Social psychology at the crossroads: Its encounter with cognitive and ecological psychology and the interactive perspective



This article discusses the implications for social psychology of recent developments in the neighbouring fields of cognitive and ecological psychology. The authors stress the importance of studying the cognitive processes directly instead of inferring them as hypothetical constructs from aggregate responses. This paradigmatic shift implies a change in the conduct of research from the traditional nomothetic perspective to a neo-idiographic one. A method of representational contextualization is offred to generate the affective and cognitive deep structure from surface, first order data. This structure identified as the internal environment, reflects simultaneously the construction of reality by a situated individual and the recoding rules operating in such a construction.