Main Points: Evidence shows that there may be little or no direct introspective access to higher order cognitive processes. Subjects are sometimes (a.) unaware of the existence of a stimulus that importantly influenced a response, (b) unaware of the existence of the response and (c) unaware that the stimulus has affected the response. It is proposed that when people attempt to report on their cognitive processes, they do not do so based on any true introspection. Their reports are based on a priori, implicit casual theories or judgments about the extent to which a particular stimulus is a plausible cause of a given response. Although the evidence points that people are unable to use introspection in respect to cognitive processes, they may sometimes be able to report accurately about them. Accurate reports will occur when influential stimuli are salient and plausible causes of the responses they produce.
* Social psychologists routinely ask subjects in their experiments why they behaved as they did (i.e., why did you choose that graduate school) * Mandler, Miller and Neisser proposed that people may have no direct access to higher order mental processes, such as used in evaluating judgment, problem solving and behavior * Problems with new anti-introspectivist view: (1) Mandler, Miller and Neisser never stated that people have no direct access to higher order mental processes. Instead, the speculation is not based on research on higher order processes, such as “thinking,” but rather research on more basic processes of perception and memory. There is no conscious awareness of perceptual and memorial processes. (2) People readily answer questions about the reasons for his behavior or evaluations. Subjects usually appear stumped when asked about perceptual or memorial processes, but are quite able to describe why they behaved in such a manner or why they dislike a person. Therefore, it would appear like people have some introspective access to a memory or the process involved.
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(3) The anti-introspectivist view does not allow for the possibility that people are ever correct about their higher order mental processes (intuitively unlikely that such reports are ALWAYS inaccurate).
* Much of the evidence that casts doubt on the ability of people to report on their cognitive processes comes from a consideration of what was not published in that literature. A review of the nonpublic research leads to three conclusions: (1) subjects frequently cannot report on the existence of the chief response that was produced by the manipulation (2) even if they can report the existence of the responses, they do not report that a change process (evaluational or attitudinal response underwent any alterations) occurred (3) subjects cannot correctly identify the stimuli that produced the response.
* Insufficient justification or dissonance research states if the behavior is intrinsically undesirable will, when performed for inadequate extrinsic reasons, be seen as more attractive if done for adequate reasons. For example, if people have done something unpleasant without adequate justification, it becomes painful – therefore, people will revise his opinion about the behavior in order to avoid the psychic discomfort * Attribution theory – people strive to discover the causes of attitudinal, emotional and behavioral responses (their own and others) and the resulting casual attributions are a chief determinant of a host of additional attitudinal and behavioral effects. For example, if someone tells us that he likes a horror film, our acceptance of the opinion is based on our causal analysis of the persons’ reasons for the evaluation – does he like movies, does he normally like horror films, etc. Insufficient-justification studies and attribution studies where the subject makes inferences about himself have employed behavioral dependent variables. Two studies are discussed, one regarding painful electric shocks and the other with snake-phobic subjects. In the one with the electric shocks, patients were subject to shocks and asked to learn a task.
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Those with insufficient justification justified taking the shots, by deciding that they were not that painful, so their evaluation of the painfulness of the shots was lowered and their physiological and behavioral indicators reflected this indication. In the second study, subjects underwent the attribution paradigm in which snake-phobic subjects were exposed to slides of snakes and a second slide that stated “shock” in which they were electrically shocked. As a result, the subjects learned that they were frightened of the shock slide because of the electric shock that accompanied it, but not frightened of the snake slides and realized that they may not be as afraid of snakes as they thought. They were armed with a new self-attribution of snake fearlessness. * Verbal stimuli in the form of instructions from the experimenter can result in a changed evaluation of the relevant stimuli and an altered motivational state, which are reflected in subsequent physiological and behavioral events. Stimuli => cognitive process => evaluative and motivational state change => behavior change
* There is a problem with the assumption that the subject consciously decides how he feels about an object and this evaluation determines his behavior towards it. Typically, behavioral and physiological differences are obtained in the absence of verbally reported differences in evaluations or motive states. * Three generalizations made about the electric shock and snake-phobic studies are: * No significant verbal report differences were found at all. * The behavioral effects were in most cases stronger than the verbal report effects * The correlation between verbal report about motive state and behavioral measures of motive state was found to be zero. Negative/zero correlation are difficult to understand/interpret in terms of the cognitive process involved. * Results from studies confounded the assumption that conscious, verbal cognitive processes result in conscious, verbalizable changes in evaluations or motive states which then mediate changed behavior.
