Social Cognition

Social Cognition

SOCIAL COGNITION Stage 2 Psychology Information quoted and adapted from Psychology for South Australia Stage 2 1st edition. Spencer & Hartstone. 2007. John Wiley & Sons Australia Ltd SOCIAL COGNITION Primary focus on attitudes in this topic. We form attitudes towards all kinds of objects, people, groups, events and issues. A key characteristic of an attitude is it involves an evaluation which may be positive,

negative, neutral or ambivalent. This topic focusses on the Socio-cultural level of explanation influence of family, friends, the media, culture and gender. STRUCTURE OF ATTITUDES Social Cognition STRUCTURE OF ATTITUDES The most widely used theories of the

structure of attitudes is the tricomponent or ABC model of attitudes. Tricomponent/ABC model of attitudes: a description of any attitude in terms of three related components: Affective (feelings) Behavioural (action/behaviour) Cognitive (beliefs) AFFECTIVE COMPONENT Refers to the emotional reactions or feelings an individual

has towards an object, person, group, event or issue. Based on a judgement which results in a positive response (liking or favouring), negative response (disliking or hating) or a neutral response (lack of interest or concern). Examples of Affective component of attitude (feeling): I like Metallica I hate the Adelaide Crows I have no interest in Game of Thrones Is also possible to have ambivalent attitude both positive and

negative feelings towards something. BEHAVIOURAL COMPONENT Refers to the actions or behaviours that we do in response to an object, person, group, event or issue. Examples of Behavioural Component of attitude (action): I listen to Metallica everyday/go to their concerts

I never watch or cheer for the Adelaide Crows when they play football COGNITIVE COMPONENT Refers to the beliefs we have about an object, person, group, event or issue. Examples for cognitive components in attitudes: I believe/think Metallica are the best band in

the world I believe/think the Adelaide Crows are the worst team in the AFL Some beliefs are based on fact, and some are ABC MODEL OF ATTITUDES Bringing it together: Positive attitude towards Metallica: Affective I like Metallica Behavioural I listen to Metallica everyday Cognitive I believe that Metallica are the best band in the world

Negative attitude towards the Adelaide Crows Affective I hate the Adelaide Crows Behavioural I dont watch/cheer the Adelaide Crows when they play Cognitive I believe the Adelaide Crows are the worst team in the AFL FUNCTIONS OF ATTITUDES Social Cognition FUNCTIONS OF ATTITUDES We have attitudes for a range of different

reasons. We may have the same attitude but it serves a different purpose (Katz, 1960). Four key functions of attitude: Adaptive (instrumental, adjustive, utilitarian) Ego-defensive Self-expressive Knowledge ADAPTIVE FUNCTION Helps people to strive to maximise the rewards

and minimise the penalties from the world around them. We develop positive attitudes towards things that will help us in some way and negative attitudes towards things that dont reward or punish us. Example: elections - positive attitude towards candidate that offers policies that will benefit them, and negative attitude towards candidate that penalise a particular sub group.

EGO-DEFENSIVE Helps people avoid admitting negative things about themselves or the harsh realities of the outside world. Defending our ego to make us feel better about ourselves. Example: Reformed smokers have negative attitude towards smoking, protecting their ego from the decisions they use to make (smoking). How will having an attitude help us feel better about

ourselves? SELF-EXPRESSIVE Helps us to gain satisfaction from expressing our attitudes and values, which are central to our concepts of ourselves. Gain positive feelings about ourselves through expressing attitudes through beliefs and self image.

Example: wearing Port Adelaide jumper expressing positive attitude towards team KNOWLEDGE Helps us to acquire knowledge to give structure and order to the world in which they live. Helps us to know how to act when we face certain people and situations.

Example: You dislike going to the shopping mall based on prior experience and knowledge of it already. COGNITIVE DISSONANCE Social Cognition COGNITIVE DISSONANCE Suggests that if a person persists in behaving in a way that causes cognitive discomfort, the person then tends

to change their beliefs or attitudes to the behaviour. Structure of attitudes > when the affective, behavioural and cognitive are not consistent. Main pioneer was Festinger (1957) Example: smoker has a negative attitude towards smoking however continues to do it anyway (feeling and belief do not match behaviour > may then change feelings and attitude to positive to limit dissonance). COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

More examples: Someone loves their boyfriend/girlfriend however they leave them for someone else > say it was only a crush/glad its over to avoid dissonance Rejected from a job interview > may conclude the job was not what you wanted anyway BI-DIRECTIONAL

