Summary of social cognition   no comments

Posted at 4:21 pm in Psychology

Over the last few weeks, I have learned much about social cognitive, social identity, social representations, and discursive perspectives. In particular, I have looked further into social perception, attitudes, self and identity. I have found it very interesting to see how within the same topics, different models coexist to describe the same thing. In my previous posts, I have also tried to highlight the common ground as well as the differences between these models.

As I began reading, it became clear to me that the so-called individual cannot be properly and fully understood in abstract isolation from the social. Even in the most minimal of social groups constructed in the laboratory, the group has meaning because of the network of social relationships in which participants are implicated.

I have also come to conclusion that humans do actively construct their own social environment. Exactly how this is done, people seem to differ in their own opinion. Some resting on a realist philosophy of science suggests that it is possible to build a theoretical knowledge of the world which resembles truth. They assert that some theoretical accounts can be judged to be more true than others. However the discursive perspective does not accept that view, and differences between different theoretical accounts arbitrated, by recourse was to empirical data. Rather, one account prevails over another because of the attitude of the social and political processes of negotiating shared understandings of the world, not because of its greater truth value.

I cannot decide between the two viewpoints. However, what is clear to me is that social psychology cannot proceed without all thorough and more adequate analysis of the truth and reality. The bottom line from me is, it may well be the case that one theoretical or empirical account of the social issue prevails because of the social and political processes of negotiating shared understanding rather than because of the ability of data, but that date are themselves are also an important part of the way in which understandings are negotiated.

Written by Mandy Lo on December 1st, 2011

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