Fundamentals of Social Psychology

Chapter 5: Social Nature

Emory S. Bogardus

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AFFECTIVE and cognitive nature as well as habitual nature are phases of social nature. To the extent that human life is the product of intersocial stimulation it is social. The more extensive the intersocial stimulation, the more numerous and significant the social contacts; the richer the contacts, the deeper and broader the social nature of human beings. Through stimulation affective and cognitive nature becomes organized into habitual ways of reacting to life., i. e., into attitudes.

An attitude is a tendency to act toward or against some environmental factor which becomes thereby a positive or negative value. It is less innate than a desire, more clearly defined, more definitely selected by a person, more cognitive. It incorporates not only affective and cognitive but volitional elements. Attitudes are as numerous as the valuable objects in social environments. They represent almost as many levels as there are persons holding them. The point may be illustrated by the three men working at the same task in a stone yard. Each in turn was asked what he was doing. The first said, "I'm breaking stone;" the second, "I'm earning eight dollars a day;" and the third, "I'm helping to build a great cathedral."

Attitudes and values, particularly the former, are considered so important that Thomas and Znaniecki made the study of them synonymous with social psychology.[1] The objective cultural elements of social life are values, and the subjective characteristics of the members of the social group are attitudes.[2] An attitude is "a process of individual consciousness which determines real or possible activity of the individual in the social world," and a value is "any datum having an empirical content accessible to the members of some social group and a meaning with regard to which it is or may be an object of activity." When anything acquires a meaning it becomes thereby a social value.[3] The

( 46) chief significance of a social value, perhaps, is that it produces a more or less different effect on every member of a social group and even different effects upon the same person at different moments.[4] The attitude is thus the personal counterpart of the social value, and any form of activity is the connecting factor.[5]

An attitude is not necessarily synonymous with an opinion. The latter is an expression which one may repudiate when the real test of action comes. It may be "merely a defense reaction which through over-emphasis usually falsifies consciously or unconsciously a man's real attitude." An attitude is found in one's acts, but not simply in a single act. It is disclosed by acts in relation to past acts.[6] The real source of attitudes thus is in personal experiences, especially in life histories of persons. In these connected personal experiences is to be found the main source of social psychological data.


Since every human being is largely group-made, he has a general social nature. This group priority, described by the writer elsewhere,[7] means that every individual is born into countless and powerful group influences and heritages. He is in many ways a product of group stimuli, and his parents before him, also. This general social nature possessed by all persons crops out as social solidarity, or again as a "sense of unity or feeling of belonging-together that makes every member of a group seem to himself to be kin to every other member."[8]

It is this basic group spirit which McDougall apparently overlooks in his discussion of gregariousness.[9] A person's chief activities are phases of associative life, and hence, the socially-favorable reaction is characteristic of all human responses. The human organism is largely steeped in and a product of associative living, and therefore, the social element pervades in human nature. Sociality is a background of all human life, even of the acquisitive and combative attitudes. Even these with their frequently destructive traits could not function outside a social world.

The belief that man is inherently selfish, that he is a product of tooth

( 47) and fang behavior, that he is natively warlike, ferocious, and savage received great impetus from a false interpretation of Darwinism. It is also true as Kropotkin [10] and others have indicated, that man is inherently social. There is in evolution a social and communicative background without which even social conflict would be impossible.

David Hume, one of the first close observers in social psychology, asserted that every pleasure languishes and every pain becomes more cruel when experienced apart from the company of others.[11] "Let all the powers serve one," declared Hume, "and he will still be miserable till he be given at least one man to enjoy them with him.[12] All the data on isolation constitute a negative but vital testimony to the significance of a general social attitude.[13] E. A. Ross gives several excellent illustrations :

Hume confesses, "I feel all my opinions loosen and fall of themselves when not supported by others," and George Sand cries, "I care but little that I am growing old but that I am growing old alone." De Senancour, author of  "Obermann," renounces the world, yet wishes there might be at his end one friend to "receive his adieu to life." Cowper exclaims:

How sweet, how passing sweet is solitude.
But grant me still a friend in my retreat
Whom I may whisper, Solitude is sweet.

Gifted men who are far above or ahead of their time are likely to be so neglected, misunderstood, or hawked at that in despair they turn misanthrope and hold aloof from their kind. The biographies of genius are full of tragedies of expansive souls, yearning for communion and sympathy, yet finding their offerings ignored or rejected, so that they end eating out their hearts in their loneliness.[14]

Solitude tends to disintegrate even the strongest personalities; it indicates the fundamental need for social contacts.


