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Social Cognition

Social cognition is a sub field of social psychology that studies the mental representation and the processes that underlie social perception, social judgment, and social influence. Social cognition gives humans the ability to deal with socializing components that compound the elements of socialization. These elements can sometimes hurt us more than the usual help. Thanks to the ability of thought we can better understand this process of socialization and break them down and determine what influences are social judgment, and perceptions of other people. In most cases the ability to do this is called stereotyping.

The Term stereotype has been a construct of changing meaning in social psychology. In this research paper I’m going to refer to it as beliefs about the attributes of social groups (Ashmore ; Del Boca, 1981). IN the contemporary world people are becoming more keenly aware of the differing, even conflicting, beliefs, values, and the way of life of various groups in different societies. Therefore, it does not matter in a practical way how human groupings other than one’s own conceive their way of life as well as how they conceive our way of life,their ways of doing things and are ways. Their stands in various aspects of life social, religious, economic, political, and ours. The way we look at our own culture is different than the way someone else culture looks at our own.

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Semantic priming procedure is commonly use to examine automatic information processing, in particular, to reveal the strength of association between two concepts that exists independently of conscious thought. Developed more than 20 years ago, this procedure has lead to important discoveries about attention, signal processing, and semantic memory (Posner & Snyder, 1975; Neely, 1977). In addition to this research
Semantic priming has been successfully adapted to demonstrate the operation of automatically activated attitudes or evaluations (Bargh, Chaiken, Govender, & Pratto. 1992; Fazio, Sanbonmatsu, Powell, & Kardes, 1986; Perdue & Gurtman, 1990).

The primary interest lies in beliefs, and for the present research, I have adapted the semantic priming procedure to provide a strict test of the extent to which beliefs about gender operate automatically.

In 1995 Mahzarin R. Banaji and Curtis D. Hardin conducted experiments on this subject. Two words were presented in close succession, and the relationship between them was captured by reaction time (RT) to judge the second word. IN both experiments, the central empirical question of interest was, what is the influence of gender code of a prime on speeded judgments of gender-consistent or gender inconsistent targets? Faster judgments on targets that follow gender-congruent primes than on targets that follow gender incongruent primes are taken as evidence for the automatic use of gender stereotypes.

In the following experiment subjects where ask to diffine the prime target buy ask the question ,”has it ever been true” of the prime category. In this experiment judgment task where used that required no attention to the relationship between prime and target. Subjects were instructed to ignore the prime word and classify the target word as a male or female pronoun. To date there has been no studies of auotomatic stereotyping that have used a task that does not focus attention on the category of interest (gender)(Hardin,1996).

Experiment 1 tested whether gender information in the words is automatically used in judgement as assessed by faster response times when the gender of the prime and target words match (Doctor-he, nurse-she) than mismatch (Doctor-she, nurse-he)(Hardin,1996). In addition, measures of beliefs about explicit gender stereotypes, language reform, and the influence of gender in everyday life were included to test the relationship between automatic stereotyping and the more traditional explicit measures of gender stereotyping.

In Hardin’s experiment 68 subjects (32 female, 36 male) from the introductory psychology pool at yale university participated. The experiment task was administer on computers runnig Micro-Experimental Labrotory software (Schneider, 1990).

Two hundred primes were divided evenly among four categories: male related, female related, neutral, and noscience words like zzzzzz. The words were chosen on the basis of 1990 census data indicating occupations that were heavily skewed toward the participation of either females (nurse, secretary) or males ( doctor, mechanic) or that that had equal participation (reporter, postal clerk). The second category of words was ones the associated with certain gender (woman-mother) or (man-father) and titles like (queen king, Sr., Mrs). Also words with gender tags were used like (salesman) or male morphemes. Include also was neutral morphemes like (chairman, govener).

In this experiment 3 measures were designed to assess explicit beliefs regarding gender sterotypes, langage reform, and the influence of gender in peoples lives. Ever word that appeared to the people in the experiment on the computer screen was followed by a blank screen. After a number of prime words the target prnoun would appear and stay on the screen until a response was entered. Subjects made 432 judgements divided equally among the eight prime targets categories that I mentioned earlier in the research. Prime and target stimuli were paired randomly for each of the subjects(Hardin, 1996).

Reported results were based on correct judgement, excluding respones that were extrem outliers. To assume better analyses than had been previously taken 37 of 68 of the subject were aware of the gender relationships between primes an targets. Therefor the research was conducted for aware and unaware subjects and the patterns would show a bigger difference.

The subjects that were given the prime and gender types responded to the words quiker than the experimental group. Subjects were faster to judge male pronouns after male than female primes. But they were also faster to judge female pronouns after male primes. No other research was really obtain in that was reliable and had main effects on subject gender and target gender (Hardin, 1996).

The automatic gender priming effect was obtained for the primes related to gender both by definition ( mother, father, boy, girl ). How ever by shown in the graph, the gender priming effect was significantly larger for primes related to gender by difinition as revealed to the normative base rate. The reaction time is in (ms).

Generic masculine terms contributed to the automatic gender priming effect. After primes containing the mopheme man, judgements were faster for male pronouns than female pronouns. The relationship also held under the most conservation analysis, in which terms that are sometimes used to refer only to men (fireman) were excluded. Primes that were masculine terms produced faster judgement for me than women pronouns.

Finially Hardin examined terms that differed in no way except for gender of their suffix (chairman, chairwoman, chairperson). As expected in the experiment, the gender of the suffix did influence response latencies as indicated by the Prime gender(male, female, neutral) male and female interaction(Hardin,1996). Judgements were quicker for males with male primes than females and so forth, the females were faster with female primes than males.

Relationships between explicit beliefs and automatic gender stereotyping were examined by computing a correlation between each of the three explicit belief measures and a gender priming score, which was calculated by subtracting log RT for gender congruent trails from log RT for gender incongruent trails (Hardin, 1996).

In sum of this experiment evidence of automatic gender stereotyping using a broad range of primes and using time and task parameters that reflect automatic information use. The effect occurred regardless of the subjects awareness of the prime target relationship, and independently of explicit beliefs about gender sterotypes. The effect was also obtained for both primes related to gender by definition and primes related to gender by normative base rate, although not surprisingly the effect was larger for primes related to gender by definition.

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