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Perspective ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02643

Social cognition 2.0

  • 1Leiden University, Netherlands

Social cognition emerged in the 1970s and 80s as an attempt to answer social-psychological questions by adopting experimental techniques and theoretical concepts from cognitive psychology. Recently, cognitive psychologists began to build complementary bridges between cognitive and social psychology by showing increasing interest in the cognitive implications of social situations. Here we take a closer look at the remaining obstacles to join cognitive and social perspectives on human behavior. Using conformity as an example, we attempt to demonstrate that the social-cognition approach has been successful in adopting cognitive concepts and experimental methods, but is still lagging behind with respect to (1) mechanistic theorizing, as it often engages in merely describing phenomena in terms of reasons rather than explaining it in terms of causes; and (2) reflecting the sociohistorical context of the phenomenon under investigation. As we try to show, developing mechanistic theories for social phenomena, including the effects of individual differences and their sociohistorical dependencies, is not only possible but necessary to eliminate the boundaries between cognitive and social accounts of human behavior. In other words, the time is ripe for Social Cognition 2.0.

Keywords: social cognition, conformity, Theory of Event Coding (TEC), Adaptive Behavior, Mechanistic theorizing

Received: 23 Aug 2019; Accepted: 08 Nov 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Kim and Hommel. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mrs. Diana Kim, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands, d.a.kim@fsw.leidenuniv.nl