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Social Thinking

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Examines social cognition, attitudes, influence and persuasion.

Examines social cognition, attitudes, influence and persuasion.

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  • The aim of this lecture is to introduce and discuss theories and research about social thinking, including social perception, attributions, and social behaviour. Image source: Unknown

Social Thinking Social Thinking Presentation Transcript

  • Social Psychology Social Thinking 2008 Lecturer: James Neill
  • Lecture Web Page
    • http://ucspace.canberra.edu.au/display/7125/Lecture+Social+Thinking
    Readings
    • Ch05 Social Cognition
    • Ch07 Attitudes, Beliefs, and Consistency
    • Ch13 Social Influence and Persuasion
  • Overview
    • Social thinking
    • Attitudes
    • Influence & persuasion
    View slide
  • Social Thinking = Social Cognition View slide
  • Part 1: Social thinking overview
    • Thinking
    • Perception
    • Attributions
    • Heuristics, Errors and Biases
  • Social thinking Social psychology was initially influenced by behaviourism . (1930’s-1950’s) By the 1970’s, cognitive psychology lead to greater investigation of social thinking and feeling .
  • Social perception
  • Social perception
      • Refers to how people:
      • form impressions of, &
      • make inferences about
      • other people.
  • “ Whilst part of what we perceive comes through our senses from the object before us, another part (and it may be the larger part) always comes out of our own mind.” William James
  • Social perception
      • Communication Verbal and non-verbal
      • Impression formation & management How do we form initial social impressions? e.g., social categories, stereotypes, schemas & scripts
      • Attribution theory How we form integrated (deeper) social impressions based on observed behaviour?
  • Duplex mind
    • Automatic
    • fast
    • approximate
    • best-guess
    • effortless
    • unconscious
    • Conscious
    • slow
    • deliberate
    • considered
    • effortful
    • conscious
  • “ Cognitive Miser”
    • Human brain consumes a relatively large proportion of human energy (compared to other animals).
    • Even so, most of this energy is used unconsciously (because this is more efficient).
    • Conscious energy is limited and needs to be spend wisely.
  • Cognitive miser
    • “ There is ample evidence that when people’s capacity for thinking is already preoccupied, they take even more shortcuts to reduce further need for thought”
  • Knowledge structures
    • “ Automatic thinking requires little effort because it relies on knowledge structures”, e.g.,
      • Schemas
      • Scripts
      • Stereotypes
    • “ We reduce…complex and detailed realities to simple images that can be stored and recalled.”
  • Schemas
    • Stored and automatically accessible information about a concept, its attributes, & its relationships to other concepts.
    • From the Greek word "σχήμα" (skhēma), which means shape or more generally plan .
  • Schemas: The good
    • Effective tool for understanding the world.
    • Through use of schemata, most everyday situations do not require effortful thought.
  • Schemas: The bad
    • Influences & hampers uptake of new information ( proactive interference ), such as when situations are inconsistent with stereotypes.
  •  
  • “ If a well-dressed businessman draws a knife on a Mexican, the schemata of onlookers often leads onlookers to 'remember' the Mexican pulling the knife.”
  • Scripts
    • Schemas about certain events and roles, e.g., restaurant
    • Frequency of exposure to a script determines the extent to which use of it becomes automatic.
  • Priming
    • Activating a concept in the mind:
      • Influences subsequent thinking
      • May trigger automatic processes
      • e.g., 1 st year medical students who begin to think they and other people they know are suffering from serious illness.
  • Framing
    • Context influences interpretation.
    • Changing the frame can change and even reverse interpretation.
  • Framing
  • Typical vs. unusual events
    • Events consistent with expectations, norms, schemas, scripts, etc. don’t tend to elicit the desire to explain .
    • Unusual events motivate us to find explanatory causes for the behaviour in order to regain a sense of control and predictability.
  • Attributions
    • “ The causes of events always interest us more than the events themselves”
    • - Cicero
    • “ Happy is he who has been able to perceive the causes of things”
    • - Virgil
  • Why do we make attributions?
    • Sense of cognitive control.
    • To predict the future.
    • To respond appropriately.
