A blog about problems in the field of psychology and attempts to fix them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ecological and Social Psychology - Is it Holt or Nothing?!?

My initial article connecting Holt and Ecological Psychology (see discussion here) generated two comments. The comments covered many points, but the most consistent thread was that Ecological Psychology had studied social behavior and had not needed to turn to Holt to do so. The journal (Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, IPBS) invited me to respond. Taking the strongest tact I could, the title of the reply focused on the main bone of contention: "Ecological Psychology and Social Psychology: It is Holt,or Nothing!" (full text available here). While that might have been a bit extreme, seven years later I still believe that if it overstepped, it was not by much. The central problem is that Ecological Psychology is fundamentally a theory of perception, while Social Psychology is fundamentally about how congregations of things with minds are different than collections of things without minds; for Ecological Psychology to truly contribute to Social Psychology, the assertion must be made, at some level, that we can perceive the things that make the interactions of things with minds interesting... we must, at some level, be able to perceive minds. As I set up in the text: