Delving deeper into social cognition Flashcards Preview

PFoMH > Delving deeper into social cognition > Flashcards

Flashcards in Delving deeper into social cognition Deck (58)
Loading flashcards...
1
Q

What does social cognition refer to?

A

The processes that people use to make sense of, and navigate through, their social world
- how people make sense of social stimuli

2
Q

Which two areas of psychology gave birth to social cognition?

A

Social and cognitive psychology

3
Q

What are the three psychological assumptions that founded social cognition?

A
  1. People are consistency seekers:
    - holding coherent, meaning perceptions of the world around them
  2. People are accuracy seekers or ‘naïve scientists’
    - trying to form accurate, but sometimes incorrect, perceptions of the world around and within them
    (e. g. heuristics)
  3. People are cognitive misers
    - saving their cognitive resources (e.g. effort and time), when possible
4
Q

What do people tend to do in situations of cognitive dissonance (Festinger)?

A

They change their beliefs to accommodate inconsistency

5
Q

Which insight did cognitive psychology bring to social cognition?

A

We go beyond the information that is presented to us

- and use existing knowledge that we posses to make sense of novel information

6
Q

Which judgments do we make on social targets?

A

We judge internal characteristics, make social inferences, subjective attributions
- relying on history, prior knowledge, stereotypes, motives, attitudes, …

  • we don’t make these judgments on non-social targets
7
Q

What is the Theory of mind?

A

Understanding the contents of another person’s mind

- essential for accurate social inferences

8
Q

When does a theory of mind develop according to Jean Piaget?

A

Around age 9

9
Q

What is the Sally-Anne test?

A

A task to evaluate if children possess the theory of mind
- false-belief understanding

> Story with the 2 characters
Ask: Where did Sally put the book? Where is the book now? Where will Sally look for the book first?
-> are the children able to separate the perspectives of Sally and Anne

10
Q

What are mirror neurons?

A

Motor neurons that fire for the performance of an action or the observation of someone else’s action

11
Q

Why are mirror neurons important for social cognition?

A

They seem to bridge the gap between self and others
- mapping other people’s actions onto your own motor programs for those actions

  • they could be the neuroscientific basis for bridging the self-other divide
12
Q

Which are the speculations on the functions of the responses from mirror neurons?

A

> Role in social cognitive processes

> Relationship with neurological and psychiatric disorders

13
Q

What are the two areas that currently hold causal evidence on the function of mirror neurons?

A
  1. Action perception
    - process other people’s actions
  2. Imitation
    - copying observed actions
    - > social skills
14
Q

What is the evidence for the involvement of mirror neurons in social cognition?

A

Little evidence

- low-level empathy: mirroring other people’s emotions

15
Q

What is the evidence of empathic mirroring?

A

> No direct (single-cell) evidence

> fMRI data:

  • overlapping brain responses for self and other emotions
  • for experience and vision of pain; same for disgust

-> mirror mechanism for low-level empathy

16
Q

What is the difference between mirroring actions and mirroring emotions?

A

Not necessarily same mechanisms:

  • action: motor areas
  • emotion: emotional areas
17
Q

What is the clinical implication behind the potential different areas for empathic and motor mirroring?

A

Patient could have impaired motor mirroring, but intact emotion mirroring, or vice-versa

18
Q

Can mirroring be learned through experience?

A

Yes - Research: motor mirror responses can be re-trained

-> mirror responses are very flexible

19
Q

What are the 3 consequences of the flexibility of mirror responses?

A
  1. Casts doubt on idea that matching mirror neuron responses have evolved especially for social cognition
    - if it was the case, you wouldn’t expect them to be easily altered through experience
  2. Experience may be sufficient and necessary to produce mirror neurons
  3. Therapy:
    - mirroring can be instilled through training
20
Q

What is the problem of self-other distinction with mirror neurons?

A

Is the mirror neuron firing for an action or for the perception of an action?
- who’s performing an action?

21
Q

What does the problem of self-other distinction reveal about mirror neurons?

A

They are part of bigger network that deals with social information
- they can’t explain social cognition on their own

22
Q

How do we make judgments about others?

A

Through social attributions, based on stereotypes

23
Q

What is the attribution theory?

A

A set of psychological models on how people infer causal relations and dispositional characteristics of others

24
Q

What is the fundamental attribution error (James and Harris, 1967)?

