Dynamical Social Psychology  book cover
1st Edition

Dynamical Social Psychology

  • This format cannot be shipped to your selected country.
ISBN 9781572303539
Published December 9, 1998 by Guilford Press
318 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Traditional approaches to social psychology have proven highly successful in identifying causal mechanisms underlying human thought and behavior. With the recent advent of the dynamical approach, it is now possible to assemble sets of such mechanisms into coherent systems. This book uses innovative concepts and tools to illuminate the processes by which individuals, groups, and societies evolve and change in a systemic, self-sustaining manner, at times seemingly independent of external influences. Readers learn how the dynamical approach facilitates novel predictions and insights into such social psychological phenomena as attitudes, social judgment, goal-directed behavior, attraction, and relationships. Featuring a wealth of charts and figures derived from original research and computer simulations, the volume is grounded in classic and contemporary theories of social psychology.

Table of Contents

1. Social Psychological Dynamics
2. The Dynamical Perspective
3. Dynamics of Social Judgment
4. Mental Dynamics in Action
5. Dynamics and Self Organization
6. Interpersonal Dynamics
7. Dynamics of Social Influence
8. The Individual and Society

View More



Robin R. Vallacher, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University and an affiliate of the Center for Complex Systems, University of Warsaw. Dr. Vallacher has written and edited four previous books concerned with theoretical and topical issues in social psychology. His published research, funded in part by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health, has addressed topics including group dynamics, distributive justice, person perception, self-awareness, moral behavior, the mental representation and control of action, individual differences in goal-directedness, self-presentation, moral judgment, and self-concept stability and change. Dr. Vallacher's current interest is developing dynamical models of social psychological phenomena, with special emphasis on the dynamics of self-understanding, social judgment, and close relationships.


The nonlinear dynamical approach provides an innovative way of understanding the real, complicated systems at the very heart of social psychology. The value of this approach is convincingly demonstrated in this well-written book. Nowak and Vallacher use many of their own original experiments and simulations to put topics such as social understanding and cognition, social influence, and interpersonal and group behavior into this new framework. This text is 'must' reading for all social psychologists--even the most traditional among us--who wish to stay abreast of the times. --Abraham Tesser, PhD, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia

'She loves me, she loves me not...' Social life is known for its changes, and for the changes that it puts us through. This book uses dynamical systems methods to capture such change processes in essential areas of social psychology. The ideas run thick and fast as the authors lay out in a most readable style how the new science of change illuminates topics from self and close relationships to social judgment and influence. --Daniel M. Wegner, PhD, University of Virginia

Individual behavior is governed by a complex set of phenomena, and the behavior of collectivities is even more complex. To effectively approach these areas of study, social scientists must seek to extract patterns and uniformities out of this complexity. It is a feat of some elegance that Nowak and Vallacher have succeeded in applying their methodology to the simplification--but not oversimplification--of complex collective systems. These authors are to be commended for their contribution. --Robert B. Zajonc, PhD, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University