RELATIONSHIP Social Cognition BI-DIRECTIONAL RELATIONSHIP The relationship between attitudes and behaviour. Attitudes can affect behaviour and behaviour can affect attitudes. Example: If we have a positive attitude towards playing tennis, then we are going to play tennis (attitude affecting

behaviour) If we play tennis, then we are going to have a positive attitude towards tennis (behaviour affects attitude) FACTORS AFFECTING THE BI-DIRECTIONAL RELATIONSHIP Attitude strength Stronger attitudes have a stronger influence on behaviour and are more resistant to change direct or indirect experience. Attitude accessibility

Highly accessible attitudes comes to mind more quickly and are remembered better. Attitude specificity The more specific the behaviour, the more it influences our attitudes (like jogging but hate all other exercise). Social situation Affects how freely we express our attitudes sometimes we dont freely express them in fear of ATTITUDE FORMATION Social Cognition

ATTITUDE FORMATION Depending on how we form an attitude will determine the strength of it. Three main ways in which this occurs: Mere exposure Direct experience Learning ATTITUDE FORMATION Mere exposure

Being exposed to an object > form an attitude Advertisements the most common factor Too many exposures > effect not as great ATTITUDE FORMATION

Direct experience Having direct personal experience with object > form an attitude In particular attitudes formed from a negative experience Usually more resistant to change Generally more strongly held

ATTITUDE FORMATION Learning examples Association, reward and punishment, imitation > form an attitude Association to ice cream > neutral attitude > eat ice cream > form a positive attitude towards ice cream Reward and Punishment > good grade in Psychology >

reward > form a positive attitude towards psychology Imitation > watching a loved one boo for the Adelaide Crows > form a negative attitude towards the Adelaide Crows ATTITUDE CHANGE Social Cognition ATTITUDE CHANGE Attitudes are changed through

persuasion Two process of persuasion: Central route Peripheral route CENTRAL ROUTE

High elaboration, evaluation of argument, strength and quality of argument, high personal relevance. Generally aimed towards adults who need a strong argument to persuade them. Can you think of any examples? Drink driving commercials Political advertisements

Healthy eating campaigns PERIPHERAL ROUTE Low elaboration, unimportant issues, no evaluation of argument, low personal relevance Generally aimed towards younger people with low self confidence/easily persuaded

Can you think of any examples? Cosmetic commercials Fast food commercials Designer clothing commercials FACTORS AFFECTING ATTITUDE CHANGE Stage 2 Psychology FACTORS AFFECTING PERSUASION Yale communication model The conditions and circumstances under which

people are most likely to change their attitude in response to persuasive messages. Yale communication model structure: The source The message The channel The audience YALE COMMUNICATION MODEL The source

More often persuaded by experts in area. Perceived to be more trustworthy. Persuaded by attractiveness, regardless of the information provided. Fast talkers more effective than slow talkers. Often talk louder than normal to emphasise importance of message.

YALE COMMUNICATION MODEL The message Aim to evoke an emotional response such as fear, sadness, concern or joy (depending on what information is being delivered).

Music and/or sound effects used to further exaggerate emotional response in audience. Subliminal messaging limited in effectiveness. YALE COMMUNICATION MODEL The channel Most effective channel often depends on age of the audience.

Younger audience - YouTube, Television, Spotify etc. Older audience Newspaper, radio etc. Direct experience (face to face) will usually result in a stronger attitude formed Young children easily influenced by media (i.e. toy television commercials) YALE COMMUNICATION MODEL The audience

People aged between 18-25 very susceptible to attitude change through advertisements. After this age, attitudes more stable and resistant to attitude change. People who are less intelligent > more susceptible to attitude change than highly intelligent people.

Central route > more effective for high level thinkers. Typically adults who dont change their attitudes as easily. Peripheral route > more effective for self conscious people. Typically younger people 18-25 who are influenced by aesthetics IMPRESSION FORMATION Social Cognition

Impressions What impressions do you form from the people in these photographs? What did you use to form these impressions? 37 Impressions

How is a person seen by others? 38 IMPRESSION FORMATION The impressions we form of other people. When you meet someone for the first time, you form an impression of them from what they say, how they say it, their physical appearance and their body language Known as person perception

IMPRESSION FORMATION Usually made within the first minute of meeting someone Rely on little information People we have met and some we have not Involves three inter-related concepts: Impression formation we form of other people Impression management impressions people form of us Social comparisons comparing ourselves

to others IMPRESSION FORMATION Often make assumptions about things such as personality, work ethic, likes and dislikes. Usually the negative behaviours/impressions of someone are more dominant in our minds Many factors that contribute to the impression and perception we form of others (may also be

bias and inaccurate): Verbal communication Non-verbal communication VERBAL COMMUNICATION Content of what a person says Impression formed depends on the context of which it is said i.e. using slang is fine at home however may form negative impression if used in job interview.

