Chapter 3 Social Cognition Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Chapter 3 Social Cognition Deck (32):

What is social cognition?

A social psychological process on how people select, interpret, remember and use social information to make judgements and decisions.


What are the 2 types of social cognition and how are they different?

Automatic thinking: Quick and automatic thoughts
- Involuntary, nonconscious, unintentional, effortless.

Controlled thinking: More effortful and deliberate.
- Voluntary, Intentional, Effortful, Conscious


What are the advantages of using automatic thinking?
OR Why do people use automatic thinking?

- processing overload if everything is done consciously
- more suitable for some situations as automatic thinking occurs quickly and efficiently.
- frees up resources for more important stuff (attention is a limited resource)


What are schemas? Give an example of a type of schema.

Mental structures people use to
- organise and make sense of social information around them (organize by themes/subjects)
- influence people's thoughts and actions and feelings when they think automatically.

Event schema: teaches u what to expect in a situation/setting.


What does the "warm vs cold" study say about our frequency of using schemas?

What was the hypothesis?

The more ambiguous information presented to us is, the more likely we are to use schemas.

The students will rely on their schemas to fill in the blanks of their survey.


How did the experimenter create a sense of ambiguity in the situation?

Highly ambiguous traits were included in the brief description of the speaker.
- Warm vs cold: very subjective.
- don't forget that everyone listened to the same speaker.

Made the speaker deliver the same content to everyone in 20 minutes --> relatively short period of time, difficult to actually decide for yourself accurately if the lecturer is indeed warm or cold.


What was the difference in reaction between the people with warm schemas and cold schemas?

Warm schema
- rated speaker as significantly more friendly, more willing to ask him questions


Would students be more or less inclined to rely on their schemas if an unambiguous situation was presented to them?

Less inclined

Example: tell them that the speaker is arrogant, and he is indeed arrogant --> not difficult to decipher, and very little room for debate on what "arrogance" is

Don't need to rely on a schema to come up with an impression of him for the survey. All agreed that he was arrogant.


What is accessibility?

The extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of people's minds and are therefore likely to be used when making judgments about the social world.

* Rmb: forefront, likely to be used.


How do you increase the accessibility of a schema? OR What causes the accessibility of a schema to increase?

1) Past experience
Eg: You see a person behaving erratically. Growing up with a drunkard father meant that you would think that this person is drunk, as such traits will be chronically accessible to you.
2) Relation to current goals
Eg: You see the person behaving erratically. Since you are currently taking PL3236 (and have to pass it), you are inclined to think this person has a mental illness. Traits related to mental illness will be temporarily accessible.
3) Priming - recent experience
Eg: Prior to seeing this man, you were reading a memoir of a sufferer of mental illness. This primes certain traits, such as those describing people with mental illness, thus making it more likely that these traits will be used to interpret a new event.


What conditions must be met before thoughts can act as primes?

Accessible and applicable.


Why were the participants in the control condition in the Donald experiment not influenced by the words given to them?

- were given neutral words --> not related to the description given
- does not serve any purpose in increasing the accessibility of a schema when it comes to forming an impression of him.


What is the self-fulfilling prophecy?

1. You have an expectation/social theory about what another person is like.
2. Thus, when interacting with the person, you behave in a way that reflects your expectation of that person.
3. The person will react in a manner that is congruent with your expectations of him.
4. Expectation comes true as a result!


Illustrate the self-fulfilling prophecy using the bloomers vs non-bloomers experiment.

Background: Asked students to do a test and told teachers that some students are likely to bloom and excel academically later. "Bloomers" were actually randomly selected.

1. Teachers would expect that these bloomers will excel academically later, so they find it worthwhile to treat them favourably. (subconsciously? but which teacher doesn't like good students?)
2. Thus, when teaching their students, these teachers will behave in a way that reflects their expectation of these bloomers.
- provide warmer emotional climate for them
- provide them more opportunities to answer, gave them more time to think
- gave them more and better feedback
- more personal attention
- more material, and can also be more challenging.
3. The students, upon going through all these, will be inclined to think that they are good at this subject/they have potential --> interest and motivation increase --> work harder --> get better scores
4. Get better scores --> expectation comes true!
- one year later, the students who were labelled as bloomers showed significant increases in IQ scores.


On the flip side, how can self-fulfilling prophecies in the classroom be detrimental to students?

When teachers decide that their student isn't capable based on their gender, age, race, SES etc.

- Eg: poor student from broken family --> teacher thinks that he doesn't have what it takes to do well --> has overly low expectations of him, doesn't pay him much attention in class/apathetic towards him
- student might think that he really doesn't have what it takes.

But do take note that this effect is actually quite small, and a self-fulfilling prophecy doesn't doom one to constant academic failure.

Can you remedy it by getting them to write self-affirming essays about their personal strengths and what makes them special as a person? --> writing good things about themselves induces discomfort because it's not congruent with how they see themselves --> will strive to work harder to reduce this cognitive dissonance.


Is it possible for our non-conscious minds to choose goals for us based on what has been primed?

Yes. Refer to word priming and goal pursuit study.


Explain how the word priming and goal pursuit study works.

Prime words related to God and fairness. Control condition just use random neutral words.

After that you engage them in an activity where you have to divide up money, some for yourself and some for another participant. Only the participant will know how much they got, but they wouldn't know you decided that amount.

