August 15, 2010

A psychologist's bias - deemphasizing the circumstances to which people are adapting

"I am a psychologist with a psychologist's bias - that of looking inside people for the causes of their behavior and achievements. [...] Psychologists focus on the internal, the psychological.[...] We emphasize things about the actor - characteristics, traits, and so on - that seem like plausible explanations for her behavior. And we deemphasize, as cause of her behavior, the things we can't see very well, namely, the circumstance to which she is adapting."
~ Claude Steele in Whistling Vivaldi

This quote underlines what I say in this post: "I think, independent variables in positive psychology are usually too narrowly chosen by over-emphasizing strengths and virtues as possible causal factors of flourishing and focusing too little on contextual, situational, or structural factors."

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