Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Serdar M. Degirmencioglu
Ecological perspectives in psychology maintain that context has an important effect on individuals' behavior and attitudes. One has to understand contexts of individuals, such as the physical environment, community, society, and politics, in order to explain human behavior. Community is one of the most important contexts for an individual, and therefore it needs to be part and parcel of contextual approaches to human development. In the past 20 years, developmental researchers have shown increased attention to contextual issues that were previously regarded as sociological, anthropological, or political. Historically, psychology has been concerned with individuals' lasting characteristics and individual-level variables, and had methodological difficulties with variables that cannot be brought into the laboratory. For a very long time, developmental psychologists were unable to capture dynamics within dyads (e.g., mother-infant) and triads (e.g., mother-father-child), let alone larger social units with multiple actors, such as communities. The ecological perspective that Bronfenbrenner, Garbarino, and ...