The formation of beliefs in the interface of affective and cognitive processes

Fiedler, Klaus ; Bless, Herbert

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Document Type: Book chapter
Year of publication: 2000
Book title: Emotions and beliefs : how feelings influence thoughts
Page range: 144-170
Publisher: Frijda, Nico H. ; Manstead, Anthony R.S. ; Bem, Sacha
Place of publication: Cambridge
Publishing house: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 0-521-78734-3 , 0-521-77138-2 , 2-7351-0879-1 , 978-0-521-77138-2 ,978-0-521-78734-5 , 978-0-511-65990-4
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Publication language: English
Institution: School of Social Sciences > Mikrosoziologie u. Sozialpsychologie (Bless)
Subject: 300 Social sciences, sociology, anthropology
Abstract: In all the huge and wide-spread literature on the psychology of cognition and emotion, there is almost no reference to research on beliefs. To be sure, countless articles have been concerned with affective influences on memory, thinking, social judgment (Clore, Schwarz & Conway, 1994; Forgas, 1995; Isen, 1984), and other “close relatives” of beliefs. However, hardly anybody has directly addressed that class of cognitive states that are usually referred to as beliefs. In the present chapter, we are going to argue that, in spite of this neglect, beliefs should be particularly sensitive to affective influences. Indeed, one might pretend that they are located at the very interface of emotion and cognition, characterized by all the conditions under which modern research predicts a strong impact of mood states on cognition. So what are the defining features of beliefs and why are they supposed to be especially sensitive to emotional influence? Defining features are idiomatic in everyday language. One most common distinction is between believing and knowing. Believing presupposes not having perfect knowledge but taking some risk and adding some internally generated inference in adopting an idea, goal, or argument. A second distinction is between believing and saying. In everyday language, to believe means not only saying something publicly, not just paying lip-service for the sake of compliance or social desirability, but refers to an authentic, privately held attitude. In other words, the person who believes in an idea has been really convinced and not only yielded to public pressure. The third distinction is related but not equivalent. Believing is not to distrust a provider of new information, but to take the truth and validity of social communication for granted.

Dieser Eintrag ist Teil der Universitätsbibliographie.

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