  • Attribution Theory
    • “… deals with how the social perceiver uses information to arrive at causal explanations for events”
  • Theories of attribution
    • Heider(1958): ‘Naïve Scientist’
    • Jones & Davis (1965): Correspondent Inference Theory
    • Kelley (1967, 1973): Covariation Theory
    • Weiner (1979, 1985): Internal / External + Stable / Unstable
  • Attribution theory
    • Heider hypothesised that:
    • People are naïve scientists who attempt to use rational processes to explain events.
  • Attribution theory
    • People perceive behaviour as being caused .
    • People give causal attributions (even to inanimate objects!).
    • Both disposition & situation can cause behaviour.
  • Attribution theory 4
    • Causes of behaviour are seen as inside (internal) or outside (external) a person.
    Internal External Causes
  • Attribution theory
    • We generally assume that people choose to behave the way they do,
    • i.e., there is a tendency to make internal attributions .
  •  
  • Internal attribution
    • ‘ Bob is a jerk!’
    • ‘ Bob is short-tempered!’
    • ‘ Bob likes to beat people up!’
  • External attribution
    • ‘ Steve just told Bob that he is having an affair w/ Bob’s wife.’
    • ‘ Steve paid Bob $100 to give him a black eye.’
    • ‘ Bob tripped on a cord and accidentally hit Steve when he lost his balance.’
  • Internal & external attributions
    • You were late for the lecture.
    • Susan failed the test.
    • You got drunk.
    • A driver cuts in front of you.
    • Geoff stole some money.
  • Correspondent Inference Theory
  • Correspondent Inference Theory
    • We tend to assume that:
    • Observed behaviour and the intentions that produced it correspond to stable underlying qualities within the actor .
    • Actors behave wilfully.
    • (Jones & Davis 1965)
  • What is going on? How do you interpret this person's behaviour?
  • Correspondent Inference Theory
    • A correspondent inference (CI) is made when a behavior is believed to correspond to a person's internal beliefs.
  • Correspondent Inference Theory
    • We are likely to make a CI when we perceive that the behaviour:
    • was freely chosen.
    • was intended.
    • had noncommon consequences.
    • was low in social desirability.
  • Correspondent Inference Theory
    • We are likely to make an external attribution when we perceive that the behaviour:
    • was not freely chosen.
    • was unintended.
    • had common consequences.
    • was high in social desirability.
  • Correspondence Bias
    • Occurs when we make an internal attribution when there are external forces that could have caused the behavior.
    • i.e., tendency to overestimate the role of internal factors & underestimate the role of external factors.
  • Correspondence Bias
    • “… the tendency to draw inferences about a person’s unique and enduring dispositions from behaviors that can be…explained by the situations in which they occur.”
  • Correspondence Bias
    • Also known as:
    • Fundamental Attribution Error
    • Overattribution Effect
  • Observer Behaviour Actor Environment Situation Behaviour Actor
  • Fundamental Attribution Error
    • Tendency to attribute others’ behaviour to enduring dispositions (e.g., attitudes, personality traits) because of both:
    • Underestimation of the influence of situational factors.
    • Overestimation of the influence of dispositional factors.
  • Fundamental Attribution Error
    • Four possible explanations:
    • Behavior is more noticeable than situational factors.
    • Insignificant weight is assigned to situational factors.
    • People are cognitive misers.
    • Richer trait-like language to explain behavior.
