By: Jamie Majik
A personal experience
In my life I have been told numerous times that I am "intimidating". I never truly understood why people thought so. I saw myself as the kind of person people could easily talk to and thought I was very approachable. In several situations with people I had recently met, after a few interactions with them they would tell me "when I first met you you scared me!" and after getting to know me more they realized I wasn't like that at all.
Social Cognition in my own words
Social cognition in my own words is, all the information we get from the first time we see a person. Throughout our lives we get information from our experiences and this information is kept in our minds and forms impressions of people when we first meet them.
Although it is wrong to assume someone is one way before we actually know them, it is impossible not to. For example if we had a elderly teacher in high school who was very tough, we start to make assumption that all elderly teachers are that way. We get to college and have all varieties of teachers, and when we start a new class and the teacher comes in and is elderly we take our past experience and put it towards this new person and assume they will be tough just because of their age. This is not the actual case. Each person is different no matter what generation they are from.
The following video touches base with social cognition. At one point in the video a well dressed man crosses a street that has a red stop signal ON for walkers, and others follow him anyways. The same man dresses poorly and does the same thing and the people do not follow. I found this extremely interesting and question why we do this. I would attribute this behavior to stereotypes. We perceive a well dressed person to be many things such as, intelligent. If an intelligent person is crossing the street when they shouldn't then it is okay in other's minds to do the same. When a poorly dressed person crosses the street though they are perceived as unintelligent (lack of education) and nobody would follow someone like that across the street while the stop sign was on for walkers.
Bandura's Social Cognitive Theory: An Introduction (Davidson Films, Inc.)