Kurt Lewin

From Open Source Ecology
Jump to: navigation, search

The founder of modern social psychology. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Lewin.

How does that relate to Freud, the main guy before him? A turn from the mechanistic, drive reduction theories of Freud and Hull to the cognitive, expectancy-value framework - [1]. But that is without stating that Freud Was Wrong.


  • Founder of social psychology, jewish, born near MJ's hometown in Poland (Poznan) in then Prussia.
  • Seminal integral thinker regarding the nature-nurture debate. Lewin also proposed Herbert Blumer's interactionist perspective of 1937 as an alternative to the nature versus nurture debate. Lewin suggested that neither nature (inborn tendencies) nor nurture (how experiences in life shape individuals) alone can account for individuals' behavior and personalities, but rather that both nature and nurture interact to shape each person. This idea was presented in the form of Lewin's equation for behavior, B = ƒ(P, E), which means that behavior (B) is a function (f) of personal characteristics (P), and environmental characteristics (E). [2]
  • Founder of action research [3]
  • There is nothing so practical as a good theory. - 'Field Theory in Social Science' - Kurt Lewin
  • Lewin also showed experimentally that people are more easily changed by being given the facts and allowed to decide for themselves than by unilateral persuasion. Alfred Marrow, a student of Lewin and owner of the Harwood Manufacturing Company, demonstrated experimentally that changes in production methods were much more effectively introduced by joint decision-making than by mere consultation
  • Two other students of Lewin's, Ronald Lippitt and Ralph White, conducted the famed experiments on autocratic, laissez-faire and democratic classrooms. The researchers found that the autocratic teacher and the one who merely let the children's 'natural goodness' bloom, both precipitated measured degrees of regression. It was the democratic teacher who produced more learning and all the evidence of mature behaviour in his class. Without, of course, abdicating his responsibility for the children, he asked for and received their assistance in making the classroom a better life-space for all concerned. (One wishes that the interminable debaters of traditional versus progressive education took account of this research so we would be spared their false dichotomies.)
    • Note - make sure OSE School follows these lessons learned
    • Links to papers - [4]
    • About Lippitt [5]
    • Review of Lippitt + White book - [6]
      • Autocracy and Democracy: An Experimental Inquiry - book. Autocracy, democracy, and laissez-faire styles were explored. Autocracy and laissez-faire led to degeneration. Borrow it from Archive.org - [7]
  • If values were declared 'up front', he argued, there would be less confusion between the values of the researcher and those of the researched. And Hampden-Turner says:
    • 'The "discipline" of social science consists not in objectifying persons with our bloodless gaze, but alternating between a real concern for people, a genuine attachment, and detaching ourselves long enough to ask, if, despite all our desires, the hypothesis remains unconfirmed and the situation unimproved. There is certainly a danger of blind over-commitment. But does that mean we should revert to being voyeurs, creeping around ghettos with clip-boards, Peeping Toms watching Uncle Toms, through slits in the ivory tower?' - ;'From Poverty to Dignity. Charles Hampden-Turner also wrote Radical Man