VERBAL COMMUNICATION Occurs on two levels semantic and expressive Semantic Someone telling you something about themselves Being asked about yourself Being provided with some fact Confirmation of certain information Having your questions answered

VERBAL COMMUNICATION Verbal Communication Expressive Is the information being provided in a friendly or hostile manner? How the information is spoken Only about 30% of our impressions are

formed based on verbal communication NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION The methods we use to present information without using spoken words. Visible cues: Distance: Person who seems friendly > stand closer to people. Person who stands away from someone > dont want to be close > not as friendly Gestures

Nodding, open palms > indicate you are listening and open Open/closed posture Upright posture > confidence. Hunched posture > unsure Eye contact Depends on context. Can indicate strong relationship/listening however can also be used to make someone uncomfortable. Lack of eye contact > uninterested/shy.

Facial expression Depending on wether a person smiles/frowns impacts on impressions formed of them Physical appearance Clothing, hairstyle, make up and physical attractiveness all contribute to impression formation IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT Social Cognition IMPRESSION MANAGEMENT

Impression Management People forming impressions of us Present who we are to others Also through verbal and non-verbal communication Impressions may be different depending on audience Aims to make people like us Impression Self Handicapping Another form of protecting ourselves through

impression management Making excuses for why you present a less than desirable impression in an activity in which you are about to engage Handicapping occurs before you engage in behaviour Real handicapping: when something has actually happened that could potentially affect performance (illness) Artificial handicapping: making an excuse for

potential poor performance (lying about getting bad TASK Think about a time you engaged in self handicapping. What strategies did you use to make the impression of yourself more desirable? TASK Worksheet on past exam questions. Read pages 71-72 and complete learning

activity 3.17 Read page 74 and complete learning activity 3.18 SOCIAL COMPARISONS Social Cognition SOCIAL COMPARISONS To gain self-knowledge by comparing

ourselves to others. Helps us figure out our strengths and weaknesses. Evaluate ourselves. Identify characteristics distinctive to us. Three types of comparisons Upward Downward Lateral/linear UPWARD SOCIAL COMPARISON Comparing ourselves to those who traits

or behaviours are better than ours Positive - Motivate ourselves to improve Negative - Risk in aiming too high Example: Sandy watches a famous guitarist on television and admires their skill and technique. Comparing herself to guitarist with higher skill Motivates Sandy to start playing/keep learning guitar Sandy needs to be realistic about abilities

DOWNWARD SOCIAL COMPARISON Comparing ourselves to those who are less fortunate or who have lesser abilities Positive - self protect and self enhance Negative may not choose to improve Example: Russell is working as a mechanic and watches his co-worker make a lot of mistakes

Compares himself to worker with lesser abilities Makes Russell feel better about himself and his abilities LINEAR/LATERAL SOCIAL COMPARISON Comparing ourselves to people with the same ability as us Positive - Reassure ourselves about our own abilities Negative May not choose to improve Example: Kirk looks at his classmates test

scores and compares them to his own score Assures Kirk about his own ability People around the same age, education level MEASURING ATTITUDES Social Cognition MEASURING ATTITUDES Two main ways this is done: Behaviour observations Self-report methods Advantages and disadvantages of each one

Objective quantitative data difficult as attitude is so subjective only data to obtain is physiological responses (heart rate, EEG readings etc.) BEHAVIOUR OBSERVATIONS Involves watching and describing behaviour as it occurs. Most participants unaware they are being watched, therefore it is an indirect measure. Advantages:

Can be more valid than self reports Can often be less subjective Disadvantages: Attitudes and behaviour are not consistent Difficult to measure the strength of the attitude in some cases SELF REPORT METHODS Written or spoken answers to questions or statements

presented by the researcher. Classified as subjective data Comprise of questionnaires, surveys and interviews (qualitative) Rating scales (subjective quantitative) Advantages Often simple and quick to administer Suited to people who have good verbal skills Disadvantages Social desirability in answers common Some participants may misunderstand questions/statements

ETHICS Social Cognition ETHICS Mainly concerned with the administration of self report methods to measure attitudes. Voluntary participation Have the right to choose to complete them in the first place Confidentiality Need to check that participants are happy to divulge

certain information Informed consent Must obtain consent form and explain rights, risks, able to withdraw etc.

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