Gregariousness is a special phase of the social nature. In animals it is the herd instinct. Individual animals among many higher species seem to find special satisfaction in being one of a herd, flock, or similar group, and an uneasiness tending toward distraction in being separated from the group. The animal which becomes separated from the herd will risk its life in order to rejoin the group.

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The gregarious attitude is an outgrowth of the herd instinct of animals. It is largely feeling and is expressed in the crowd spirit, in cliquishness, race and class prejudices. It rarely rises far above instinctive levels; it is generally blind but dynamic.

Gregariousness possesses a definite survival value inasmuch as it keeps individuals together and furnishes a basis for co÷perative effort. Under primitive social conditions where the "herd" is more vital than any other form of grouping, gregariousness is basic. From it, "loyalties", patriotism, and other group sentiments have sprung. Gregariousness underlies all fraternal relations between persons. It rarely functions more widely than within national and racial limits, although it may expand, it is to be hoped, to include the world group.


The sex attitude arises from the complementary nature of the sexes, physically, mentally, and socially. The sex impulses make the race possible, and hence their urge remains strong. The regulation of them has always constituted a grave social problem. All tribes and peoples have struggled with this Hercules among social problems. In the United States a far-reaching conflict is in progress between the forces of commercialized vice and those of chastity. The widespread and appalling use of hotels and apartment houses by "mistresses" who are supported by men, some of whom are so-called "respectable" persons, and the congregating of prostitutes around army cantonments are symptoms of the level to which the sex attitude may fall. The sublimation of the sex urge into monogamic conjugal love and parental attitude testifies to the heights to which the sex attitude may attain.


A little child is generally rated as the chief social value known to mankind. The presence and needs of the child create new relationships between the husband and wife and set up the parental attitude with all its self-sacrificing implications. Parents and children constitute society's most important institution, and the parental attitude is of primary significance.

Without parental care the offspring early begins the struggle for existence, against great odds, and with little opportunity for normal development. With one parent to give a protecting and directing care, the

( 49) offspring has a fair chance for self development and for rendering useful service to society. When both parents intelligently co÷perate in the process of family building, the children are thus given the advantage of the experience of two elders, and are protected from the harsher phases of the struggle for existence, for a time sufficient to enable them to mature, and to learn the fundamental principles of co÷perative living. With parental care the children develop filial love as well as fraternal love.

The loss of the influence of two worthy parents is so great that children who grow up outside the family have few chances to become socialized members of society. In studying the home conditions of delinquents, the writer has found that the broken or unfit home of one type or another [15] is a leading factor in the majority of delinquency cases. The loss to a child of a socially-minded and sympathetic parent is irreparably great, and the loss of two such parents is beyond comprehension. No public or private institution is equivalent as a substitute. It is an established principle of modern philanthropy that the best alternative for the child's own home—if it fails—is a home with foster parents who are wisely selected and who maintain a home that is reasonably suited to the temperament and needs of the child.

As member of a family, the child learns fundamental rules of conduct, gains respect for law, and acquires rudimentary principles of co÷peration. Since the family has the characteristics of a social microcosm, the child in a social visioned family acquires many of the habits basic to constructive participation in public life.

To the parents themselves, the development of the parental attitude results beneficially. Parenthood prompts to conduct which is essentially altruistic. The parental attitude is constantly coming into conflict with the egoistic impulses and would often be worsted but for the strong reinforcements which society itself has brought to its aid. In order to protect itself and to further the parental attitude the given group—and society — has built up powerful sanctions, for example, the moral rules which were instituted in ancient Hebrew days. The injunction : Honor thy father and thy mother, has served as a bulwark to the parental impulses through the centuries. Then there is the institution of marriage

( 50) which assumed form as a guardian of the parental attitude. Taboos upon celibacy, upon divorce, upon immoral sex life are effective social agents which lend support to the family. Ancestor worship has hallowed parenthood and thus helped to give China a long life. Persistent emphasis upon a sound parental attitude has enabled the Hebrew race to perpetuate itself and assisted it to survive countless obstacles and innumerable destructive factors. In summary, it may be said that the sex and parental attitudes run the entire gamut of life from low brute levels to the highest social and spiritual planes.


Innate impulses become easily organized into habitual forms known as play. Play and work overlap. Both require expenditure of effort, but play is expenditure in undertakings involving stimulating problems. Effort which in itself produces agreeable feelings is regarded as play. If work contains sufficient stimuli it is play. The man who finds his work full of interesting problems does not impatiently wait for five o'clock to come, but continues ten or twelve or more hours at his work daily. A large percentage of work, therefore, will become 'play, if it can be made interesting enough.

