Lorna Smith Benjamin

The latest in SASB and IRT


One word cluster version of SASB from Benjamin, 1996. (c) Guilford Press

What is Structural Analysis of Social Behavior (SASB)?

Structural Analysis of Social Behavior is a natural biological model that describes social interactions in terms of three different types of interpersonal focus.  Attentional focus (shown by separate surfaces of the model) is the first issue to solve when meeting a conspecific in the proverbial jungle: Is this about you (I focus on other) or is this about me (what shall I do). Each type of focus is described by two dimensions: Affiliation on the horizontal axis (is this friendly or hostile), and Interdependence on the vertical axis (are we sharing space or separating?).  Everything interactive is described in terms of these underlying “primitive basics.” For example, a mother focuses on a baby (focus on other) with loving (friendly), moderate degrees of influence (control), to show behavior described as “Nurturing and protecting” on the 2 word cluster model. Normally and naturally, the baby complements that position with focus on self that is loving and moderately submissive and described as “Trusting and relying.”

The third type of focus describes what happens when the self actively does to the self what others have done to him/her (IRT copy process: treat yourself as you have been treated).  Again, possibilities include components ranging from (self) hate to (self) love on the horizontal axis and from (self) control to letting go (of self) on the vertical axis. For example, a child that experiences consistent and appropriately contextualized “nurturance and protection” will learn to (internalize) “self protection and nurturance.”

A  recent (2017) summary of uses of SASB is a draft manuscript for a chapter in my new book: “Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy for Anger, Anxiety and Depression: It’s about Broken Hearts, Not Broken Brains.” To be published in 2018, copyright American Psychological Association.  Do not post this chapter. This draft is for your personal use only.

SASB chapter from LSB 2018 book


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