Social Cognition And Discursive Psychology Essay

Social Cognition And Discursive Psychology Essay

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Social psychology is a specific branch of psychology that employs a number of different theoretical perspectives in order to focus on the social nature of individuals within society (Augoustinos, Walker, and Donaghue 2014). Two examples of such perspectives that help do this are Social cognition and discursive psychology. This essay will critically assess both perspectives by both comparing and contrasting them in order to gain a better insight into their impact on social psychology.

Social cognition is a specific area of social psychology that seeks to understand how humans make sense of their social world and their role within it (László 2013). Having originally been founded from the concepts and methods of cognitive psychology, it is now one of the most dominant approaches within social psychology; focusing mainly on how cognitive processes can influence our social interactions (Augoustinos, Walker, and Donaghue 2014). Social cognition views these mental processes as fundamental to human behaviour and how individuals respond to changes in their social world (Moskowitz 2004).

Discursive psychology is another theoretical perspective used within modern social psychology. Unlike social cognition, it is a relatively new perspective and was initially formed as a novel approach to assessing issues within traditional social psychology such as the self, identity, attitudes etc. (Potter and Wetherell 1987). Discursive psychology is able to do this using methods such as discourse analysis which assesses how actions can be performed through the use of talk and texts i.e. an individual’s language during a speech (Potter 2011). In contrast to social cognition, discursive psychology views the role of language as key when assessing social ...


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...ctives. It is indeed true that there are a number of differences between the two and it has been made evident in the analysis above. Nevertheless, the main function for both perspectives is very similar. They both focus on advancing social psychology by gaining a deeper understanding into topics that have provided much debate over time. Both models may utilize distinct methodologies but this enables them to come to differing results and conclusions, which can certainly be used to better, understand the social nature of individuals within society (Augoustinos, Walker, and Donaghue 2014). For these reasons, it is important for social psychologists to take a non-reductionist approach when evaluating both perspectives as they can be used collectively to rework certain topics of interest in social psychology and thus better understand how individuals act, feel and think.

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