Much research has demonstrated that human behavior can never be fully accounted for by deliberate rationality, as much of what happens in the human mind occurs outside of our awareness and beyond conscious control. Contemporary dual-process theories attempt to detail this duality of the human mind by distinguishing between two fundamentally different types of cognitive processes: on the one hand the nonconscious, automatic, and intuitive; and the conscious, deliberate, and rational on the other. These models also attempt to describe how the two types of processes interact with each other, and how various contextual factors influence their relationship. Dual-process models of cognition have proven useful in many fields of study, yet sociological use of these models to understand the micromechanisms of culture have been largely limited until very recently. This chapter aims to provide insight into dual-process models of cognition and their close resemblance with many core cultural theories, which already employ dual-process reasoning without recognizing or integrating their insights with each other or those of the cognitive sciences. It is argued that by developing a more integrated and interdisciplinarily accessible vocabulary, we can readily integrate and make better use of insights from dual-process models of cognition. Finally, important implications for our understanding of culture and for future research are discussed.
Henri C. Santos, Igor Grossmann, and Michael E. W. Varnum
This chapter discusses how differences in social class affect a variety of psychological processes and outcomes. In particular, it discusses how relatively higher class individuals are more likely to focus on the self—that is, emphasizing personal goals, feelings, and interests—compared to working-class individuals, who pay greater attention to the social context and their relationships with close others. In support of this claim, it discusses evidence of social class differences in values, neural processes, and higher level reasoning. It also explores the dynamic nature of the social class construct, looking at the difficulties people encounter when shifting to a relatively higher class and the historical trends that suggest global shifts in social class structure within societies. Taken together, these findings highlight the importance of understanding social class when looking at various psychological outcomes. At the same time, they challenge researchers to consider the complexity of social class when studying its effects.
Within the human mind, are there multiple, qualitatively different systems? Are there different processes of learning and performance that have radically different characteristics? If so, what are these? How do they differ from each other? How do they interact and integrate? There have been various speculations in this regard, often centered on two (or more) interacting systems within the human mind. This chapter reviews arguments in favor of two-system views and discusses the interaction and integration of the two systems in terms of different learning directions going from one system to the other. It also outlines the overall cognitive architecture that encompasses and structures these aspects.
This chapter aims to show the reader how social cognition also includes language. Neither cognitive sociology nor cognitive linguistics can logically ignore one another’s perspectives and empirical findings. The chapter aims to introduce cognitive sociologists to leading strands of research in cognitive linguistics that have a bearing on the structure and processes of society. In explaining the cognitive basis of language, linguists are now beginning to recognize its dialogic nature, the importance of dialogue in language acquisition, and thus the dependence of language on early socialization. This design feature enables the many social uses of the human language faculty that are termed “discourse.” There are many approaches to “discourse” but here the focus is on the recently developed cognitive approaches that are able to handle the complexities of grammatical detail as well as lexical meaning, without ignoring pragmatics. These approaches include cognitive frame theory, which describes lexical meaning and phenomena such as grammatically triggered attention shifts. A widely used approach analyzes conceptual metaphor, where “metaphor” is understood as a mental framing device that works by linking different conceptual domains, including image schemata. A third cognitive approach to socially relevant conceptualization emphasizes the role of spatial cognition, in particular containing spaces and the dimensions of direction and distance. In all cases, this overview relates the social and linguistic aspects to cognitive science and neuroscience.
Thomas DeGloma and Erin F. Johnston
This chapter explores the ways individuals account for cognitive migrations—significant changes of mind and consciousness that are often expressed as powerful discoveries, transformative experiences, and newly embraced worldviews. It outlines three ideal typical forms of cognitive migration: awakenings, self-actualizations, and ongoing quests. Building on prior approaches to such personal transformations, it develops the notion of cognitive migration to argue the following set of interrelated points. First, cognitive migrations take autobiographical form, which is to say they manifest as the narrative identity work of individuals who undergo them. Second, such narrative identity work provides a reflexive foundation for an individual’s understanding of self and identity in relation to other possible selves and identities—for seeing oneself as a relationally situated character. Third, individuals who articulate cognitive migrations use the plot structure and cultural coding at the root of their narratives to express their allegiance to a new sociomental community. They thereby take on new cognitive norms and identity-defining conventions while rejecting potential alternatives, locating themselves within a broader sociomental field. The spatial metaphor of cognitive migrations draws explicit attention to the broader sociomental field in which such radical changes of mind take place. Finally, such narrative identity work links self-understandings to the often-contested meanings of broadly relevant issues, events, and experiences; when individuals account for their cognitive migrations, they also advance claims that reach well-beyond their personal lives.
This chapter critically reviews work of three representatives of the French tradition of psychologically informed sociology: Marcel Mauss, Pierre Bourdieu, and Loïc Wacquant. It considers both the institutional backgrounds to these scholars’ encounters with psychology and cognitive science and main aspects of the conceptual and methodological evolution that has occurred between Mauss and Wacquant, particularly as regards their use of the habitus concept. Finally, it considers the influence of French psychological sociology on contemporary cognitive sociology, surveying some of the theoretical and methodological innovations that have resulted as well as possible avenues for further development of these interdisciplinary fields.
