Cognitive Thinking in the Individual Essay

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This indicated a significantly higher intent to return to the institution the following semester. While more study was necessary, it was clear here that even amongst university students, their motivation was focused on analytical rather than intuitive types of thinking (Luke, iv).

Constantine Sedikides and John J. Skowronski proposed what they called the "Law of Cognitive Structure Activation." This was presented in the journal called Psychological Inquiry in 1991.

In the first part of the study, sufficient already existing studies showing that a mental stimulus that is ambiguous enough to be encodable in response to multiple cognitive structures (such as constructs, scripts, events, or specific objects). The stimulus was to be encoded as an instance of a structure that is the most highly active in memory and the most semantically similar to the stimulus. Luke parameters for his law in the first part of the article. In the second part, the possible applications of the law to judgmental, personality, and behavioral processes. These span cognitive, clinical, developmental and social psychology as well (Sedikides, and Skowronski. 169).

Building upon this, Sedikides, Kenneth C. Herbst, Deletha P. Hardin and Gregory J. Dardis in a 2002 Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

expand upon this in another article where they explore where self-discipline of self-enhancement is linked to psychological benefits. It is also the case with personal and interpersonal liabilities such as excessive risk taking, social exclusion. Therefore, the structuring of social situations that tend to prompt people to keep self-enhancing beliefs in check can potentially confer personal and interpersonal advantages. In other words, discipline in the cognitive thinking process can enhance it.

The above authors examined in their study whether accountability can be made to serve this purpose. Accountability here was defined by them as the expectation to explain, justify and as well defend one's self-evaluations (for example, grades on an essay) to another person (their "audience"). In Experiment 1 they showed that this accountability curtails self-enhancement. In Experiment 2, they ruled out such audience concreteness and status as the explanations for this effect. In Experiment 3, they demonstrated that the accountability-induced self-enhancement reduction was due to identifiability. In Experiment 4, it was documented that there were identifiability decreases in self-enhancement due to a number of factors. These included the evaluation of expectancy, an accompanying focus on an individual's weaknesses, better memory for feedback, affirmation of a self-domain that is unrelated to the self-domain currently under threat, psychological distancing from others who take personal credit for success but who do not assign blame for failure. Finally, the withholding of information that will likely improve others was a factor (Sedikides, Hardin, Herbst, and Dardis, 592).


Certainly, the development of fully cognitive thinking is a complex issue that can not be simply explained. The subject goes beyond education and affluence. However, it is worth noting that this precious commodity is uncommon. It should be the mission of education in general and psychology in particular to help unlock the minds of individuals and to reach their full human potential. This is the ultimate revolution in human consciousness and needs to more effectively carried out to better humanity. The more fully functioning minds that exist, the better in a world where mindless actions at all levels of society cause so much suffering and pain. This is precisely where the cognitive perspective in psychology comes into play. It considers the role of an individual's mind in behavior. This includes how we perceive and how we represent the world, learn and remember our information and to solve our problems. In other words, a win-win situation for humanity.


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Luke, C.C. "An Examination of Psychological Factors That Predict College

Student Success and Retention." Dissertation. University of Tennessee.

Knoxville, TN. August 2009. In Person.


Sedikides, C., D.P. Hardin, K.C. Herbst, and G.J. Dardis. "Accountability as a Deterrent to Self-Enhancement: The Search for Mechanisms." Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 83.3 (2002): 592 -- 605. Print.

Sedikides, C., and J.J. Skowronski. "The Law of Cognitive Structure Activation."

Psychological Inquiry. 2.2 (1991): 169 -- 184. Print.

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