... of the proposed project are the focus of the process evaluation. The process evaluations main focus is to assist with the description of ... that are to be rendered and their effectiveness. A Process Evaluation is also responsible to document the acceptability of a ... understanding to some of the key evaluation questions and its effectiveness. Some examples of process evaluations are: 1. A program that ...
* Author provides evidence that casts doubt on the studies that find differences in the verbal reports of experimental and control subjects. There is an important difference between awareness of the existence of an evaluation (does not imply true recognition of the process induced by insufficient justification and attribution manipulations – they are not aware that a change has taken place in consequence of such manipulations) and awareness of a changed evaluation or motive state. An experiment was done in which people had to write essays opposing their own views. Subjects who were coerced into writing essays showed no change in evaluation of the topic. Those who were given insufficient justification or manipulated shifted their evaluations in the direction of the position they originally opposed.
However, those who were given insufficient justification or manipulation reported that their attitudes towards the subject were no different after the essay than they were one week prior-this suggests that they were unaware that the evaluation has changed. * Thought process – a study is described in which a control group was subjected to electric shocks while the experimental group was given a placebo pill that reportedly helped with the electric shocks. The experimental group was able to take more shock. After the study, 9 out of 12 subjects stated that the pill did not cause some physical effects and that they were only worried about the shock. * The explanations that subjects offer for their behavior in insufficient-justification and attribution experiments are so removed from the processes that investigators doubt there is direct access to higher level cognitive processes.
* Results of insufficient justification experiments could never be obtained if subjects were aware of the critical role played by the social pressure from the experimenter. If subjects realized that their behavior was produced by this social pressure, they would not change their attitudes. If people were aware of position effects on their evaluations, they would attempt to overcome these effects or counteract the influence (i.e., see below about helping someone in distress with many people around – may be more willing to help someone knowing that naturally people are less likely to help others with more people around).
... It seems likely that if subjects already have a good idea about how many people in the population have a given ... that college students' limited 'real-world experience' may be influencing their projections. Also, almost all of the behavior measures were ... consensus effect': An egocentric bias in social perception and attribution processes. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 13, 279-301. Wolfson ...
* The theory that people can respond to a stimulus in the absence of the ability to verbally report on its existence is more widely accepted now than years before. The new acceptance is due to (1) methodological innovations in the form chiefly of signal detection techniques and dichotic listening procedures and (2) persuasive theoretical arguments in regards to deriving the subliminal perception phenomenon from the notion of selective attention and filtering.
An experiment was done regarding playing tone sequences into an attended and unattended auditory channel while subjects tracked a human voice in the attended channel. Subjects reported hearing nothing at all in the unattended channel. Subjects were unable to discriminate new from old stimuli at a level exceeding change, but preferred tone sequences previously presented to the unattended channel over novel stimuli. The conclusion is that affective processes are triggered by information that is too weak to provide verbal recognition. * Many more stimuli are apprehended than can be stored in short-term or long-term memory. Subliminal perception (we perceive without perceiving) can be derived as a logical consequence of the principle of selective filtering. We can perceive without remembering.
The subliminal perception hypothesis: some stimuli may affect ongoing mental processes, without being registered in short-term memory or long-term memory. It also suggests that people may sometimes be unable to report even the existence of influential stimuli and, as reported by creative people (see next bullet point), this may frequently be the case in problem-solving. * How creative people (artists, writers, mathematicians, scientists and philosophers) speak about the process of production and problem solving: they state they are the first to witness the fruits of a problem-solving process that is almost completely hidden from conscious view. For these people, the y have no idea what factors prompted the solution and the fact that a process is taking place is sometimes unknown to them prior to the point that a solution appears in consciousness. * People are increasingly less likely to help others in distress as the number of witnesses or bystanders increases.
