An Introduction to Social Psychology

Chapter 3: The Principal Instincts and the Primary Emotions

William McDougall

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BEFORE we can make any solid progress in the understanding of the complex emotions and impulses that are the forces underlying the thoughts and actions of men and of societies, we must be able to distinguish and describe each of the principal human instincts and the emotional and conative tendencies characteristic of each one of them. This task will be attempted in the present chapter; in Chapter V. we shall seek to analyse some of the principal complex emotions and impulses, to display them as compounded from the limited number of primary or simple instinctive tendencies ;[1] and in

( 48) the succeeding chapters of this section we shall consider the way in which these tendencies become organised within the complex dispositions that constitute the sentiments.

In the foregoing chapter it was said that the instinctive mental process that results from the excitement of any instinct has always an affective aspect, the nature of which depends upon the constitution of that most stable and unchanging of the three parts of the instinctive disposition, namely the central part. In the case of the simpler instincts, this affective aspect of the instinctive process is not prominent; and though, no doubt, the quality of it is peculiar in each case, yet we cannot readily distinguish these qualities and we have no special names for them. But, in the case of the principal powerful instincts, the affective quality of each instinctive process and the sum of visceral and bodily changes in which it expresses itself are peculiar and distinct; hence language provides special names for such modes of affective experience, names such as anger, fear, curiosity; and the generic name for them is "emotion." The word "emotion" is used of course in popular speech loosely and

( 49) somewhat vaguely, and psychologists are not yet completely consistent in their use of it. But all psychological terms that are taken from common speech have to undergo a certain specialisation and more rigid definition before they are fit for scientific use; and in using the word "emotion" in the restricted sense which is indicated above, and which will be rigidly adhered to throughout these pages, I am but carrying to its logical conclusion a tendency displayed by the majority of recent English writers on psychology.

Each of the principal instincts conditions, then, some one kind of emotional excitement whose quality is specific or peculiar to it; and the emotional excitement of specific quality that is the affective aspect of the operation of any one of the principal instincts may be called a primary emotion. This principle, which was enunciated in my little work on physiological psychology, proves to beof very great value when we seek to analyse the complex emotions into their primary constituents. Several writers have come very near to the recognition of this principle, but few or none of them have stated it clearly and explicitly, and, what is more important, they have not systematically applied it in any thoroughgoing manner as the guiding principle on which we must chiefly rely in seeking to define the primary emotions and to unravel the complexities of our concrete emotional experiences.[2]

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In adapting to scientific use a word from popular speech, it is inevitable that some violence should be done to common usage ; and, in adopting this rigid definition of emotion, we shall have to do such violence in refusing to admit joy, sorrow, and surprise (which are often regarded, even by writers on psychology, as the very types of emotions) to our list whether of simple and primary or of complex emotions. Some arguments in justification of this exclusion will be adduced later. At this stage I will only point out that joy and sorrow are not emotional states that can be experienced independently of the true emotions, that in every case they are qualifications of the emotions they accompany, and that in strictness we ought rather to speak always of a joyful or sorrowful emotion—e.g., a joyful wonder or gratitude, a sorrowful anger or pity.

In considering the claim of any human emotion or impulse to rank as a primary emotion or simple instinctive impulse, we shall find two principles of great as-

( 51) -sistance. First, if a similar emotion and impulse are clearly displayed in the instinctive activities of the higher animals, that fact will afford a strong presumption that the emotion and impulse in question are primary and simple; on the other hand, if no such instinctive activity occurs among the higher animals, we must suspect the affective state in question of being either a complex composite emotion or no true emotion. Secondly, we must inquire in each case whether the emotion and impulse in question occasionally appear in human beings with morbidly exaggerated intensity, apart from such general hyper-excitability as is displayed in mania. For it would seem that each instinctive disposition, being a relatively independent functional unit in the constitution of the mind, is capable of morbid hypertrophy or of becoming abnormally excitable, independently of the rest of the mental dispositions and functions. That is to say, we must look to comparative psychology and to mental pathology for confirmation of the primary character of those of our emotions that appear to be simple and un-analysable.[3]

The Instinct of Flight and the Emotion of Fear

The instinct to flee from danger is necessary for the survival of almost all species of animals, and in most of the higher animals the instinct is one of the most powerful. Upon its excitement the locomotory apparatus is impelled to its utmost exertions, and sometimes the intensity and long duration of these exertions is more

