The Dynamical Perspective in Personality and Social Psychology

Robin R. Vallacher, Stephen J. Read, Andrzej Nowak
2002 Personality and Social Psychology Review  
Human experience reflects the interplay ofmultiple forces operating on various time scales to promote constantly evolving patterns of thought, emotion, and action. The complexity and dynamism ofpersonal and social phenomena have long been recognized, but capturing thesefeatures ofpsychologicalprocess represents a serious challengefor traditional research methods. In this article, we introduce basic concepts and methodsfrom the study ofnonlinear dynamical systems, and we outline the relevance of
more » ... these ideas and approachesfor investigating phenomena at different levels ofpsychological reality. We suggest that the dynamicalperspective is ideally suited to capture the emergence and maintenance ofglobal properties in a psychological system, andfor investigating the time-dependent relation between external influences and a system's internally generatedforces. Althoughfairly new to personality and socialpsychology, the dynamicalperspective has been implemented with respect to a wide variety ofphenomena, utilizing both empirical methods and computer simulations. This diversity oftopics and methods is reflected in the articles comprising the special issue.
doi:10.1207/s15327957pspr0604_01 fatcat:auimca2i7jcx5emq2luj2kklk4