Whatever people are doing may be interpreted in a variety of ways, and exactly the same act may be seen differently by various people. I believe that were it not for this fascinating ambiguity, psychology would not be needed at all. Of course, we know that information activation (priming) is the basic mechanism underlying diverging and changing interpretations. But were it the sole mechanism, peoples’ interpretations and experience would be chaotic and unpredictable, since every concept could be activated and influence what people can see.
Trying to find some order here, I have looked for default options of the mind (the interpretations of humans that are routinely made unless some specific goal recruits categories relevant for the goal). In this work, I have (re)discovered two basic dimensions of social cognition – the communal one (warmth – whether the observed person is good or bad, moral or immoral, social vs. antisocial) and agentic one (whether the person is competent or incompetent, efficient or inefficient in pursuing those good or bad goals). These two dimensions appear to be independent and are ubiquitous in social cognition – in the perception of persons, the self, social groups and institutions. The two content areas are also processed in different ways, so the differences should not be averaged away. Whereas communal content dominates perceptions of others, agentic content dominates self-perception, including self-esteem.
Pursuing these issues, I became a professor of psychology, currently at the Warsaw School of Social Psychology (Dean of Sopot Campus). I have also served as an Associate Editor of the European Journal of Social Psychology (2002-2005) and as a member of the Executive Committee of European Association of Social Psychology (2005-2011).
- Abele, A. E., Uchronski, M., Suitner, C., & Wojciszke, B. (2008). Towards an operationalization of the fundamental dimensions of agency and communion: Trait content ratings in five countries considering valence and frequency of word occurrence. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 1202-1217.
- Abele, A. E., & Wojciszke, B. (2014). Communal and agentic content in social cognition: A Double Perspective Model. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology, in press
- Abele, A., & Wojciszke, B. (2007). Agency and communion from the perspective of self versus others, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 751-763.
- Cislak, A., & Wojciszke, B. (2008). Agency and communion are inferred from actions serving interests of self or others. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 1103-1110.
- Parzuchowski, M., & Wojciszke, B (2014). Hand over heart primes moral judgment and behavior. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, in press
- Pietraszkiewicz, A., & Wojciszke, B. (2014). Joy, schdenfreude, sorrow, and resentment as reponses restoring balance incognitive units. Social Psychology, in press.
- Szymkow, A., Chandler, J., IJzerman, H. Parzuchowski, M., Wojciszke, B. (2013). Warmer hearts warmer rooms: How positive communal traits increase estimates of ambient temperature. Social Psychology, 44,167-176.
- Wojciszke, B. (2005). Affective concomitants of information on morality and competence. European Psychologist, 10, 60-71.
- Wojciszke, B. (2005). Morality and competence in person and self-perception. European Review of Social Psychology, 16, 155-188.
- Wojciszke, B. (1994). Multiple meanings of behavior: Construing actions in terms of competence and morality. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 67, 222-232.
- Wojciszke, B., & Abele, A. E. (2008). The primacy of communion over agency and its reversals in evaluations. European Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 1139-1147.
- Wojciszke, B., Abele, A. E., & Baryła, W. (2009). Two dimensions of interpersonal attitudes: Liking depends on communion, respect depends on agency. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 973-990.
- Wojciszke, B., Baryła, W., Parzuchowski, M., Szymkow-Sudziarska, A., Abele, A. E. (2011). Self-esteem is dominated by agentic over communal information. European Journal of Social Psychology. 41, 617-627.
- Wojciszke, B., Bazinska, R., & Jaworski, M. (1998). On the dominance of moral categories in impression formation. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 1245-1257.
- Wojciszke, B., Brycz, H., & Borkenau, P. (1993). Effects of information content and evaluative extremity on positivity and negativity biases. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 64, 327-336.
- Wojciszke, B., Sobiczewska, P. (2013). Memory and self-esteem: The role of agentic and communal content. Social Psychology, 44, 95-103.
- Wojciszke, B., & Struzynska-Kujalowicz, A. (2007). Power influences self-esteem. Social Cognition, 25, 510-532.
- Wojciszke, B. (2012). Agency and communion as basic dimensions of social cognition. In M. W. Eysenck, M. Fajkowska, T. Maruszewski (Eds.) Personality Cognition and Emotion (pp. 123-140). New York: Elliot Werner Publications.
- Wojciszke, B., & Cislak, A. (2006). Self-interest in social and political perception. In A. Golec de Zavala and K. Skarzynska (Eds.), Understanding Social Change: Political Psychology in Poland (pp. 51-70). New York: Nova Science Publishers.
- Agency and Communion in Social Cognition
- Introduction to Social Psychology
- Master Thesis seminar
- Methodology of Psychology
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