Many core tenets of modern day social cognition have their roots in the Gestalt tradition. As an example, let us consider the matter of context. Theory and research within social cognition begins with the knowledge that humans do not exist in vacuums: at any given moment, there are multiple social forces impinging on the individual and these must be given adequate consideration. As such, the importance of context is a theme which runs throughout the entire field of social cognition. Yet this emphasis on context is by no means new. Gestalt psychologists had long recognized its importance decades before and it was their initial interest in this factor which was later built upon in social cognition. Continue reading
Tag Archives: social psychology
What is Social Cognition?
Social cognition is a sub-field within the larger discipline of social psychology and has been defined as “the study of mental processes involved in perceiving, attending to, remembering, thinking about, and making sense of the people in our social world” (Moscowitz, 2005, p.3). While some psychologists are content with analyzing only overt behavior, researchers in the field of social cognition prefer to dig deeper. Social behavior, from their perspective, is not directly determined by environmental factors that are external to the individual. Rather, it results from the internal cognitive processes which influence our interpretation of the social context. No social reality exists beyond that which we actively construct in our minds and it is this cognitive construction of social reality – our social cognition- that ultimately determines our behavior in social situations. Continue reading