Structural Dynamics of Cognition: From Consistency Theories to Constraint Satisfaction
13 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2002
Date Written: 2002
We first offer a brief review of the history of Cognitive Consistency Theories in social psychology. After promising beginnings as an outgrowth of Gestalt theory, early consistency theories failed to yield a general account of the mechanisms by which attitudes are formed and decisions are made. However, over the past decade the principles underlying consistency theories have been revived in the form of connectionist models of constraint satisfaction. We then review experimental work on complex legal decision making that illustrates how constraint-satisfaction mechanisms can cause coherence shifts, thereby transforming ambiguous imputs into coherent decisions.
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