Cognitive polyphasia, themata and blood donation: between or within representation

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Publication details

Moloney, G, Williams, J, & Blair, DC 2012, 'Cognitive polyphasia, themata and blood donation: between or within representation', Papers on Social Representations, vol. 21, pp. 4.1-4.12.

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Cognitive polyphasia has typically been understood through the notion of situated knowledge. This paper adds to this body of work by suggesting that the processes involved in representation, namely themata, be considered in concert with the content of the representation. We present research that investigated why so few people in Australia donate blood when most people agree that blood donation is a worthwhile, altruistic act. Using word association data we show that the representational field associated with blood donation has contradictory normative and functional meanings that are not delineated by donor status. We suggest that the thema of self/other gives rise to a heterogeneous field that manifests as polyphasic responses bound to the salience of the social context.

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