A

People’s tendency to over-attribute another person’s behaviour to dispositional causes rather than taking into account situational factors

> Pro and contra Castro experiment (1967):

  • participants perceived those who were forced to write a pro-Castro essay as more approving of Castro
    vs. those who wrote a contra-Castro essay

-> they attributed these participants’ essays as reflecting their disposition rather than being caused by the situation they were aware of

25
Q

What is the actor-observer effect?

A

We tend to blame situations and environment, not ourselves, and vice-versa for other people

26
Q

What kind of attributes do we make?

A

People tend to make attributions consistent with the specific stereotypes we hold towards the person’s group

  • dispositional attributions are guided by stereotypes
  • different contexts for attributions
27
Q

What are the artist stereotypes?

A
  • “Creative geniuses” + “Eccentric and bizarre”
  • > Stereotype = artists are unconventional and creative
  • People made aware of an artist’s eccentric traits (Van Gogh cutting his ear), hedge their work to be more attractive than people not aware
28
Q

What is ASD?

A

Autism Spectrum Disorder

> Neurodevelopmental condition

> Diagnosis on behaviour: ‘Triad’ of impairments

  • social
  • communication
  • rigid, repetitive behaviour

> Highly heritable

  • for minority it is related to rare single gene mutation
  • for majority its is suspected to be polygenic = many genes, small effects
29
Q

What is the prevalence of ASD?

A
  • Affecting 1% of children and adults

- 2 to 4x more males than females diagnoses

30
Q

What are the comorbidities of ASD?

A
  • Epilespy
  • Intellectual disability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Sleep and eating problems
31
Q

What is the ASD diagnostic criteria in DSM-5?

A

Persistent deficits in social communication and interaction across contexts:

  • social-emotional reciprocity
  • nonverbal communication
  • developing, maintaining, and understanding relationships
32
Q

What is the developmental course of the social deficits in ASD?

A

> Diagnosis typically before age 3

> Parent’s earliest worries:

  • lack of language
  • little social response
  • rigid behaviour

> Some parents report apparent ‘regression’

> Reduced/absent joint attention
(follow where somebody is looking, pointing to direct someone’s attention, showing things of interest to an adult)

> Impaired peer interaction

> Odd social manner, body language, eye conduct

33
Q

What are the different theories on what is underlying the socio-communicative difficulties in ASD?

A

> Primary non-social deficit

> Primary social deficit

  • ‘social motivation’ account
  • Mirror neuron theory
  • ‘theory of mind’ account
34
Q

What do Dawson, Chevalier and colleagues (2012) propose is the cause of the primary impairment in ASD?

A

Social motivation

  • infants with autism don’t find social stimuli rewarding
  • > don’t pay attention to them

-> Fail to learn the social world

35
Q

What does the social motivation theory predicts to account for the primary impairment in ASD?

A

Early sign: lack of social interest

36
Q

How did Yale test the social motivation theory of ASD (Chawarska, Macari, and Shic, 2013)?
What did they find?

A

Eye-tracking

-> reduced attention to social stimuli at 6 months in infants who were later diagnosed with autism

37
Q

Is all social orienting impaired in ASD (Shah et al., 2013)?

Why?

A

No: adults and children with autism show the usual preferential attention to face-like stimuli
- proto face draws the automatic attention of people with autism similar to controls

38
Q

What is the ‘broken mirror’ (neurons) theory of ASD?

A

> Gallese and Goldman:
- healthy mirror neurons are necessary to understand thoughts and intentions of others

> Meltzoff:

  • imitation enables infants to recognise others as ‘like-me’
  • hypothesis: in autism, a problem in mirror neurons may result in later social difficulties
39
Q

Which findings can invalidate the ‘broken mirror’ theory of ASD?

A

Hamilton and Bird: automatic imitation is intact in autism

40
Q

What does the theory of mind proposes to account for ASD?

A

‘Mind-blindness’ explains well the social and communication problems, including over-literal understanding

  • children with autism don’t track the mental states of others = mind-blind
41
Q

How did the theory of mind refine our understanding of ASD?

A

> Before: autism = not a general lack of sociability

> Now: people with autism want to be social, but find it hard to connect with other minds

42
Q

What is the criticism against the theory of mind for ASD?

A
  1. Theory of Mind is not primary, not the core origin
  2. Mind tests are not specific to autism
  3. Mind tests are non universal
43
Q

Why is the theory of mind not the core origin of ASD?

