Lec 8- social cognition

Lec 8- social cognition - Lecture 8- Social cognition Notes...

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Lecture 8- Social cognition Notes made from chapter 2 of main course text (Hogg and Vaughan) Theses notes will discuss: · How we process social information: the nature of social cognition · How we form impressions of other people · Types of social schemas and the role of categorisation · Person memory · How social influence is affected by biases and errors · Cognitive short-cuts or heuristics · Feelings and emotions Social Psychology and cognition Social psychology is the science of human thought, feeling and behaviour as they are influenced by and have influence on other people. Within this broad definition, THOUGHT has always occupied a pivotal role: people think about their social world, and not the basis of thought they act in certain ways. Thought is often conscious, cognition, however, is largely automatic. Cognition and thought are mental activities, that can be inferred from what people say and do. If we an understand cognition, we may gain some understanding of how and why people behave in the ways they do. SOCIAL COGNITION- is an approach in social psychology that focuses on the way in which cognition is affected by wider and more immediate social contexts and on how cognition affects our social behaviour. This began in the 1980’s, with 85% of journal submissions being on social cognition ( TAYLOR, 1998 ). Social cognition can tell us much about how we process and store information about people, and how this affects the way we perceive and interact with people, and also teaches us new experimental methods from cognitive psychology. Social cognition has had, and continued to have an enormous impact on social psychology ( DEVINE ET AL. 1994 ). A history of social cognition In contrast to general psychology, social psychology has almost always been strongly cognitive ( ZAJONC, 1980 ). This emphasis can be traced at least as far back as LEWIN , who used GESTALT PSYCHOLOGY ideas and applied them to social psychology. LEWIN (1951)- believed that social behaviour is most usefully understood as a function of people’s perceptions of their world and of their manipulation of such perceptions, so cognition and thought are important in social psychology. After the Second Wold war, much research was conducted into attitude change, this lead to a shared assumption that people strive for COGNITIVE CONSISTENCY- people are motivated to reduced perceived discrepancies between their various cognitions because such discrepancies are aversive (e.g. FESTINGER, 1957 ).
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In the 1970’s a model of NAIVE SCIENTIST arose, which characterised people as having a need to attribute causes to behaviour and events in order to render the world a meaningful place. This underpinned the ATTRIBUTION theories at the time. In the late 1970’s the idea changed to that people are
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2008 for the course PSYCH 1003 taught by Professor Quigley during the Spring '07 term at Trinity College Dublin.

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Lec 8- social cognition - Lecture 8- Social cognition Notes...

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