Review of Essentials of Social Psychology by Emory S. Bogardus
Gordon W. Allport
ESSENTIALS OF SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY — (Revised and Enlarged Edition).By Emory S. Bogardus, Ph. D., Professor of Sociology, University of Southern California. Univ. of Southern Calif. Press. September, 1921. Pp. 287.
Professor Bogardus believes that the task of social psychology is, first,
( 105) to explain those mental attributes of the individual which are directly involved in his social adjustments, and then to show how the group itself is composed of independent personalities, how it functions as a whole, and how it controls the individual. Thus social psychology is conceived to be "psychological in its origin and sociological in its outlook."
Among the psychological determinants of the social behavior of the individual, instinctive reactions are held to be fundamental. The author apparently adopts uncritically the schedule of instincts proposed by Professor McDougall. The personality is essentially composed of such innate responses, with a varying number of conscious or habitual modifications which come into existence when an instinct fails to function successfully in a new situation. The role of the emotions and sentiments, as well as of the instincts, is primarily egoistical. The task of socializing the personality, therefore, requires a careful analysis of man's social capacities which may be utilized to make the instincts, emotions and sentiments acceptable to the society in which he lives. Among the attributes which make for this process of socialization, the author discerns the following: communicativeness, mirthfulness, and social dependability. The suggestion-imitation phenomenon is an unvarying social law which conditions the arousal and development of these traits. Fashion, custom, convention and craze are manifestations of the principle at work in society. Invention and leadership are likewise held to be important assets of a personality, for only by the exercise of these can social progress be realized. The author, satisfied that lie has analyzed the psychological substrate of the social behavior of the individual, leads us now to a consideration of group phenomena.
In both temporary groups and permanent groups we are at once faced with the problem of conflict. The dialectic of group struggles is a subject of primary importance to the social psychologist. The author wishes to recognize both the economic conflicts and the psychological, and accordingly gives weight both to Carver's theory of social evolution and Tarde's laws of social development. These theories hold that society advances only in proportion as the destructive competition and deceptive behavior give way to productive competition and discussion. The principles laid down regarding the agencies and types of social control are in the main based upon the formulations of Professor Ross. The most important influences for control are custom, taboo, personal belief, law, government, education, art, and public opinion. The author summarizes his principle thesis as follows: "Social progress is determined by the amount, quality, and methods of social control, and upon the intensity, quality and persistence of individual initiative, inventiveness, and leadership."
The chapters in which the foregoing sociological theories are developed are clear and commendably concrete. The portion of the book, however, which deals with the psychology of the individual seems inadequate in the
( 106) light of recent contributions which materially aid in understanding the problems of personality. Studies of immense importance to the social psychologist have been made within the past decade by psychoanalysis, clinicians, and experimentalists. The social psychologist can no longer appeal for authority solely to outworn conceptions of imitativeness, gregariousness or complex social instincts. He must keep abreast of the times, which means that he must utilize the best of the material currently produced on the subjects of individual differences, emotionality, volition, normal and psychopathic personalities, and character traits. There can be no doubt that the principal problems with which the book treats, such as the social behavior of the individual, language, crowd and group phenomena, and social control, are all true data of social psychology. It is something to have outlined the field and to have suggested a large number of concrete problems which need psychological explanation; but the demarcation of province and the setting of tasks is only a beginning. We must look to the future to produce a book which will interpret and elucidate these problems in the light of modern, scientific psychology. G. W. A.