Author Archives: agoffus

Cognitive Processes of Stereotype Formation

In our day to day lives, many of us encounter stereotypes, either being in a good context or a bad one.  Stereotypes, by definition, are widely held but fixed and oversimplified ideas of a particular person or thing. Stereotypes are used most every day in life, and because they are so common it is important to understand the cognitive processes in which they come about.

Categorization is a key process, cognitively, in the formation of stereotypes. In order to categorize, mentally, we enhance the differences between groups on both social and physical aspects. Categories imply in themselves different moral meaning and values, putting what is being analyzed in different levels.

Once we put people or things into categories, there is then applied meaning. This stems from simply belonging to any group leading to stereotypes. These groups are then given characteristics as to why or why not said person may belong to a group.

Knowing that stereotypes are widely fixed, we then know that judgement towards groups is then going to be resistant to change. This is a block on cognition because judgement leads to biases and in the case of stereotypes, these biases are very strong. If we see our perceptions fitting into these categorized groups, it then confirms the bias. (Conformation bias) An example of this could be seeing a four year old being clumsy, if that was a previous judgement it is then grossly confirmed that all four year olds are clumsy.  This most often however applies to race, such as the current issue of “Black Lives Matter” in who police are targeting, particularly in violence.

 As well as being fixed, it is also interesting to note that stereotypes play on the self as well. A self-fulfilling prophesy of sorts and self-positivity then will affect in group views. This is why if one person in a group is somewhat of a negative, that whole group they then belong to will be negatively stereotyped. By specifying the differences between in and out groups, those differences are then magnified. This is when in group bias comes in because when differences within a group are lessened, it is then preferred.

Individuality is how we see ourselves and also will affect how we perceive others. We do see that individuals have their own characteristics however based on our own cognition we will group that person not based on characteristics but primarily on personality and physical characteristics, depending on the individual doing the grouping and their own set of cognitive biases.

Stereotype formation is a complex cognitive process; however it happens in a matter of seconds. Stereotypes affect how we see the world around us and help us to interpret meaning and simplify aspects around us in order to process functioning socially.


Essay UK, Critically Evaluate The Cognitive Theory Of Stereotyping. Available from: <> [14-04-16].

Mackie, D. M. (2003). Affect, Cognition, and Stereotyping: Interactive Processes in Group Perception. Elsevier Science Publishing Co.

Event Boundary

I was very interested in reading this article. We have almost all been in the position of walking into a room, knowing for a purpose and not knowing what that purpose is. So frustrating!

Through several experiments done by Radvansky involving participants carrying an object into a room, such as a red ball, and taking it to another room. The study found that by moving from one room to the next, the brain creates an almost file from the previous room, when trying to create this again in the second room.

Crossing these processes tricks the attention and does not trigger the memory of why you came into the room in the first place. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around this phenomenon. However, as cognitive psychology students, we know that state dependent memory would greatly aid in this,by just going back to the first room.

The Beauties of Dating Someone with ADHD

I’ve been very lucky to have my wonderful boyfriend in my life. Together we grow and change and learn to appreciate everything about each other. As a young boy, he was diagnosed with ADHD. ADHD is a common childhood disorder that can last a lifetime and includes the symptoms of hyperactivity, paying attention, and difficulty controlling behavior. And to me, hes changed my thinking.

On of the man benefits of dating someone with ADHD is just how loving and compassionate the person is. Of coarse this would change person to person, but despite the common stereotypes of just being space cadets and not necessarily good partners, the maturity level and the compassion encased in his mind is so beautiful.

The level of communication that can be achieved is amazing and good for both of us in order to relax and be our best selves. Because he has so much going on in his mind, we can really grab onto the aspects and appreciate the effort behind the communication. There is almost a tunnel vision (according to buzz-feed) when in a relationship with someone with ADHD. All they can focus on is you, and there’s no better feeling than being that important to someone.

The workings of the mind should always be appreciated, but with more knowledge I gain in class each day, I appreciate him that much more.

False Memories and Eye Witness Accounts

On most every crime show, report, and the such, there is an eye witness account. The importance of eye witness accounts is undeniable, and is expected to speak volumes of truth. However, the reality is that these testimonies are not that reliable. Not only could these trials take place years after the crime occurs, but the accused often is confirmed by a police sketch, almost putting more pressure on the victim to confirm accusation.  Those giving an eye witness testimony, even if they’re confident, are not entirely reliable.

Like we discussed in class, the mind is like a computer in may ways, except for memory storage. Despite popular belief, memory is not an exact recording of an event to be stored and retrieved exactly. Memory is altered in these processes such as state dependent memories, triggered sensory memory and so on. Because memory retrieval occurs in fragments, there are bound to be missing pieces. This is where false memory comes in.  When a memory is reconstructed, many aspects of the account can be altered by the environment.

Eye witness accounts are still so important, so how can this process be more reliable? Many suggest taping the identification procedure,  informing the viewer of the line up that the perpetrator may not be in the line up, so they don’t feel cognitively responsible to identify someone they aren’t positive committed the crime.

Because I am going into the field of forensic psychology, I found this so interesting how concepts of the mind can change someones faith, guilty or innocent.