Everyday Thinking: Memory, Reasoning, and Judgment in the Real World

Everyday Thinking: Memory, Reasoning, and Judgment in the Real World

Everyday Thinking: Memory, Reasoning, and Judgment in the Real World

Everyday Thinking: Memory, Reasoning, and Judgment in the Real World

Synopsis

Appropriate as a textbook for courses in cognitive psychology or social cognition, Everyday Thinking reviews the rapidly growing literature on cognition in naturalistic settings. It differs from other textbooks in that, where possible, it focuses on thinking in real-world settings rather than in controlled laboratory settings and provides detailed treatments of each of the following topics: * how we form impressions of and represent persons in memory; * how we recognize and represent faces; * how we reason in our day-to-day lives and go about solving everyday problems; * how we make judgments and decisions; * how we encode memories of events--both for future action and for our own life histories; and * what are some of the implications of everyday knowledge and cognition for education and instruction. This book presents the theoretical positions and research evidence on each of these topics and examines the generally unexplored connections among them. As a result, this book presents the study of cognition in a more relevant form and in a context that readers can more readily apply to their own lives.

Excerpt

As Ebbinghaus once observed about psychology in general (Boring, 1929), this book has a short history (although not nearly as short as my editor might have liked!), but a long past. I began thinking about the material discussed in this book nearly 30 years ago, back in graduate school. At that time, in studying both cognitive and social psychology, it seemed clear to me that when you introduce social or everyday content into traditional research on cognitive processes and representations, it changes things dramatically. In the process of testing out this idea, I came across examples in concept formation from Bruner, Goodnow, and Austin (1956), in conditional reasoning by Johnson-Laird, Legrenzi, and Legrenzi (1972), and in cross-cultural research by Cole, Gay, Glick, and Sharp (1971). The last two of these figure prominently in discussions in chapters 8 and 9, respectively.

My initial interest in this topic was (and still is, to some degree) the influence of social content and social context. I called this interest “social cognition” and did my dissertation on the role of social content in a propositional learning task (a combination of attribution theory with concept formation). For the following 15 years I did research on person memory, stereotypes, moral judgment, and the like. While I was doing this research, a discipline that also called itself social cognition began to develop and flourish (mostly independently of my own efforts). As I argue in chapters 1 and 2 of this book, this discipline took primarily a traditional experimental social psychology approach, which, for the most part, meant breaking cognition down into molecular units and processes, and focused on traditional experimental manipulations in rarefied laboratory situations. (There were certainly major exceptions to this, but this was the general rule.) Because my own interests lay in other ideas, I became increasingly disenchanted with “social cognition.”

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