Understanding the mental roots of social perceptions and behaviors: An integrated information-processing perspective

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Crick and Dodge's (1994) social information processing (SIP) model asserts that SIP –the mental processes activated when humans encounter social situations and need to produce a response - is a strong predictor of social behavior. However, because SIP measurement is typically limited to conscious, explicit, and subjectively-reported responses, current SIP research may not capture the subtlety of this internal process, and critical components may remain obscured. Accordingly, the present essay takes an information processing perspective to propose ways to assess currently unattended levels of processing that could further our understanding of the mental mechanisms driving social information processing and consequent social behaviors. We focus on four levels of analysis that offer a thorough inspection of the ways by which social representations evolve. First, we discuss the interplay between implicit and explicit processes in SIP affecting social perceptions and behaviors. Second, we distinguish between perceptual and post-perceptual components of encoding and interpretation of social scenarios. Third, we discuss the evolvement of social representations over the course of processing. Finally, we look at the combined effect of prior knowledge and the actual sensory evidence in real-world situations. With terms and advanced methods borrowed from cognitive psychological research, this general perspective offers a more refined model of SIP that may better account for a wide range of social decision making and behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere06168
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Bayesian approach
  • Information processing
  • Social behavior
  • Social cognition
  • Social information processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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