Playfulness renews life; it rehabilitates and recreates life. It may offer relaxation from regular routine, and bring the individual to a healthy attitude toward the world of living, changing, and developing people. No personality in whom the play spirit dies can long remain well-balanced. The play attitude is essential in seeing the humorous side of life, in perceiving the silver linings to the cloudy days, and in appreciating mirthful situations. The play impulses must remain inflexible throughout life if one would keep his personality in tune with changing social phenomena.

As a member of a play group, the child learns cooperative lessons of fundamental importance. Play is a primary factor in satisfying the child's desire for social response. At the age of three or thereabouts the child begins to build up a small, select, and changing play group of two, three, or more members. From three to six years of age the child lives almost entirely in two groups,—the parental and the play group. In both, gregariousness, sympathy, and love, combine with playfulness to produce vital and stimulating social experiences.

Upon entry into school the child's play group increases rapidly in

( 51) size. It is the play impulses, supported strongly by the gregarious reactions, that give the average child his greatest enjoyment in the early years of his school life. The socializing of school work is successful in part because it turns work into play and subordinates routine to a phase of play. Formerly the pupil studied what were to him the highly abstract subjects of "arithmetic," "language," "geography ;" the emphasis now is being placed on people and what they are doing. In each grade selected groups of people and their activities are the centers of attention, and arithmetic, language, geography are learned as secondary phases of school work which has become fascinating. Work becomes play, while the essentials of education, even routine, have become means to interesting ends, rather than dull, despised ends.

The play groups of a child gradually take on the character of boys'gangs and girls' clubs. Then athletic teams and fraternal societies develop. It is in the teamwork of the play group that the individual learns some of his most valuable social lessons. Where the family fails in inculcating a social principle, the teamwork of a play group often succeeds. It is this team-play which teaches the individual to obey, to become a leader and to evaluate himself as a group member and a constructive force in society.

A practical phase of the organization of the play spirit is found in intercollegiate athletics. The benefits are chiefly these: (I) Intercollegiate athletics offer the excitement of a contest between trained opponents. (2) They develop a powerful group morale. What is more stimulating in this direction than twenty thousand students and alumni cheering an almost defeated team on to victory? (3) The ideal of physical fitness combined with mental skill is given a worthy place in young people's ideals. (4) Since the games are comprised mostly of a series of team plays, they train in self sacrifice and self-control. (5) Habits of co÷peration are developed, and lasting friendships are established. (6) Training in making important decisions under stress of highly exciting circumstances is afforded.

The evil effects of organized inter-collegiate athletics are also numerous. (I) They shift the prevailing centers of attention of a majority of the student body from study hall and class room to the athletic field ; they take time from needed study. (2) They focus attention upon winning rather than upon playing well, thus perverting values. (3) They stimulate a few students to over-exertion, while the mass remain under-trained physically. (4) They produce bad blood between educational

( 52) institutions with fundamentally similar aims.[16] (5) Trick plays and winning by deceit are emphasized.

The emphasis today is being placed upon eight hours for work, eight hours for sleep, and eight hours for leisure of which one-half is to be given over to amusements and recreation. Although this formula is not adopted rigidly it indicates that an increasing proportion of the life of the average person is being devoted to amusements and is producing a leisure time problem of serious proportions. The pace, stress, and complexity of modern urban life demand that regular hours daily be set aside for recreation. The questions arise: Does it matter how one plays? and, Is it anybody's business how one spends his leisure hours? From the standpoint of group welfare it matters greatly how the individual plays; whether he dissipates or builds up his energies, for his loss or gain is the direct loss or gain of his groups. In the case of the young particularly, the nature of play means not only immediate tearing down or building up, but also the formation of lifelong habits.

In this age commercial enterprise has provided amusements of all types and for all classes and ages of individuals. The motive is to make the most money, not to build better personalities. Play easily falls into routine patterns, and then becomes professionalized. In such forms as organized baseball it takes on some of the characteristics of strenuous work, with the "players" being bought and sold as economic commodities in the market. The commercial appeals that are being made to the play impulses and the resultant habits constitute social problems of vast moment.

A community organization of play is to be commended, for each community may provide for all its recreational needs through the participation of its own members at a minimum of expense. In so doing, the play attitude may rise to its higher socialized levels, and moreover, contribute directly to the development of social consciousness and democracy. When a thousand people play together wholesomely with no profit motives entering in, they develop a common consciousness, a democratic spirit, and socialized attitudes.


Native psychic energy may be stimulated to activity by all phenomena that are moderately different from one's common experiences. On the other hand, the usual does not attract special attention at all, while the

( 53) wholly unusual paralyzes activity or causes the given organism to become fearful. But the somewhat different tends to release psychic energy. The instinctive elements in this process have been developed, too much it would seem, by McDougall.[17] The desire for new experience is the basic element in the inquisitive attitude.