(52) than the visceral organs can support, so that they are terminated by utter exhaustion or death. Men also have been known to achieve extraordinary feats of running and leaping under this impulse ; there is a well-known story of a great athlete who, when pursued as a boy by a savage animal, leaped over a wall which he could not again "clear" until he attained his full stature and strength. These locomotory activities are accompanied by a characteristic complex of symptoms, which in its main features is common to man and to many of the higher animals, and which, in conjunction with the violent efforts to escape, constitutes so unmistakable an expression of the emotion of fear that no one hesitates to interpret it as such; hence popular speech recognises the connection of the emotion with the instinct that determines the movements of flight in giving them the one name fear. Terror, the most intense degree of this emotion, may involve so great a nervous disturbance, both in men and animals, as to defeat the ends of the instinct by inducing general convulsions or even death. In certain cases of mental disease the patient's disorder seems to consist essentially in an abnormal excitability of this instinct and a consequent undue frequency and intensity of its operation; the patient lives perpetually in fear, shrinking in terror from the most harmless animal or at the least unusual sound, and surrounds himself, with safe-guards against impossible dangers.


In most animals this instinct may be excited by a variety of objects and sense-impressions prior to all experience of hurt or danger; that is to say, the innate disposition has several afferent inlets. In some of the more timid creatures it would seem that every unfamiliar sound or sight is capable of exciting it.[4] In civilised man, whose life for so many generations has been more or less sheltered from the dangers peculiar to the natural state, the instinct exhibits (like all complex organs and functions that are not kept true to the specific type by rigid selection) considerable individual differences, especially on its receptive side. Hence it is difficult to discover what objects and impressions were its natural excitants in primitive man. The wail of the very young infant has but little variety ; but mothers claim to be able to distinguish the cries of fear, of anger, and of bodily discomfort, at a very early age, and it is probable that these three modes of reaction become gradually differentiated from a single instinctive impulse, that of the cry, whose function is merely to signal to the mother the need of her ministrations. In most young children unmistakable fear is provoked by any sudden loud noise (some being especially sensitive to harsh deep-pitched noises even though of low intensity), and all through life such noise re-mains for many of us the surest and most frequent excitant of the instinct. Other children, while still in arms, show fear if held too loosely when carried downstairs, or if the arms that hold them are suddenly lowered. In some, intense fear is excited on their first introduction at close quarters to a dog or cat, no matter how quiet and well-behaved the animal may be; and some of us

(54) continue all through life to experience a little thrill of fear whenever a dog runs out and barks at our heels, though we may never have received any hurt from an animal and may have perfect confidence that no hurt is likely to be done us.[5]

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In other persons, again, fear is excited by the noise of a high wind, and though they may be in a solidly built

house that has weathered a hundred storms, they will walk restlessly to and fro throughout every stormy night. In most animals instinctive flight is followed by equally instinctive concealment as soon as cover is reached, and there can be little doubt that in primitive man the instinct had this double tendency. As soon as the little child can run, his fear expresses itself in concealment following on flight; and the many adult persons who seek refuge from the strange noises of dark nights, or from a thunderstorm, by covering their heads with the bed-clothes, and who find a quite irrational comfort in so doing, illustrate the persistence of this tendency. It is, perhaps, in the opposed characters of these two tendencies, both of which are bound up with the emotion of fear, that we may find an explanation of the great variety of, and variability of, the symptoms of fear. The sudden stop-ping of heart-beat and respiration, and the paralysis of movement in which it sometimes finds expression, are due to the impulse to concealment ; the hurried respiration and pulse, and the frantic bodily efforts, by which

( 56) it is more commonly expressed, are due to the impulse to flight.[6]

That the excitement of fear is not necessarily, or in-deed usually, the effect of an intelligent appreciation or anticipation of danger, is especially well shown by children of four or five years of age, in whom it may be induced by the facial contortions or playful roarings of a familiar friend. Under these circumstances, a child may exhibit every symptom of fear even while he sits upon his tormentor's lap and, with arms about his neck, beseeches him to cease or to promise not to do it again. And many a child has been thrown into a paroxysm of terror by the approach of some hideous figure that he knew to be but one of his playfellows in disguise.

