Evaluate the Proposition That in Understanding Our Social World We Act as Intuitive Scientists

Evaluate the Proposition That In Understanding Our Social World We Act as Intuitive Scientists
A recently published study by the Voice Neurorecognition Laboratory at Glasgow, led by Dr Phil McAleer, concluded that humans make judgements on someone’s trustworthiness or dominance within the first 500 milliseconds of hearing their voice. Whether this is a purely rational judgement based on a search for “truth”, or an efficient but possibly inaccurate judgement based on biases, motivation, or social representations, and influenced by evolutionary pressures is the question central to this evaluation. This essay will firstly outline the intuitive scientist model and consider the strength of its analogy to the scientific method. With reference to the evolutionary psychology and social cognitive perspectives I will then explore phenomena that seem to contradict the proposition. There will follow a discussion of issues pertinent to the proposition raised by attempting to understand complex social interactions using both experimental social psychology methods and cognitive psychology perspectives. I will then conclude by suggesting that an information processing, rational scientist model, is not sufficient in trying to explain social perception and understanding.
The intuitive scientist model has its roots in Heiders   call to study the so called “common-sense” psychology of people’s efforts to understand, interpret and predict   their social world in a relatively efficient way (Hong et al., 2001; see also Buchanan et al. 2007). Kelley’s (as cited in Tetlock, 1984 p.203) assertion that people’s primary goal in explaining behaviour is to “attain cognitive mastery of the causal structure of the environment” encapsulates the central assumption or premise of the model.   The cognitive psychology perspective of the human mind as a limited capacity information processor, with its inherent emphasis on studying processes rather than studying people holistically (Edgar, 2007) serves...