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Social Cognition

We often rely on mental shortcuts to deal with the overwhelming amount of information we encounter

Controlled vs Automatic Processing

Controlled: effortful, effortless

Automatic: conscious, nonconscious

Needed for controlled processing (3)

motivation, time, mental capacity

Why do we use schemas?

They make our brains more efficient at processing info

Function of Schemas (3)

1. influence the info we notice, think about and recall
2. to organize knowledge of the social world
3. to contain basic knowledge and impressions that we used to interpret new situations.

Jack encounters his professor working on her computer on the table with books&ipod. If you ask Jack to recall later, what would he remember?

The computer and books because they are consistent with his schemas for professors.

When a schema is primed, what has been made more?

ACCESSIBLE, in the perceivers mind.

In the Rudman & Borgida (1995) study on priming the "women as sex object" schema in college men participants (described in class) how did the researchers demonstrate conclusively that the schema was primed?

They measured the men's reaction times to a computerized word recognition task; the fact the men in the sex object commercial conditions were quicker to recognize schema consistent words, such as "blonde" and "bimbo" strongly supported their claim that the schema has been primed.

In one study (Bargh & Pietromonaco, 1982) researchers flashed "hostile and unkind" on a computer screen so fast that the participants only saw the light and not consciously see the words. Then when the researchers asked these participants to interpret people's behaviors of those acting ambiguously, they were likely to label behavior as "hostile" that those whom weren't flashed the words.

This demonstrates that priming of our schemes can be automatic and non conscious.

Olivia thinks all monks are pious, gentle and devout men. This is an example of?

Using stereotyping and schema.

Craig just met amy who he perceives as energetic and friend. He assumes she is also sporty and fond of parties. This is an example of (an)?

Implicit personality theory and schema.

Implicit personality theory: sets of assumptions about how different types of people, personality traits, and actions are related to each other

According to Devines work on the automatic and controlled aspects of stereotyping, whats true?

Stereotypes are automatically activated in the minds of both prejudice people, but not in the minds of non- prejudice perceivers.

According to Neil's Macrae's research on stereotype rebound...

Conscious suppression of our stereotypes sometimes leads them coming back later even more strongly than if we hadn't suppressed them.

When we have unwittingly caused our stereotypic expectations to be confirmed by a target's behavior, we have created?

Self-fulfilling prophecy.
(an expectation that causes you to act in ways that make that expectation come true.)

Heider and other early attribution theorists made the mistake of thinking that attribution is a "what process?"

Logical Process.

Ed & Violet saw their professor slip and fall. Ed thinks "what a cultz" and Violet thought "I bet there was water on the floor" What kind of cases do they each think?

Ed: dispositional attribution
Violet: situational attribution

Jone & Davis's Correspondence Inference Theory

When we make attributions... we pay attention to the choice, expectedness and intended effects of the person's behavior.

Kelley's Covariation Theory + Advantage

When we make attributions... we pay attention to the consensus, consistency and distinctiveness of the person's behavior.

*Kelley's advantage compared to Jone's Theory: Correspondent inference theory only addresses "one shot attributions".

Fundamental attribution error

the tendency for observers, when analyzing another's behavior, to underestimate the impact of the situation and to overestimate the impact of personal disposition

*Also known as correspondence bias.

When people are distracted, they are more likely to fall prey to the fundamental attribution error. Why does this occur?

Occurs because Dispositonal attributions arise from automatic processes. (situational attributions arise from controlled processes)

Rene exhibits the actor/observer difference when she says...

Sally is just plain mean, but i'm irritable because I got a bad grade.

The actor/observer pattern of attributions does not manifest itself when actors explain their own success. Why?

Actors are often motivated to maintain or restore their self-esteem.

The beliefs about the self that organize and guide the processing of self-relevant information is called?


We have multiple sets of beliefs about the self. Why?

They serve to guide and motivate us.

Rosemary was invited to a dinner party by a colleague from from her new job. Although she was told to arrive around 7:00, Rosemary didn't arrive until 7:30 so she didn't look eager.. Why?

Impression Management! (the process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them)

Impression management

the process by which individuals attempt to control the impression others form of them


The act of gaining acceptance or affection for yourself by persuasive and subtle blandishments

ex: Someone bringing boss coffee and offers to do other favors for her.

Self Handicapping

protecting one's self-image with behaviors that create a handy excuse for later failure

*do it to avoid internal attribution for failure.

Self Monitoring

personality trait that assesses the extent to which people's behavior reflects their true feelings and attitudes

*tend to act like social chameleons: they adjust their behavior to fit the situation

Members of the Heaven Gate Cult, who "knew" there was a spaceship following the Hale-Bopp comment returned a perfectly good telescope they had purchased because they failed to see the spaceship they knew was there. Why?

Such behaviors demonstrate that: even smart, reasonable people will often go to extreme lengths to justify their actions or beliefs.

Leon Festinger and J. Merrill Carlsmith paid participants either $1 or $20 to tell someone else that a tedious, boring task was really interesting.

Participants paid $1 modified their original attitudes because they had external justification for lying.

