Originally published in 1985, this book was an attempt at a comprehensive review of the psychology of action in various areas of psychology. It is also an attempt to bridge two languages and traditions in psychology: German and Anglo-American. Although Anglo-American psychology had had an enormous influence on German psychology, the influence had not gone the other way around – at least not in recent years. Therefore, this book attempts to get the two traditions to speak with each other. The main article, from one language area, and the following discussion, from the other language area, together result in an extensive treatment of an action-theoretic approach in the respective psychological area; thus, both the main article and "discussion" should be read together.
Preface. Action Theory: An Introduction Michael Frese and John Sabini. Part 1: Historical Traditions and Phylogenesis of Action 1. " Purposive Behavior" in Psychology and Philosophy: A History Maury Silver 2. Stages in the Development of Tool Behavior in the Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) Volker Schurig 3. An Action-Theory Perspective of the Tool-Using Capacities of Chimpanzees and Human Infants Kim G. Dolgin Part 2: Fundamentals of Action Theory 4. Motivation, Intention, and Emotion: Goal Directed Behavior from a Cognitive-Neuroethological Perspective Charles R. Gallistel 5. Anticipation as a Basic Principle in Goal Directed Action Michael Stadler and Theo Wehner 6. Perception and Action Claes von Hofsten 7. The Role of Invariant Structures in the Control of Movement Ulric Neisser 8. Thinking and Action Franz Reither and Thea Stäudel 9. Action: Decision Implementation Strategies and Tactics Lee Roy Beach 10. From Wishes to Action: The Dead Ends and Short Cuts on the Long Way to Action Heinz Heckhausen and Julius Kuhl 11. The Dynamics of Intention Virginia Blankenship 12. Goal Directed Behavior as a Source of Stress: Psychological Origins and Consequences of Inefficiency Wolfgang Schönpflug 13. Toward an Understanding of Efficiency and Inefficiency in Human Affairs: Discussion of Schönpflug’s Theory Richard S. Lazarus 14. Action in Development––Development in Action Michael Chapman and Ellen A. Skinner 15. Action-Theory Perspective in Research on Social Cognition Rainer K. Silbereisen 16. The Role of Power in Social-Exchange Relationships Michael Athay and John M. Darley 17. Some Contributions of Action Theory to Social Psychology: Social Action and Social Actors in the Context of Institutions and an Objective World John Sabini, Michael Frese and Debra Kossman Part 3: Application of Action Theory 18. Activity: A Fruitful Concept in Industrial Psychology Winfried Hacker 19. Multiple Goals and Flexible Procedures in the Design of Work Donald E. Broadbent 20. Action Theory in Clinical Psychology Norbert Semmer and Michael Frese 21. Missing Links in Action Theory Eric Klinger 22. Rational Plans, Achievement, and Education Jonathan Baron 23. On Problems of Rationality in Education Wolfgang Schnotz Part 4: Postscript Epilogue Walter Volpert. References. Author Index. Subject Index.