Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Modeling Complex Systems: Volume 52 of the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation, ed. Richard Dienstbier, Bill Shuart, William D. Spaulding, and Jeffrey Poland. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2007. Copyright © 2007 University of Nebraska Press. Used by permission.


Capturing the complexity of human behavior has been a recurring theme in the Nebraska Symposium on Motivation:
We expect behavior to be patterned or integrated, and to make biological sense; and so patterning and biological utility are what we see. And of course what we see is actually there-behavior in general is not chaotic; it is organized. (Nissen, 1954, p. 314)
When fundamental psychologists do make excursions into the human motivational world ... it is rare that they survey the requirements for theory or pre-theory by intensive descriptive analysis of behavior related to such motives as produced by concrete human beings. More remote still is the chance that anyone will select for illustration, let alone analysis, behavior or experience relevant to man in his most characteristically human performances: man as he creates or loves or plays or responds to the aesthetic surfaces of the human and natural environment. Such matters are threateningly complex. (Koch, 1956, pp. 64-65)