To begin this video, let me introduce you to a story. Alex is someone who is highly driven and who enjoys the work. Alex is career oriented and though still quite young, 23 years old to be exact, wants to take on new responsibilities and professional challenges. Alex has started a career in an IT start-up firm working on product design and is aiming for a promotion to product manager in the next 6 to 12 months. Alex enjoys the competitive atmosphere of the sector. Who is Alex? Many psychological and social psychological theories attest that individuals have limited information processing capabilities. This being the case, one of the cognitive means by which we deal with complexity in our physical and social environment is to rely on cognitive schemas. Cognitive schemas, such as social categories, allow us to summarize and simplify information to the key features. They also help us to facilitate information processing by identifying what information will receive attention and how it will be encoded and organized. In addition, they have a selective influence on retention, retrieval, and the overall organization of memory. They function as interpretive frameworks and thereby, influence evaluations, judgements, predictions, and inferences and can eventually influence overt behavior. Take the example of two young people going through a house. The front door is slightly ajar. Inside you can just barely hear two voices coming from somewhere in the house. Nothing here, what about you. Nope, I haven't found anything here either. We don't have much time. We've got to hurry. They seem to be opening drawers and cupboards. If I told you that the voices were of two students who were looking for the car keys, how would you process the story? Your attention will most likely focus on what they're doing in such a way that you can imagine them late for a party and turning out drawers desperately to try to find the keys. This interpretation will in turn impact what you remember of the story later. If, on the other hand, I told you that the voices were of two burglars, how you process the information and what you understand from it will be completely different. And you will remember very, very different things about it later. If you were at the front door of that house, what would you do? Depending on your cognitive schema of the situation, your evaluation of the situation and what you will do next will also differ in the two cases. We can apply this principle to social categories, let’s take the example of Alex. There is a tendency for people to assume that hardworking, ambitious young employees in IT are men. in the same way that we have a difficult time imagining women as ER surgeons. As you see, social categorization can lead to biases in expectations, evaluations, and impact overt behaviors. The process of categorization thus impacts cognitions in a top down manner, and influences how we see and understand our environment. According to Alice Eagly of Northwestern University and Jean Lao Chin of Adelphi University, ‘correspondent inference’ refers to a basic principle of human judgement, according to which people's characteristics are inferred from their visible qualities. For example, gender or race. In a study with V.J. Stefan in 1984, Alice Eagly found that perceivers tend to attribute women with nurturing qualities because women are disproportionately represented in tasks related to young children. When beliefs regarding a particular group are shared, stereotypes form about social groups from such surface associations leading to attributions of qualities that in reality are in the minds of the perceivers. As you see, social categorizations impact how we understand the world around us and the people we are interacting with. They influence our expectations, attitudes and behaviors by giving particular meanings to people and situations that allow us to react rapidly and to interact in a way that seems to make sense. Because we are talking about cognitive processes, all of this happens in the minds of the perceivers, that is to say ourselves. Social schemas and categories help us to cope with the complexity that is inherent in our social environment. At the same time, they impact how we see and interpret the social world around us. and introduces biases in our expectations and evaluations.