chapter  5
8 Pages


WithCharles A. Kiesler

I’ll take my charge as the discussant of chapters on cognition and affect in its broadest sense. The collection of chapters in this volume represent (at least) two quite different theoretical-indeed metatheoretical-approaches and two quite different data bases. It would be difficult-narrow-minded in fact-to comment specifically on the chapters before me without considering the higher-level con­ text in which they occur. That higher-level context itself can be seen in more than one perspective. At one level we are discussing competing theoretical explana­ tions for complex human phenomena, a term chosen to be intentionally ambigu­ ous. In this view, the work of, say, Zajonc, Bower, and Mandler offer theoretical explanations for empirical domains that overlap. To the extent that they do overlap, the theories compete, and one should not miss the opportunity to induce a confrontation. In the process of confrontation, however, we hope to reach another level of discussion; that is, one can see the participants in this volume as collectively engaging in a broad gauge attempt to understand more of human processes than has hitherto been tried in detail. The empirical and theoretical work on both cognition and affect have lived relatively isolated lives in social psychology, which used both constructs, but which until recently made little contact with more specialized approaches to each.