  • Fundamental Attribution Error
    • Gilbert’s (1989) two-stage theory:
  • Spontaneous & Deliberative Attributions: Example Observed Behaviour Person running out of a bank with crash helmet on, jumps on bike & rides away Spontaneous Because just robbed bank Deliberative Noticed traffic warden booking others. Bike on double yellow Lines – avoid ticket Cognitive effort low Cognitive effort high
  • Cross-cultural Variations in Attributional Bias
  • Cross-cultural Variations in Attributional Bias
    • Interpretation:
    • Americans far more likely to explain events in terms of traits than are Indians
    • Indians far more likely to explain events in terms of context that are Americans
    • Cultural differences increase with age
    • Socialisation plays a role in attribution heuristics
  • Kelley’s Covariation Model
  • Kelley’s Covariation Model (1967, 1972)
    • Attributions based on 3 kinds of info, which represent the degree to which:
    • Consensus … other actors perform the same behavior with the same object. E.g.,
      • High Consensus - Everyone hits Steve
  • Kelley’s Covariation Model (1967, 1972)
    • Consistency …the actor performs that same behavior toward an object on different occasions . E.g.,
      • High Consistency - Bob always hits Steve
  • Kelley’s Covariation Model (1967, 1972)
    • Distinctiveness …the actor performs different behaviors with different targets. E.g.,
      • High Distinctiveness - Bob doesn’t hit anyone else; he only hits Steve
  • Kelley’s Attribution Model: External
    • High Consensus (Everyone hits Steve)
    • High Consistency (Bob always hits Steve)
    • High Distinctiveness (Bob only hits Steve)
  • Kelley’s Attribution Model: Internal
    • Low Consensus (Only Bob hits Steve)
    • High Consistency (Bob always hits Steve)
    • Low Distinctiveness (Bob hits everyone)
  • Errors in Attribution
  • Errors in Attribution
    • Difficult to discern the cause of behaviour, therefore we use shortcuts or heuristics.
    • This leads to errors and biases such as:
      • Fundamental Attribution Error
      • Actor-Observer Bias
      • Self-serving Bias
      • Ultimate Attribution Error
      • False Consensus Effect
  • Actor-Observer Bias
  • Actor/Observer Bias
    • “ there is a pervasive tendency for actors to attribute their actions to situational requirements, whereas observers tend to attribute the same actions to stable personal dispositions”
  • Actor/Observer Bias
    • Informational Explanation : We know more about own past behaviour and its variability across situations (availability heuristic)
    • Perceptual Explanation : As an actor, one cannot see one’s self behaving, thus own behaviour is not salient & attention focused on situation
    • Cultural Explanation : A socialised bias which is more true n Western cultures
  • Self-Serving Bias
  • Self-serving bias
    • Tendency to attribute:
    • Personal success  Internal
    • Personal failure  External
    • Other’s success  External
    • Other’s failure  Internal
  • Self-serving bias
    • Taking credit for success = Self-enhancing bias
    • Denying responsibility for failure = Self-protecting bias
  • Self-serving bias Internal External Failure External Internal Success Other Self
  • Self-serving bias
    • Motivational : Self-esteem maintenance.
    • Social : Self-presentation and impression formation.
    • Cultural : Effects are less prevalent in Eastern/Collectivistic cultures
  • Ultimate Attribution Error
  • Ultimate Attribution Error
    • FAE applied to in- and out- groups, i.e., Bias towards
    • internal attributions for in-group success and external attributions for in-group failures
    • Opposite for out-groups
  • Attribution Summary
    • Naïve scientists
    • Cognitive misers
    • Correspondent inference
    • Fundamental Attribution error
    • Actor-observer bias
    • Self-serving bias
    • Effects are not universal
    • Heuristics, c ognitive biases & errors (textbook)
  • Ch7 Attitudes, Beliefs, & Consistency
  • Chapter 7 - Attitudes, Beliefs, and Consistency
    • What Are Attitudes and Why Do People Have Them?
    • How Attitudes Are Formed
    • Consistency
    • Do Attitudes Really Predict Behaviour?
    • Beliefs and Believing
  • Attitudes and Beliefs
    • Attitudes
      • Global evaluations (like or dislike) toward some object or issue
    • Beliefs
      • Information about something; facts or opinions
  • Why People Have Attitudes
    • Help us deal with complex world
    • Initial evaluations are immediate and unconscious
    • Helpful in making choices
  • Dual Attitudes
    • Implicit attitude
      • Automatic evaluative response
    • Explicit attitude
      • Conscious evaluative response
    • Some attitudes are not shared with others
    • We may not be aware of all our own attitudes
  • Implicit Association Test (IAT)
    • Measures implicit attitudes
      • Those we are unwilling or unable to report
      • Attitudes about stigma tised groups
    • Easier pairings (faster) are interpreted as being more strongly in memory than more difficult pairings (slower).
  • Mere-exposure effect
    • Tendency for people to come to like things simply because they see or encounter them repeatedly
    • Stimuli may be presented at subliminal level
    • Exception - If you dislike something initially, repeated exposure will not change that attitude
        • Zajonc (1968)
  •  
  • Classical conditioning
    • A type of learning in which, through repeated pairings, a neutral stimulus comes to evoke a conditioned response.
    • Can help in formation of both explicit and implicit attitudes.
  • Classical conditioning
    • Develop a positive attitude toward the conditioned stimulus (CS).
    • Helps explain prejudiced attitudes
      • Negative information in the media linked to social groups
    • Advertisers link celebrities & products in an effort to create positive attitudes.
  • Operant conditioning
    • A type of learning in which people are more likely to repeat behaviors that have been rewarded and less likely to repeat behaviors that have been punished.
    • -> Development of a positive attitude toward the object/behaviour being reinforced.
  • Social learning
    • People are more likely to imitate behaviors if they have seen others rewarded for performing them, and less likely to imitate behaviors if they have seen others punished for performing them.
    • -> We learn which attitudes are acceptable through observation
  • Polarisation
    • Attitudes tend to become more extreme as we think about them
    • Especially true in strong initial attitude
    • Evaluate evidence in a biased manner
      • Accept evidence that confirms attitude
      • Accept evidence from ingroup members
  •  
  • Consistency
    • Commonalities in theories about consistency
      • Specify conditions required for consistency and inconsistency
      • Assume inconsistency is unpleasant
      • Specify conditions required to restore consistency
  • Heider's balance theory
    • A motivational theory of attitude change proposed by Fritz Heider
    • P-O-X Theory Person – Other Person – Attitude Object
    • Weigh effects of all potential results, and the one requiring the least amount of effort will be the likely outcome.
  • Balance Theory
    • Individuals prefer balanced to unbalanced
      • Unbalanced – motivated to change
  • Critique of Balance Theory
    • Assumes symmetry of relationships
    • Doesn’t consider strength of relationships
    • Only accommodates situations involving three elements
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory
    • Cognitive dissonance refers to unpleasant state when attitude and behavior are inconsistent
      • Causes people to rationalise their behaviour and bring their attitude into line with actions
    • Festinger & Carlson (1959)
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory
    • Effort Justification
      • (Aronson & Mills, 1959)
      • People seek to justify and rationalize any suffering or effort they have made
    • Greater choice is necessary for dissonance
    • Dissonance is marked by unpleasant arousal
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory
    • While people have desire to be consistent in their own private mind, they have stronger desire to be viewed consistent by others
    • Self-presentation plays a role in cognitive dissonance
  • Consistency
    • Drive for consistency
      • Rooted in our biology
      • Strengthened by learning and socialisation
    • Consistency involves both automatic and conscious parts of the mind
  • Do Attitudes Really Predict Behaviour?
  • Attacking Attitudes
    • A – B Problem
      • Inconsistency between attitude (A) and behavior (B)
    • Link between attitudes and behavior is weak
  • Defending Attitudes
    • Predictions of behaviour based on attitudes is best when
    • Attitude measures are very specific
    • Behaviours are aggregated over time and situations
    • Attitudes are consciously prominent and influence thought regarding the choice
    • Attitudes come to mind easil y
  • Ch13 Social Influence & Persuasion
  • Social Influence
    • efforts by an individual or group to change the attitudes, behaviour or beliefs of others.
  • Social Influence Questions
    • How can you get others to do what you want them to do?
    • Would you obey an order that you disagreed with?
    • Why do we often go along with the majority/group?
  • Influence and Persuasion
    • 2 types of social influence
    • Techniques
    • Persuasion
    • Resisting persuasion
  • Related Concepts
    • Compliance
    • Conformity
    • Norms
    • Membership group vs. Reference group
    • Prototypicality
    • Salience
    • Depersonalisation
  • Normative Social Influence
    • Going along with the crowd to be liked
    • Asch (1955):
      • Conformity increases as group size increases
      • Dissension reduces conformity
    • Deviating from the group
      • Social rejection
  •  
  •  
  • Informational Social Influence
    • Going along with the crowd because you believe the crowd knows more than you do .