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However, subjects always claim that their behavior was not influenced by other people around them. * The authors performed a series of small studies to fill in the gaps from the other studies, choosing cognitive processes that were used routinely with minimal deception. The results were not as expected: most of the stimuli the authors expected to influence subjects’ responses turned out to have no effect, and many of the stimuli that the authors expected to have no effect turned out to be influential. Subjects were virtually never accurate in their reports – if the stimulus component had a significant effect on responses, subjects typically reported that it was noninfluential. * Erroneous reports about stimuli influencing associative behavior: 81 students in introductory psychology were asked to memorize a list of words that may target them towards a response. When asked if the words memorized affected them, they stated distinctive features of the product (Tide is the best known detergent) rather than the words leading them to say Tide.
They also did an awareness ratio for the target words – the results were that for some of the target words the subjects reported no influence and for others many more subjects reported an influence than were probably influenced. * Erroneous reports about the influence of an individual’s personality on reactions to his physical characteristics: A study, known as the halo effect, showed that the manipulated warmth or coldness of an individual’s personality had a large effect on rating of the attractiveness of his appearance, speech and mannerisms. Many subjects actually insisted that their feelings about the individual’s appearance, etc. had influenced their liking of him/her. * The studies discussed do not suffice that people could never be accurate about the processes involved. The studies indicate that introspective access as may exist is not sufficient to produce accurate reports about the role of critical stimuli in response to questions asked a few minutes or seconds after the stimuli have been processed or response produced. People often make assertions about mental events to which they may have no access and these assertions may bear little resemblance to the actual events. * Evidence indicates it may be misleading for social scientists to ask their subjects about the influences on their evaluations, choices or behavior – those reports may have little value.
Indigenous people influenced greatly the way Latin America developed. Among those ... and agriculture, correlatively, became more intensive. Linked with this process, social organization became increasingly hierarchical, with increasing differentiations of wealth ... Spaniards. Their culture and customs had great influence on people. Even nowadays indigenous people make up a large and distinct portion ...
Observers who read reports from experiments reported similarly to how subjects themselves predicted how they would react to the stimulus situation (e.g., other people around would not affect their behavior) – therefore, since their reports are similar, it is unnecessary to assume that observers are drawing on “a fount of privileged knowledge” when they make their predictions on how they would act. * A Priori Casual theories may have any of several origins: * The culture of subculture may have explicit rules stating the relationship between a particular stimulus and a particular response (I came to a stop because the light changed) * The culture of subculture may supply implicit theories about causal relations (one particular stimulus may “psychologically imply” a particular response) – Jim gave flowers to Amy so she’s acting nice today. * An individual may hold a particular causal theory on the basis of empirical observation of covariation between stimuli of the general type and responses of the general type (I’m groggy today – I always get grouchy when I don’t break 100 in golf).
However, it has been found that powerful covariations may go undetected when the individual lacks a theory leading him to suspect covariation and, conversely, that the individual may perceive covariation where there is none if he has a theory leading him to expect it.
* In absence of a culturally supplied rule, implicit causal theory or assumption about covariation, people may be able to generate causal hypotheses linking even novel stimuli and novel responses. If the stimulus is connotatively similar to the response, then it may be reported as having influenced the response. * The authors state that they are not implying that a priori causal theories are wrong – verbal reports relying on such theories will typically be wrong because they are incorrectly applied in the particular instance. * Therefore, when subjects were asked about their cognitive processes, they may have done something that felt like introspection, but was only merely a simple judgment of the extent to which input was a representative or plausible cause of output. It seems like people, when interrogated about cognitive processes, resort to a pool of culturally supplied explanations for behavior or search through a network of connotative relations until they find an explanation. * Criterion for awareness: should not be equated with “correct verbal report” but, instead, “verbal report which exceeds in accuracy that obtained from observers provided with a general description of the stimulus and response in question.”
