What is Field Theory?

What is Field Theory?

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Field theory is a psychological approach put forward by Kurt Lewin, who is accepted as the founder of social psychology. Lewin, starting from the field theory in physics, started to think that the psychological activities that people perform as a result of the situations they encounter occur in the psychological or life space.

For field theory, the psychological field has the power to influence the behavior of a particular person or group and is valid only for those individuals and groups at a given time. The living space, the individual and the environment are considered as elements of the psychological domain.

A field can be defined as a dynamic system in which each part is influenced by other parts. Gestalt theorists use the concept of field on many levels. The environment perceived by the person can be a field, or the person himself as an organism can be thought of as a field formed by a dynamic system formed by the interaction of related parts. The slightest change in this dynamic system affects the whole system. What matters in field theory is not a change in any of the parts that make up the whole, but how this change is reflected in the whole. (Tatar, 2009).

Kurt Lewin
Basic Concepts of Field Theory

The living space consists of the individual’s needs, which include all of the facts or facts that affect the behavior of individuals in certain situations, and that manifest themselves during the interaction with the existing psychological environment of the person.

Although it is stated that the living space covers all situations in one’s life, Lewin does not accept this situation. It states that there is a limit to the situations that occur in the living space and it only covers the situations related to the displayed behavior.

For example, “an individual who experiences a conflict between going to a game and going to the movies may have memories of his mother, hopes for the future and doubts about the future of the world. However, if all these do not affect the current behavior of the individual, they are not specified or included in the habitat.” (Oner, 2000).

Living space can make a difference based on the person’s experiences (Schultz, 2007).

Needs and goals; The needs of individuals are cognitive structures in the center of the living space and in the living space. The targets are; are important elements that must be determined at the point of meeting the needs.

Tension and forces; Tension is a need-based situation and increases gradually as a result of the obstacles faced by the individual at the point of meeting his needs, but this situation begins to decrease as the organism reaches the goal. On the other hand, three types of forces with different properties are defined as repulsive, restrictive and igniting forces. Driving forces provide movement towards the target. Obstacles create restraining forces.

Demands of units outside the organism also create induced forces.

Lewin described forces as psychological vectors. When a power occurs, the person either takes action in the direction of that power or changes his cognitive structure. Therefore, the forces arise depending on three psychological phenomena: “inner needs”, “quality of the target” and “psychological distance from the target”. (Tatar, 2009).

Regions; “Zones within the living space can be related to cognitive, physical or social activities. The activities in these three regions together are effective in the perception of the inhabitants of the living space. (Tatar, 2009).

Kurt Lewin
Basic Principles of Field Theory

These five basic principles discussed provide information about the content, integrity and process of the field.

1. Organization Principle

We perceive the situations we encounter in our daily life as a whole and assign meaning accordingly. Behaviors cannot be considered independently of the environment in which they occur.

Behavior gains meaning depending on its position in the field. Behaviors that occur in certain situations are not independent of each other, the goals or needs on which these behaviors are based are currently affected by the whole field.

2. Concurrency Principle

It creates the living space in the time lived, the memories of the past and the situations that are desired to be realized about the future.

3. Principle of Uniqueness

All situations and persons are unique and unique. Although they are on equal terms, there are no similar rules to explain the behavior of two independent individuals.

4. The Principle of Change in Process

There is a constant change in the field. Situations are not permanent. There is nothing fixed, situations experienced by people remain as they happen.

Lives are different. For these reasons, one of the most important aspects of therapy is timing. Interventions made because they are deemed necessary in the therapy process can be beneficial to the individual to the extent that the timing allows.

5. Possible Eligibility Policy

The pieces in the area are relevant and meaningful, and even a single piece is considered unnecessary and thrown out of the area.