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Social Psychology Basics Part 1

Social Psychology Basics Part 1

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Published by Nadeem Graham
Basic concepts in social psychology
Basic concepts in social psychology

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Published by: Nadeem Graham on Feb 11, 2013
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05/05/2014

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http://psychologybasics.blogspot.co.ukSocial Psychology Basics Part 1Social psychology is the science of social cognition which can be defined as the way in whichwe perceive,interpret, and judge the behaviour of others in everyday interactions and therequired representations which are stored in our memory to facilitate these procedures.Thisis achieved by first looking at the structure and mechanisms we employ in order to acquireinformation about other people and understanding the ways in which we use thisinformation.The following will provide the basic concepts of that structure. 'Schema Theory'is a cognitive structure which represents a person's general knowledge about a givenstimulus domain.We approach situations with prior beliefs and expectations which determines what aspectsof that event we attend to,what we categorise for further use and what we declare asunimportant.The Schema is constituted of schemata such as role/self/person/scriptschemata.Script relating to events and can be thought of by as a mental program of how weand others are likely to behave in particular situations.Self schemata relates to therepresentations we have of ourselves,which may differ according to situation.Personschemata relates to certain people such as each of your parents,friends etc,and roleschemata relates to the representations we hold of the likes of firemen,policeofficers,nurses,doctors.We also are predisposed to 'assign identical characteristics to any person in agroup,regardless of the actual variation among members of that group' and this is known asstereotype processing. 'Heuristics' are described as "problem solving strategies whichinvolve taking the most probable or likely option... providing a way of reducing a complextask to manageable sets of tasks."Schematas contain our knowledge and heuristics help us apply hat knowledge.There are twotypes of heuristics,representativeness and availability.The former we use to compare a givenstimulus to a possibly existing schemata helping us identify persons as belonging to a groupor category by their features matching a 'prototype' mentally assigned to represent thatgroup.The latter is what comes to mind when we think of a certain stimulus eg imagine nowa police officer,what comes to mind?(I'll not put what comes to my mind for want of decency!!)Heuristics allow us to evaluate and determine the likelihood of a possible occurrence withina given situation.It is clear then that 'social categorisation' plays a crucial part in our publiclives!We categorise people with a prototype image for each category which we relate otherpeople to.This is because we are 'cognitive misers' taking in only a small percentage of information from the stimulus allowing us to focus more thoroughly on tasks athand.Categorisation is then an effective tool though the generalisations do lead todistortions and error.These errors manifest as biases and errors and two of these errors are known as'confirmatory bias' and the 'false consensus bias'.The former has us seek information whichis consistent with existing categories.If we believe the person belongs to one of our negativecategories then we may look for confirmation of these negative attributes possibly ignoringother information and drawing wrong conclusions.The latter is that we tend to believe that

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