You are here

Affect, Behavior, and Cognition

15 February, 2016 - 10:55

Learning Objectives

  1. Define and differentiate affect, behavior, and cognition as considered by social psychologists.
  2. Summarize the principles of social cognition.

Social psychology is based on the ABCs of affect, behavior, and cognition. In order to effectively maintain and enhance our own lives through successful interaction with others, we rely on these three basic and interrelated human capacities:

  1. Affect (feelings)
  2. Behavior (interactions)
  3. Cognition (thought)
Figure 1.5 Human beings rely on the three capacities of affect, behavior, and cognition, which work together to help them create successful social interactions. 

You can see that these three aspects directly reflect the idea in our definition of social psychology—the study of the feelings, behaviors, and thoughts of individuals in the social situation. Although we will frequently discuss each of the capacities separately, keep in mind that all three work together to produce human experience. Now let’s consider separately the roles of cognition, affect, and behavior.