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Flashcards in Social Cognition Deck (39):

Outline Selman's views on perspective taking

- domain-specific (develops separately from other aspects of cognitive development) opposite to Piaget


What is social cognition?

describes mental processes we make use of when engaged in social interaction


What is perspective-taking?

our ability to appreciate a social situation for someone else's POV


Outline perspective taking research

30 boys, 30 girls 20 4, 20 5, and asked how people felt in given scenarios e.g. Holly's scenario who promised her father she would no longer climb trees, but her friends kitten got stuck in it - had to explain how each person would feel if Holly did/did not climb the tree


Findings of Holly's scenario

role - taking correlated with age, developmental sequence


Outline stage 0 - socially egocentric in Selman's stages of development

- child cannot distinguish between own feelings and feelings of others
- can identify emotional states in others but don't know why
- 3-6


Outline stage 1 - social informational role-taking in Selman's stages of development

- can tell difference between own and other's POV but only focus on one at a time
- 6-8


Outline stage 2 - self-reflective role-taking in Selman's stages of development

- put themselves in someone else's position and fully appreciate their perspective - only consider one POV at a time
- 8-10


Outline stage 3 - mutual role-taking in Selman's stages of development

- look at own and other's POV of a situation at same time
- 10-12


Outline stage 4 - social and conventional system role-taking in Selman's stages of development

- young people understand seeing other's POV is not enough for people to reach agreement
- why social conventions needed to keep order
- 12+


What were Selman's later developments to his theory?

- interpersonal understanding
- interpersonal negotiation strategies
- awareness of personal meaning of relationships


What is interpersonal understanding?

idea if we can take on other roles we can understand social situations (what Selman originally measured)


What are interpersonal negotiation strategies?

as well as understanding how others think, we need to understand how to respond to them - skills e.g. managing conflict and asserting our position


What is awareness of personal meaning of relationships?

as well as understanding social situations and how to manage them, need to be able to reflect on social behaviour in the context of life history and full range of relationships


AO3 Selman's stages - evidence it gets better with age

Selman found +ve correlation between age and ability to take different perspectives - longitudinal studies support - high validity


AO3 Selman's stages - mixed evidence

also been found -ve correlation between age, p-t and coercive behaviour - suggests it is important in developing prosocial behaviour
- bullies do not struggle with p-t
- mixed evidence means we cannot conclude p-t enables socially desirable behaviour


AO3 Selman's stages - applications in understanding of atypical development

Marton et al: 8-12 year olds with ADHD compared to control group and looking at performance on p-t tasks - with ADHD did worse - research identified key deficit in this group of people


AO3 Selman's stages - overly cognitive

ignores other important internal factors e.g. empathy as well as external factors such as family atmosphere - considering one element in isolation is oversimplified


AO3 Selman's stages - cultural differences in p-t

young adult Chinese participants did better in p-t than matched Americans - suggests development is influenced by socio-cultural inputs and not just maturity
- supports assumption both maturity and social environment contribute to p-t development


What is theory of mind?

our personal understanding of what other people are thinking and feeling


Outline how Meltzoff tested ToM in toddlers (about 18 months)

watched adults place beads in a jar
- experimental: appeared to struggle and dropped beads
- control: adults sucessful
- both conditions, toddlers successfully places beads in jar suggesting they imitated with the adult intended to do ToM


Outline a false belief task

Wimmer&Perner: told 3/4 year olds a story where Maxi left his chocolate in blue cupboard, his mum used some and then put back in the green cupboard - had to say where Maxi would look
- most 3 year olds said green
- most 4 year olds said blue - ToM


Outline the Sally-Anne task, findings and conclusions

Baron-Cohen: Sally puts a marble in her basket then when she leaves, Anne moves it to her box, children asked where Sally will look
20 ASD children, 14 Down's syndrome, 27 'normal'
- 20% ASD were right
- 85% control groups correct
- suggests ASD involved ToM deficit


Outline how older children/adults were tested for ToM

Eyes Task - reading complex emotions from pictures of faces by just looking at the eyes - adults with AS and ASD struggled - also supports ASD caused by ToM deficits


AO3 ToM - low validity on FBT

Bloom&German: 1 - require other cog abilities e.g. memory, also with visual aids, younger children can succeed
2. Child can have ToM demonstrated by role-play but perform bad on FBT


AO3 ToM - hard to distinguish from perspective-taking

p-t can also be used to distinguish between ASD children and others, if ToM is basically the same then the concept lacks usefulness


AO3 ToM - a partial explanation for ASD

recent research questions whether ALL people with ASD actually do have ToM deficits - may not be as closely linked as originally thought


AO3 ToM - not clear how ToM develops

some see it as developing in line with other cognitive abilities (Piaget) others take more Vygotskian line and suggest we internalise ToM during early interactions with adults - which is correct?


AO3 ToM - eyes tasks lack validity

lack mundane realism - looking at picture not same as real life - not a realistic measure of ToM


What the the mirror neuron system?

consists of special brain cells called mirror neurons that are unique as they fire both in response to personal action and action of others - may help us understand intention and emotion of others


How were mirror nerons discovered?

Rizzolati et al: same area of monkey's motor cortex activated when monkeys observed researcher reaching for his lunch and monkey reached for own lunch - same brain cells firing


How do Gallese & Goldman suggest mirror neurons work?

help us experience the intentions of others in order to interact socially - research suggests we actually stimulate the actions of others in our own brains and thus experience their intentions through our own mirror neurons


How do mirror neurons link to ToM/p-t

fire in response to other's actions and intentions


Outline mirror neurons in relation to human evolution

uniquely complex social interactions we have as humans require a brain system that facilitates an understanding of intention, emotion and perspective - without these we could not live in large groups with complex social role and rules that characterise hitman culture


Outline mirror neurons in relation to ASD

poor mirror neuron system linked to ASD - in infancy, those with ASD mimic adult behaviour less than children with no diagnosis - demonstrating innate problems with mns


AO3 mirror neuron system - evidence for their role

Haker et al: fMRI - Brodmann's area rich with mirror neurons involved in contagious yawning (simple human empathy)
- when men watched porn, activity in pars opercularis seen immediately before sexual arousal - suggests they're involved in perspective taking


AO3 mirror neuron system - difficulty studying in humans

scans identity activity levels in brain but cannot measure in individual brain cells - inserting electrodes is only way and is not ethically possible in humans - findings based on inferences and there is a lack of direct evidence causing us to doubt the validity


AO3 mirror neuron system - mixed evidence for abnormal mirror neuron functioning in ASD

link between ASD and MNS deficits by finding smaller thickness of pars opercularis in ASD ppt
- other studies using fMRI shown lower levels brain areas associated with MNs in people with ASD
- Not ALL findings replicated so reliability of results is questionable and evidence linking them is mixed


AO3 mirror neuron system - do mirror neurons even exist?

Hickok: only know them by their function and failed to identify individual cells also even if they do exist, role may be more to do with using other's behaviour to plan or own