The Full Wiki

Systems psychology: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Systems psychology is a branch of applied psychology that studies human behaviour and experience in complex systems. It is inspired by systems theory and systems thinking, and based on the theoretical work of Roger Barker, Gregory Bateson, Humberto Maturana and others. It is an approach in psychology, in which groups and individuals, are considered as systems in homeostasis. Alternative terms here are "systemic psychology", "systems behavior", and "systems-based psychology".


Types of systems psychology

In the scientific literature different kind of systems psychology have been mentioned:

Applied systems psychology
De Greene in 1970 described applied systems psychology as being connected with engineering psychology and human factor.
Cognitive systems theory
Cognitive systems psychology is a part of cognitive psychology and like existential psychology, attempts to dissolve the barrier between conscious and the unconscious mind.[1]
Contract-systems psychology
Contract-systems psychology is about the human systems actualization through participative organizations.[2]
Family systems psychology
Family systems psychology is a more general name for the subfield of family thearpists. E.g. Murray Bowen, Michael E. Kerr, and Baard[3] and researchers have begun to theoretize a psychology of the family as a system.[4]
Organismic-systems psychology
Through the application of organismic-systems biology to human behavior Ludwig von Bertalanffy conceived and developed the organismic-systems psychology, as the theoretical prospect needed for the gradual comprehension of the various ways human personalities may evolve and how they could evolve properly, being supported by a holistic interpretation of human behavior.[5]

Related fields



Ergonomics, also called "Engineering psychology" or "human factors", is the application of scientific information concerning objects, systems and environment for human use (definition adopted by the International Ergonomics Association in 2007). Ergonomics is commonly thought of as how companies design tasks and work areas to maximize the efficiency and quality of their employees’ work. However, ergonomics comes into everything which involves people. Work systems, sports and leisure, health and safety should all embody ergonomics principles if well designed.

It is the applied science of equipment design intended to maximize productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. The field is also called biotechnology, human engineering, and human factors engineering. Ergonomic research is primarily performed by ergonomists who study human capabilities in relationship to their work demands. Information derived from ergonomists contributes to the design and evaluation of tasks, jobs, products, environments and systems in order to make them compatible with the needs, abilities and limitations of people.

Family systems therapy

Family systems therapy, also referred to as "family therapy" and "couple and family therapy", is a branch of psychotherapy related to relationship counseling that works with families and couples in intimate relationships to nurture change and development. It tends to view these in terms of the systems of interaction between family members.

It emphasizes family relationships as an important factor in psychological health. As such, family problems have been seen to arise as an emergent property of systemic interactions, rather than to be blamed on individual members. Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs) are the most specifically trained in this type of psychotherapy.

Organizational psychology

Industrial and organizational psychology also known as "work psychology", "occupational psychology" or "personnel psychology" concerns the application of psychological theories, research methods, and intervention strategies to workplace issues. Industrial and organizational psychologists are interested in making organizations more productive while ensuring workers are able to lead physically and psychologically healthy lives. Relevant topics include personnel psychology, motivation and leadership, employee selection, training and development, organization development and guided change, organizational behavior, and work and family issues.

Perceptual control theory

Perceptual control theory (PCT) is a psychological theory of animal and human behavior originated by maverick scientist William T. Powers. In contrast with other theories of psychology and behavior, which assume that behavior is a function of perception — that perceptual inputs determine or cause behavior — PCT postulates that an organism's behavior is a means of controlling its perceptions. In contrast with engineering control theory, the reference variable for each negative feedback control loop in a control hierarchy is set from within the system (the organism), rather than by an external agent changing the setpoint of the controller.[6] PCT also applies to nonliving autonomic systems.[7]


Psychosynthesis is an original approach to psychology that was developed by Roberto Assagioli. Psychosynthesis was not intended to be a school of thought or an exclusive method but many conferences and publications had it as central theme and centers were formed in Italy and the USA in the 1960s.

Psychosynthesis departed from the empirical foundations of psychology in that it studied a person as a personality and a soul but Assagioli continued to insist that it was scientific. Assagioli developed therapeutic methods other than what was found in psychoanalysis. Although the unconscious is an important part of the theory, Assagioli was careful to maintain a balance with rational, conscious therapeutical work.

See also


  1. ^ David Parrish (2006), "Nothing I See Means Anything: Quantum Questions, Quantum Answers", p.29
  2. ^ Marcia Guttentag and Elmer L Struening (1975), Handbook of Evaluation Research. Sage. ISBN 0803904290. page 200.
  3. ^ Michael B. Goodman (1998), Corporate Communications for Executives, SUNY Press. ISBN 0791437612. Page 72.
  4. ^ Sara E. Cooper (2004), The Ties That Bind: Questioning Family Dynamics and Family Discourse, University Press of America. ISBN 0761826491. Page 13.
  5. ^ Organsmic Systems Psychology, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, Vienna. Retrieved 21 March 2008.
  6. ^ Engineering control theory also makes use of feedforward, predictive control, and other functions that are not required to model the behavior of living organisms.
  7. ^ For an introduction, see the Byte articles on robotics and the article on the origins of purpose in this collection.

Further reading

  • Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1968), Organismic Psychology and System Theory, Worcester, Clark University Press.
  • Brennan (1994), History and Systems Psychology, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0131826689
  • Molly Young Brown, Psychosynthesis – A “Systems” Psychology?,
  • Kenyon B. De Greene, Earl A. Alluisi (1970), Systems Psychology, McGraw-Hill.
  • W. Huitt (2003), "A systems model of human behavior", in: Educational Psychology Interactive, Valdosta, GA: Valdosta State University.
  • Jon Mills (2000), "Dialectical Psychoanalysis: Toward Process Psychology", in: Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Thought, 23(3), 20-54.
  • Alexander Zelitchenko (2009), "Is 'Mind-Body-Environment' Closed or Open System?" Preprint.
  • Linda E. Olds (1992), Metaphors of Interrelatedness: Toward a Systems Theory of Psychology, SUNY Press, ISBN 0791410110
  • Jeanne M. Plas (1986), Systems Psychology in the Schools, Pergamon Press ISBN 0080331440
  • David E. Roy (2000), Toward a Process Psychology: A Model of Integration. Fresno, CA, Adobe Creations Press, 2000
  • David E. Roy (2005), Process Psychology and the Process of Psychology Or, Developing a Psychology of Integration While Leaving Home, Seminar paper, 2005.
  • Wolfgang Tschacher and Jean-Pierre Dauwalder (2003) (eds.), The Dynamical Systems Approach to Cognition: Concepts and Empirical Paradigims Based on Self-Organization, Embodiment, and Coordination Dynamics, World Scientific. ISBN 9812386106.
  • W. T. Singleton (1989), The Mind at Work: Psychological Ergonomics, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521265797.

External links


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address