Of all the excitants of this instinct the most interesting, and the most difficult to understand as regards its mode of operation, is the unfamiliar or strange as such. Whatever is totally strange, whatever is violently op-posed to the accustomed and familiar, is apt to excite fear both in men and animals, if only it is capable of attracting their attention. It is, I think, doubtful whether an eclipse of the moon has ever excited the fear of animals, for the moon is not an object of their attention ; but for savage men it has always been an occasion of fear. The well-known case of the dog described by Ro-manes, that was terrified by the movements of an object jerked forward by an invisible thread, illustrates the fear-exciting powers of the unfamiliar in the animal world. The following incident is instructive in this respect: A

( 57) courageous child of five years, sitting alone in a sunroom, suddenly screams in terror, and, on her father hastening to her, can only explain that she saw something move. The discovery of a mouse in the corner of the room at once explains and banishes her fear, for she is on friendly terms with mice. The mouse must have darted across the peripheral part of her field of vision, and this unexpected and unfamiliar appearance of movement sufficed to excite the instinct. This avenue to the instinct, the unfamiliar, becomes in man highly diversified and intellectualised, and it is owing to this that he feels fear before the mysterious, the uncanny, and the supernatural, and that fear, entering as an element into the complex emotions of awe and reverence, plays its part in all religions.

Fear, whether its impulse be to flight or to concealment, is characterised by the fact that its excitement, more than that of any other instinct, tends to bring to an end at once all other mental activity, riveting the attention upon its object to the exclusion of all others; owing, probably, to this extreme concentration of attention, as well as to the violence of the emotion, the excitement of this instinct makes a deep and lasting impression on the mind. A gust of anger, a wave of pity or of tender emotion, an impulse of curiosity, may co-operate in supporting and re-enforcing mental activities of the most varied kinds, or may dominate the mind for a time and then pass away, leaving but little trace. But fear, once roused, haunts the mind ; it comes back alike in dreams and waking life, bringing with it vivid memories of the terrifying impression. It is thus the great inhibitor of action, both present action and future action, and becomes in primitive human societies the great

(58) agent of social discipline through which men are led to the habit of control of the egoistic impulses.

The Instinct of Repulsion and the Emotion of Disgust

The impulse of this instinct is, like that of fear, one of aversion, and these two instincts together account probably for all aversions, except those acquired under the influence of pain. The impulse differs from that of fear in that, while the latter prompts to bodily retreat from its object, the former prompts to actions that re-move or reject the offending object. This instinct resembles fear in that under the one name we, perhaps, commonly confuse two very closely allied instincts whose affective aspects are so similar that they are not easily distinguishable, though their impulses are of different tendencies. The one impulse of repulsion is to reject from the mouth substances that excite the instinct in virtue of their odour or taste, substances which in the main are noxious and evil-tasting; its biological utility is obvious. The other impulse of repulsion seems to be ex-cited by the contact of slimy and slippery substances with the skin, and to express itself as a shrinking of the whole body, accompanied by a throwing forward of the hands. The common shrinking from slimy creatures with a "creepy" shudder seems to be the expression of this impulse. It is difficult to assign any high biological value to it (unless we connect it with the necessity of avoiding noxious reptiles), but it is clearly displayed by some children before the end of their first year; thus in some infants furry things excite shrinking and tears at their first contact. In others the instinct seems to ripen later, and the child that has handled worms, frogs, and slugs

( 59) with delight suddenly evinces an unconquerable aversion to contact with them.

These two forms of disgust illustrate in the clearest and most interesting manner the intellectualisation of the instincts and primary emotions through extension of the range of their objects by association, resemblance, and analogy. The manners or speech of an otherwise presentable person may excite the impulse of shrinking in virtue of some subtle suggestion of sliminess. Or what we know of a man's character—that it is noxious, or, as we significantly say, is of evil odour—may render the .mere thought of him an occasion of disgust; we say, "It makes me sick to think of him"; and at the same time the face exhibits in some degree, however slight, the expression produced by the act of rejection of some evil-tasting substance from the mouth. In these cases we may see very clearly that this extension by resemblance or analogy does not take place in any roundabout fashion ; it is not that the thought of the noxious or "slippery" character necessarily reproduces the idea of some evil-tasting substance or of some slimy creature. Rather, the apprehension of these peculiarities of character ex-cites disgust directly, and then, when we seek to account for, and to justify, our disgust, we cast about for some simile and say, "He is like a snake," or "He is rotten to the core!" The common form of emotion serves as the link between the two ideas.

