Chapter 1: How We Use Our Expectations
- Provide examples of how salience and accessibility influence information processing.
- Review, differentiate and give examples of the cognitive heuristics that influence social judgment.
- Summarize and give examples of the importance of social cognition in everyday life.
Automatic Versus Controlled Cognition
Salience and Accessibility Determine Which Expectations We Use
The False Consensus Bias Makes Us Think That We Are More Like Others Than We Really Are
Perceptions of What “Might Have Been” Lead to Counterfactual Thinking
Anchoring and Adjustment Lead Us to Accept Ideas That We Should Revise
1 × 2 × 3 × 4 × 5 × 6 × 7 × 8
8 × 7 × 6 × 5 × 4 × 3 × 2 × 1
The Importance of Cognitive Biases in Everyday Life
- We use our schemas and attitudes to help us judge and respond to others. In many cases, this is appropriate, but our expectations can also lead to biases in our judgments of ourselves and others.
- A good part of our social cognition is spontaneous or automatic, operating without much thought or effort. On the other hand, when we have the time and the motivation to think about things carefully, we may engage in thoughtful, controlled cognition.
- Which expectations we use to judge others are based on both the situational salience of the things we are judging and the cognitive accessibility of our own schemas and attitudes.
- Variations in the accessibility of schemas lead to biases such as the availability heuristic, the representativeness heuristic, the false consensus bias, and biases caused by counterfactual thinking.
- The potential biases that are the result of everyday social cognition can have important consequences, both for us in our everyday lives but even for people who make important decisions affecting many other people. Although biases are common, they are not impossible to control, and psychologists and other scientists are working to help people make better decisions.
- The operation of cognitive biases, including the potential for new information to distort information already in memory, can help explain the tendency for eyewitnesses to be overconfident and frequently inaccurate in their recollections of what occurred at crime scenes.
- Give an example of a time when you may have committed one of the cognitive errors listed in Table 2.1 “How Expectations Influence Our Social Cognition”. What factors (e.g., availability? salience?) caused the error, and what was the outcome of your use of the shortcut or heuristic?
- Go to the website http://thehothand.blogspot.com, which analyzes the extent to which people accurately perceive “streakiness” in sports. Consider how our sports perceptions are influenced by our expectations and the use of cognitive heuristics.
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Adapted from Chapter 2.2 from Principles of Social Psychology by the University of Minnesota under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.