Animals which have been attracted by sounds that are very strange have probably been decoyed, and consequently have sooner or later lost their lives. Those individuals, either animal or human, which are never attracted by anything that is new remain mediocre or else they retrograde. Those who are aroused by stimuli that are moderately strange avoid violent destruction and at the same time escape decadence. A highly differentiated form of the moderately strange is represented by "signs of concealment or stealth," which immediately arrest attention and produce inquisitiveness. Individuals who manifest a reasonable degree of curiosity survive best. In primitive society the inquiring and hunting patterns are conspicuous. We still use the vocabulary of hunting and fishing. Says Weeks:

We hunt for lost articles and "fish" for compliments. A man "hunts" a job. People make "killing" remarks.[18]

Society seems to prefer persons with moderately inquiring minds. He who is overly inquiring becomes unpopular; he who never asks questions falls into obscurity. One of the discouraging elements of teaching is the pupil who never has any questions to ask, that is, who is mentally unresponsive. The person who attends to his own affairs and yet maintains an alert, active mind regarding social tendencies is rated highest.

The inquisitive attitude results commonly in gossip but ranges up to scientific research and genuine intellectual study. Gossip illustrates inquisitiveness in its simplest, least intelligent, and yet dynamic forms, while scholarship shows its powerful motivating character in the highest realms of reasoning and research. The statements of Edison indicate that his achievements have been reached as a result of an overwhelming urge to find satisfactory solutions to problems in the laboratory — a specialized expression of the desire for new experience. Finding answers to problems is the culmination of the inquisitive attitude, and finding solutions to societary questions is perhaps the chief social result.



The scientific attitude is the highest form of inquisitiveness. Under no conditions will it permit one to jump "to conclusions on hearsay, express dogmatic `opinions' without knowledge, or give way to the emotional reactions of the crowd."[19] The scientific attitude is one of independent thinking, of discriminating between authorities, or experimenting and testing by objective methods until truth, the truth that is in people's experiences, in their memories, in "the back of their heads" as well as the truth that is in objective numerical facts, is attained.

Knowledge, education, schools, research laboratories,—these are some of the values to which the scientific attitude responds. The scientific attitude is generic to inquiry, invention, and the best types of leadership. It leads to all types of research. It is the best guarantee against error in human reactions. Its chief weakness, as well as strength, perhaps is in its impersonal character and in its seeming slowness to action.


The tendency of psychic energy to organize itself into personal units leads to the concepts of "me" and "mine." The "mine" tendency denotes acquisitiveness. The acquisitive attitude is manifested very early in life. Childhood and adolescence abound with expressions of the impulse to make collections—of stamps, butterflies, dolls, marbles, birds'eggs. This tendency continues through maturity; and to it there may be traced some of the world's finest libraries and art galleries, as well as acquisitions of land, even landed estates. So strong and persistent is the acquisitive attitude, that men continue to accumulate riches long after they have acquired enough property for the needs of themselves and their children.[20]

Modern civilization owes its rise in part to private accumulations of wealth. It is reserve wealth which makes leisure from manual labor possible ; it is this leisure which has given some persons opportunities to make socially beneficial inventions. If all persons had to spend all their working time in satisfying the physical needs of life, there would be little leeway for social advance.

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The urge to acquire property, especially land, is characteristic not only of the individual, but of the group. Monarchies have manifested the tendency to acquire territory. Some nations have spent themselves in widening their natural resources. Many of the most cruel wars that have been waged by monarchical governments have arisen from the nation-group weakness for more territory. When such governments are supplanted by real democracies, certain causes of war will be cut off. An international movement, such as that represented by the League of Nations, will justify its existence if it can substitute cultural achievement for territorial aggrandizement.

Group control of the acquisitive attitude when it has become definitely intrenched in a social system of private property is exceedingly difficult.[21] The acquisitive urge, once it develops momentum, knows no bounds. A few persons or coteries may secure control of a major portion of the wealth within a nation and use it arbitrarily and selfishly. In consequence socialism, syndicalism, bolshevism gain vast recruits from the propertyless classes. At once the property monopolists who are fearful of losing their control over the masses resort to repression, to false uses of patriotism, and generally set up the cry that no class control must be allowed to develop—it would be undemocratic—ignoring that they represent a high concentration of class control. The fact that English lands have become concentrated in large estates that are owned by a very small proportion of the population and that the farmers have largely become a class of tenants leads to radical movements and belies England's fair claim to being a democratic country. The United States began with no great concentration of wealth, but has in recent decades become so characterized, has developed classes with the business class largely in control, and other classes organizing in "blocs" to thwart the domination of the business class.

