Social cognition is the study of how people form attribution or judgments about themselves and the social world from the social information they received from their environment (Chapter Review, 2010). However, it was discovered often marked by apparent errors and biases. People make quick judgment based on their past experiences, hence at times leading to tragic endings.
The Amadou Diallo case study was an example of the tragic error which was made by four New York City Police officers. The police shooting of an unarmed man was an act of automatic inferences which happens when people use mental shortcuts to simplify the amount of information they receive from the environment. Automatic thinking is known as the thinking that is unconscious, unintentional, involuntary and effortless (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears, 2006). While, schemas are mental structure people use to arrange their information regarding the social world around themes or subjects: schemas affect what information we notice, think about, and remember (Chapter Review, 2010). During the incident February 4, 1999, Carroll had made a low-effort automatic thinking with schemas when Diallo reached into his jacket to get his wallet by assuming that Diallo was reaching for a gun in his pocket, and shouted “Gun!” to alert his colleagues. Officer Carroll’s action was due to his natural instinct or response as most criminal would reach into their pocket for gun during the detection of police officers. He had use schemas to form an expectation of the event in which made him to expect a gun pulling out of Diallo’s jacket rather than his wallet. As he attends to his schema-consistent knowledge: criminals would pull out guns from their jacket when they spotted police officers; his schemas filtered out any inconsistent information: Diallo reached in his jacket to get his wallet; had caused the NYPD officers to fire at Diallo. Besides that, there are also a few theories or concept under automatic thinking with schemas that had shown relevance to the Amadou Diallo case study, such as, accessibility. Accessibility is the ease with which schemas can be brought to one’s mind (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears, 2006). The four police officers had practiced accessibility when they saw Diallo ran up the outside steps toward his apartment house doorway at their approach, ignoring their orders to stop and “show his hands”. When they saw Diallo ran after they claimed to have identified themselves as NYPD officers, they might assume that Diallo was the serial rapist they were searching for, as logically a serial rapist or a criminal would ran when approached by police officers to avoid getting caught. The ease of the thought that criminals would run when they spotted police officers, had made the four police officers to identified Diallo as a criminal, although that was not the truth in Diallo’s case. As a result, a firestorm had unfortunately occurred. Furthermore, the four police officers had practice priming in this case study. Priming is the process which related to recent experience that made schemas or concept to come to one’s mind more readily (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears, 2006). For example, when Officer MeMellon fell down the steps, appearing to be spot, the other three officers might assume that Diallow had fire a gunshot towards Officer McMellon hence causing him to fell down those steps because they had linked it to their recent experiences of gunshot and thought that Officer McMellon had been spot and that Diallo had shot him with his gun. As one would logically fall back when shot. Perseverance effect was also shown in this case study. Perseverance effect is known as the tendency for people’s beliefs about themselves and their world to persist even when those beliefs are discredited (Taylor, Peplau, & Sears, 2006). When the four NYDP officers thought Diallo matched the description of a (since-captured) serial rapist, it might be due to the fact that Amadou Diallo was an immigrant to the...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document