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our current feelings or moods

Affective forecasts

predictions about how we would feel about events we have not actually experienced

Anchoring and adjustment heuristic

a heuristic that involves the tendency to use a number of value as a starting point to which we then make adjustments

Automatic processing

this occurs when, after extensive experience with a task or type of information, we reach the stage where we can perform the task or process the information in a seemingly effortless, automatic and non-conscious manner

Availability heuristic

a strategy for making judgments on the basis of how easily specific kinds of information can be brought to mind

Counterfactual thinking-

the tendency to imagine other outcomes in a situation than the ones that actually occurred ("What might have been")

Conditions of uncertainty

where the "correct" answer is difficult to know or would take a great deal of effort to determine


simple rules for making complex decisions or drawing inferences in a rapid manner and seemingly effortless manner

Information overload

instances in which our ability to process information is exceeded

Magical thinking

thinking involving assumptions that don't hold up to rational scrutiny; the belief that things that resemble one another share fundamental properties


a linguistic device that relates or draws a comparison between one abstract concept and another dissimilar concept

Mood congruence effects

the fact that we are more likely to store or remember positive information when in a positive mood and negative information when we are in a negative mood

Mood dependent memory-

the fact that what we remember while in a given mood may be determined in part by what we learned when previously in that mood

Optimistic bias

our predisposition to expect things to turn out well overall

Overconfidence barrier

the tendency to have more confidence in the accuracy of our own judgments than is reasonable

Perseverance effect

the tendency for beliefs and schemas to remain unchanged even in the face of contradictory information

Planning fallacy

the tendency to make optimistic predictions concerning how long a given task will take for completion


a situation that occurs when stimuli or events increase the availability in memory on consciousness of specific types of information held in memory


summary of the common attributes possessed by members of a category

Representativeness heuristic

a strategy for making judgments based on the extent to which current stimuli or events resemble other stimuli or categories


mental frameworks centering on a specific theme that help us to organize social information

Social cognition

the manner in which we interpret, analyze, remember and use information about the social world

Terror management

our efforts to come to terms with certainty of our own death and its unsettling implications


refers to the fact that the effects of the schemas tend to persist until they are somehow expressed in thought or behavior and only then do their efforts decrease

Social Cognition Definition

Two fundamental axioms
people create their own reality
situations influence thoughts, feelings, and behavior

How do people think about/organize information about their social worlds?
How people pay attention to, process, remember, and use information about the social world

Why is it important to understand how we make sense of our social world?
we are interdependent, social beings
Motivated to get along with others
it's important to understand who provides important resources
we attempt to make the world more predictable, if not controllable

Controlled Processing

Must have fully intentional control
to exercise intent, a person must
a) have options
b) make the hard choice (i.e., the non-dominant alternative)
c) pay attention

What is automatic processing?

Lack of awareness- "preconscious automaticity"

Lack of intention

Lack of control: "postconscious automaticity"

Lack of effort: result of practice


Short cuts to thinking

Representative heuristic
Base-rate fallacy


Process where recent experience increases the use of a concept or access to certain information

Availability heuristic

Factors that increase availability

Emotionality of events
Recency of events
Ease of visualization
Imagining events
Vividness of events or testimonials

representative heuristic

1. judge the probability of an event by finding event and assuming that the prabilities will be similar
2. base rate fallacy

Negativity bias

Pay more attention and give more weight to negative information

E.g., Prospect theory (Kahneman, 1979)
1. make choices (involves risks)
1. assume possible outcomes and how they relate
(loss or gain)

Optimistic bias:

It'll never happen to me!
Positive outcomes are overestimated (especially with respect to oneself)

Negative outcomes are underestimated

sampling bias

judgement on small sample (scued)

planning fallacy

idea that you can get more done than you actually can

confirmation bais

research- idea what think happens and find ideas that support own theory
should:disprove info

Counterfactual Thinking

(what might have been; what could I have done different?)
negative event-Imagine doing something different ("better")
Enhances positive mood
May allow for the development of new strategies for future use
eg: grad activity- 87% satisfied; 89% not satisfied
why? B+ feels hould have got an A

2 types of counterfactuals

1. Downward
a. imagine could be worse
-feel better
-not motivating
2. upward
a. imagine could be better
-feel worse
-more motivating

Illusory correlation

Associate random events to find significance
a. miss bus; wake up late-doesnt mean everything is against you

Illusion of control

Idea than chance events are subject to our influence
a. have influece over chance ("lucky charm")
Regression to the mean
a. if win once with rabbit foot doesnt increase chance of winning again

Mood-congruent judgment effect

when teacher evaluations come out tieacher gives you candy-makes you happy

Mood-dependent memory

Affect Infusion Model (AIM)
Affect triggers (primes) similar cognitive categories
Emotion acts as a shortcut (heuristic) to thinking
a. good mood-good memories
b. bad mood-bad memories

Affect and Cognition

Mood-congruent judgment effect
Mood-dependent memory

cognition and affect

sight of oncoming car (perception of stimulus)
...leads to either....
1. pounding heart (arousal)
2. cognitive lable (i am afraid)
...leads to
Fear (emotion)

Ironic processes

Attempts to avoid thoughts makes thoughts more accessible
2 opposing mechanisms

Self-fulfilling prophecies

Teacher and student expectations
Correlated with student achievement

Behavioral confirmation
Social expectations lead you to act in ways that cause others to confirm your expectations!

"Pygmalion effect"
Distortion of observations
Creation of demand characteristics that elicit predicted behaviors

Behavioral confirmation

Social expectations lead you to act in ways that cause others to confirm your expectations!

"Pygmalion effect"

Distortion of observations
Creation of demand characteristics that elicit predicted behaviors

Organizing Social Information

Problem: too much information
course content
my voice
what I'm wearing
what people around you are doing
what you've got to do after class
what you're missing on TV


Specificity matters

Provides clarity when faced with ambiguity

Resistant to change
Framework, or mental structure
Helps to organize information
Guides processing
Influences memory processes

Different Types of Schemas

Schemas about objects
Schemas about ourselves
Schemas about other people
e.g., trait schemas
Schemas about groups of people
e.g., stereotypes
cognitive frameworks that are organized around characteristics we ascribe to people based on their social categories
Schemas about events
e.g., scripts


Reconstruction not perfect
Combine fragments with moods and feelings
Memories stored with associations
Motivated to recall events in a better way
see ourselves better off now, "fit" memories to new self-concept

Schemas and behavior

Physical attractiveness of female described to males
-->Females did not know how they were described to males
-->Females behavior was warmer and more friendly when they were described to the male as "attractive"

Low-->Phone conversation with males
high-->Males were warmer, more friendly, and used more humor when talking to the "attractive" female

Schemas in summary

schemas allow us to organize social information
schemas aid our memory, provide clarity
schemas are resistant to change, bias our information processing
schemas take different forms

Dealing with Social Cognitive Limitations

Ways to become better thinkers
statistical reasoning
e.g., pay attention to the base rates
law of large numbers
a large sample size is better (i.e., more accurate)
be critical consumers of information

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