An Algebra of Social Interaction Matrices

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1979, Vol 24(7), 563–565. Reviews the book, Interpersonal Relations: A Theory of Interdependence by Harold H. Kelley and John W. Thibaut (1978). The 1959 version of this book “The Social Psychology of Groups” (1959), employed the outcome matrix as the tool for analyzing the interdependent relationship between two persons. In the present book, the authors employ the outcome matrix, the familiar concepts of comparison level (the level of outcome a person usually receives) and comparison level for alternatives (the outcomes available in the next best alternative relationship), and the different forms of power and dependency. This book joins a small number of formal analyses of social interaction that have appeared in the past few years. Most of those efforts have been focused on relatively limited domains and it seems to me that they have had little impact in social psychology beyond a small group of specialists. However, the depth and complexity of the analysis provided by authors here may allow those separate domains to be integrated within a common analytic structure. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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