Mechanisms of Explanation vs. Mechanisms of Change: Tensions Between Basic Theory Construction and Practical Application
Since the cognitive revolution, the social sciences have prioritized conducting “basic” research studies, often in non-naturalistic settings with convenience samples that enable us to isolate explanatory mechanisms of interest (c.f., Cialdini, 2009). While this shift in research approach has expedited the rate of discovery in one sense, the shift away from studying naturally occurring behavior in a variety of settings with diverse groups of people has created a tension—it has limited our ability to apply our findings to contemporary problems in the world (IJzerman, Lewis, et al., 2020). In this talk I will discuss the distinction between mechanisms for explaining behavior and mechanisms for changing behavior, and their implications for advancing social scientific theory (Earl & Lewis, 2019) as well as the development and scaling of interventions that leverage social psychological insights to improve social outcomes (Lewis et al., 2020).
Monday, May 17 at 12:00pmVirtual Event