Politeness can be viewed as a theoretical construct existing at the intersection of cultural, social, cognitive, and linguistic processes. Because of this, an understanding of politeness requires an understanding of its social-cognitive underpinnings, and conversely, an understanding of many social-cognitive phenomena can be improved by considering the role played by politeness in those processes. In this article I review research on the social-cognitive underpinnings of politeness, focusing particularly on the concepts of face and face-work and the relationship between linguistic politeness and several social-cognitive variables. I also discuss the relevance of politeness phenomena for several research areas in social and cognitive psychology, including person perception and impression management, cross-cultural communication, and language comprehension.
© Walter de Gruyter