Personal experience on field theory
Within the Discussion Board area, write 300–500 words that respond to the following questions with your thoughts, ideas, and comments. This will be the foundation for future discussions with your classmates. Be substantive and clear, and use examples to reinforce your ideas.
Social psychology is the study of how a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by surrounding factors (social stimuli). One of the first major theorists to examine how external factors influence people was Kurt Lewin. Lewin is best known for his creation of field theory. Field theory is based on the concept that an individual must be understood within his or her “field” or external life space. This includes all of the person’s needs, goals, or external circumstances that might influence behavior. Of particular importance are Lewin’s descriptions of conflict situations. He described three common conflict situations. They are as follows (Lewin, 1951):
- Approach-approach conflict: Occurs when a person needs to choose between two equally attractive and positive goals
- Avoidance-avoidance conflict: Occurs when a person needs to choose between two negative options that are both equally unsatisfying
- Approach-avoidance conflict: Occurs when a person is both attracted to and resistant of the same situation
It is possible to see the three main conflict situations frequently within one’s own life and those of others. One can also see how competing forces within a person’s field can lead to indecision or internal conflict.
- Describe a situation from your own life in which you felt uncertain about a decision that you needed to make. Please make sure to use an example that you feel comfortable disclosing with your instructor and classmates.
- In your own words, identify and define the type of conflict situation (approach-approach, avoidance-avoidance, or approach-avoidance) that best fits your example? Explain why this type of conflict situation fits your example?
- Explain how you resolved the conflict in your example? Identify whether your feelings became more positive or negative as you moved towards your goal? Describe this process.
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