Jeong-Nam Kim, James E. Grunig | American Behavioral Scientist
We conceptualize two cognitive modi operandi by which lay individuals (cf. experts) solve everyday life problems: cognitive retrogression and cognitive progression. The key demarcation between these two strategies is when a conclusion is finalized and how one’s cognitive and communicative efforts are expended in a problematic situation. Using these two concepts of cognitive strategies in problem solving, we explicate the emerging processes of cognitive arrest and epistemic inertia in the digital age and changing information environment. We apply the cognitive and communicative account to an exemplary case of cognitive arrest among lay publics: that of conspiracism and close-mindedness.