Organization and discrepancy in cognitive structures

N. T. Feather

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    55 Citations (Scopus)


    Describes 3 structural models which have been applied to communication, recall, and attribution of responsibility, respectively. The models are stated in terms of graph theory and are used to represent abstract and perceived cognitive structures. The abstract structures are assumed to be balanced and are conceived as summaries or abstractions from past experience, internally consistent theories about what ought to be the case. The perceived structures, however, may be balanced or unbalanced and are coordinated to the immediate situation. Discrepancy between an unbalanced perceived structure and the corresponding balanced abstract structure is taken as a condition for cognitive adjustment, behavioral adjustment, or both. Possible ways of expanding the 3 models are discussed. More general theoretical issues are then considered particularly in regard to the problems of change and organization in abstract structures. Related approaches suggesting the emergence of a general paradigm are briefly noted. (3 P. Ref.) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)355-379
    Number of pages25
    JournalPsychological Review
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 1971


    • communication & recall & attribution of responsibility, cognitive structural models


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