percentage of the class will agree with them (It doesn't work for the drowning folks because of ceiling effects).

43 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon False Consensus False consensus – the tendency to overestimate the extent to which others agree with us

44 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic Anchoring and adjustment heuristic – a mental shortcut – using a rough estimation as a starting point, and then adjusting this estimate to take into account unique characteristics of the current situation

45 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Desire to See Self as Having Good Relationships GOAL: Managing Self-Image Self-Enhancement & Protection Strategies: Social Comparison Self-Serving Attributions Desire to See Self as Effective

46 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Cognitive Strategies for Enhancing and Protecting the Self Downward social comparison – the process of comparing ourselves with those who are less well off Example: Breast cancer patients compared themselves to those who had more serious surgery Downward social comparison – the process of comparing ourselves with those who are less well off Example: Breast cancer patients compared themselves to those who had more serious surgery

47 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Cognitive Strategies for Enhancing and Protecting the Self Upward social comparison – the process of comparing ourselves with those who are better off than ourselves Example: Comparing yourself to an “A” student in order to inspire yourself to study more. Upward social comparison – the process of comparing ourselves with those who are better off than ourselves Example: Comparing yourself to an “A” student in order to inspire yourself to study more.

48 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Self-Serving Attributions If you get a great grade on your next exam, why will that be? Because you’re smart? Because you studied hard? What if you get a lousy grade? Will that be because the exam was too hard? Because I’m a lousy teacher? If you get a great grade on your next exam, why will that be? Because you’re smart? Because you studied hard? What if you get a lousy grade? Will that be because the exam was too hard? Because I’m a lousy teacher?

49 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Self-Serving Attributions Self-serving bias – the tendency to take credit for our successes and to blame external factors for our failures

50 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Self-Serving Bias In a systematic analysis of newspaper articles describing 33 major baseball and football games in the fall of 1977, quotations from both players and coaches differed considerably depending on whether their teams won or lost.

51 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon % 80% 60% 40% 20% 0% Victory Defeat Victory Defeat Internal Explanations External Explanations Lau and Russell (1980) Internal explanations were most likely after victories. External explanations were most likely after defeats. Self-Serving Bias

52 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon How Universal is the Need for Positive Self-Regard? Research contrasting Japanese with North Americans suggests that members of collectivistic cultures are less likely to demonstrate biases like the ones we’ve been exploring.

53 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Desire to Avoid Mistakes GOAL: Seeking Accuracy Accuracy Strategies: Unbiased Information Gathering Considering Alternatives Attributional Logic Desire to Control Outcomes in Life

54 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Unbiased Information Gathering Desire for accuracy leads people to pay special attention to new information (that may go against what they previously suspected).

55 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Considering Alternatives With difficult decisions, it is often helpful to play the Devil’s Advocate – i.e., to consider the opposite side of the argument.

56 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Lord, C. G., Lepper, M. R., & Preston, E. (1984) “Consider the opposite” 120 Stanford students who favored or opposed capital punishment each read two research results – One result showed the death penalty to be effective. The other showed it to be ineffective. 120 Stanford students who favored or opposed capital punishment each read two research results – One result showed the death penalty to be effective. The other showed it to be ineffective.

57 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Mixed info only Control students simply read the mixed information. Lord, C. G., Lepper, M. R., & Preston, E. (1984)

58 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon “Be unbiased” A second group was told: “Be as objective and unbiased as possible… weigh all of the evidence in a fair and impartial manner.” A second group was told: “Be as objective and unbiased as possible… weigh all of the evidence in a fair and impartial manner.” Lord, C. G., Lepper, M. R., & Preston, E. (1984)

59 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon “Consider the opposite” A third group was told: “Ask yourself at each step whether you would have made the same evaluations had exactly the same study produced results on the other side of the issue.” A third group was told: “Ask yourself at each step whether you would have made the same evaluations had exactly the same study produced results on the other side of the issue.” Lord, C. G., Lepper, M. R., & Preston, E. (1984)

60 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Control group Pro Death Penalty More Pro More Anti Anti Death Penalty Initial opinions: No change Changes in opinion After exposure to mixed info, proponents in the control group became even more pro, opponents even more anti.

61 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Be Unbiased Control group More Pro More Anti No change Changes in opinion Instructions to “Be Unbiased” did not significantly reduce this bias. Pro Death Penalty Anti Death Penalty Initial opinions:

62 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Be Unbiased Consider the opposite More Pro More Anti Control group No change Changes in opinion Students told to “consider the opposite” became unbiased in their information processing. Pro Death Penalty Anti Death Penalty Initial opinions:

63 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Attributional Logic: Seeking the Causes of Behavior Attributional theories – theories designed to explain how people determine the causes of behavior

64 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Attributional Logic Correspondent inference theory – people presume a behavior corresponds to an actor’s internal disposition if The behavior was intended The behavior’s consequences were foreseeable The behavior was freely chosen The behavior occurred despite countervailing forces Correspondent inference theory – people presume a behavior corresponds to an actor’s internal disposition if The behavior was intended The behavior’s consequences were foreseeable The behavior was freely chosen The behavior occurred despite countervailing forces

65 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Attributional Processes Covariation model – people determine the cause of an actor’s behavior by assessing Consensus – Does everybody do it? Distinctiveness – Does it occur only in this situation? Consistency – Does it occur repeatedly? Covariation model – people determine the cause of an actor’s behavior by assessing Consensus – Does everybody do it? Distinctiveness – Does it occur only in this situation? Consistency – Does it occur repeatedly?

66 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Why does Jack want to marry Jill?

67 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Internal Attribution (Jack is Desperate) Distinctiveness is Low (Jack will marry anyone) Consensus is Low (Others aren’t interested in Jill) Consistency is High (Jack’s proposed every day this week)

68 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon External Attribution (Jill is desirable) Distinctiveness is High (Jack wants only Jill) Consensus is High (Everyone wants to marry Jill) Consistency is High (Jack’s proposed every day this week)

69 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Interaction Attribution (Jack and Jill have that special magic) Distinctiveness is High (Jack wants only Jill) Consensus is Low (Others aren’t interested in Jill) Consistency is High (Jack’s proposed every day this week)

70 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Attributional Logic: Seeking the Causes of Behavior Discounting principle – as the number of possible causes for an event increases, our confidence that any particular cause is the true one decreases Example: If a student gives an apple to the professor, we are less likely to attribute the gift to altruistic motives if the gift might improve the student’s grade. Discounting principle – as the number of possible causes for an event increases, our confidence that any particular cause is the true one decreases Example: If a student gives an apple to the professor, we are less likely to attribute the gift to altruistic motives if the gift might improve the student’s grade.

71 Copyright © Allyn and Bacon Attributional Logic: Seeking the Causes of Behavior Augmenting principle – if an event occurs despite the presence of strong opposing forces, we give more weight to factors that lead towards the event Example: If a girl gives a guy flowers, we are more likely to think she really likes him if she had to walk through a rainstorm to get them. Augmenting principle – if an event occurs despite the presence of strong opposing forces, we give more weight to factors that lead towards the event Example: If a girl gives a guy flowers, we are more likely to think she really likes him if she had to walk through a rainstorm to get them.


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