Number 1 (2006)

Kofta, M. (2006). Perspectives of agent and recipient: Beyond the dichotomy

74 views 10 października, 2006 admin 1

Mirosław Kofta
Faculty of Psychology, University of Warsaw
Abstract:
Until recently, research on action control and on the content of social information processing formed quite distant, separate domains of psychological inquiry. The work of Wojciszke and Baryła provides a highly promising attempt of bridging these two fields of investigation. In particular, they hypothesize (and present compelling evidence in support of the idea) that being in a position of the agent of a goal-directed activity strongly promotes access to ability categories, whereas being in a position of a recipient of another person’s intended action strongly promotes access to communal (e.g. interpersonal) categories. In my comment I address three questions. First, I propose to “go beyond the dichotomy” to consider the importance of the position of a neutral (uninvolved) observer. In contrast to agent and recipient, the neutral observer may be able to engage in more complex and less biased processing of social information. Second, I suggest that not only position in an interaction, but also the content of the goal matters: It seems reasonable to assume that an agent with a pro-social goal will have at least partial access to communal categories. Finally, I suggest that the communal perspective – considered by the Authors as a unified entity – may actually be comprised of two distinct qualities: interpersonal content and intergroup content. So far, the research of Wojciszke and Baryła has been focused on the interpersonal, not intergroup perspective.

Keywords: action control, competence vs. communal contents, uninvolved observer, prosocial goals, interpersonal vs. intergroup relations
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Kofta, M. (2006). Perspectives of agent and recipient: Beyond the dichotomy. Psychologia Społeczna, 1, 39-42.
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