The social psychological topics that attract least attention in psySP have

The social psychological topics that attract least

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The social-psychological topics that attract least attention in psySP have either to do with interaction and communication directly or with the relationship to the larger surrounding social system. Certainly not all these topics are of equal importance. Indispensable, however, seem to be the dynamics of communication and interaction, as well as the socio-structural as- pects of language, roles and status, because these aspects are influential at any point in time of individual and interactive experience and action, especially in their relation to psychic pro- cesses. Many psychologists might object at this point that questions of persuasive communi- cation or interaction, for instance in the context of helping behavior or aggression, are central areas of psySP. This holds true insofar as psychic processing of individuals under social influ- ence is concerned. What is meant here, however, is the interactive dynamics of communicat- ing and action, which is considerably different from focussing on an individual under social influence or perhaps from focussing latently on the unilateral interaction between researchers and subjects; investigating more than one person at least means rising to a higher system level (see already Graumann, 1979); Thompson and Fine write: There is no ready substitute for social interaction in terms of understanding the nature of social behavior. Stated simply, asking research participants to imagine if they are interact- ing with someone or reacting to a person falls completely short” (1999, p. 295). Not least because of this, real interactions and dynamic theoretical and methodical ap- proaches have recently been propagated (Arrow, McGrath & Berdahl, 2000; Ickes et al., 1990; Vallacher, Read & Nowak, 2002), although hardly put into practice. To further substantiate the hypothesis of a predominantly focus on the individual, an analysis of important psySP journals of the years 2001-2005 was conducted 5 . These were the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , the Journal of Experimental Social Psychol- ogy , the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , the European Journal of Social Psy- chology and the Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie (ZfSP). Because of the large number of arti- cles, only every fourth article in order was classified and, because of the significantly smaller number of articles, every second in the Zeitschrift für Sozialpsychologie . The interrater-relia- bility was calculated at the 2005 JPSP with Cohen’s = 0,76. The central question was to what extent real interaction and/or communication of at least two persons had been empirically in- vestigated. Of the 404 social-psychological articles only 16 (4%) examined real interaction along with an analysis of its communication, a further 28 (7%) without an analysis of the on-
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Pleading for a more social Social Psychology 7 going communication. Although the interaction of several persons had also been examined in additional 16 cases (4%) with real test subjects and in 28 cases (7%) with confederates or fic-
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