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Social Cognition: Shortcuts or Shortcomings?

How is being a cognitive "miser" useful versus harmful?

Dr. H. C. Sinclair

on 11 September 2018

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Transcript of Social Cognition: Shortcuts or Shortcomings?

We are all cognitive misers...
By and large this is helpful & efficient
Errors in Judgment
Social Cognition: Shortcuts or Shortcomings?
The Subconscious and the Routine
Social Norms
But sometimes it can get us into trouble when we
remain on auto-pilot when we should be paying attention
A mental exercise
Pick a number from 1-9.
Subtract 5.
Multiply by 3.
Square the number (multiply it by itself)
Add the digits until you get only one digit.
144 ---> 1 + 4 + 4 = 9
64 —> 6 + 4 = 10
10 —> 1 + 0 = 1
If the number you get is less than 5,
add 5.

If the number you get is more than 5,
subtract 4.
Multiply by 2.
Subtract 6.
Map the digit to a letter of the alphabet.

1 = A, 2 = B, 3 = C, 4 = D, 5 = E,

and so on
Pick the name of a country that
starts with that letter.
Take the second letter in the country’s
name and think of the name of an
animal that starts with that letter.
Write down the of the color of that animal.
And we switch to learning mode: Activate mirror neurons
What happens when routines are broken?
= Susceptible to Suggestion
Cheetos & Chopsticks
Vallacher and Wegner (1985): Some students were instructed to eat Cheetos either with their hands or with a pair of chopsticks.

Those in the chopstick condition were more susceptible to social influence.
Action-Identification Theory
Hey Mister, can you spare....?
Santos, et al. (1994) found that asking for "17 cents" or "37 cents" was more effective than asking for a "quarter" or "any change."
37% vs. 23%
Unconventional requests promoted compliance.
Pique technique
Line, please...!
Brain starts looking for suggestions
Often looks out more than in...
Social cues = Other People
Social Cues
Schacter & Singer (1962) Ephinephrine studies
IV1: Expectation, Placebo vs.
Ephineprine Informed
Ephineprine Ignorant
Ephineprine Misinformed
IV2: Social Environment
Euphoric confederate
Angry confederate
Expectations and Environment interacted for those informed, but the un/misinformed's reactions were determined by environment.
So throw them a line...
Davis and Knowles (1999) told customers that a package of eight cards sold for $3.00, and subsequently made sales to approximately 40% of customers.

When they told customers that "the price of eight cards is 300 pennies,
which is a bargain
," then sales doubled to 80% of customers.

Now how about some half-cakes? I hear they are delicious. Do you have money some?

How we learn - socially
We mimic others
Our brain mirrors others
Why does this matter?
If looking to others for cues...
Matching expectations
And what if....
What does this have to do with scams?
Would you like the insurance with your rental? How about the extended warranty?
Don't have to violate expectations to take advantage of mental shortcuts
Disrupt-then-reframe Technique
Name your price....
Foolish mistake-makers?
& Self-regulation depletion
Forer effect
Recognize this?
You have a need for other people to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. Disciplined and self-controlled outside, you definitely have your moments to be worrisome and insecure inside. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety and become dissatisfied when hemmed in by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself as an independent thinker and do not accept others' statements without satisfactory proof. You have found it unwise to be too frank in revealing yourself to others. At times you are extroverted, affable, sociable, while at other times you are introverted, wary, reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be pretty unrealistic. Security is one of your major goals in life.
Last year 75% felt this was "true" of them
Average endorsement: 4.17 out of 5
Average was 4.26 in 1948
Bias blind spot
What do we mean when we say people are cognitive misers?
What is the difference between automatic and controlled cognitive processes?
What is a schema? A social norm? A script?
What are the consequences of breaking scripts?
What is action-identification theory?
What is the pique technique vs. the disrupt-and-reframe technique? How do they differ?
What is change blindness?
What are mirror neurons?
Why is mimicry so effective?
Know your heuristics! (e.g., availability, representativeness, simulation, anchoring, contagion, etc..)
What is the Forer effect (aka: the Barnum effect)? (And how does our need to maintain a positive self-image make us susceptible to it – and to advertisers/astrologists/etc.)
KNOW YOUR COGNITIVE BIASES – use the master list!!
Things you should know...
A local business gets more customers when advertising everything 19% off rather than 20% off. Why might this be?
A. They are using the availability heuristic
B. They are using the representativeness heuristic
C. They are using the pique technique
D. They are using the disrupt-then-reframe technique
As a senior, Brandon has the "first day of school" thing down. He knows exactly what to expect from beginning to end, and knows what is expected of him. Clearly, Brandon has a __________ for the day.
A. Heuristic
B. Schema
C. Norm
D. Script
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