Those who were shown words related to God and fairness were primed with the goal of being more altruistic and being fair with others respectively--> left significantly more money

Goals can be activated and can influence behaviour without one knowing about it.


How does distraction improve decision making? When is this apt?

Distraction helps the most when the decision requires one to integrate lots of complex information.
- Eg compare pros and cons of apartments to buy

You must first have a conscious goal to make a good choice though.


When does distraction not help with decision making?

When the decision involves a set of simple rules --> don't distract yourself. Just get it over and done with.

Eg: Doing simultaneous equations.


Can you give examples of how a physical sensation can prime metaphors about the relationship between mind and body?

1. Holding a warm beverage when meeting a stranger vs cold beverage
- Would think stranger is warmer

2. Asking them to write their opinion on heavy clipboard vs light clipboard
- People in former condition would think that something should be given more attention (carries weight, adding weight to the argument)


What are judgemental heuristics?
Why do people use them?

Mental shortcuts people use to make decisions quickly and efficiently.
- Robust, can easily adapt to changes in the situation
- Highly functional and serves us well


What is the availability heuristic and how can we use it to make judgements about themselves and others?

A mental rule of thumb whereby people base a judgment on the ease with which they can bring something to mind

Use availability heuristic and see how easily we can recall examples of our own behaviour.
- But not very accurate if we cannot think of examples at that point of time --> shouldnt jump to conclusions if this happens.
- 6 times vs 12 times experiment

(hmmm but would people be susceptible to belief perseverance in this case? )


What is the representativeness heuristic and how does it work?

A mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case.

Keyword: typical


What's an analytic and holistic thinking style?

Analytic Thinking Style: A type of thinking in which people focus on the properties of objects without considering their surrounding context. Common in Western cultures
Holistic Thinking Style: A type of thinking in which people focus on the overall context, particularly the ways in which objects relate to each other. Common in East Asian cultures.


What differences can be observed between people who adopt these different thinking styles? Give examples from studies.

Plane experiment
- A: focus on plane as they are the main objects in the picture, would most likely detect differences in planes
- H: focus on background on the picture, would most likely detect differences in backgrounds

- A: Focus on face of central character only
- H: Focus on face of peripheral characters to determine emotion of central character.

Link emotions to the experiment in social perception chapter! The cartoon pic one.


Explain the illusion of free will using the concept of controlled thinking.

Illusion of free will: What we do might be driven by an unconscious intention, which drives both an unconscious thought and behaviour.

As you were watching television, the desire for ice cream arose unconsciously first, perhaps primed by something seen in a commercial
This unconscious desire led both to the conscious thought that you wanted ice cream and yo your decision to get up and go to the freezer
The conscious thought “I want ice cream” was a consequence of an unconscious process, and was not the cause of your decision to go to the freezer.
Evident from how some people walk to the refrigerator without having had the conscious thought it was time for a snack → the unconscious desire triggered the action without any intervening conscious thought.


How does facilitated communication illustrate the illusion of free will?

Facilitated communication: developed to allow communication-impaired people, such as those with autism and cerebral palsy, to express themselves
A trained facilitator held the fingers and arm of a communication-impaired client at a computer keyboard to make it easier for the client to type answers to questions
Was discredited when it became clear that it was not the communication-impaired person who was doing the typing, but unwittingly, the facilitator
However, the facilitators were not deliberately faking it, they genuinely believed that it was the communication-impaired person who was choosing what to type and they were simply helping them move their fingers on the keyboard. (but actually the facilitators are the one doing the typing)


How can the illusion of free will be linked to people's propensity to cheat or commit immoral actions?

The more people believe in free will, the more willing they are to help others in need and the less likely they are to engage in immoral actions like cheating.
College students either read a series of statements that implied the existence of free will, or a series of statements that implied the absence of free will.
Next, they took a test composed of items from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), scored their own tests, and paid themselves $1 for every correct answer.
People cheated significantly more when they read statements implying that there is no free will than when they read the statements implying there is free will.
When experiencing temptation, people who believe they can control their actions probably exerted more control to do so.
In contrast, people who believe there is no free will think “I want the money and I am not really in control over my actions, so I might as well go with that impulse.”


What is counterfactual thinking?

Counterfactual Thinking: Mentally changing some aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have been. Anticipating what the consequences would turn out to be.
One of the few conscious/controlled social thinking
Can have a big influence on our emotional reactions to events
The easier it is to mentally undo an outcome, the stronger the emotional reaction to it


Is counterfactual thinking controlled or automatic?


Counterfactual reasoning is clearly conscious and effortful; we know we are obsessing about the past, and this kind of thinking often takes up so much mental energy that we cannot think about anything else
However, it is not always intentional or voluntary
Even if we want to stop dwelling on the past and move on to something else, it can be difficult to turn off the kind of “if only” thinking that characterizes counterfactual reasoning.


What is downward thinking and what does it make people feel?

Comparing the present outcome to a worse outcome
Experience relief and happiness


What is upward thinking and what does it make people feel/do?

Comparing the present outcome to a better outcome
Experiences upset and regret
Not so good if this leads to rumination, whereby people repetitively focus on negative things in their lives → rumination can be a subjective interpretation of the things happening in one’s life
Rumination was found to be a contributor to depression