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Chapter 5 - Social Cognition PowerPoint Presentation
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Chapter 5 - Social Cognition

Chapter 5 - Social Cognition

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Chapter 5 - Social Cognition

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  1. Chapter 5 - Social Cognition • What is Social Cognition? • Attributions: Why Did That Happen? • Heuristics: Mental Shortcuts • Errors and Biases • Are People Really Idiots?

  2. Social Cognition • Carolyn Briggs - Christian Fundamentalism • How can someone believe so intensely and then reject those same beliefs? • How are our beliefs shaped by those around us? • What are some cognitive biases and errors we make?

  3. What is Social Cognition? • Thinking about people • People first • Inner processes serve interpersonal functions • Social acceptance, relationship formation and maintenance • Competing against others for our goals

  4. Thinking • Three goals of thinking • Discover the right answer • Confirm the desired answer • Reach the answer quickly • Cognitive miser • Reluctance to do much extra thinking

  5. Elements of Automatic Thinking • Intention – not guided by intention • Control – not subject to deliberate control • Effort – no effort required • Efficiency – highly efficient

  6. Knowledge Structures • Schemas • Substantial information about a concept, its attributes, and its relationships to other concepts • Scripts • Schemas about certain events

  7. Priming and Framing • Priming - activating a concept in the mind • Influences subsequent thinking • May trigger automatic processes • Framing – presentation as positive or negative

  8. Thought Suppression and Ironic Processes • Two processes to suppress thought • Automatic – checks for incoming information related to unwanted thought • Controlled – redirects attention away from unwanted thought • Relax conscious control and mind is flooded with cues from the automatic system

  9. Food for Thought - It’s the Thought That Counts (or Doesn’t Count!) the Calories • Dieters and nondieters will eat different amounts of food based on eating pattern • Milkshakes and ice cream (Herman & Mack, 1975) • Counterregulation • Driven by cognition not bodily need

  10. Attributions • Causal explanations • Internal factors • External factors

  11. Attributions: Explaining Success and Failure • Two dimensions • Internal Stable - Ability • Internal Unstable – Effort • External Stable – Difficulty of task • External Unstable – Luck • Self-serving bias

  12. Actor/Observer Bias • External – Internal Attribution • Actor (situation – external) • Observer (actor – internal) • Fundamental Attribution Error • Ultimate Attribution Error • Behavior freely chosen is more informative about a person (Jones & Harris, 1967)

  13. Fundamental Attribution Error • Four possible explanations • Behavior is more noticeable than situational factors • Insignificant weight is assigned to situational factors • People are cognitive misers • Richer trait-like language to explain behavior

  14. Attribution Cube • Covariation Principle • Consensus • Consistency • Distinctiveness

  15. Attribution Cube and Excuses • Excuses • Raise consensus – it happens to everyone • Lower consistency – it doesn’t usually happen to me • Raise distinctiveness – it doesn’t usually happen in other situations

  16. Heuristics • Representativeness Heuristic • Judge likelihood by the extent it resembles the typical case • Availability Heuristic • Judge likelihood by ease with which relevant instances come to mind • ESP beliefs

  17. Heuristics • Simulation Heuristic • Judge likelihood by ease with which you can imagine it • Anchoring and Adjustment Heuristic • Judge likelihood by using a starting point and adjusting from that point

  18. Cognitive Errors and Biases • Information Overload • Too much information, contradictions in information, irrelevant information • Generally access two types of information • Statistical information • Case History • Generally pay closer attention to case history

  19. Cognitive Errors and Biases • Confirmation Bias • Tendency to notice and search for information that confirms one’s beliefs and ignore information that disconfirms it • Conjunction Fallacy • Tendency to see an event as more likely as it becomes more specific

  20. The Social Side of SexCounting Sex Partners • Men always report more previous sex partners than women • Processes that account for biased answers • How people count • Mental list (underestimate) or estimate (inflated numbers) • Shifting criteria • What constitutes sex?

  21. Cognitive Errors and Biases • Illusory Correlation • Tendency to overestimate link between variables that are related only slightly or not at all • Hamilton & Gifford (1976)

  22. Cognitive Errors and Biases • Base Rate Fallacy • Tendency to ignore base rate information and be influenced by distinctive features of the case • Gambler’s Fallacy • Tendency to believe that a chance event is affected by previous events and will “even out”

  23. Cognitive Errors and Biases • False Consensus Effect • Tendency to overestimate the number of other people who share one’s opinions • False Uniqueness Effect • Tendency to underestimate the number of other people who share one’s prized characteristics or abilities

  24. Cognitive Errors and Biases • Statistical Regression • Statistical tendency for extremes to be followed by less extreme or those closer to average • Illusion of Control • A false belief that one can influence events

  25. Is Bad Stronger Than Good?Good News and Bad News • People think more about bad things than good ones • Thinking is guided by search for explanations • More concerned with explaining bad events than good events • Bad news attracts more attention

  26. Cognitive Errors and Biases • Magical Thinking • Assumptions that don’t hold up to logical scrutiny • Touching objects pass on properties to each other (contamination) • Resemblance to something shares basic properties (contamination) • Thoughts can influence physical world

  27. Counterfactual Thinking • Imagining alternatives to past or present factual events or circumstances • First instinct fallacy • Upward counterfactuals – positive outcome • Help make future situations better • Downward counterfactuals – negative outcome • Comfort it could have been worse

  28. Are People Really Idiots? • We make predictable errors • Cognitive misers • Heuristics are short cuts • How serious are the errors • On trivial events – use heuristics and automatic processing • On important events – use conscious processing and make better decisions

  29. Reducing Cognitive Errors • Debiasing • Consider multiple alternative • Rely less on memory • Use explicit decision rules • Search for disconfirmatory information • Use meta-cognition

  30. What Makes Us Human? • Human thought uses and combines symbols • Language allows for exploration of linkages of meaning • Conscious mind is uniquely human • Complex patterns of thought

  31. What Makes Us Human? • Only humans engage in counterfactual thinking • Human thought creates unique errors and unique capabilities to find the truth