A Brief Guide to Social Cognitive Theories


Social Cognitive Theories

Social cognition is the study of social beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. Social cognition research provides an understanding of social interactions in various contexts such as relationships, organizations, education, and health care (Dennis & Shook). The following are some social cognitive theories that may be explored within this guide: grounded theory, attribution theory, social identity theory, and self-efficacy theory. Grounded Theory was developed by Glaser and Strauss which states that a researcher should start with a general idea about what they want to know or do before designing data collection methods for their investigation. Attribution Theory explores how people explain events in their environment by attributing causes to them based on internal or external factors. Social Identity Theory provides an understanding of social groups and social class. Self-efficacy theory is a social cognitive theory that examines the influence of self-beliefs (self-efficacy) on social behaviors within various contexts.

Why social cognitive theories matter

A person wearing a costume

Social cognitive theories are social and psychological constructs that provide a framework for understanding social behavior. The majority of social cognition research focuses on how people think about the social world, but there is also a significant body of work in this area devoted to how people think about themselves and their own social behaviors. This article will cover some basic concepts from social cognitive theory, as well as highlight some recent findings from the field.

– Social Cognition:

The term “social cognition” was coined by Edward Jones and Richard Nisbett (1972) to describe one’s ability to understand oneself and others in terms of mental processes such as perceiving, remembering, reasoning, judging; we sometimes refer to it simply as “thinking.” These processes occur when we interact with anyone and at any point in time.

– social and psychological constructs: social construct is something that is created or defined by society as a whole, for example, social standards. A psychological construct is a term used to describe the mental components of how we think about ourselves and others; we sometimes refer to them as “ideas.” Social cognitive theory is a social psychological construct that provides a framework for understanding social behavior.

– social behavior: behavior that occurs in social contexts and involves other people. For example, talking to someone or not following social norms are both social behaviors.

How social cognitive theories work

A boy sitting in front of a laptop

Several scholars have contributed to our understanding of social cognition. Here we will focus on social cognitive theories rather than social cognitive processes. Social cognitive theory, like social behavior itself, is multidimensional. It involves social perception (how we understand or perceive social situations), social judgment (our evaluation of these situations), and social action. These processes contain multiple components that are interrelated in an ongoing social interaction. Although social cognition scholars rarely discuss social behavior without reference to social cognitive theory, social behavior can be described independently of social cognition in terms of the behaviors we use to interact with others and how we learn these behaviors.

Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter
Subscribe to our monthly Newsletter