Social cognition is a key area of social psychology, which focuses on cognitive processes that are involved when individuals make sense of, and navigate in their social world. For instance, individuals need to understand what they perceive, they learn and recall information from memory, they form judgments and decisions, they communicate with others, and they regulate their behavior. While all of these topics are also key to other fields of psychological research, it's the social world-which is dynamic, complex, and often ambiguous-that creates particular demands.
This accessible book introduces the basic themes within social cognition and asks questions such as: How do individuals think and feel about themselves and others? How do they make sense of their social environment? How do they interact with others in their social world? The book is organized along an idealized sequence of social information processing that starts at perceiving and encoding, and moves on to learning, judging, and communicating. It covers not only processes internal to the individual, but also facets of the environment that constrain cognitive processing.
Throughout the book, student learning is fostered with examples, additional materials, and discussion questions. With its subdivision in ten chapters, the book is suitable both for self-study and as companion material for those teaching a semester-long course. This is the ideal comprehensive introduction to this thriving and captivating field of research for students of psychology.
Rainer Greifeneder is professor of Social Psychology at the University of Basel, Switzerland. His research focuses on various aspects of social cognition, such as the experienced ease or difficulty of thinking, and social exclusion.
Herbert Bless is professor of Microsociology and Social Psychology at the University of Mannheim, Germany. His research addresses the construction of social judgment and the interplay of affect and cognition.
Klaus Fiedler is professor of Social Psychology at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. His research interests include judgment and decision making, social cognition, language and communication, behavior regulation, and methodological issues in behavioral science.
1. Introduction: What is Social Cognition Research About? 2. General Framework of Social Cognitive Processing 3. Perceiving and Encoding 4. Storing and Retrieving Information 5. Using Information: Controlled and Automatic Processing of Information 6. Using Information: Judgmental Shortcuts 7. The Interplay of Cognition and Feelings: Mood States 8.The Interplay of Cognition and Feelings: Fluency 9. Communicating Information 10. How the Environments Constrains Social Cognitive Processing Glossary References