Empiricism and Social Reality: Can Cognitive Science Be Socialized?

  • J. Richard Eiser


Several areas of research within social psychology depend on assumptions about underlying cognitive processes. These assumptions have not typically been examined from the perspective of cognitive science. Two theoretical constructs, the self and attitudes, are specifically considered. In contrast to earlier models of symbolic representation and rationalistic decision-making, a cognitive science perspective allows these to be viewed as habits or patterns of thought and behaviour that depend on learnt associations between multiple features of people’s experience. The observation that individuals can display different characteristics and attitudes in different stituations suggests the importance of context-dependent learning, resulting in multiple attractors. Such findings are located within the intellectual tradition of empiricism, and argue for the dependence of social cognitions on social reality.


Social Cognition Cognitive Science Social Reality Multiple Attractor Propositional Reasoning 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Richard Eiser
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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