E. Tory Higgins

in Beyond Pleasure and Pain

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199765829
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918966 | DOI:

Series: Social Cognition and Social Neuroscience


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How do people strive for truth and establish what's real? What makes something real? What establishes reality? This chapter reviews answers to these questions, focusing on the different motivational factors that underlie establishing reality rather than on the cognitive mechanisms. It begins with the questions of “what happened” and “why did it happen” because as two major sources of establishing what's real they have been central to the issue of truth and reality over the past half-century. Following this, the chapter discusses how reality is established from cognitive consistency. Next, it considers how different truth-seeking strategies are used to establish reality by different individuals and in different situations. Finally, the roles of social reality and shared reality in establishing what's real are described.

Keywords: real; motivation; truth-seeking strategies; social reality; shared reality

Chapter.  23426 words. 

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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