To solve the problem two leading methods are proposed. On one side are the people who believe that acquisitive habits should be rooted up and that the government should own all rent-producing capital. On the other hand are the people who hold that the acquisitive nature is too-deep-seated to be eliminated ; that it would not he wise to thwart it, even if it were possible; and that this basic acquisitiveness should be allowed to operate, but trained to an expression in harmony with public welfare. The undemocratic attitude and disrespect for law by vast corporate or

( 56) inherited bodies of wealth find themselves today matched by the undemocratic and dictatorship program of bolshevism. If civilization is going to survive the worldwide revolutionary and terrorist tendencies that are abroad, only a renaissance of respect for law based on social justice and love, beginning with the most economically powerful and ending with those who possess least, appears equal to the situation. In other words, the purely selfish aspects of acquisitiveness are likely to lead to both personal and national disaster.

Property has so many attractive forms, and its possession makes possible so many of the comforts of life and gives so much social power and status that it has become a leading social value in Western civilization. Accordingly the acquisitive attitude has developed until at times the social control of it has become hopeless. The acquisitive attitude has made civilization possible, and yet it may destroy civilization. It is developed largely through social heritage and current stimuli. If it is not socialized it bids fair to rend civilization in twain.


Another native trait which builds itself into personal behavior is combativeness. An individual is energized whenever any obstacle hinders the operations of any impulsive, habitual, or attentive activity. The fighting tendency [22] produces concentration of the individual's energies, and drives him ahead over obstacles.[23] It is usually accompanied by a heightened, tense state of feeling tone, almost frantic in type at times, and again in the case of the cultured person, well under control and showing no objective manifestations. This exaggerated state of feeling is sometimes referred to as anger. In its crudest expressions, combativeness shows itself in the snarl and rush of the dog, in the clenched and pugilistic fists of the boy, in the lynching atrocities of the mob, in the brutalities which are committed in the name of organized warfare.

The combative attitude is in part a product of natural selection. In primitive groups the better fighters survived ; the others perished. Under the existing environmental conditions, the "fightingest" tribes were the fittest to survive, and all others suffered extinction. Throughout long

( 57) periods of time, combativeness in the physical sense was at a high survival premium.

The combative attitude has been undergoing modifications. Its earliest expressions were immediate and destructive. If an animal is charging, kill it. If a man deliberately hinders your activities, down him. If a tribe wants your hunting grounds, annihilate it. Then temporary control was added; if you cannot destroy at once the animal, person, tribe, or nation that hinders your enterprises, bide your time, develop the attitude to destroy in the minds of your followers, and at what seems to be the opportune moment, rise up in an organized way and slay.

Again, combativeness has led to the blood feud. If you cannot reach the person who has wronged you, then kill an innocent relative. As a result of these tendencies, an elaborate system of personal habits of revenge and destructiveness are established. Social habits or customs easily become organized out of personal habits of combative revenge; social institutions such as the family and neighborhood become involved, and the blood-feud originating perhaps in blunt combative impulses reaches the level of an imperious social custom.

If you cannot exterminate, then hurt. Torture is an extreme form of combativeness in which the aggressor feels at least a definite physical superiority and in consequence administers punishment. Torture has been considered a satisfactory form of punishment, and as a result, jails and prisons have turned back their inmates to society in a more anti-social state of mind than they had on entering. The newly developed method is to allow the rigorous discipline of work serve as punishment and to set in motion processes for reforming habits.

Although a heritage from the days of fang and claw, the fighting impulses, in modified forms, are essential to individual and group progress. In early days they were commonly expressed in the physical combat between individuals. In the modern civilized nation-group, individuals as a rule do not resort to physical clash in order to settle disputes, but turn to discussion and argument and to "due process of law" in the organized courts. Thus their fighting energies are not used to destroy their fellow beings, but are diverted into intellectual contests.

The combative impulses are undergoing intrinsic changes. Cognitive factors, such as an understanding of society, are transforming combativeness into new habitual expressions. Organized love and service aims are setting combative human nature to fighting socially destructive factors such as sin, vice, delinquency. Social and educational control are assisting

( 58) in sublimating combativeness from the direction of organized warfare between nations to organized war of the constructive forces of all nations against the destructive forces in these sane nations.

The struggle for existence in the biological world which takes place largely upon the plane of physical strength and cunning has a counterpart among humans in the struggle for food, position, power. Habit and custom are also organizing the quiet, constructive, pervasive influence of love and similar spiritual forces into helpful, educational, and religious patterns that are in fundamental combat with militarism and ruthless forms of commercialism. As a class the "fittest"to survive are undergoing an evolution from the lowest levels of brute strength to shrewd forms of mental efficiency and strength, and then to socialized personalities motivated by love.

