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42 Cards in this Set

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Development and neurophysiology of Mentalizing - Frith and Frith: Summary
The theory of mind system of the brain is believed to be in operation from ca. 18 months allowing implicit attribution. Between the ages of 4 and 6 years explicit mentalizing becomes possible. Neuroimaging studies of mentalizing have so far only been carried out in adults. They reveal a system with three components consistently activated during both implicit and explicit mentalizing tasks: medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), temporal poles and posterior superior temporal sulcus (STS). Thus, the MPFC region is probably the basis of the decoupling mechanism that distinguishes mental state representation from physical state representations; the STS region is probably the basis of the detection of agency, and the temporal poles might be involved in access to social knowledge in the form of scripts.
Wilson Ch. 5 - Knowing Why: Key examples
Strangers may know as much about the true causes of our responses as we do. People often confabulate reasons for doing something when they are not aware of them (hypnosis, and split brain patient P.S). People's behavior is often determined by their implicit motives and nonconcious construals, which we do not have access to. Baby naming as an example of people not realizing their decision was most likely influenced from hearing the name somewhere else, thus seemingly original names become extremely popular very quickly. Love on the bridge illustrates how an event occurring in conjunction with another can confuse someone as to which event their physiological reactions were attributed to (measured by how many men called back for a date who were asked on scary bridge vs on calm grass). Pantyhose experiment showed that people were not aware (or willing to admit anyway) that a certain stimulus has influenced their decision when it clearly had. Powersaw during movie experiment indicated that people reported that a stimulus had influenced their decision (how much they liked the movie) even though they reported the same level of enjoyment as the control group (without the stimulus). We have access to mental contents, such as memories, but not the mental processes that produce feelings, judgements and behaviors (you might not know why a certain memory has come to mind).
The Nisbett and Wilson Argument - Ch. 5
Many human judgements, emotions, and behaviors are produced by the adaptive unconscious. Because people do not have conscious access to the adaptive unconscious their conscious selves confabulate reasons for why they responded the way they did. To the extent that people's responses are controlled by the adaptive unconscious, they do not have privileged access to the causes and must infer them. But, to the extent that people's responses are controlled by the conscious self, they do have privileged access to the actual causes of their responses.
The conscious causality question
a sense of conscious will cannot be taken as evidence that conscious thoughts really did cause our behavior, since a nonconscious intention may have produced both.
Do strangers know the reasons for your responses as well as you do?
four general types used to create an explanation: shared causal theories ("people are in bad moods on Mondays"), observations of covariation between one's responses and prior conditions ("I'm in a bad mood because I got less than 7 hours of sleep"), Idiosyncratic theories ("Going to large parties makes me depressed"), and private knowledge ("I'm sad because my dog died"). Despite all this, a person's explanation for the cause of their behavior is typically no more accurate than a complete stranger's. It has more to do with our own inaccuracy than the stranger's accuracy. People's beliefs about co-variation are typically influenced by shared cultural beliefs. Having private information thus helps and hurts us in making accurate assessments of the causes of our moods.
The illusion of Authenticity
It is important for people to feel like they are the captains of their own ship. the amount of inside information we have produces a misleading feeling of confidence. Gaining inside information about someone else makes us more confident in evaluating their motives, but not more accurate.
Wilson Ch. 6 - Knowing How we feel: The incorrigibility of Feelings
Feelings are often conscious, but they can also reside in the unconscious. Feelings were considered incorrigible by classical philosophers, we know how we are feeling and as long as we are not lying than that is exactly what is going on. But, people can be wrong when they honestly report a feeling, and yet in truth feel differently (example of pain in knee, subsiding while preoccupied and returning when bored. Did the pain stop while we were preoccupied or did we simply stop being consciously aware of the pain?)
the measurement problem
there is no perfect independent measure of internal states such as how much pain I am feeling in my knee. But we still have reason to doubt the incorrigibility theory, such as when people later acknowledge that they were wrong about what they were feeling.
The theory problem
what function could unconscious feelings have? The old theory is that some feelings are unconscious because they are repressed (Freud!). The newer solution is the adaptive unconscious, which may produce feelings independently of people's conscious constructions. Psychoanalysis and repressed feelings (as illustrated by reaction formation of homophobes getting boners while watching gay pornography.) Emotions may not need to be conscious to be functional; when danger strikes, we often react before we realize the emotion of fear.
The non-conscious early warning system
danger detection; the low road and the high road. the low road consists of neural pathways that go directly from the sensory thalamus to the amygdala, with minimal processing. The high road goes first to the cortex, and then to the amygdala, which is slower but provides more detailed analysis of the information. The low road is an early warning system, compelling us to do something, the high road let's us look back on the experience and figure out how to do something the best way. This is pretty close to saying that people experience an evaluation or emotion (namely fear which does limit the results a bit) that they are unaware of.
loving and hating topper
people often fail to realize that a feeling has changed until they are forced to draw their attention toward it. it can also be difficult to see through the smoke-screen of cultural and personal feeling rules.
beyond anecdotes.
