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Chapter Eight Social Cognition. Social Judgment Processes Impression Formation Declines in cognitive processing resources might impact the social judgment.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter Eight Social Cognition. Social Judgment Processes Impression Formation Declines in cognitive processing resources might impact the social judgment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter Eight Social Cognition

2 Social Judgment Processes Impression Formation Declines in cognitive processing resources might impact the social judgment process. –Research suggests that we make initial snap judgments and later correct or adjust them based on more reflective thinking. Age-related changes in processing capacity might make older adults more vulnerable to social judgment biases.

3 Negativity bias: Older adults also weigh negative information more heavily in their social judgments than young adults do. –Older adults are more willing to change their initial impression from positive to negative. –They are less willing to change from negative to positive even in light of new positive information

4 Social Knowledge When we are faced with new situations, we draw on our previous experiences stored in memory. –To do so: Social knowledge structures must be available to guide behavior. Social information must also be accessible to guide behavior.

5 Understanding Age Differences in Social Beliefs Age differences were found in the types of social rules evoked in different types of situations. –The belief “Marriage is more important than a career” increases with age. –Compare with “The marriage was already in trouble” Cohort differences can be profound.

6 Social Judgments and Causal Attributions Attributional Biases Causal attributions –Explanations people construct to explain their behavior Dispositional attributions –Behavioral explanations that reside within the person Situational attributions –Behavioral explanations that reside outside the person Correspondence bias –Relying on dispositional information and ignoring situational information

7 Personal Goals Personal goals play a major role in creating direction in our lives. Selective optimization with compensation (SOC) is an important theoretical model. –Growing older causes shift in priorities. Re-evaluating interests Shifting priorities means goal selection may be perceived differently by older and younger adults. Goal selection requires that we thoughtfully choose where to invest resources.

8 Emotions as a Processing Goal Positivity effect: Older adults avoid negative information and focus more on positive information when making decisions and judgments, and when remembering events. –Emotions may impede information processing. –Focus on positive information can interfere with decision making by causing older adults to miss important negative information.

9 Cognitive Style as a Processing Goal Cognitive style: how we approach solving problems. People with high need for closure and an inability to tolerate ambiguous situations: –Prefer order and predictability –Are uncomfortable with ambiguity –Are closed-minded –Prefer quick and decisive answers It may be that limited cognitive resources and motivational differences are both age-related. Declines in working memory may be related to need for closure.

10 Stereotypes A special kind of social knowledge structure or social belief that represents organized prior knowledge about a group of people that affects how we interpret new information –Young and older adults hold similar stereotypes about aging.

11 Age Stereotypes and Perceived Competence An age-based double standard operates when people judge older adults’ failures in memory as being more serious than the same failures in younger adults. –In this case, younger adults judge older adults who are forgetful more harshly than older adults do. –However, younger adults also make positive judgments about older adults being more responsible despite such memory failures.

12 Activation of Stereotypes Implicit stereotypes –Automatically activated negative stereotypes about aging guide behavior beyond our awareness. Implicit negative stereotypes can negatively influence performance. Implicit stereotyping influences the way we communicate with older adults. –Patronizing talk: Includes slow speech, simple vocabulary, careful enunciation, a demeaning emotional tone, and superficial conversation

13 Stereotype Threat An evoked fear of being judged in accordance with a negative stereotype about a group to which you belong –Do negative stereotypes influence the functioning of older adults?

14 Personal Control Personal control is the degree to which one believes that one’s performance in a situation depends on something that one personally does. One’s sense of control depends on which domain, such as intelligence or health, is being assessed.

15 Personal Control Research by Rodin and Langer: –Experimental group was encouraged to make small decisions about their daily routine, such as when or where to meet with guests, resulting in a sense of control –The control group didn't get to make those decisions; instead, they experienced the normal nursing-home routine (decisions were made by the nursing-home staff), producing a sense of helplessness and passivity –Results: The residents in the experimental group displayed significant improvements in their behavior (e.g. more cooperative and sociable) and in their mood (e.g. less depressed and more satisfied with life).

16 Control Strategies Brandtstädter proposes that the preservation and stabilization of a positive view of the self and personal development in later life involve three interdependent processes: –Assimilative activities Used when one must prevent losses important to self-esteem –Accommodations Involve readjusting one’s goals and aspirations –Immunizing mechanisms Alter the effects of self-discrepant information

17 Control Strategies Heckhausen and Schulz view control-related strategies in terms of primary and secondary control. –Primary control helps change the environment to match one’s goals. It involves bringing the environment into line with one’s desires and goals. –Secondary control reappraises the environment in light of one’s decline in functioning. The individual turns inward toward the self and assesses the situation. –Control strategies are what one does, actions taken, to bring the environment in line with goals.

18 Culture and Personal Control Cross-cultural perspectives challenge the notion of primacy and primary control. In collectivists societies, the emphasis is not on individualistic strategies such as those found in primary control, but to establish interdependence with others, to be connected to them, and bound to a large social institution.

19 Social Situations and Social Competence Collaborative Cognition Occurs when two or more people work together to solve a cognitive task Collaborating with others in recollection helps facilitate memory in older adults. Findings indicate that well-acquainted older couples demonstrate an expertise to develop an adaptive pattern of recalling information.

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