This suggestion was made in Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, or IPBS. The journal was founded in 1965, and the 'P' stood for "Physiological" until Jaan Valsiner became editor about a decade ago. Jaan has been working (successfully) to revitalize the journal by encouraging ongoing dialog, including both comment-legnth and article-legnth responses. A few paragraphs in the initial IPBS article were about Holt's relevance to ecological psychologists interested in social psychology, and responses ensued. The initial attempt was superficial, as it was only one of many points in the paper. A more focused version of the argument (taken from here) is shown below. It is worth noting explicitly that the goal was to explore what an 'ideal' contribution to social psychology would look like: "The type that makes it crucially important that [the contributors] are ecological psychologists; the type of contribution that only someone acting as an ecological psychologist could make. That is, the type of contribution that would allow someone to claim that Ecological Psychology had contributed to Social Psychology, rather than merely claiming that the same people had done both ecological research and social research."
1) Ecological Psychology is the study of perception based on several ideas, including the availability of patterns in ambient energy (e.g., ambient light) that specify properties of the world, allowing organisms to act accurately with respect to their environment.
2) Social Psychology is a discipline defined by the examination of things that qualify as “psychology,” but which researchers studying people-in-isolation cannot study. That is, Social Psychology is the study of things unique to social situations.
3) Many aspects in social situations are not unique to social situations. As such, it is clear to all involved that the standard empirical and theoretical apparatus of Ecological Psychology is fully applicable to the study of some aspects of social situations. Social situations are replete with physical affordances, opportunities to synchronize visible movements, etc.
4) Thus, the point of contention is purely whether or not ecological psychology can contribute to the study of the uniquely social. It is my impression that several ecological psychologists want to make such a contribution, and that several social psychologists are interested in seeing how it goes.
5) If ecological psychology is to make such a contribution, it must be the case that: a) there is something unique about social situations, and b) whatever is unique about social situations must be perceivable. If those two things are not true, Ecological Psychology will fare just fine, and Social Psychology will fare just fine, but Ecological Psychology is quite restricted in terms of the contribution it can make to Social Psychology.
6) The remainder of the paper attempted to work out how things present in social situations, but not present in interaction with mere-objects, could be perceived. I argued that social partners engage in mental processes, that there exists a tradition arguing that mental processes are visible, and that – not by mere coincidence – one of the main players in that tradition was Holt, who strongly influenced Gibson. I also pointed out that there are research programs indigenous to Ecological Psychology that fit quite easily into the larger context proposed. To illustrate this compatibility, I provided examples of intentional behavior, interpreted in the context of Shaw’s work on Intentional Dynamics and Lee’s work on Tau Coupling (see also Charles, 2011b). I also compared and contrasted the proposed framework with past theoretical work trying to merge Ecological and Social Psychology, including pointing out a few past proposals that were very similar.
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A summary of the merged [Holt-Gibson] position would be something like: Organisms perceptual systems are capable of resonating with information in ambient arrays that specify the behavioral orientation of their social partners and that specify the larger patterns of behavior into which particular behaviors fit. An even simpler way of summarizing the merged position would be: We can directly perceive other’s minds.
Well, that's it. If ecological psychologists were serious about 'repaying their debt' to social psychology, they would declare that we could perceive minds, and run with it. The IPBS articles have been surprisingly controversial, despite Michael Turvey's claim, at a recent ISEP, that I am merely presenting ideas which "we have all been thinking about for a long time anyway." Other authors in this series of paper include Tetsuya Kono, David Travieso, David M. Jacobs, Jorge Castro, and Enrique Lafuente. I have had the pleasure of a few good conversations with Kono and with Jacobs at the last few ICPA meetings. I hope that more comes out in IPBS, thought I am hoping at some point for something not so negative in tone. Any thoughts?