Chapter 15 - Social Cognition and attitudes

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Availability heuristic

The availability heuristic is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person's mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision. 

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Social identity theory

Social identity theory distinguishes between personal self/personal identity, and collective self/social identity. (Tajfel and Turner; Hogg and Abrams).Social identity theorists believe that one's self-concept comprises a large array of different identities that fall into two broad types: personal identities that derive from our close inter-personal relationships (for example, friendships and romantic relationships) and our idiosyncratic characteristics (for example, being humorous), and social identities that derive from the social groups to which we belong (ethnicity, gender, profession, age group). 

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Implicit association test (IAT)

The property of automaticity has been exploited by the implicit association test (IAT; Greenwald et al) which is able quite reliably to elicit our hidden prejudices. 

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Social norms

Social norms could influence behaviour when the situation itself provides no clear cue as to how to behave, is unambiguous or ambiguous. 

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Motivated tactician

Social cognition rests on an array of basic cognitive-inferential processes and on the way in which social information is stored, structured and retrieved from memory. Fiske and Taylor have characterised the individual as a motivated tactician, 'a fully engaged thinker who has multiple cognitive strategies available and chooses among them based on goals, motives, and needs. Sometimes the motivated tactician chooses wisely, in the interests of adaptability and accuracy, and sometimes...defensively, in the interests of speed or self-esteem'.

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