Wayne H. Brekhus and Gabe Ignatow
This chapter introduces key debates and directions in cognitive sociology. It discusses cognitive sociology approaches ranging from cultural to social to embodied perspectives and identifies important tensions between competing cognitive sociology traditions. It highlights cultural cognitive sociology approaches that emphasize cultural, social, and organizational variation as well as embodied cognitive social science approaches that challenge cultural sociology and that emphasize the importance of neuropsychological dual-process models of cognition. It discusses the implications of these controversies and addresses attempts to synthesize the neurocognitive and the cultural. It concludes by introducing the chapters that constitute this volume.
Although on the periphery of the migrant-receiving world as traditionally conceived, Russia is well entrenched in the global migration crisis. Migration crisis in Russia is largely a political construction, yet it is often framed as any other type of crisis (e.g. terrorism, geopolitical conflict, economic crisis), marked by a perception of existential threat, urgent public pressure, and uncertainty. This discussion of Russian policymakers’ approach shows how routinizing crisis decision making, through repeated reactionary moves that are institutionalized into law, creates continued crisis feedback loops that reinforce short-term policy horizons and fails to address long-standing demographic and labor market problems related to migration.
This chapter elaborates the concept of cultural blind spots, which are social patterns of inattention. Both sensory and cognitive forms of selective attention are foundational mechanisms of the social construction process. Despite this, and despite the presence of the unattended in social life as a consistent but often implicit theme in social theory, cultural blind spots have never previously been explicitly theorized. Nonetheless, there is a rich conceptual foundation for a social theory of blind spots in research establishing thinking and perceiving as sociocultural processes, as well as in studies of everyday life and the taken for granted. A synthesis of this theoretical background suggests two different cognitive processes that create blind spots—focusing and habituation—each with a slightly different structure of attention and relationship to power, normativity, and the unmarked. Despite these differences, both types of blind spots provide insight into social construction as a process of excluding information, and both suggest analytic strategies for revealing the previously inattended. Key strategies discussed include adopting mindsets conducive to deautomatization and defamiliarization and analytically creating attentional shifts through reversing, marking the unmarked, filter analysis, and multisensory research.
Karen A. Cerulo
Embodied cognition theory has become central to contemporary sociologists who theorize and empirically study the mechanics of thinking. Those applying this approach to thought treat meaning-making as quite distinct from the processes described in abstract representational models of cognition. Moving beyond sole considerations of neural operations, embodied cognition theory views meaning-making as deeply entwined in the body’s experience with surrounding environments. To fully unpack the importance of this shift in studying thought, this chapter begins by exploring the roots of embodied cognition theory; it then traces its rather recent entry into the sociological literature. The chapter moves on to summarize the growing number of empirical sociological works informed by embodied cognition theory, and it touches on the methodological debates surrounding work in this area. The chapter concludes by suggesting ways in which sociology can forward the embodied cognition project.
Elise Paradis, Warren Liew, and Myles Leslie
Drawing on an ethnographic study of teamwork in critical care units (CCUs), this chapter applies Henri Lefebvre’s ( 1991) theoretical insights to an analysis of clinicians’ and patients’ embodied spatial practices. Lefebvre’s triadic framework of conceived, lived, and perceived spaces draws attention to the role of bodies in the production and negotiation of power relations among nurses, physicians, and patients within the CCU. Three ethnographic vignettes—“The Fight,” “The Parade,” and “The Plan”—explore how embodied spatial practices underlie the complexities of health care delivery, making visible the hidden narratives of conformity and resistance that characterize interprofessional care hierarchies. The social orderings of bodies in space are consequential: seeing them is the first step in redressing them.
Benjamin H. Snyder
Formal and complex organizations influence how individuals experience time by providing a scaffolding for temporal cognition. This chapter presents a framework for understanding temporal cognition in organizations in terms of two key concepts: timescapes and time maps. Timescapes structure the rhythm and flow of organizational events, while time maps structure the ordering of those events “in” time. Drawing mainly on research about work and workplaces, the chapter highlights a central concern in the literature about the flexibility and rigidity of organizational temporal structures and their relationship to experiences of freedom and domination, control and chaos.
This chapter explores sociocultural frames of metaphor in the case of door metaphors to highlight the cognitive sociology of access. Bridging and building on insights in cognitive linguistics and cognitive sociology, it contends that metaphorical projection involves generic sociomental processes. To illustrate this theoretical claim, the chapter analyzes how social structures of relevance and markedness in the built environment pattern the conceptual structures of door metaphors. It also analyzes individuals’ strategic use of door metaphors to shape metaphorical politics of access in the abstract. Attempting to broaden both the cognitive sociology of metaphor and the sociology of access, it concludes with a discussion of the promise of a distinctly cognitive sociology of access.