The Instinct of Curiosity and the Emotion of Wonder

The instinct of curiosity is displayed by many of the higher animals, although its impulse remains relatively feeble in most of them. And, in fact, it is obvious that it could not easily attain any considerable strength in any

( 60) animal species, because the individuals that displayed a too strong curiosity would be peculiarly liable to meet an untimely end. For its impulse is to approach and to examine more closely the object that excites it—a fact well known to hunters in the wilds, who sometimes by exciting this instinct bring the curious animal within the reach of their weapons. The native excitant of the instinct would seem to be any object similar to, yet perceptibly different from, familiar objects habitually noticed. It is therefore not easy to distinguish in general terms between the excitants of curiosity and those of fear; for we have seen that one of the most general excitants of fear is whatever is strange or unfamiliar. The difference seems to be mainly one of degree, a smaller element of the strange or unusual exciting curiosity, while a larger and more pronounced degree of it excites fear. Hence the two instincts, with their opposed impulses of approach and retreat, are apt to be excited in animals and very young children in rapid alternation, and simultaneously in ourselves. Who has not seen a horse, or other animal, alternately approach in curiosity, and flee in fear from, some such object as an old coat upon the ground? And who has not experienced a fearful curiosity in penetrating some dark cave or some secret chamber of an ancient castle? The behaviour of animals under the impulse of curiosity may be well observed by any one who will lie down in a field where sheep or cattle are grazing and repeat at short intervals some peculiar cry. In this way one may draw every member of a large flock nearer and nearer, until one finds oneself the centre of a circle of them, drawn up at a respectful distance, of which every pair of eyes and ears is intently fixed upon the strange object of their curiosity.

In the animals nearest to ourselves, namely, the mon-

( 61) -keys, curiosity is notoriously strong, and them it impels not merely to approach its object and to direct the senses attentively upon it, but also to active manipulation of it. That a similar impulse is strong in children, no one will deny. Exception may perhaps be taken to the use of wonder as the name for the primary emotion that ac-companies this impulse; for this word is commonly applied to a complex emotion of which this primary emotion is the chief but not the sole constituent.[7] But, as was said above, some specialisation for technical purposes of words in common use is inevitable in psychology, and in this instance it is, I think, desirable and justifiable, owing to the lack of any more appropriate word.

This instinct, being one whose exercise is not of prime importance to the individual, exhibits great individual differences as regards its innate strength; and these differences are apt to be increased during the course of life, the impulse growing weaker for lack of use in those in whom it is innately weak, stronger through exercise in those in whom it is innately strong. In men of the latter type it may become the main source of intellectual energy and effort ; to its impulse we certainly owe most of the purely disinterested labours of the highest types of intellect. It must be regarded as one of the principal roots of both science and religion.

The Instinct of Pugnacity and the Emotion of Anger

This instinct, though not so nearly universal as fear, being apparently lacking in the constitution of the females of some species, ranks with fear as regards the

( 62) great strength of its impulse, and the high intensity of the emotion it generates. It occupies a peculiar position in relation to the other instincts, and cannot strictly be brought under the definition of instinct proposed in the first chapter. For it has no specific object or objects the perception of which constitutes the initial stage of the instinctive process. The condition of its excitement is rather any opposition to the free exercise of any impulse, any obstruction to the activity to which the creature is impelled by any one of the other instincts.[8] And its impulse is to break down any such obstruction and to destroy whatever offers this opposition. This instinct thus presupposes the others; its excitement is dependent upon, or secondary to, the excitement of the others, and is apt to be intense in proportion to the strength of the obstructed impulse. The most mean-spirited cur will angrily resent any attempt to take away its bone, if it is hungry; a healthy infant very early displays anger,

(63) if his meal is interrupted ; and all through life most men find it difficult to suppress irritation on similar occasions. In the animal world the most furious excitement of this instinct is provoked in the male of many species by any interference with the satisfaction of the sexual impulse; since such interference is the most frequent occasion of its excitement, and since it commonly comes from other male members of his own species, the actions innately organised for securing the ends of this instinct are such actions as are most effective in combat with his fellows. Hence, also, the defensive apparatus of the male is usually, like the lion's or the stallion's mane, especially adapted for defence against the attacks of his fellows. But the obstruction of every other instinctive impulse may in its turn become the occasion of anger. We see how among the animals even the fear-impulse, the most op-posed in tendency to the pugnacious, may on obstruction give place to it; for the hunted creature when brought to bay— i.e., when its impulse to flight is obstructed—is apt to turn upon its pursuers and to fight furiously, until an opportunity for escape presents itself.

