PSYC 315 – Chapter 3 – TAMU (Zimmerman)

Social Cognition
How people think about themselves and the social world; more specifically, how people select, interpret, remember, and use social information to make judgements and decisions
Automatic Thinking
Thinking that is nonconscious unintentional, involuntary, and effortless
Mental structures people use to organize their knowledge about the social world around themes or subjects and that influence the information people notice, think about, and remember
The extent to which schemas and concepts are at the forefront of people’s minds and are therefore likely to be used when making judgements about the social world
The process by which recent experiences increase the accessibility of a schema, trait, or concept
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
The case wherein people have an expectation about what another person is like, which influences how they act toward that person, which causes that person to behave consistently with people’s original expectations, making the expectations come true
Judgemental Heuristics
Mental shortcuts people use to make judgements quickly and efficiently
Availability Heuristic
A mental rule of thumb whereby people base a judgement on the case with which they can bring something to mind
Representativeness Heuristic
A mental shortcut whereby people classify something according to how similar it is to a typical case
Base Rate Information
Information about the frequency of members of different categories in the population
Analytic Thinking Style
A type of thinking in which people focus on the properties of objects without considering their surrounding context; this type of thinking is common in Western cultures
Holistic Thinking Style
A type of thinking in which people focus on the overall context, particularly the ways in which objects relate to each other; this type of thinking is common in East Asian cultures (e.g., China, Japan, and Korea)
Controlled Thinking
Thinking that is conscious, intentional, voluntary, and effortful
Counterfactual Thinking
Mentally changing some aspect of the past as a way of imagining what might have been
Overconfidence Barrier
The fact that people usually have too much confidence in the accuracy of their judegements
Which of the following is the best summary of the function of schemas?

a. Schemas usually result in erroneous judgments because of the self-fulfilling prophecy.
b. Schemas are always beneficial because they help people organize the world and fill in the gaps in their knowledge.
c. Schemas are very useful in helping people organize information about the world, but they are problematic when they result in self-fulfilling prophecies.
d. Schemas are useful for helping us organize information about other people but not about events such as what we should do when eating in a restaurant.

Which of the following is not a way in which schemas can become accessible in people’s minds?

a. The more negative in content a schema is, the more likely it is to be accessible.
b. Schemas can be accessible because of people’s past experiences.
c. Schemas can become temporarily accessible because of priming.
d. Schemas can be accessible if they are related to our current goals.

Which of the following is the best example of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

a. A teacher believes that boys are better at math than girls, but boys in his class do worse than girls in math.
b. Bob thinks that members of the Alpha Beta Psi sorority are unfriendly and snobby. Whenever he meets members of this sorority, they are friendly toward him.
c. Sarah is worried that he son is not gifted in music, but he does better at his piano lessons than she expected.
d. Jill thinks her daughter is not a very good reader and doesn’t spend much time reading to her. As a result her daughter falls behind in reading at school.

Suppose you’re driving home from watching a scary movie about a hitchhiker who was a murderer when you see someone talking loudly with a friend. Because you saw the movie, you assume that you are witnessing an argument that will probably end in a fight. This is an example of

a. priming.
b. base rate information.
c. belief perseverance.
d. controlled thinking.

Rob is definitely not the most attractive guy in the dorms, but he is extremely confident about who his is and how he looks. He is convinced that most women find him to be very attractive, and he in fact usually gets dates with women who are much more attractive than he is. What is the best explanation of Rob’s success?

a. Self-affirmation theory.
b. Self-fulfilling prophecy.
c. The representativeness heuristic.
d. Holistic thinking.

Which of the following is the best summary of research on automatic goal pursuit?

a. People can only select which goals to work toward using controlled thinking.
b. People often pursue goals that have been recently primed, without realizing that that is why they are pursuing the goal.
c. People often pursue goals that have been recently primed, but only if they are consciously aware that the goal has been primed.
d. People never choose their goals consciously; they only pursue automatically primed goals.

Suppose you are buying a new home and have looked at several different houses. According to research on automatic decision making, what would be the best way for you to make up your mind about which one to buy?

a. Distract yourself by working on puzzles and then choose a house.
b. Think consciously about the alternatives and then make up your mind.
c. Spend a few minutes thinking consciously about the alternatives and then several minutes distracting yourself by working on puzzles.
d. Get a good night’s sleep and then choose a house when you first wake up in the morning.

