As for some of the Lab's conceptual history, Prof. Jim Westaby was under the direct wings of Dr. Martin Fishbein and Dr. Harry Triandis during his doctoral training, and his degree combined both social psychology and industrial and organizational psychology. Fishbein and Ajzen are considered the originators of behavioral intention theorizing, one of the, if not the most validated frameworks to scientifically predict specific behaviors at the individual level. Westaby's creation of Behavioral Reasoning Theory extended this micro work to include people's reasons and explanations, prior to his creation of Dynamic Network Theory.
Dynamic network theory (DNT) extends predictive theorizing to explain complex system functioning at all levels, going beyond the scope of the narrower, yet powerful behavioral intention theories. However, DNT still accounts for the predictive concepts in the powerful micro theorizing, such as "intention" being captured by intended goal striving and "perceived control"(or Bandura's "self-efficacy" concept) being captured by system competency. The new concepts in DNT further explain how key network linkages are involved in goal pursuit and performance at any level and across any human system, thereby bridging the micro-macro divide. Dr. Triandis was also a key figure in Prof. Westaby's development. Dr. Triandis is a pioneering figure in the field of cross-cultural psychology and an eminent social psychologist.
Hence, our Lab's orientation is steeped in not only individual behavioral prediction, but a mindset sensitized to the cultural dynamics of human behavior - now extended to carefully model how complex social networks are involved in human action at multiple levels. Our new theorizing also extended the rich and important history of network analysis by including the power of goal nodes and underlying psychological mechanisms to explain complex human systems for the first time. Likewise, our Lab's work extends system thinking in these new directions with advanced state-of-the-art computerized technologies, grounded not only in concrete DNT operationalizations, but also in our program's lineage to Mort Deutsch and Mort's mentor, Kurt Lewin, who are recognized as major historical pioneers in psychological science.