A tobacco grower experiences cognitive dissonance by saying "If i'm not growing it, someone else will grow it." how did he reduce his dissonance?

Adding new cognitions.

Using post-decision cognitive dissonance, who is more likely to be satisfied with their purchase?

Someone that made a final sale purchase, rather than someone who has a 30 day return policy.

If your friend gets her mom a gift and you think it's ugly... but you lie to her and say you like it.

In this case you will not experience dissonance because there is sufficient external justification for your action.

Cognitive dissonance always whats?

produces motivating discomfort.

Checking of your opinion on a survey is what?

Implicit attitude

It can be difficult to assess implicit attitudes. Why?

A number of techniques exists, like the LIKERT SCALE.

Problems with Sematic differential and Likert Scale (3)

1. people aren't always honest with their attitudes
2. middle response can indicate either ambivalence or indifference.
3. different individuals may interpret the items or response scales differently.

Explain how we measured implicit attitudes on that computer test?

Reaction times to good and bad pairings with each attitude object are compared, so to identify with associations are stronger in the test-taker's mind.

If a girl has a negative implicit attitude towards dogs and a positive implicit towards cats, what would her test results look like?

She will be quicker at sorting categories when "cats are good, dogs are bad" rather than "cat or bad, dogs or good"

Understanding persuasion from the perspective of who says what to whom? is what model?

Yale Attitude change approach.

(focused on a # of factors that influence the success of persuasive messages. example communication variable of those factors is attentive vs. inattentive listeners)

*most persuasive messages are the ones when you argue for a position and argue against the opposite position.

What do Chaiken's Heuristic-Systematic model and Petter's Elaboration Likelihood model of persuasion have in common?

Specify when people will be influenced by the logic of argument as opposed to other factors.

Central route vs peripheral route to persuasion

Central route to persuasion: uses logical arguments enduring attitude change

Peripheral route to persuasion: uses surface characteristics transient (short period) of change.

According to the elaboration likelihood model if people are motivated to pay attention, which route is this?

Central route of persuasion. *LOGIC OF ARGUMENT

Heuristic-Systematic model of persuasion

asserts that attitudes may change because people attend to the merits of an argument, or because they use cognitive shortcuts. *LOGIC OF ARGUMENT + LENGTH OF MESSAGE

*like "the faster a person talks, the more she knows about the issue"

"experts always right, length equals strength"

Accurate statement about persuasion in advertising

People don't think they are influenced much by regular advertising when they probably are, and they believe they are influenced by subliminal advertising when they are probably not.

Normative influence

Normative influence is based on a person's desire to be accepted.

ex: a girl is in a group where people were behaving a certain way, she knew it was wrong but she behaved like everyone else so she wouldn't appear deviant from the rest of the group.

Normative influence

influence resulting from a person's desire to gain approval or avoid disapproval

ex: Solomon Asch study. Person who made 99% correct judgments about the line alone.. were still willing to go along with the incorrect judgment of others in a group. (public conformity)

Informational social influence

influence resulting from one's willingness to accept others' opinions about reality

Low ball technique

a tactic for getting people to agree to something. People who agree to an initial request will often still comply when the requester ups the ante.

ex: helps a teacher write a textbook in exchange for money. the girl ends up having to make journal copies and use her own money to make copies.

compliance techniques that work because of consistency ++ compliance techniques because of contrast

Compliant techniques because of CONSISTENCY: foot in the door and low-ball

Compliant techniques because of CONTRAST: door in face, thats not all and low-ball.

What is true about compliance, conformity and obedience?

They differ with respect to the directness of the social influence exerted on the individual.

social facilitation

stronger responses on simple or well-learned tasks in the presence of others

ex: if someone has experienced years of being on TV and wants a stronger performance on tape, he would be taped in the presence of someone else to be more aroused.

social inhibition

The tendency to perform complex or difficult tasks more poorly in the presence of others.

ex: someone who is lecturing for the first time in front of a college class after there graduate career.


refers to the loosening of normal behavior contrasts when people are in a crowed, leading to increases in impulsive and deviant acts *more likely to act in ways e usually don't

ex: a girl wearing a costume in a marching parade

Social loafing

the tendency for people in a group to exert less effort when pooling their efforts toward attaining a common goal than when individually accountable

*common to deindividuation because an individual's actions are not identifiable.

Propinquity effect

We are more likely to enter into relationships with those who live near us.

Ex: computer chat rooms, email may influence interpersonal relationships because they increase the PROPINQUITY of people who would not meet otherwise.

Buss & Scmitt's Sexual strategies, why is each individual offspring more "valuable" to the mother than to the father?

Women can't have as many offsprings as men.

Sexual Strategy Theory

Predicts that women place greater emphasis that men will on a mate's ability to provide resources because women have greater MINIMAL parental investment and lower MAXIMUM reproductive potential

*Men place greater emphasis on mate's physical attractiveness because "good looks" is an indication of youth and health

Sexual strategy (evolutionary perspective)

Biologically advantage strategy for males is to pursue many females, pair infrequently... and for females is to carefully choose a male.

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