Ecological Aspects of Group Behavior in Social Isolation

Irwin Altman*, Dalmas A. Taylor, Ladd Wheeler

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


The present study examined how socially isolated groups were affected by and used their physical environment during an 8‐day period. Pairs of men were isolated under different conditions of privacy, outside stimulation, and expected time in isolation. Measures were taken of environmentally oriented behaviors such as social activities; territoriality for beds, chairs, and areas of the room, use of beds; and performance on team and individual tasks. The results indicate that unsuccessful groups exhibited a pattern of behavior reflecting their misestimate of the demands of the situation. The fact that many different levels of behavior fit together, over time, suggested the importance of an ecological approach to interpersonal behavior which examines many levels of functioning over time as a system, with particular emphasis on the mutual relationship between man and his environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-100
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1971
Externally publishedYes


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