A

Theory of mind tests are designed for children 3-4 years

  • signs of autism appear earlier
  • reason for social motivation theories are popular
44
Q

Which evidence on ASD came to light with infant studies on earlier years?

A

> Following children been into families where there’s already a child with autism
- because it’s heritable, these children have higher risk of developing autism at around 3-4 years and getting diagnosed

> Abnormalities only appear at 12 months

  • reduced imitation
  • lack of response to their name
  • reduced social interaction
  • less social smiling

> Earliest signs at 6 months on non-social tasks
- sticky attention to any kind of stimulus

45
Q

Why are mind tests not specific to autism?

A

> Other clinical groups also fail at false-belief tests, like Sally-Anne

  • children congenitally death but born into hearing homes so no sign language from early years
  • children intellectually disabled, low IQ but not autism
  • > no social difficulties present in autism
  • perhaps they failed these tasks, like Sally-Anne, for other reasons: e.g. memory or language problems
46
Q

What can be used to see whether people with autism would still be impaired and more impaired than individuals with intellectual disability without autism?

A

Non-verbal theory of mind test

- e.g. penny-hiding game

47
Q

What did non-verbal theory of mind tests, such as the penny-hiding game, demonstrate?

A

> Penny-hiding game:

  • children with autism hide the penny from sight but fail to hide the information from the mind of the guesser
  • leave empty hand open, transfer penny between their hands but in plain sight
  • > People with autism struggle even though there is no memory or language demanded
    vs. intellectually disabled children without autism whose problems rest on verbal demands, memory, or executive functions
48
Q

What makes mind tests, such as the Sally-Anne task, non universal?

A

> Not all individuals with autism fail the Sally-Anne task
- they pass the test using a variety of methods and work arounds that do not necessarily imply a theory of mind

eg. one child said that during the Sally-Anne task she first wanted to give the wrong answer, but then stopped herself because she remembered that when psychologists as questions it’s always a trick
- she gave the opposite answer and passed the test

49
Q

What could more advanced theory of mind tests reveal (i.e. more advanced than Sally-Anne task for example)?

A

Continuing deficits even in intelligent adults with autism

50
Q

Which task is used to test advanced mind-reading (theory of mind)?

A

Frith-Happe animations

51
Q

What is observed in people with autism doing the Frith-Happe animations test?

A

More likely to give a physical description:
- “the small triangle moved outside the enclosure and then back again, the large triangle moved slightly to the right”

-> they don’t automatically attribute mental states or see an interaction between minds

52
Q

Is spontaneous mentalising impaired in adults with autism (Senju, Southgate, White and Frith, 2009)?

A

Yes - Sally-Anne task and eye tracking:
- they didn’t automatically look where the character with a false belief was going to search

  • anticipatory eye gaze is a clear sign of theory of mind in typically developing children and adults
53
Q

What are the two kinds of mentalising?

A
  1. Unconscious form
    - tested with eye gaze tracking
    - seen in infants 7 months old
    - seen in adults
  2. Conscious (deliberate) form
    - develops around 3-5 years old
    - measured in verbal theory of mind tasks
    e. g. Sally-Anne task
54
Q

How does implicit (unconscious) mentalising impact the development of children with autism?

A

Lack of implicit mentalising shapes development of children with autism

> Non autistic:

  • interested in what others think
  • > learning through social interaction
  • automatically infers thoughts and feelings behind people’s actions; spontaneously imitate others

> Potential autism:

  • not intersted in external approval
  • > not learning from others
  • not motivated by social interactions
  • doesn’t learn the knowledge and skills others share
55
Q

Which aspect of social development is not affected in autism?

A

> Empathy:
- many children and adults with autism are strongly attached to their parents and others they love

  • they can respond to distress and show empathy; and at the same time having difficulty knowing what others are thinking

> People with autism show same biases then neurotypicals

56
Q

How do autistic people differ from people with psychopathic traits (i.e. cold and callous) (Jones et al., 2010)?

A

> Boys with conduct disorder and psychopathic traits (cold and callous):

  • good at theory of mind
  • poor empathy
  • may use theory of mind to manipulate

> Boys with autism:

  • poor at theory of mind
  • good empathic concern
57
Q

Why are stereotyping and biases unaffected in autism?

A

Because stereotypes and biases don’t require theory of mind

58
Q

What does the presence of empathy, stereotyping and biases in people with autism tell us?

A

Not every aspect of social cognition may be abnormal in ASD