A Sociocognitive Approach to Social Norms

A Sociocognitive Approach to Social Norms

A Sociocognitive Approach to Social Norms

A Sociocognitive Approach to Social Norms


Societies and groups attribute greater value to some behaviors and some judgments. These 'norms' are what is most important for understanding how behaviors and judgments are socially regulated. The approach presented examines in particular the social foundations of our judgments.


This is a rich volume. Like a fine gem, its multiple facets reflect light in many directions. The result is a book that can be appreciated on many levels. The book focuses on a sociocognitive framework and places it in the larger context of explanatory models traditionally utilized in social psychology. Particular emphasis is placed on the explanatory role of norms.

The wide variety of topics covered gives the reader a sense of the intellectual fecundity of this sociocognitive approach. The contributors to this book describe a variety of new theoretical ideas buttressed with empirical research. Although the book begins with the norm of internality, its chapters explore a range of related concepts.

Still another facet reveals the methodologies that have been developed and employed in conducting this research. Particular procedures and test instruments are discussed in the context of alternative methodologies. At the same time, the volume will serve as a handbook with concrete guidance for those who wish to replicate and extend the research.

Readers interested in the practical application of these normative ideas will find the book useful. Specific applications in education are described in detail. Many other chapters suggest, or imply, potential applications that readers could utilize. The mix of theory and application is rare and therefore especially satisfying.

Starting from within social psychology the contributors have expanded the normative idea into the fields of cognitive and social development. Just as the reciprocal relationship between theory and application is mutually beneficial, so too can the interplay between social psychology and human development enhance each domain.

At yet another level, the book presents a more general framework for thinking about social behavior. This sociocognitive approach represents a distinct way of conceptualizing and understanding a broad spectrum of psychological phenomena. This point of view is refreshing because it diverges from the strictly cognitive perspective that has held sway in most of social psychology in the past three decades.

While this volume demonstrates dramatically how far thinking has progressed in the past twenty years, it may be of interest to current researchers to under-

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