This chapter discusses the limits of the cognitive view of the mind, most significantly that it attributed the skills and processes of judging, evaluating, and meaning making to pre-assigned information. However, the mind is not a machine of mere inputs and outputs. Instead, according to postcognitive researchers, the human mind is “embodied” and reliant on unconscious judgments and knowledge about the world accumulated intuitively in interaction with the world and other people. Therefore, the post-cognitive view posits that people are active—not passive—participants in the generation of meaning by judging, evaluating, and engaging in transformational interactions: they enact a world. The chapter then considers the limitations of laboratory-controlled studies concerning prejudice and conflict reduction and introduces the concept of “action research.” Coined by the psychologist Kurt Lewin, the term “action research” refers to the triangle of research, training, and action in producing social change. To date, the relatively few studies conducted in this area have yielded no reliable, durable, observable evidence, in part because most of this research has relied on traditional cognitive theories of the mind. Personal histories, memories, and emotions were not considered. The postcognitive revolution, however, recognizes the need for a parallel “affective revolution” to help understand how the emotions are related to the biology of cognition and more specifically to judgments. Moreover, the evolutionary advantage of an affective system is initially evident as a danger signal system.
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