Social cognition is concerned with the way in which the processes of understanding the world are created. It is concerned with physiological as well as the mind in how it sees the world. The social part of social cognition is concerned with the real world issues and how perception is involved with the way in which the world is constructed in the mind.
Social perception is the act of creating a presence in which there is a perception of the nature of someone or something. The ‘birthers’ are victims of this concept where details of the President’s life have been twisted into a socially accepted idea about his origin of birth. President George Bush, the 41st President, said in his Presidential race against President Bill Clinton that “I never attended Oxford University” trying to show that he was not an elitist and trying to imply then running opponent Clinton was a snob. Of course, President Bush was a graduate of Yale University, an equally prestigious Ivy League school. President Bush had grown up in a wealthy family of privilege, but President Clinton had grown up in a struggling, broken home. He was the example of the American Dream, but President Bush was trying to shift the perception of his life as privileged to relating to the ‘common people’. This might have been accomplished if he had successfully shifted the perceptions of the people (Moskowitz, 2005).
Moskowitz (2005) writes that “The failure to see how we subjectively arrive at the conclusions we draw about others can be referred to as naïve realism” (p. 22). Social perception is how experience has led society to certain conclusions about their world. Some of them are based on sloganism, such as ‘apple pie and mother’ representing the values of the United States or ideas about the elusive ‘American Dream’. The overall nature of what is believed within the social context is large based upon naive belief systems that have come from superficial perceptions about objects and people. Understanding the difference between what we think we know and what is real is the basis of naive realism. One of the most poignant films about this topic is The Matrix (1999) in which the protagonist finds out that the world he perceives is nothing more than an illusion and that the reality of the real was something far more sinister. In finding this knowledge, his seminal moment came as he was watching children bend spoons and the child looks to him and says “ Spoon boy: Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible. Instead... only try to realize the truth. Neo: What truth? Spoon boy: There is no spoon. Neo: There is no spoon? Spoon boy: Then you'll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself”(IMDB, 2013). This essential truth was developed as a way of showing that what is perceived is created by the self, not by the external forces that only create the perception to be received. In other words, President Bush attempted to create a perception of his commonality with the lower classes, but it was on them whether or not they accepted those created perceptions. Social influence is the way in which a greater social context is constructed in order to create perceptions The example of the ‘birther’ movement can be used once again to show how an influence about a fact or lack of fact can be seen as a way in which to influence the belief systems of a larger group. Truth was not the foundation, but the belief that in order to defame someone a framework of beliefs was needed to make a claim about them. In this case, President Obama was the