PERSON PERCEPTION AND STEREOTYPING: SIMULATION USING DISTRIBUTED REPRESENTATIONS IN A RECURRENT CONNECTIONIST NETWORK
Eliot R. Smith Jamie DeCoster Purdue University
The chapters in this book illustrate that the influence of connectionism is beginning to spread from cognitive psychology (e.g., McClelland, Rumelhart, et al., 1986; Rumelhart, McClelland, et al., 1986) to social psychology. In the context of this volume, there is no need for us to outline the basic ideas of connectionist models, or to elaborate on their fundamental differences from the symbolic models that have been traditional in both cognitive and social psychology (see Churchland & Sejnowski, 1992; Clark, 1993; or Smith, 1996 for accessible introductory treatments). These fundamental differences have inspired much excitement, with connectionist models viewed as "cataly[zing] a more fruitful conception of the whole project of cognitive science" ( Clark, 1993, p. ix), as spurring a scientific revolution as significant as the transition from behaviorism to information-processing psychology ( Schneider, 1987), and even as "requir[ing] a major reorientation in the way we think about ourselves" ( Ramsey, Stich, & Garon, 1991, p. 200).
Now, it has become evident to many social psychologists that connectionist models of language processing, categorization, schema use, memory, and decision making have direct relevance to their own central concern. This chapter aims to further explore this relevance, concentrating on the area of person perception and social stereotyping. We focus on two goals. First, we present results of computer simulations applying a recurrent connectionist network model to key findings involving person perception and stereotyping. Second, we attempt to put these results in context, comparing our model to other connectionist work in social psychology-particularly
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Publication information: Book title: Connectionist Models of Social Reasoning and Social Behavior. Contributors: Stephen J. Read - Editor, Lynn C. Miller - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication year: 1998. Page number: 111.
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