Social Cognition, Inference, and Attribution

Social Cognition, Inference, and Attribution

Social Cognition, Inference, and Attribution

Social Cognition, Inference, and Attribution

Excerpt

This book developed out of a series of general discussions between the authors on research and theory in person perception and attribution phenomena. During the course of this discussion, two things became clear. First, many of the traditional approaches to investigating these phenomena, made popular during the past decade by the advent of algebraic models of information integration, were not providing answers to several fundamental questions concerning the manner in which social stimulus information is interpreted, organized, and stored in memory, and the factors that affect its retrieval and use in making judgments of the people and events to which it is relevant. Indeed, the methodology typically used in these areas required conceptualizations that interfered with the identification of these questions. Second, many fundamental issues associated with the processing of social stimulus information were relevant to phenomena investigated in a variety of traditionally segregated areas (e.g., impression formation, attribution, social comparison, interpersonal attraction, belief and opinion change, etc.). However, these commonalities were rarely identified. This appeared to result from a tendency to focus on microtheoretical formulations developed to account for a circumscribed set of phenomena, without considering these phenomena within a broader conceptual framework.

This book is an attempt to respond to these various deficiencies. We present an approach to conceptualizing and investigating fundamental processes of interpreting, storing and retrieving information about social stimuli and, when necessary, identifying and combining its implications to arrive at judgments of these stimuli. In doing so, we have not attempted to construct a single theoretical formulation from which all social phenomena can be . . .

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