Toward an integration of cognitive and motivational perspectives on social inference: A biased hypothesis-testing model

Tom Pyszczynski, Jeff Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

408 Scopus citations

Abstract

The chapter proposes a model to integrate the cognitive and motivational perspectives on social inference. The model specifies (1) the conditions under which affective and motivational factors do and do not influence inferential processes and (2) the mechanisms through which affective and motivational processes influence inferential processes to produce biased conclusions. The chapter focuses on the role of a self-esteem motive in producing the self-serving attribution bias. This particular motive is chosen because a wide variety of theorists throughout the history of psychology have suggested that the need for self-esteem exerts a powerful influence on people's cognitions and behavior. It should be pointed out; however, the model is quite general and applicable to the mechanisms through which other motives influence inferences as well. Influenced by recent developments in cognitive psychology and information processing, the theorists focus on the way people encode and organize—the retrieve information and on the knowledge structures—transformation rules and heuristics that are used to make inferences of various kinds. The chapter briefly discusses some of the major influences on various steps in the sequence when the only goal of the process is to arrive at an accurate attribution for the observed event.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-340
Number of pages44
JournalAdvances in Experimental Social Psychology
Volume20
Issue numberC
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1987

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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