Social Cognition and Tort Law: The Roles of Basic Science and Social Engineering

  • Richard L. Wiener
  • Mark A. Small


This chapter advocates a partnership between cognitive social psychology and the law of torts. The common subject matter of social psychology and tort doctrine is the manner in which human beings interact with each other. Psychology, however, takes a descriptive and inferential approach to the study of social behavior, and tort law formulates normative proscriptions to judge wrongful interactions. Insights may be gained about both enterprises if one is willing to view social psychology as basic science and tort law as social engineering. In this realist view (Manicas & Secord, 1983) of social psychology and the law, the researcher employs traditional experimental methods to study the underlying causal mechanisms that give rise to litigation.


Social Cognition Social Judgment Social Memory Prima Facie Case Script Theory 
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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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1992

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  • Richard L. Wiener
  • Mark A. Small

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