    • More likely when:
    • Ambiguous situation
    • Crisis situation
  • Two Types of Social Influence
    • Normative influence -> public compliance
      • Inner belief that the group is wrong
    • Informational influence -> private acceptance
      • Genuine inner belief that others are right
  • Referent informational influence (Turner, 1991)
    • Based upon social identity theory.
    • Look to in-group for relevant norms
    • Influenced by in-group (not out-group) members – therefore conform with in-group members.
    • One influence process rather than two.
  • Factors that influence conformity
    • Friendship / Liking / Ingratiation
    • Feelings of incompetence / insecurity
    • Cultural bias towards conformity
    • Need for individuation
    • Group size (3 to 5 max)
    • Unanimity (e.g., Allen & Levine, 1971)
    • Group cohesiveness
    • Prior commitment to response
    • Self-presentation
    • Need for personal control
    • Gender
    Factors that influence conformity
  • Some criticisms of conformity research
    • ‘ Conformity bias’ - ignores role of minorities
    • Asch’s studies can be interpreted as minority influence (Moscovici & Faucheux, 1972)
  • Techniques of Social Influence
  • Techniques of Social Influence
    • Foot-in-the-Door Technique
      • Start with small request -> build to larger request
    • Low-ball Technique
      • Start with low-cost request -> later reveal the hidden costs
    • Both based on principles of commitment and consistency
  • Techniques of Social Influence
    • Bait-and-Switch Technique
      • Draw people in with an attractive offer that is not available and then switch to a less attractive offer that is available
      • Based on principle of commitment and consistency
  • Techniques of Social Influence
    • Labeling Technique
      • Label an individual and then make a request consistent with that label
      • Based on commitment and consistency
    • Legitimisation-of-Paltry-Favours Technique
      • “ Even a penny would help”
      • Make a small amount acceptable
  • Techniques Based on Reciprocation
    • Door-in-the-face Technique
      • Start with an inflated request -> retreat to a smaller one that appears to be a concession
      • Does not work if the first request is viewed as unreasonable
      • Does not work if requests are made by different people
  • Techniques Based on Reciprocation
    • That’s-Not-All Technique
      • Begin with inflated request -> add to the deal by offering a bonus or discount
  • Techniques Based on Scarcity
    • Rare opportunities are more valuable than plentiful ones
    • Scarcity heuristic in decision making
    • Psychological reactance
      • When personal freedoms are threatened, we experience this unpleasant emotional response
  • Techniques Based on Capturing and Disrupting Attention
    • Pique Technique
      • Capture people’s attention by making a novel request
    • Disrupt-Then-Reframe Technique
      • Introduce an unexpected element that disrupts critical thinking -> reframe the message in a positive light
  • Minority Influence
  • Minority influence
    • Numerical or power minority can disproportionately change/influence the attitudes/behaviour of the majority.
    • 3 possible influence processes (Moscovici). In addition:
      • Normalisation – compromise leading to convergence.
      • Innovation – minority creates conflict in order to influence majority.
  • Models of minority influence
    • Genetic model of minority influence (Moscovici)
    • Social conflict between minority & majority can bring changes in attitudes/behaviour of majority.
    • People are motivated to avoid or resolve conflict.
    • Amount of influence minority has depends on behavioural style.
  • Behavioral Style Factors
    • Consistency among the minority ( e.g., Moscovici, Lage & Naffrechoux, 1969 – blue-green studies).
    • Amount of investment.
    • Autonomy.
    • Rigidity / flexibility.
  • Majority face minority (confederates) on a colour perception task – have to decide if the colour of slides is blue or green. The minority either consistently or inconsistently called the blue slides ‘green’. More conformity when the minority was consistent versus inconsistent.
  • Conversion theory (Moscovici, 1980)
    • Distinction between minority conversion & majority compliance
    • Majority influence -> public compliance
    • Majority views accepted with little cognitive processing
    • Minority influence -> private conversion
    • Minority views produce deeper cognitive processing
  •  
  • Social impact theory (Latane, 1981)
    • Social influence depends upon numbers, strength & immediacy ( impact ).
