An Atlas of Interpersonal Situations

An Atlas of Interpersonal Situations

An Atlas of Interpersonal Situations

An Atlas of Interpersonal Situations

Synopsis

The Atlas of Interpersonal Situations provides a systematic theoretical account for understanding the impact of situations on patterns of social interaction. Structured around descriptions of twenty-one of the most common situations that people encounter in everyday life, the authors aim to provide readers with the tools needed to understand how those situations influence interpersonal behavior. These descriptions are intended to be freestanding, each one providing analysis, research examples, and everyday descriptions of the prototypical situation. The authors build upon the tools of interdependence theory, which stresses the manner in which people's outcomes are determined by the structure of their interaction with each other. This analysis makes clear exactly what is 'social' about 'social psychology'.

Excerpt

This preface is a sketch of the “history” of this Atlas, an acknowledgment of the support we had in its preparation, and a characterization of the social process involved in working together. Perhaps we may be forgiven if, in this preface, we pat ourselves on the back for the effort and goodwill we have managed to put into the enterprise. The reader will be left to judge whether those were “worth our whiles.”

It all began one fall evening on the corner of 24th and M Streets in Washington, D.C. Earlier that day, in an address to the joint meeting of the Society for Experimental Social Psychology (SESP)and the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology (EAESP), Kelley had described the notion of distinguishing all possible “2 × 2” situations and their implications for personal motivation and social interaction and cognition. The meeting participants had enjoyed a dinner reception at the French Embassy, with dancing and champagne. Holmes, Kelley, and Rusbult had returned to the hotel and were standing on the corner when Reis leapt off a later bus and ran up to them saying, “Why don't we get a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to go to the Bellagio Center on Lake Como and think and write about all those situations?” We quickly planned to discuss the suggestion at breakfast the next morning, at which time we and another colleague, Van Lange, agreed to pursue it.

Subsequently, Kelley prepared a grant application for the Rockefeller Foundation which, unfortunately, did not draw a favorable response. Meantime, however, Van Lange solicited support from the Kurt Lewin Institute at the Free University of Amsterdam, which enabled Kelley, Rusbult, and Van Lange to meet there for two weeks in the spring of 1996. The concept of “atlas” was already in their thinking, so they took it as . . .

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