Suppose you have invited a new acquaintance over to your apartment and want to make a good impression; in other words, you want this person to like you. Which of the following should you do?

a. Serve the person a warm drink and hope that he or she holds it in their hands while you are talking to him or her.
b. Serve a person a cold drink and hope that he or she holds it in their hands while you are talking to him or her.
c. Bake some bread before the person comes over so that the apartment smells nice.
d. Serve the person a snack on a very heavy plate.

Over Thanksgiving break, your parents ask you if you can think of 12 reasons why your college is better than its archrival. You find it hard to come up with many reasons and end up thinking, “Hmm, maybe the schools aren’t all that different.” Which of the following mental strategies did you probably use to reach this conclusion?

a. The representativeness heuristic
b. Base rate information
c. The anchoring and adjustment heuristic
d. The availability heuristic

According to research in social psychology, why do many people believe that their horoscopes are accurate descriptions of who they are and what is likely to happen to them?

a. Horoscopes are written in a vague way so that most people view them as representative of their personalities and past behaviors.
b. Horoscopes trigger automatic decision making.
c. People find it difficult to bring to mind examples that are similar to the horoscope.
d. Horoscopes automatically prime people’s life goals.

Which of the following is true of the holistic thinking style?

a. It involves a focus on the properties of objects without considering their surrounding context.
b. People living in the West can think holistically if they are primed with pictures taking in Japan.
c. The holistic style of thinking has a genetic basis.
d. It may have its roots in the Greek philosophic traditions of Aristotle and Plato.

Which of the following is true about cultural differences in social thinking?

a. Although everyone uses schemas to understand the world, the content of those schemas is influenced by the culture in which they live.
b. Schemas influence what people notice in the world but have no influence on what they remember.
c. Schemas influence what people remember but have no influence on what they notice in the world.
d. Culture has no influence on automatic thinking.

Which is the definition of analytic thinking?

a. A type of thinking in which people focus on the overall context, particularly the ways in which objects relate to each other.
b. A type of thinking in which people focus on the properties of objects without considering their surrounding context.
c. Thinking that is conscious, intentional, voluntary, and effortful.
d. Thinking that is unconscious, unintentional, involuntary, and effortless.

Where do differences in holistic versus analytic thinking come from?

a. Genetic differences between Asians and non-Asian Westerners
b. Different educational systems in the East versus the West
c. Different weather patterns in the East versus the West
d. Different philosophical traditions of the East versus the West

Researchers took photographs in randomly chosen locations in cities in Japan and the United States. They found that on average, city scenes in Japan contained more:

a. businesses and advertisements.
b. people and residences.
c. objects that competed for people’s attention.
d. buildings and concrete.

Sam is playing a carnival game challenging him to guess which of the 20 cups is hiding the red ball. Unfortunately, he picked the cup directly to the left of the winning ucp and thus did not win the stuffed donkey he wanted. According to social psychological research, he is most likely to

a. experience cognitive dissonance.
b. engage in counterfactual thinking.
c. blame his mistake on the noise of the crowd.
d. subsequently avoid similar games.

Which of the following is true about research on free will?

a. People rarely overestimate the amount of control they have over their behavior.
b. Sometimes people underestimate the amount of control they have over their behavior.
c. Studies have shown that people have free will over almost everything they do.
d. The more people believe in free will, the more likely they are to engage in immoral actions such as cheating.

Which of the following is the best description of facilitated communication?

a. It is a promising new way of letting communication-impaired people, such as those with autism, express their thoughts.
b. The facilitators, who hold the fingers and arm of communication-impaired people on a keyboard, are deliberately faking the answers.
c. The facilitators believe that communication-impaired people are choosing what to type, but they are probably wrong and unknowingly determining the answers themselves.
d. Facilitated communication helps people with mild versions of autism to communicate but does not help those with severe cases.

Enrolling in which of the following graduate programs would be most likely to improve your statistical reasoning ability about problems in everyday life?

a. Psychology
b. Medicine
c. Law
d. Chemistry

According to this chapter, which is the best analogy to describe people’s thinking abilities?

a. People are cognitive misers.
b. People are motivated tacticians.
c. People are skilled detectives.
d. People are flawed scientists.

