Social cognition is meant to examine the process of meaningful social interaction. Despite the central involvement of language in this process, language has not received the focal attention that it deserves. Conceptualizing meaningful social interaction as the process of construction and exchange of meaning, the authors argue that language can be productively construed as a semiotic tool, a tool for meaning making and exchange, and that language use can produce unintended consequences in its users. First, the article shows a particular instance of language use to be a collaborative process that influences the representation of meaning in the speaker, the listener, and the collective that includes both the speaker and listener. It then argues that language use and social cognition may have reciprocal effects in the long run and may have significant implications for generating and maintaining cultural differences in social cognition.
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