* Accuracy and inaccuracy in verbal explanations: Tversky and Kahneman proposed that a chief determinant of judgments about the frequency and probability of events is the availability in memory of the events at the time of judgment. Events are judged as frequent in proportion to their availability, and their availability is determined by such factors as the strength of the network of verbal associations that spontaneously call the events to mind. The representativeness and availability heuristics are undoubtedly intertwine in the appraisal of cause and effect relations. If a particular stimulus is not available, then it will not be adduced in explanation of a given effect, even thought it might be highly representative or plausible once called to mind. A second circumstance that decreases accuracy in self-report is a separation in time between the report of the actual occurrence of the process. If asked immediately after the occurrence about a cognitive process, the subjects are least aware of the existence of the effective stimuli at this point although here may be no direct access to process. Subjects have some chance of accurately reporting that a particular stimulus was influential. At a later point, the existence of the stimulus may be forgotten or the vagaries of memory may invent factors that were not there, and there would be little chance it would be correctly identified as influential.
* Reports will be accurate when influential stimuli are (1) available and (2) plausible causes of the response and when (3) few or no plausible but noninfluential factors are available (if a stranger hits you, you respond afterwards that you do not like the person) * There is some evidence that when even relatively minor steps are taken to disguise the connection between stimulus and response, subjects will fail to report such a connection. * In general, people will be accurate in reports about the causes of their behavior and evaluations wherever the culture, or a subculture, specifies clearly what stimuli should produce which responses, and especially where there is continuing feedback from the culture or subculture concerning the extent to which the individual is following the prescribed rules for input and output.
* It seems likely that there are regularities concerning the conditions that give rise to introspective certainty about cognitive processes. Confidence should be high when the causal candidates are (1) few in number, (2) perceptually or memorially salient, (3) highly plausible causes of the given outcome (especially where the basis of plausibility is an explicitly cultural rule) and (4) where the causes have been observed to be associated with the outcome in the past. * Confusion between content and process: an important source of the authors’ belief in introspective awareness is undoubtedly related to the fact that people do have direct access to a great storehouse of private knowledge. People do have access to a host of personal historical facts, they know the focus of their attention at any given point in time and have knowledge concerning his emotions, evaluations and plans superior to that of observers.
Therefore, it is less surprising that people would persist in believing that they have direct access to their own cognitive processes. The only mystery lies in why people are so poor at telling the difference between private facts that can be known with near certainty and mental processes to which there may be no access at all. We are also often capable of describing intermediate results (or intermediate output) of a series of mental operations in a way that promotes the feeling that we are describing the operations themselves. For example, one psychology professor may state that they envisioned monkeys swinging from trees, which lead to finding a cord-swinging solution – however, it is scarcely reasonable to propose that such imagery was the process by which the problem was solved.
* The authors argued that perceived covariation between stimuli and responses is determined more by causal theories than by actual covariation. There are probably some cases where individuals have idiosyncratic reactions to a particular stimulus that only have knowledge of. For example, a person may believe that he generally loathes strangers who slap him on the back and this belief may make him superior to observers in explaining his feelings in such a situation – however, the authors believe this situation is rare.
* Occasionally, noninfluential stimuli may be more vivid and available to the individual than to an outside observer and thus the observer might sometimes be more accurate by virtue of disregarding noninfluential stimuli. * Another reason for the writers belief in introspective awareness stems from lack of feedback. Disconfirmation of hypotheses about the workings of our minds is hard to come by. If an insomniac believes that he is unable to get to sleep because of the stress of his life situation, he will always be able to find evidence supporting this view. * Final belief to sustain the writers’ belief in direct introspective awareness is motivational. It is naturally preferable for us to believe that we have access to the workings of our own mind.
* People often cannot report accurately on the effects of particular stimuli on higher order, inference-based responses. Indeed, sometimes they cannot report on the existence of critical stimuli, sometimes cannot report on the existence of their responses, and sometimes cannot e even report that an inferential process of any kind has occurred. The accuracy of subjective reports is so poor as to suggest that any introspective access that may exist is not sufficient to produce generally reliable reports.
* When people report on the effects of stimuli, they may base their reports on implicit, a priori theories about the casual connection between stimulus and response instead of discussing a memory of the cognitive process that operated on the stimuli. If the stimulus psychologically implies the response in some way or seems “representative” of the types of stimuli that influence the response, the stimulus is reported to have influenced the response. If the stimulus does not seem to be a plausible cause of the response, it is reported to be noninfluential. * Sometimes subjective reports about higher mental processes are correct, but these instances are not due to direct introspective awareness. Rather, they are due to the incdentially correct employment of a priori causal theories.