Which of the following is the best summary of research on automatic thinking?

a. Automatic thinking is vital to human survival, but it is not perfect and can produce mistaken judgments that have important consequences.
b. Automatic thinking is amazingly accurate and rarely produces errors of any consequence.
c. Automatic thinking is a problem because it usually produces mistaken judgments.
d. Automatic thinking works best when it occurs consciously.

Jennifer and Nate are walking along the street when they see a man walk out of a convenience store clutching a bag. The owner of the store runs out and shouts for the man to stop and come back. Jennifer immediately assumes that there has been a robbery, whereas Nate immediately assumes that the man forgot to get his change and that the store owner wants to give it to him. What is the best explanation for why Jennifer and Nate interpret this event differently?

a. Jennifer and Nate were engaged in controlled thinking that resulted in different assumptions about what was going on.
b. Jennifer and Nate have different personalities.
c. Jennifer and Nate fell prey to the self-fulfilling prophecy.
d. Different schemas were accessible in Jennifer and Nate’s minds, perhaps because they had different recent experiences that primed different schemas.

Which of the following is true about the use of schemas?

a. Schemas are an example of controlled thinking.
b. When people have an incorrect schema, rarely do they act in a way to make it come true.
c. Although schemas can lead to errors, they are a very useful way of organizing information about the world and filling in gaps in our knowledge.
d. The schema we use is influenced only by what information is chronically accessible and not by our goals or by what has been primed recently.

Tiffany has a hard time trusting her friends because she believes they are irresponsible. Accordingly, when she makes dinner plans with one friend, she also makes backup plans with someone else, and she goes to one or the other. Her friends soon in turn begin to “blow off” their arrangements with Tiffany, because they are never sure whether she will show up. Tiffany thinks to herself, “See, I was right, my friends are irresponsible.” Which of the following best explains why Tiffany made this conclusion?

a. Accurate social perception due to controlled processes
b. A self-fulfilling prophecy
c. Holistic thinking
d. Accurate social perception due to automatic processes

Suppose you wanted your friend Stephan to feel like a more assertive person. According to research on ______, you should ask him to think of ______ times in the past when he acted in an unassertive manner.

a. Representativeness heuristic; 12
b. Availability heuristic; 3
c. Representativeness heuristic; 3
d. Availability heuristic; 12

Which of the following involves the least amount of automatic thinking?

a. acting according to goals that have been primed
b. using metaphors about the body to make judgments
c. counterfactual reasoning
d. self-fulfilling prophecies

Which of the following is true?

a. All human beings have the same cognitive “tools” that they can use.
b. When people move from one culture to another they generally do not learn to think like people in the new culture.
c. East Asians tend to think more holistically and Westerners tend to think more analytically because of genetic differences between East Asians and Westerners.
d. American college students were more likely to notice changes in the background of a picture whereas Japanese college students were more likely to notice changes in the main objects in the foreground of the picture.

Research on controlled thinking and free will shows that:

a. There is a disconnect between our conscious sense of how much we are causing our actions and how much we are really causing our actions.
b. It doesn’t really matter whether or not people believe that they have free will.
c. Some primates have just as much free will as human beings.
d. People definitely do not have free will.

Suppose you are trying to raise money for your favorite charity and you set up a table in the lobby of a campus building. Which of the following is likely to increase the likelihood that passerby will donate money?

a. Give them a very light clipboard with information about your charity.
b. Ask people to hold a cold bottle of water while they listen to what you have to say.
c. Show them pictures of Japanese cities so that they think holistically.
d. Spray some citrus-scented cleaning solution on the table.

Based on everything you’ve read in this chapter, what is the best conclusion about social cognition?

a. People would be better off if we could turn off automatic thinking and rely solely on controlled thinking.
b. Whereas people are very sophisticated social thinkers who have amazing cognitive abilities, there is also plenty of room for improvement.
c. Social cognition is pretty much the same throughout the world in all cultures that have been studied.
d. One purpose of controlled thinking is to set goals for ourselves; that cannot be done with automatic thinking.