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How We Use Our Expectations

15 January, 2016 - 09:15

Learning Objectives

  1. Provide examples of how salience and accessibility influence information processing.
  2. Review, differentiate, and give examples of some important cognitive heuristics that influence social judgment.
  3. Summarize and give examples of the importance of social cognition in everyday life.

Once we have developed a set of schemas and attitudes, we naturally use that information to help us evaluate and respond to others. Our expectations help us to think about, size up, and make sense of individuals, groups of people, and the relationships among people. If we have learned, for example, that someone is friendly and interested in us, we are likely to approach them; if we have learned that they are threatening or unlikable, we will be more likely to withdraw. And if we believe that a person has committed a crime, we may process new information in a manner that helps convince us that our judgment was correct. In this section, we will consider how we use our stored knowledge to come to accurate (and sometimes inaccurate) conclusions about our social worlds.