Here is sneak peak at the introductory remarks in my social psychology discussions this week. Already putting what I thought I knew on shakier ground.

Behaviour first

The work of the Behaviourists. Pavlov may ring a bell but this moved into areas of positive reinforcements before becoming more integrated with less observable matters such as feelings and belief. Or the social learning theory which still feeds the perhaps exaggerated thinking that we imitate what we see e.g., TV violence makes us violent. None of these theories seem central to what I am being prepared to learn next.

Cognition first

Cognitive theories are still on trend. It is being taught as a separate subject this term in its own right. It is also dominant in social psychology where our cognitive processes may translate into attitudes, the modelling we initiate, and behaviours they influence.

Related perhaps is the neuroscience that gives markers and imagery of brain activity. And biochemical interactions within the brain or hormonal markers we can extract. All being considered against associated socialised thinking and behaviour.

Genes first

Evolutionary theories where perhaps particular traits or complex social behaviours offered advantage to some who became genetically dominant.

Group first

Or this final either/or reflection which really caught my attention tonight. Whether the individualistic traits or personality differences we all consider to be settled science are anything but. That perhaps it is not our personality that determines how we behave in socially constructed groups. But that it is the socially constructed groups that we then internalise and by which become behaviourally normalised to us. We all behave differently in situationally determined ways. That is current research and exploration at large in the evolving science of psychology.

Are we managing our projects, or our projects managing us?

Just as our project management world is beginning to embrace trait theory. Our red leaders in DISC, or our ENFJs in Myers Briggs. Our Big 5s and our psychometric tests. Just as our projects start adjusting our behaviours to account for our traits, is psychology going to turn us about? To tell us we need to adjust to our projects, as it is our social groupings that are determining how we behave? Not starting with how we behave, or the traits we think we own, but determining how the projects we inhabit influence how we behave.

Stay sceptical and look up

All I know for sure right now is my “mediator” traits, as both an Enneagram Type 9 and Myers Briggs INFJ, are both seeking to diplomatically find some middle ground. My DISC yellow is just enjoying the chance to talk it through. But just like Arthur C Clarke, we both draw the line at star-signs. Both being Sagittarius we are far too sceptical to fall for that…

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here: