Contemporaneity Principle

OF. This principle - derived from Kurt Lewin's field theory - states that "any behavior or any other change in a psychological field depends only upon the psychological field at that time" In other terms, the contemporaneity principle, also called the contemporaneous-explanation principle and the billiard ball theory, asserts that only present or current events can influence behavior and only these should be studied. Although this principle was emphasized by early field theorists, it was misunderstood, frequently, and interpreted to mean that field theorists are not interested in historical problems or in the influence of previous experiences. Lewin (1951) notes that nothing could be more mistaken and, in fact, field theorists are very interested in developmental and historical problems as evidenced by their efforts to enlarge the temporal scope of the psychological experiment; for example, they recommend expansion of the classical reaction-time experiment which typically lasts for only a few seconds, as well as extending the more experiential situations in which a systematically created history may run for hours or weeks for the experimental participants. See also LEWIN'S FIELD THEORY. REFERENCE

Lewin, K. (1951). The nature of field theory. In M. H. Marx (Ed.), Psychological theory: Contemporary readings. New York: Macmillan.

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