The Content, Structure, and Operation of Thought Systems

The Content, Structure, and Operation of Thought Systems

The Content, Structure, and Operation of Thought Systems

The Content, Structure, and Operation of Thought Systems

Synopsis

If anyone deserves the title "father of social cognition," it is William J. McGuire who, along with his wife and colleague Claire V. McGuire, has written the target article for this volume. The culmination of many years of work, the article discusses their highly developed theory of human thought systems, and establishes many new directions for theoretical and empirical inquiry. Equally important, however, are the chapters -- written from many different theoretical and empirical perspectives -- that challenge various assumptions underlying the McGuires' work. In addition to examining implications not explicitly considered in the target article, these contributions explore the new directions that future research and theorizing might take.

Excerpt

This is the fourth volume of the Advances in Social Cognition series. From its inception, the purpose of the series has been to present and evaluate new theoretical advances in all areas of social cognition and information processing. An entire volume is devoted to each theory, thus allowing it to be evaluated from a variety of perspectives and permitting its implications for a wide range of issues to be considered.

The series reflects the two major characteristics of social cognition: the high level of activity in the field and the interstitial nature of the work. Each volume contains a target chapter that is chosen because it is timely in its application, novel in its approach, and precise in its explication. the target chapter is then followed by a set of companion chapters that examine the theoretical and empirical issues that the target has raised. These latter chapters are written by authors with diverse theoretical orientations, representing different disciplines within psychology and, in some cases, entirely different disciplines. Target authors are then given the opportunity to respond to the comments and criticisms of their work and to examine the ideas conveyed in the companion chapters in light of their own. the dialogue created by this format is both unusual and, we believe, extremely beneficial to the field.

The present volume gives us particular pleasure. If anyone in our field deserves the title of "father of social cognition," it is William J. McGuire. McGuire's early conceptualization of attitude and belief formation and change was not only of major theoretical importance in its own right; it also stimulated the adoption of a general information-processing approach to the investigation of social judgment and behavior. He continues to have an enormous impact on social cognition research and theorizing that extends far beyond the specific . . .

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