Psychological Situations Illuminate the Meaning of Human Behavior: Recent Advances and Application to Social Influence Processes

Psychological Situations Illuminate the Meaning of Human Behavior: Recent Advances and Application to Social Influence Processes

By
Nir Halevy, Tamar A. Kreps, Carsten K.W. De Dreu
Social and Personality Psychology Compass. March
2019, Vol. 13, Issue 3

Psychologists have long sought to understand how people experience, think, and communicate about situations. Psychology’s protracted journey toward understanding psychological situations recently took a momentous turn toward more rigorous conceptualization and measurement of situational characteristics along multiple dimensions. We provide a selective review of recent developments in research on psychological situations and highlight the value that these recent contributions deliver for researchers interested in human cognition, emotion, and behavior. We illustrate this value with an application of insights and instruments from the CAPTION and DIAMONDS models to social influence processes in groups. Specifically, we demonstrate how utilizing validated multidimensional scales of situational characteristics can illuminate the psychological meaning of brokering behaviors. We conclude by discussing current challenges and promising future directions for research on psychological situations.