Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Thesis defense Lucas Spiess (Donders series 469)

26 November 2020

Promotor: prof. dr. H. Bekkering

Who are you, and how many? The role of Individual Knowledge and Group Knowledge in Social Predictions

The ability to predict other people’s behaviors, intentions, and preferences is crucial for meaningful social interaction. To do so, we can use the knowledge that we have about the specific individual (individual knowledge) and knowledge that we have about the social groups to which that individual belongs (group knowledge). In the present dissertation, I investigated how we deal with diversity (e.g., diversity in behavior and ethnicity) when making predictions about other people. We thereby focused on predictions at the level of single individuals and predictions at the level of the entire group.

I also investigated how subtle cues such as a common logo on people’s shirt can be sufficient to alter the way in which our predictions are based on individual knowledge and group knowledge. Finally, I investigated how our own social identity affects the way we make predictions about group members. The findings of our studies are discussed in terms of categorization, cognitive information processing, and, on the edge, stereotyping.