Two of the important concepts frequently used by social psychologists are the terms belief and group. Though much effort has been directed toward studying them, they have been rarely examined as related phenomena. While beliefs have been studied mainly on an intraindividual level, the traditional analysis of groups has paid relatively little attention to beliefs as a group phenomenon. Within the first framework, social psychologists have been preoccupied with studying beliefs as characteristics of an individual. The studies of dissonance, impression formation, attribution, social cognition, or attitudes have mainly focused on the microprocesses of structure, formation, and change within a single person (see, for example, Abelson, Aronson, McGuire, Newcomb, Rosenberg, & Tannenbaum, 1968; Fiske & Taylor, 1984; Krech & Crutchfield, 1948; Markus & Zajonc, 1985; Wyer & Srull, 1984). At the same time, the students of groups, after the fiasco of McDougall’s (1920) attempt to introduce the concept of group mind, have not tried seriously to study cognitive products as group characteristics (Allport, 1968).
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