    • Generally majorities have more impact (influence) than minorities.
    • Individual impact decreases as number of influencing persons increases.
    • Unitary process of social influence.
  • Social Impact Theory
  • Persuasion
  • Persuasion
    • Attempt to change a person’s mind
    • Three components of persuasion
      • Who – Source of the message
      • Say What – Actual message
      • To Whom – Audience
  • Who: The Source
    • Source credibility
      • Expertise and trustworthiness
      • Sleeper effect – over time, people separate the message from the messenger
    • Source likability
      • Similarity and physical attractiveness
  • Say What: The Message
    • Reason vs. Emotion
      • People in a good mood – more responsive to persuasive messages
      • Moderate fear appeals – most persuasive
  • Say What: The Message
    • Stealing Thunder
      • Revealing potentially incriminating evidence to negate its importance
      • Source appears more honest and credible
  • Say What: The Message
    • Repetition
      • If neutral or positive response initially, repeated exposure = persuasive message
      • Advertisement wear-out
      • Repetition with variety
  • To Whom: The Audience
    • Moderately intelligent are easiest to persuade
    • High in need for cognition are more persuaded by strong arguments
      • Attitudes are more resistant to change
    • High in public self-consciousness are more persuaded by name brand and styles
  • To Whom: The Audience
    • Impressionable years hypothesis
      • Middle age people most resistant to persuasion
    • Attitudes formed in young adulthood remain fairly stable over time
    • Messages consistent with cultural values are more persuasive
  • To Whom: The Audience
    • “ Overheard” messages are more persuasive
      • Product placements
    • Distraction
      • Effective if the message is weak
      • Less effective with a strong message
  • Two Routes to Persuasion
    • Elaboration likelihood model
    • Heuristic/systematic model
      • Both propose automatic and conscious processing are involved in persuasion
  • Two Routes to Persuasion
    • Central route
      • Involves conscious processing
      • Careful and thoughtful consideration
    • Peripheral route
      • Involves automatic processing
      • Influenced by some simple cue
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model
    • Motivation to process message
      • Personal relevance
      • Need for cognition
    • Ability to process
      • Distractions
      • Knowledge
  • Elaboration Likelihood Model
    • Type of cognitive processing
      • Quality of the arguments
      • Initial attitude
    • Peripheral cues
      • Speaker credibility
      • Reaction of others
      • External rewards
  • Alpha and Omega Strategies
    • Alpha strategies
      • Persuade by increasing approach forces
    • Omega strategies
      • Persuade by decreasing avoidance forces
    • When approach forces are greater than avoidance forces – movement toward goal
  • Alpha Strategies
    • Make messages more persuasive
      • Strong arguments that compel action
    • Add incentives
    • Increase source credibility
    • Provide consensus information
  • Omega Strategies
    • Sidestep resistance
      • Redefine the relationship
      • Depersonalize the interaction
      • Minimize the request
      • Use comparison that makes original offer look more attractive
      • Push the choice into the future
  • Omega Strategies
    • Address resistance forces directly
      • Guarantees or using two-sided messages
    • Address resistance forces indirectly
      • Raising confidence, esteem, self-efficacy
    • Use resistance to promote change
      • Reverse psychology
  • Resisting Persuasion
    • Attitude Inoculation
      • When people resist persuasion, they become more confident in their initial attitudes
    • Advance warning
      • Less persuaded by it
      • Boomerang effect
    • Reduce cognitive energy
      • Sleep deprivation and use of music
  • Defenses Against Techniques
    • Commitment & Consistency
      • Reexamine the sense of obligation
    • Reciprocation
      • Evaluate favors or concessions to avoid guilt over lack of reciprocity
  • Defenses Against Techniques
    • Scarcity
      • Recognise psychological reactance as a signal to think rationally
      • Evaluate the reason we want the item
    • Capturing & Disrupting Attention
      • Stop and think before action
    • Social Proof
      • Recognize ‘fake’ social proofs
  • Conclusions
    • Various tactics are used to gain compliance
    • ‘ Ordinary’ people obey given the right circumstances
    • Conformity - dual-process or single process?