HomeADDU-SAS Graduate School Research Journalvol. 7 no. 1 (2010)

Thinking About Political Problems and Its Relationship to Political Attitudes: A Social Cognitive Approach

Raffy Jones Sanchez | Jim Rey Porcil | Sergen Corazon Davide

Discipline: Social Science, Political Science, Sociology



Causal attributions color the important facets of the decision-making of a person, a group, or even a society (Zucker & Weiner, 1993). Franzoi (2006:112) defines social cognition as the “process by which we analyze, remember, and use information about the social world.” The attributions people have for social phenomena, regardless of the truthfulness of the perceived cause for such, enable them to make sense of their social world (Franzoi, 2006). Social perceivers are therefore like “naive psychologists” making inferences about causal relationships and operating in the social world on the basis of such beliefs (Heider, 1958).


The impact of the attribution theory in understanding applied problems has been regarded as remarkable. The attributional framework has been employed to study several domains including achievement, helping, depression, and poverty. In political psychology, modern frameworks (Greenstein, 1992) emphasize the need to examine the social actors’ information-processing about the political environment to understand political responses. However, empirical investigations in this direction are scant. In the Philippines, studies on political behaviors and attitudes usually approach the topic from the standpoint of socialization. Researches focus on social factors such as kinship (Hollnsteiner, 1962; Lande, 1968), peer groups (Youngblood, 1972), families and schools (Sicat, 1976; Ortega, 1984), alliance system (Stone, 1973), involvement in labor, sectoral and cause-oriented groups (Carlos, 1985; Butalid, 1982), martial law and people power (Montiel, 1985; 1989; Licuanan, 1987), leadership and authoritarianism (Abinales, 1987; Montiel, 1989), and political structures (Montiel, 1986; Montiel & Mendoza 1990) to explain political behavior and mental life. Studies that explore political attitudes by looking into how Filipinos themselves make judgments about the causes of political realities remain to be nil.