International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Public involvement and competent communities: Towards a social psychology of public participation
Terri Mannarini

This paper seeks to contribute to the debates about public involvement by suggesting how social psychology concepts can contribute to the theorization of public deliberation and the empirical analysis of participatory settings. The article addresses the critical issues concerning the psychosocial processes underlying deliberative settings that result from the relationship between individuals and groups. Personality dispositions, cognitive processes, and group dynamics are discussed. Specifically, personality traits, the role of social value orientation, need for cognitive closure, and need for cognition presented. Regarding cognition, socio-cognitive conflict and framing processes are examined. Finally, as far as group dynamics is concerned, two manifestations of social influence are presented, namely, persuasion and polarization. The paper concludes by highlighting the theoretical and practical implications for the design, implementation and evaluation of public involvement practices.

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