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Psychol Sci. 2017 May;28(5):578-586. doi: 10.1177/0956797616689248. Epub 2017 Mar 13.

Solitary Discourse Is a Productive Activity.

Author information

1
Teachers College, Columbia University.

Abstract

Young adults received information regarding the platforms of two candidates for mayor of a troubled city. Half constructed a dialogue between advocates of the candidates, and the other half wrote an essay evaluating the candidates' merits. Both groups then wrote a script for a TV spot favoring their preferred candidate. Results supported our hypothesis that the dialogic task would lead to deeper, more comprehensive processing of the two positions, and hence a richer representation of them. The TV scripts of the dialogue group included more references to city problems, candidates' proposed actions, and links between them, as well as more criticisms of proposed actions and integrative judgments extending across multiple problems or proposed actions. Assessment of levels of epistemological understanding administered to the two groups after the writing tasks revealed that the dialogic group exhibited a lesser frequency of the absolutist position that knowledge consists of facts knowable with certainty. The potential of imagined interaction as a substitute for actual social exchange is considered.

KEYWORDS:

citizenship; cognitive complexity; discourse analysis; reasoning; role taking

PMID:
28485702
DOI:
10.1177/0956797616689248
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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