A model of how the human cognitive system operates in its natural social context is presented. The model focuses on both input and output variables that have been ignored in the development of most other cognitive theories. On the input end, the model emphasizes the role of prior knowledge and the goal-directed nature of social information processing. On the output end, the model emphasizes various types of social judgments and affective reactions, as well as memory and behavioral decision making. The model is designed to provide a general conceptual framework for integrating much of contemporary social cognition research. As such, it is consistent with, and occasionally subsumes, more molecular theories of specific social phenomena. Unique predictions of the model and the empirical evidence bearing on them are discussed, and several directions for future research are presented.
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