Mentalization of Social Psychology Is a Sign of Its Maturity

Authors

  • Mirosław Kofta

Abstract

Dariusz Doliński’ (2018, this issue) analysis strongly suggests that social psychologists are no longer interested in studying real human behavior and have switched their attention to internal cognitive processing and its interplay with motivational and affective phenomena. I propose to call this phenomenon ‘the mentalization shift’. In my commentary three issues are addressed: (i) Why has this phenomenon occured? (ii) Is it really so that we have ceased to study behavior, or rather we still do that, albeit differently? (iii) And, finally, is the mentalization of present-day social psychology something that is uniformly bad, or just a sign of the field’s maturing process? Nobody would oppose that modern social psychology offers more and more sophisticated instruments for explaining rather than for predicting and controlling human behavior. However, at an inevitable cost incurred by the advancement of our theoretical thinking, this is a sign of an increasing maturity of social psychology as a science rather than symptom of its deterioration.