G. F. Nicolai, a daring German writer who was imprisoned by his government during the World War for his views and who was rescued from prison by aeroplane, holds that the ineradicable fighting impulses represent a survival of tendencies which at one time were useful but which are now positively dangerous.[24] The need for the transformation of these impulses is imperative. One species of animals after another has died out before it could change its inherited impulses. Hence, the question is pertinent: Will mankind die out because it cannot change the fighting impulses? Or can it turn the fighting energies of individuals into personal habits and social customs of a helpful rather than a harmful nature?

The combative attitude is a basic psychic factor in business competition, political campaigning, social reform, and courtship under competitive circumstances. It is a dynamo which engenders tremendous forces in intellectual realms. It contributes to, the pleasure of the athlete and of the spectator. It leads to contests between ideals. It has been organized into war patterns so extensively and for so long that war is thought to be based largely on inherited impulses. It may be that man possesses innate impulses causing him to strike another person or to fight as a personal matter, but the evidence indicates that there are no human innate tendencies "that find their natural expression in waging modern war, which means seeking to destroy at long range a perfectly impersonal and unseen foe, by means of intricate machinery, and for reasons either unknown or largely foreign to the fighter's own purposes.[25] Waging

( 59) modern war is so far from being instinctive that it "has to be taught laboriously and systematically by such atrocious devices as the bayonet drill," which in itself represents a gross violation of most of man's instinctive tendencies.[26] War has to be taught as evidenced by the efforts of "those literary patriots who are always ready to shed their last drop of ink in the cause of their country."[27]

When war is gone, there will be need for the fighting spirit. Then individuals and groups will still have to fight personal and social evils. They will assail not the best people of the enemy state, but the evil in all peoples. The struggles against social evils will always demand, as far as one can now see, the socialized exercise of combativeness. The combative attitude needs reorganization so that it will no longer support war and militarism as leading social institutions. When excess emphasis on property, territory, selfish individual and national power is being cut down then the combative attitude may simultaneously be reorganized against sin, vice, and crime rather than against races and peoples ; it may then further the development of wholesome social attitudes and values, and contribute to progress.


The pacifist attitude is probably as fundamental to human nature as the combative attitude. Leading to peaceful pursuits it does not attract the attention that combativeness does. It originates partly in the desire for security, partly in the derived desires to construct, to do useful things, to serve other persons usefully. Persons of unperturbed temperament and those of agreeable dispositions, those of fine inhibitions, have exemplified it most and best. Not only in the early years of life but as maturity wears on, impulses become organized into ways of peace and paths of pleasantness.

The instinctive bases of the pacific attitude well up when shooting and murder are suggested to the ordinary person as normal conduct for him, or to the new recruit when fighting requires him to bayonet dying men or to kill women and children. The training in hating the "enemy"that the soldier goes through before he can kill with cold steel is convincing evidence showing that the pacifist attitude is as fundamental as the killing attitude. But mankind has built "glory" and "patriotism" around

( 60) the latter so generally that the importance of the former attitude has been overlooked. When put to the supreme test in time of national war, its exponents are treated with ignominy and incarcerated. It may be as full of the "do and die" spirit, as pugnaciousness, but for constructive rather than destructive purposes.


The rivalrous attitude arises whenever persons compete to attain a level of superiority or of power or possession. We do not feel rivalrous toward a Shakespeare or a Lincoln because such men are distinctly above our level ; moreover, they are not living. Rivalry is non-sympathetic and partisan ; it resorts to chicanery and secrecy. It plots. A rival is seldom fair, and very rarely generous. The rivalrous attitude attains satisfaction when one experiences a superiority over competitors.[28] Therefore it is never completely satisfied ; there are always competitors and new levels of superiority to attain.

