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the collective designation for various currents in contemporary psychology that consider the psyche as an integral internal process.
The term was first applied in 1918 by the American psychologist R. Woodworths to designate the new direction in psychology that emerged under the influence of the voluntaristic conceptions of W. James. Partisans of this orientation (R. Woodworths, T. Moore, and J. MacCurdy) began to view the reactions of an organism to an external stimulus not as isolated acts similar to mechanical impulses but rather as a complex process resulting ultimately from the internal activity of an organism and determined, first of all, by its need, which makes the organism responsive to certain stimuli and indifferent to others. The advocates of dynamic psychology worked out a dynamic approach to a number of phenomena previously treated as static—for example, the dependence of the perception of an object on past experience.
Subsequently, the term “dynamic psychology” began to be employed in a broad sense to designate diverse psychological conceptions which, in contrast to the static approach to the psyche (as, for example, in associationism and other classical intellectualistic theories of the psyche that studied psychology in terms of sensations, perceptions, and ideas), concentrate primarily on the dynamic aspects of the psyche—individual motives, inclinations, interests, and conflicts. Human behavior is treated, in this regard, as the result of the action of intrapsychic forces and strivings, which are understood as unconscious attractions (psychoanalysis and other currents of depth psychology), instincts (K. Lorenz), goal-oriented actions (W. McDougall), forces of a field (K. Levin), etc. Orientations in personality theory that treat personality as a dynamic, autonomously developing system (G. Allport, G. Murphy) but that deny the decisive role of sociohistorical circumstances in the system’s formation are also included in dynamic psychology.
M. G. IAROSHEVSKII