Review of Social Psychology by Richard T. LaPierre and Paul R. Farnsworth
Luther Lee Bernard
This work meets my notion of what a social psychology should be, better than any other that has appeared in recent years. Of the three texts in this field which have already seen the light in the first six months of 1936, I consider this to be by far the best. Its unusual excellence is, I think, due to a number of causes, not the least of which is the fact that it pursues a perfectly logical pattern of development. It traces, first, the growth of personality from its biological foundations in the individual organism through its symbolic acquisitions and extensions. Next, it follows with an analysis of the personality in cross section and in its various forms and aspects. It ends, finally, with a functional account of the social situation out of which personality develops. This is essentially the general pattern I adopted in my own text in 1926 and on the whole the plan pursued by Kimball Young in his text in 1930. The use of this approach by the present authors confirms me in my belief that it is the best possible method of attacking the problem of presentation to the student.
The excellence of the authors' approach is matched by the thoroughness and insight with which they have done their work. They have mastered the field of research in social psychology more completely than most of the other writers in the subject, and it is very gratifying to see that they know
( 835) what the sociologists as well as the psychologists have done in the science. Perhaps the fact that the book has been written by a sociologist and a psychologist (both of Stanford University) accounts for this happy combination of results from both fields, as well as for the well-balanced mode of treatment they have adopted. They are also highly to be commended for the fact that they have not allowed themselves to be motivated by any narrow sectarian partisanship in the citation of authorities, which (as I have pointed out elsewhere in this journal) sometimes estops the psychologist from recognizing the academic existence of his brother, the poor sociologist. Finally, the book is to be commended for its frankly behaviorist, objective approach to the subject under discussion. It is a scientific work, not a metaphysical apology for a point of view. It is as far away from the old metaphysics and Scotch apologetics and Christian evidences sort of thing as it well could be, without at the same time taking up the cudgels for any mere ism or new unilateral point of view. Social psychology is the study of social adjustment behavior, is the guiding text, and the contents justify the prediction. It is, in my opinion, also a very practical handbook for the class room.
L. L. BERNARD