The rivalrous attitude grows out of personal contests for selfish possession and creates sentiments of jealousy. It includes emulation or the desire to equal or excel without attempting to unhorse an opponent. It includes mirrored behavior, for it prompts one "to do whatever another does that wins praise." [29] Sometimes it is kept alive "by the fear that some one else will not play fair." [30]


The socialized attitude is basic to all other attitudes. It means that all the attitudes of a person are organized so that he feels, thinks, and acts, consciously and unconsciously, in harmony with the needs of other persons. This co÷peration leads persons to act together, but not alike. It creates a unity of different purposes and abilities, but not a uniformity. It involves intrinsic changes in a person's nature leading to social self-control, that is, the control of self in line with the needs of others. It also means that a person develops an increasing sense of social responsibility.[31]

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Personal and social progress is a matter of changes in attitudes. If we can find out how to change attitudes, we shall have the key to progress. In any human field, for example, in the industrial field, "all work may become artistic," with an appropriate change of attitudes and values.[32] Since one's attitudes are influenced largely "by the groups in which one desires status and recognition"[33] a knowledge of group psychology becomes all-important. Imperceptible modifications of a single attitude or a few attitudes at a time rather than a complete change seems to be the rule. Hence, C. A. Ellwood's thesis that human nature is one of the most modifiable things in the world rings true.[34]

Attitudes, however, are difficult to change if they have originated in or been connected with emotional experiences. Situations producing these experiences thus require careful research, for in them is found the chief difficulties when changes in attitudes are contemplated. All individual and social changes come through personal experiences.


1. Human nature culminates in attitudes, that is, tendencies to act toward or against some object.

2. The object toward which a social attitude is expressed becomes a positive or negative social value.

3. As a result of being born and reared in social groups, human beings develop a general social attitude, i. e. a respect and need for social stimuli and for social response.

4. The gregarious attitude arises from "herd" impulses and is a specialized form of the general social attitude.

5. The sex attitude leads to such extremes as commercialized vice and the purest types of love and chastity.

6. The parental attitude produces the finest expressions of self-sacrifice and upholds the family which is society's institution of primary importance.

7. The play attitude develops around interesting and stimulating problems and makes work agreeable.

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8. The inquisitive attitude is built up by environmental factors that are somewhat but not wholly different from past experience; its highest expression is the scientific attitude.

9. The acquisitive attitude develops around material and spiritual factors which afford personal power.

10. The combative attitude develops in and through reactions against obstacles which hinder the impulses, habits, desires, or other tendencies.

11. The pacific attitude is essentially one of evolutionary constructiveness.

12. The rivalrous attitude involves competition for recognition.

13. The socialized attitude is an organization of all the other attitudes for social purposes.


1. What is a social attitude?

2. What is a social value?

3. What is the general social attitude?

4. What are (a) gregarious attitudes?
(b)     sex attitudes? 
(c)     parental attitudes? 
(d)     play attitudes? 
(e)     inquisitive attitudes? 
(f)     acquisitive attitudes? 
(g)    combative attitudes? 
(h)    pacifist attitudes? 
(i)     rivalrous attitudes? 
(j)     socialized attitudes? 

5. How are attitudes changed?


1. Why has the basic social nature of human beings been so commonly overlooked?

2. Does gregariousness exist in the hermit?

3. Give a new illustration of the operation of the gregarious tendency.

4. Why do the working classes on holidays rush to the places where the crowds are?

5. Why is the country considered dull by so many people?

6. Why do people become "chummy" when sitting around the hearth fire?

7. Why does a prisoner take a special interest in a flower?

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8. Why do little children talk aloud to themselves?

9. For what different reasons do elderly people talk aloud to themselves?

10. Explain : "It is lonesome to be a college president."

11. Why should one alternate between friendship and solitude?

12. "Is a college fraternity fraternal?"

13. What are the leading forces that are opposing the parental impulses?

14. How far is it true that general life does not rise above the level of family life?

15. How do you rate the slogan: An automobile before owning a home?

16. Why is it work for a mason to pile up brick, and play for a small boy to pile up blocks?

17. Why is work hard and play easy to a child even when the latter requires the expenditure of more energy?

18. Why is it play to a boy to clear brush from a lot for a baseball diamond and work to clear the same lot at his parent's command?

19. What is the chief social value in play?

20. What is curiosity?

21. What is the relation between curiosity and scientific research?

22. What is the chief value of the acquisitive impulses?

23. Beyond what limits is it wrong to indulge the acquisitive impulses?

24. Why do "some men begin to enjoy giving away, late in life, what they have given their best years to accumulate ?"

25. Is it necessary to get angry in order to fight well?

26. What impulses impel a person to run to see a fight?

27. What is righteous indignation?

28. What has rendered bodily combat unnecessary in order to settle disputes?

29. Is anger a good guide to action?

30. What would happen if the fighting impulses should die out?


Baldwin, J. M., Social and Ethical Interpretations (Macmillan, 1906), Ch. XV.

Cooley, C. H., Social Organization (Scribners, 1909), Chs. I, II.

Ellwood, C. A., An Introduction to Social Psychology (Appleton, 1917), Ch. IX.

Gross, K., The Play of Animals (Appleton, 1911).

————, The Play of Man (Appleton, 1901).

