Following Carugati, F., & Selleri, P. (2011): Are social representations an architecture of cognitions? A tentative model for extending the dialogue. Papers on Social Representations, 3(2), 134-151. Reprinted.

  • Felice Carugati University of Bologna
  • Patrizia Selleri University of Bologna
  • Ettore Scappini University of Bologna


The purpose of this article is to examine some issues in social representations theory, distinguishing among different terms, concepts and theoretical approaches. A theoretical model of social representations as an architecture of cognitions (empirical indicators, conceptions, theories) is suggested and tested through a re-analysis of the data presented in Mugny & Carugati's monograph (1985) about social representations of intelligence. A confirmatory second-order analysis (LISREL) has been conducted with the original sample and with various sub-samples (women; 'mysterious and ignorant' women; 'non mysterious-non ignorant' women; mothers non teachers; teachers non mothers). The strategy of testing the model in sub-samples of women goes with the role, already illustrated in the monograph on intelligence, played by the subjective inexplicability about a target-topic, and by social positions and social identities of subjects. The theoretical model is then discussed within the general framework of the sociogenesis and socialization of social representations, as significant socio-cognitive structures of different levels of symbolic productions.