Cognition and Epistemology in Social Environment

According to lecture 4, the main concept we have learnt is about cognition and epistemology.

What is Social Cognition?



Cognition is the process which we gain information through perception, memory, attention, thought and learning. After we know the information, we may express and share it through communicating with others by using our own language.

With the help of social environment, the communication can be enhanced. For example, online social media like facebook, Instagram, twitter or snapchat are acted as platforms for human individuals to socialize with other community, or even publicize their own views. Since different users update their status and exchange their thoughts freely through the social platforms, the social cognition can be facilitated and the social network can be expanded.


However, we may be easily influenced by others’ opinion due to Reciprocal Determinism. Our personal belief may be changed for matching the common view of the public. Moreover, there may be wrong message spread out through the social media. Due to the rapid growth of interaction in social network, those misleading information may result in serious consequence or even the problem of cyber harassment.

What is the relationship between Knowledge and Epistemology?

Sometimes, we share our belief which we think to be true. For unjustified information, it is not known as knowledge.

According to Oxford Dictionary, Knowledge is defined as facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education; the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.



According to Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Epistemology is the study of justified true belief, which is also defined as “theory of knowledge“. For the justification, the study of epistemology focus on the evidence of knowledge which include its sources, structure and limits. Moreover, the creation of knowlege and the way of propagation should also be concerned.


How can we acquire knowledge in social environment?



We originally learn knowledge by reading artifacts like books and documents. Internet facilitates the generation and distribution of online information artifacts:

One of the examples is Mass collaboration like Wikipedia, LibriVox, SourceForge, or even Youtube etc, which allow large number of individuals to work independently on a single topic of project. Users can effectively collaborate for modification of content. Besides, mass collaboration creates open source of variety of resources, thus enhancing the creation and sharing of the information artifacts.

On the other hands, the massive open online courses (MOOCs) allow online access of academic resources as well as encouraging participation of students and professors. MOOCs are acted as important tools for making knowledge easily reachable which result in a huge and positive impact on education.


Meta Collab, “Mass collaboration",

Massive Open Online Course,

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,"Epistemology",

























































































































































Cognition and Epistemology in Social Environment 有 “ 6 則迴響 ”

  1. I always confused with the difference between knowledge and epistemology, especially when professor said epistemology is the knowledge of knowledge which makes me dizzy. It is like recursion algorithm in programming, which easily lead my brain to overflow. But after reading your blog, suddenly I have a sense about epistemology, it is just how knowledge organized, stored, structured, processed in our brain, it’s the meta-knowledge. Just like algorithm compared to software. And for the 3rd party, I used to believe buying a book can be the most systematic way to study a new technology, but later on, I find it not necessary, information is exploded in Internet era, we can just learn what is needed urgently for us on Internet, it’s efficient and time-saving, I haven’t bought any tech book for long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Nice article Ivy. However, I am still a bit confused in your chapter of Mass Collaboration and MOOCs.

    We all agree that Mass Collaboration is very effective when building something or working in big projects which individual may difficult to achieve. It is actually a great achievement of human to have Wikipedia nowadays!

    However, when we compare the way we LEARN traditionally (e.g. reading books or internet ourselves) to the new ways mentioned (e.g. MOOCs), is it really more efficient in nature?

    Yes, materials in Wikipedia or MOOCs helps a lot when we are learning. However, we may only find materials useful instead of the collaboration with other users. Depends on the way of study, it could be even faster for us to read the materials ourselves than discussing with others.

    What do you think about the relationship between learning effectiveness vs collaboration? Would like to know more on this! Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Firstly, thank you so much for your comment.
      For Mass collaboration like Wikipedia, I agree that it is extremely efficient for learning nowadays. If we compare the way we learnt in the past, we only read books or discuss with others face to face. Due to the rapid growth of the use of internet and social media, platforms are formed for us to share our knowledge or information convienently. Through the discussion, we can learn from others and correct our mistakes.
      From my point of view, there is no conflict between effectiveness and collaboration. For the effectiveness of learning, it is related to our time management. Although we can find useful material which is enough to finish homework, knowledge is unlimited. By making use of the mass collaboration like Wikipedia and MOOCs, we can explore more and understand deeply through discussing with others.
      Hope I can answer your question, thank you.

  3. Thanks for the post which is clearly introducing the social cognition concepts. The contents is easy to read and informative at the same time. I like how you include the examples to illustrate further about how we usually acquire knowledge from our surroundings. It helps me to understand more about the concepts we learnt in class,

    Liked by 1 person


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