Hetherington and Muirhead, Social Purpose (Macmillan, 1918), Ch. V.

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Howerth, I. W., "The Great War and the Instinct of the Herd," Intern. Jour. of Ethics, XXIX: 174-87.

Kropotkin, P., Mutual Aid, a Factor in Evolution (Knopf, 1917).

McDougall, William, An Introduction ta Social Psychology (Luce, 1914),Part II, Ch. VIII.

Patrick, G. T. W., The Psychology of Relaxation (Houghton Mifflin, 1916), Chs. II, IV.

Rainwater, C. E., The Play Movement in the United States (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1921), Ch. V.

Ribot, Th., The Psychology of the Emotions (Scribners, 1911), Part II, Ch. VI.

Seashore, C. E., Psychology in Daily Life (Appleton, 1913), Ch. I.

Smith, W. R., An Introduction to Educational Sociology (Houghton Mifflin, 1917), Ch. V.

Todd, A. J., Theories of Social Progress (Macmillan, 1918), Chs. IV, V.


  1. The Polish Peasant in Europe and America (University of Chicago Press, 1918), Vol. I, pp. 27 ff.
  2. Ibid., p. 20. Cf. E. W. Burgess, "The Study of the Delinquent as a Person," Amer. lour. of Sociology, XXVII:671.
  3. Ibid., p. 21.
  4. Ibid., p. 39.
  5. Ibid., p. 22.
  6. Cf .Thomas and Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, Vol. III, p. 7.
  7. "The Principle of Group Priority," Jour.of Applied Sociology, VII: 85-88.
  8. R.H. Gault, Social Psychology (Holt, 1923), p. 14.
  9. Introduction to Social Psychology (Luce, 1914), Ch. XII.
  10. Mutual Aid, a Factor in Evolution (Doubleday, Page: 1902).
  11. A Treatise of Human Nature (Oxford, 1896), p. 363.
  12. Ibid.
  13. See a subsequent chapter on "Isolation."
  14. Principles of Sociology, p. 99.
  15. There are several types of broken or unfit homes, namely : (1)The home entered by death, (2) the home in which the parents are separated, (3) the home in which the parents are divorced, (4) the home in which prolonged poverty or pauperism exists, (5)the home that is vitiated by the extended sickness of the main wage-earner, (6) the home characterized by shiftlessness, incapacity, and irresponsibility, and (7) the immigrant home where the parents in trying to adjust themselves to the strange American environment have lost control of their children.
  16. Cf. B. E. Ewer, College Study and College Life (Badger, 1918), Ch. XVII.
  17. Introduction to Social Psychology (Luce, 1914), pp. 57 ff.
  18. The Control of the Social Mind (Appleton, 1923), p. 147.
  19. A. B. Wolfe, Conservatism, Radicalism, and Scientific Method (Macmillan, 1923), p. 10.
  20. Dewey (Human Nature and Conduct, Holt, 1922, pp. 142, 143), connects creativeness with acquisitiveness. He says : "Speaking roughly we may say that native activity is both creative and acquisitive, creative as a process, acquisitive in that it terminates as a rule in some tangible product which brings the process to consciousness of itself."
  21. The literature on the evils of acquisitiveness has become extensive. Cf. R. H. Tawney, The Acquisitive Society (Harcourt, Brace: 1921) ; J. M. Williams, Principles of Social Psychology (Knopf, 1922), Part II;J. M. Mecklin, An Introduction to Social Ethics (Harcourt, Brace: 1920), Ch. XVII.
  22. The combative attitude, the pugnacious attitude, and the fighting attitude are used here synonymously.
  23. The initial stages of combativeness are similar to those of repression as de-scribed in Chapter II; but in the case of combativeness the repression is usually overcome in some way or other.
  24. The Biology of War (Century, 1918).
  25. Clarence M. Case, "Instinctive and Cultural Factors in Group Conflicts," Amer. Jour. of Sociology," XXVIII:9.
  26. Case, ibid. Dewey, Human Nature and Conduct, p. 113, gives a similar explanation as follows: "Social conditions rather than an old and unchangeable Adam have generated war."
  27. Case, ibid.
  28. J. M. Williams, Principles of Social Psychology (Knopf, 1922), Ch. II.
  29. Ibid., p. 16.
  30. A. D. Weeks, The Control of the Social Mind (Appleton, 1923), p. 152.
  31. See Chapter XX on "Socialization."
  32. W.I. Thomas, The Unadjusted Girl (Little, Brown: 1923), p. 257.
  33. E. B. Reuter, "The Social Attitude," Jour. of Applied Sociology, VII: 100.
  34. Jour. of Applied Sociology, VII: 229.

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