Elena Martinescu, Onne Janssen, and Bernard A. Nijstad
This chapter proposes that emotions are strongly involved in the functioning of gossip as a mechanism that regulates interpersonal behavior. Emotions may both shape and result from the transmission of gossip, because gossip is associated with any events relevant to individuals’ need and goal fulfillment, and thus fundamentally related to their adaptive success and well-being. First, emotions motivate people to engage in gossip behavior, thereby operating as antecedents of gossip. Second, emotions are experienced by gossip senders and receivers as an intrinsic aspect of the gossiping activity, and therefore emotions are endogenous to gossip. Third, emotions arise in reaction to gossip and may function to prepare behavioral responses for gossip receivers and targets; thus, emotions are important consequences of gossip. The chapter concludes that people’s understanding of gossip may be substantially enhanced when emotions are taken into consideration.
Gordon P. D. Ingram
Analysis of the development of gossip and reputation during childhood can help with understanding these processes in adulthood, as well as with understanding children’s own social worlds. Five stages of gossip-related behavior and reputation-related cognition are considered. Infants seem to be prepared for a reputational world in that they are sensitive to social stimuli; approach or avoid social agents who act positively or negatively to others, respectively; and point interaction partners toward relevant information. Young children engage in verbal signaling (normative protests and tattling) about individuals who violate social norms. In middle childhood, the development of higher-order theory of mind leads to a fully explicit awareness of reputation as something that can be linguistically transmitted. Because of this, preadolescents start to engage in increased conflict regarding others’ verbal evaluations. Finally, during adolescence and adulthood, gossip becomes more covert, more ambiguous, and less openly negative. The driving force behind all these changes is seen as children’s progressive independence from adults and dependence on peer relationships.
Francis T. McAndrew
Gossip is a more complicated and socially important phenomenon than most people think, and campaigns to stamp out gossip in workplaces and other social settings overlook the fact that gossip is part of human nature and an essential part of what makes social groups function as well as they do. This chapter takes the position that gossip is an evolutionary adaptation and that it is the primary tool for monitoring and managing the reputation of individuals in society. An interest in the affairs of other people is a necessary component of being a socially competent person, and the chapter explores the multi-dimensional nature of gossip-related social skills. It pays special attention to “gossip as a social skill,” rather than as a character flaw, and presents insights into related phenomena such as how people use social media such as Facebook.
Nicole H. Hess and Edward H. Hagen
The chapter explores an evolutionary, strategic account of gossip—the exchange of reputation-relevant information—arguing that gossip can be used to increase the reputations of oneself or one’s allies, relative to the reputations of competitors, in order to increase access to contested group resources. The chapter compares gossip with another strategy that can be used to deter competitors, physical aggression. It reviews developmental research on physical and nonphysical aggression, evolutionary accounts of physical and nonphysical aggression in humans, and socioecological accounts of competition for resources in nonhuman primates. It also discusses aspects of human socioecology in small-scale societies where resource competition can lead to physical aggression and/or the strategic use of gossip in reputation manipulation. The chapter argues that, whereas physical aggression predominates in competition between groups, when competition for resources is occurring within a group, gossip is superior to physical aggression as a competitive strategy.
Joseph M. Whitmeyer
Conceptions of the human individual lie at the heart of all group process theories. Applying evolutionary reasoning—reasoning concerning what predispositions are likely to have evolved—to those conceptions can make the conceptions more accurate and thus improve theories based on them. This chapter discusses exchange processes, identity processes, and status processes. For exchange processes, evolutionary reasoning suggests numerous predispositions that would affect exchange, many to cope with the problem of cheating by others and ourselves. In fact, evolutionary reasoning suggests that concerns with our own identity may exist principally to improve our exchange outcomes. Concerning status processes, evolutionary reasoning suggests that awarding prestige must have evolved in the context of exchange, such that the person receiving prestige also incurs performance obligations. These points and others lead to several suggestions of areas for future research and specific predictions.
The argument developed in this chapter is that gossip and reputation constitute elements of social intelligence; they are intrinsically linked social psychological processes adapted to human needs to sustain and successfully navigate the complex social worlds humans inhabit. First, gossiping serves an informal social control function, sensitizing social actors to the reputational costs of bad behavior. Second, however, attention to gossip, and skilled appraisal of the information it provides, feeds into reputational judgments of personality and character, allowing these judgments to serve as more reliable predictions about others. These claims are tested against available research evidence, while gaps in the evidential framework are identified as foci for future work.
Most accounts of metaphorical creativity from a cognitive linguistic perspective build on the idea that there are conventional correspondences (mappings) between well-established domains (a source and a target) and that metaphorical creativity occurs when new mappings are added to the conventional ones. But, in many cases, a fuller account of metaphorical creativity is necessary. This chapter argues, relying on previous work, that many cases of creativity cannot be explained unless close attention is paid to the role of context in metaphorical creativity. Its specific suggestion is that it is important to try to be coherent not only with universal embodiment as a major factor in metaphorical conceptualization but also with several other factors that regulate the conceptualization of the world, such as the situational, discourse, and cognitive-conceptual context. This coherence with context results in the creation of context-induced metaphors that are often novel and unconventional.