people injected with epinephrine or chloropromazine, but thinking either way that it was a vitamin supplement inferred that the movie was causing them to react how they were reacting, rather than the drugs. This directly influenced how they acted during the movie, but did not change how they rated it on average. this has led to Wilson's theory of "dual attitudes"
toward a theory of non-conscious feelings and attitudes
It might be the case that the default is for feelings to reach the conscious level, and that it takes extraordinary circumstances to prevent them from doing so. Furthermore, people differ in the frequency with which they recognize their own feelings (emotional intelligence)
attribution theory
an umbrella term used to describe the set of theoretical accounts of how people assign causes to the events around them and the effects that people's casual assessments have
causal attribution
linking an event to a cause, such as inferring that a personality trai was responsible for a behavior. casual attribution is fundamental to an individual's emotional reaction to an event.
explanatory style
a person's habitual way of explaining events, typically assessed along three dimensions: internal/external, stable/unstable and global/specific
explanatory style and future health
a study conducted on harvard graduates showed a correlation between explanatory style as a young adult and good health as an older individual.
covariation principle
the belief that behavior should be attributed to potential causes that co-occur with the behavior
what most people would do in a given situation-- that is, whether most people would behave the same way or few or no other people would behave that way
what an individual does in different situations-- that is, whether the behavior is unique to a particular situation or occurs in all situations
what an individual does in a given situation on different occasions-- that is, whether the next time under the same circumstances, the person would behave the same or differently.
external attribution is likely if (why a friend is raving about a class example):
high in consensus (everyone raves about it), high in distinctiveness (friend does not often rave about classes), high in frequency (friend frequently raves about the class)
internal attribution is likely if:
low in consensus (not many people like the class), low in distinctiveness (friend often raves about classes) and high in consistency
discounting principle
the idea that people should assign reduced weight to a particular cause of behavior if other plausible causes might have produced it.
augmentation principle
the idea that people should assign greater weight to a particular cause of behavior if other causes are present that normally would produce the opposite outcome.
discounting and augmentation
out of role behavior is seen as more informative of a person's true self than in role behavior. The figures show the perceived extraversion of a person who acted in an introverted or extraverted manner while interviewing for a position that favored introversion (astronaut) or extraversion (submariner)
counterfactual thoughts
thoughts of what might have, could have, or should have happened "if only" something had been done differently.
the role of imagined outcomes and causal attribution
the causal significance of the boss's choice of meals as seen by participants who read the the boss almost ordered a different dish that did or did not also contain wine showed greater attribution when the alternative dish did not contain wine (the death could have been avoided)
emotional amplification
a ratcheting up of an emotional reaction to an event that is proportional to how easy it is to imagine the event not happening
counterfactual thinking among olympic medalists
silver medalists seemed less happy than bronze medalists because they imagine that they could have been first, while bronze medalists typically imagine that they might not have made it on the podium at all.
self-serving attributional bias
the tendency to attribute failure and other bad events to external circumstances, but to attribute success and other good events to oneself.
the fundamental attribution error
participants ratings of the essayists of pro or anti castro papers true attitudes towards Castro showed that participants inferred the essayist's attitude based on the opinions expressed in the essay, even when the stace taken in the essay was explicitly assigned.
the perceiver induced constraint paradigm
participants' average trait ratings of individuals that they themselves had directed how to respond in an altruistic or selfish manner. Participants made inferences about their partners personality based on their partner's responses, even when they had dictated those responses.
Role-conferred advantage and disadvantage
participants thought that the questioners were more knowledgeable than the contestants, even though they knew they had been randomly assigned to their roles and that the questioners had a much easier task.
just-world hypothesis
the belief that people get what they deserve in life and deserve what they get - very often associated with the fundamental attribution error, and a phenomenon that people use to shield themselves from the fact the the world is a cruel, meaningless place full of danger.
Perceptual salience and attribution
The fundamental attribution error is made in part because people are more salient than situations.
inferring dispositions
according to the discounting principle, a potential cause is discounted as a possible cause of a particular outcome if other causes might have produced the outcome. In theory, people should simultaneously weigh both the person's behavior and the surrounding context to arrive at an explanation. In actuality, people tend to spontaneously make a dispositional inference, and adjust for the context only with effort. The resulting inference is likely to be biased toward dispositional causes.
adjusting automatic characterizations
observers had to judge how generally anxious a person was who appeared anxious while discussing either innocuous or anxiety provoking topics. Observers who were kept busy by having to memorize a list of words did not correct their initial automatic impression that the person was anxious and did not take into account the nature of the material being discussed.
the actor-observer difference
A difference in attribution based on who is making the causal assessment: the actor (who is relatively disposed to make situational attributions), or the observer (who is relatively disposed to make dispositional attributions)
social class
the amount of wealth, education, and occupational prestige a person and his or her family enjoy.
West vs East
People in interdependent cultures pay more attention to social situations and the people within these situations than do Westerners. Asians as well as Westerns are susceptible to the fundamental attribution error, but Westerners are more susceptible to it. For individuals reared in both types of cultures, it is possible to prime the different ways of perceiving and attributing behavior. Social class also influences attributional tendencies. Lower and working class individuals are more likely to attend to the surrounding circumstances, whereas upper-middle and upper-class individuals are more likely to make dispositional attributions.
Internal vs External
When we want to understand a person's intentions, the attributional question we are most inclined to ask concerns the reason for the person's behavior. Understanding a person's reasons for a particular action, in turn, requires understanding the person's beliefs and desires.