Dynamic Network Theory Article on Psychology Essay

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Westaby, J.D., Pfaff, D.L. & Redding, N. (2014). Psychology and social networks. American Psychologist 69(3): 269-284.

Westaby, Pfaff & Redding (2014) attempt to fill a gap in the literature on social networks by focusing on how social networks influence goal striving via emotional pathways. The authors base their research on dynamic network theory, and the results can be applied to numerous practical or clinical settings including organizational-industrial behavior or even information science. The dynamic network theory orientation also sheds light on numerous types of social networks and organizations, illuminating both individual and collective behavior. Although not an experimental research or a meta-analysis, the study does direct psychologists and researchers toward potentially fruitful areas of investigation.

The authors explain dynamic network theory in depth, centering their attention on the importance of emotional responses in social networks, and then outline the most important roles social networks fulfill in human behavior. Dynamic network theory posits eight social network roles, all of which are related to goal setting, striving, and resistance to goal fulfillment. Those eight roles include goal striving, system supporting, goal preventing, supportive resisting, system negating, system reacting, interacting, and observing. According to the authors, networks give rise to emotional “rippling,” which could even have future implications for cognitive scientists (p. 277). Westaby, Pfaff & Redding (2014) continue to explain how researchers in clinical psychology derived these eight roles from an extensive body of research, citing studies and their validity and reliability issues.

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Then, the authors refer to how psychologists in a number of different roles have come up with the dynamic network charts that can be used to inform best practices in organizational psychology, or in any other context that reveals the power of social networks.

Professional Roles

The Westaby, Pfaff & Redding (2014) article highlights the differentiation between various professional roles in the field of psychology. Applying equally as well to sociologists and psychologists, the information on dynamic network theory is pertinent to a number of different professionals in other social sciences with particular relevance to fields like marketing and economics. The contagion of emotion in social networks is also of interest to cognitive scientists interested in exploring the application of dynamic network theory to artificial intelligence systems. Human resources personnel stand to derive extensive benefits from the dynamic network theory approach, too. School counselors can also learn how social networks impact student goal setting and….....

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Westaby, J. D. (2012). Dynamic network theory: How social networks influence goal pursuit. Washington, DC, US: American Psychological Association.

Westaby, J.D., Pfaff, D.L. & Redding, N. (2014). Psychology and social networks. American Psychologist 69(3): 269-284.

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