Cognitive Consistency: A Fundamental Principle in Social Cognition (Hardback) book cover

Cognitive Consistency

A Fundamental Principle in Social Cognition

Edited by Fritz Strack

© 2012 – Guilford Press

494 pages

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About the Book

This volume provides an overview of recent research on the nature, causes, and consequences of cognitive consistency. In 21 chapters, leading scholars address the pivotal role of consistency principles at various levels of social information processing, ranging from micro-level to macro-level processes. The book's scope encompasses mental representation, processing fluency and motivational fit, implicit social cognition, thinking and reasoning, decision making and choice, and interpersonal processes. Key findings, emerging themes, and current directions in the field are explored, and important questions for future research identified.


"With chapter authors including central figures in attitudes and social cognition, this book's ambitious scope is evident from initial chapters on consciousness, social neuroscience, connectionism, and fluency, to concluding ones on stereotyping, social justice, and group processes. In between, chapters cover such diverse subjects as identity, motivational fit, implicit ambivalence, and regret, among many others, organized into major subareas of social cognition and social psychology. This volume joins a very small handful of worthy successors to Festinger’s A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance. More important, it resurrects, modernizes, and expands cognitive consistency theories in a way that makes a valuable contribution. I intend to use this book in my graduate course on social cognition. It should be useful in training the next generation of graduate students, while providing a novel and heuristic perspective for more advanced professionals. Gawronski and Strack have created an instant classic."--Donal E. Carlston, PhD, Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University

"From stellar editors and contributors, this superb volume draws attention to the significance of cognitive consistency as a basic principle of social information processing. Chapters cover a remarkable range: the significance of cognitive consistency for neural processes; connectionist models; different types of cognitive, motivational, implicit, and interpersonal processes; and connections to thinking, reasoning, decision making, and choice. This book is an absolute 'must' for researchers and doctoral students in psychology. It presents an intriguing, inviting, integrated perspective that bridges traditional subdisciplinary boundaries in psychology."--Gün R. Semin, PhD, Academy Professor, Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

"Cognitive consistency has been an implicit if not explicit construct in social psychology for over 60 years, cutting across both motivated reasoning and automaticity and playing a role in all phases of information processing, including attention and comprehension, information retrieval, inference and judgment, and behavioral decision making. This volume--edited and written by well-known psychologists with perspectives ranging from cognitive neuroscience to interpersonal relations--testifies to the breadth of issues to which consistency principles are potentially relevant. In combination, the chapters provide a valuable resource for cognitive and social psychologists and graduate students."--Robert S. Wyer, Jr., PhD, Department of Marketing, Chinese University of Hong Kong

Table of Contents

B. Gawronski, F. Strack, Cognitive Consistency as a Basic Principle of Social Information Processing. Part 1. Mental Representation. E. Morsella, P. Zarolia, A. Gazzaley, Cognitive Conflict and Consciousness. E. Harmon-Jones, C. Harmon-Jones, D.M. Amodio, A Neuroscientific Perspective on Dissonance, Guided by the Action-Based Model. S.J. Read, D. Simon, Parallel Constraint Satisfaction as a Mechanism for Cognitive Consistency. Part 2. Fluency and Fit. P. Winkielman, D.E. Huber, L. Kavanagh, N. Schwarz, Fluency of Consistency: When Thoughts Fit Nicely and Flow Smoothly. S. Topolinski, Nonpropositional Consistency. E.T. Higgins, Motivational Fit. Part 3. Implicit Social Cognition. D. Cvencek, A.G. Greenwald, A.N. Meltzoff, Balanced Identity Theory: Review of Evidence for Implicit Consistency in Social Cognition. R.E. Petty, P. Briñol, I. Johnson, Implicit Ambivalence. C.H. Jordan, C. Logel, S.J. Spencer, M.P. Zanna, Discrepancies between Implicit and Explicit Attitudes, Prejudices, and Self-Esteem: A Model of Simultaneous Accessibility. Part 4. Thinking and Reasoning. P.N. Johnson-Laird, Mental Models and Consistency. A.W. Kruglanski, G. Shteynberg, Cognitive Consistency as Means to an End: How Subjective Logic Affords Knowledge. Part 5. Decision Making and Choice. F. van Harreveld, I.K. Scheider, H. Nohlen, J. van der Pligt, The Dynamics of Ambivalence: Evaluative Conflict in Attitudes and Decision Making. L. Bullens, J. Förster, F. van Harreveld, N. Liberman, Self-Produced Decisional Conflict Due to Incorrect Metacognitions. K.D. Markman, D.R. Beike, Regret, Consistency, and Choice: An Opportunity × Mitigation Framework. J. Stone, Consistency as a Basis for Behavioral Interventions: Using Hypocrisy and Cognitive Dissonance to Motivate Behavior Change. Part 6. Interpersonal Processes. E. Walther, R. Weil, Balance Principles in Attitude Formation and Change: The Desire to Maintain Consistent Cognitions about People. B. Gawronski, P.M. Brochu, R. Sritharan, F. Strack, Cognitive Consistency in Prejudice-Related Belief Systems: Integrating Old-Fashioned, Modern, Aversive, and Implicit Forms of Prejudice. J.W. Sherman, T.J. Allen, D.L.M. Sacchi, Stereotype Confirmation and Disconfirmation. K. van den Bos, M. Maas, Adhering to Consistency Principles in an Unjust World: Implications for Sense-Making, Victim Blaming, and Justice Judgments. E.S. Park, R.S. Tindale, V.B. Hinsz, Interpersonal Cognitive Consistency and the Sharing of Cognition in Groups.

About the Editor

Bertram Gawronski, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. His research investigates the mental underpinnings and behavioral consequences of spontaneous and deliberate evaluations of objects, individuals, groups, and social issues. Dr. Gawronski's work has been recognized with honors including the Theoretical Innovation Prize from SPSP, the Career Trajectory Award from SESP, the Early Career Award from the International Social Cognition Network, the Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Research and Innovation of Ontario, and the Charlotte-and-Karl-Bühler Award from the German Psychological Society. He is a fellow of APS, SESP, and SPSP.

Fritz Strack, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Würzburg, Germany. His research focuses on reflective and impulsive processes underlying social behavior. Dr. Strack's work has been recognized with the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Thomas M. Ostrom Award from the Person Memory Interest Group for outstanding lifetime contributions to theory and research in the field of social cognition, and the Wilhelm Wundt Medal from the German Psychological Society for outstanding achievements in the field of psychology.

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