Darwin has shown the significance of the facial expression of anger, of the contracted brow and raised upper lip; and man shares with many of the animals the tendency to frighten his opponent by loud roars or bellowings. As with most of the other human instincts, the excitement of this one is expressed in its purest form by children. Many a little boy has, without any example or suggestion, suddenly taken to running with open mouth to bite the person who has angered him, much to the distress of his parents. As the child grows up, as self-control becomes stronger, the life of ideas richer, and the means we take to overcome obstructions to our efforts more refined and complex, this instinct ceases to express

( 64) itself in its crude natural manner, save when most in-tensely excited, and becomes rather a source of increased energy of action towards the end set by any other instinct; the energy of its impulse adds itself to and rein-forces that of other impulses and so helps us to overcome our difficulties. In this lies its great value for civilised man. A man devoid of the pugnacious instinct would not only be incapable of anger, but would lack this great source of reserve energy which is called into play in most of us by any difficulty in our path. In this respect also it is the opposite of fear, which tends to inhibit all other impulses than its own.

The Instincts of Self-abasement (or Subjection) and of Self-assertion (or Self-display), and the Emotions of Subjection and Elation (or Negative and Positive Self-feeling)

These two instincts have attracted little attention, and the two corresponding emotions have, so far as I know, been adequately recognised by M. Ribot alone,[9] whom I follow in placing them among the primary emotions. Ribot names the two emotions negative and positive self-feeling respectively, but since these names are awkward in English, I propose, in the interests of a consistent terminology, to call them the emotions of subjection and elation. The clear recognition and understanding of these instincts, more especially of the instinct of self-display, is of the first importance for the psychology of character and volition, as I hope to show in a later chapter. At present I am only concerned to prove that they

(65) have a place in the native constitution of the human mind.

The instinct of self-display is manifested by many of the higher social or gregarious animals, especially, perhaps, though not only, at the time of mating. Perhaps among mammals the horse displays it most clearly. The muscles of all parts are strongly innervated, the creature holds himself erect, his neck is arched, his tail lifted, his motions become superfluously vigorous and extensive, he lifts his hoofs high in air, as he parades before the eyes of his fellows. Many animals, especially the birds, but also some of the monkeys, are provided with organs of display that are specially disposed on these occasions. Such are the tail of the peacock and the beautiful breast of the pigeon. The instinct is essentially a social one, and is only brought into play by the presence of spectators. Such self-display is popularly recognised as implying pride; we say "How proud he looks!" and the peacock has become the symbol of pride. By psychologists pride is usually denied the animals, because it is held to imply self-consciousness, and that, save of the most rudimentary kind, they probably have not. But this denial arises from the current confusion of the emotions and the sentiments. The word "pride" is no doubt most properly to be used as the name of one form of the self-regarding sentiment, and such sentiment does imply a developed self-consciousness such as no animal can be credited with. Nevertheless, popular opinion is, I think, in the right in attributing to the animals in their moments of self-display the germ of the emotion that is the most essential constituent of pride. It is this primary emotion which may be called positive self-feeling or elation, and which might well be called pride, if that word were not required to denote the sentiment of pride. In

(66) the simple form, in which it is expressed by the self-display of animals, it does not necessarily imply self-consciousness.

Many children clearly exhibit this instinct of self-display; before they can walk or talk the impulse finds its satisfaction in the admiring gaze and plaudits of the family circle as each new acquirement is practised; [10] a little later it is still more clearly expressed by the frequently repeated command, "See me do this," or "See how well I can do so-and-so"; and for many a child more than half the delight of riding on a pony, or of wearing a new coat, consists in the satisfaction of this instinct, and vanishes if there be no spectators. A little later, with the growth of self-consciousness the instinct may find expression in the boasting and swaggering of boys, the vanity of girls; while, with almost all of us, it becomes the most important constituent of the self-regarding sentiment and plays an all-important part in the volitional control of conduct, in the way to be discussed in a later chapter.

The situation that more particularly excites this instinct is the presence of spectators to whom one feels one-self for any reason, or in any way, superior, and this is perhaps true in a modified sense of the animals ; the "dignified" behaviour of a big dog in the presence of small ones, the stately strutting of a hen among her chicks, seem to be instances in point. We have, then, good reason to believe that the germ of this emotion is present in the animal world, and, if we make use of our second criterion of the primary character of an emotion,

( 67) it answers well to the test. For in certain mental diseases, especially in the early stages of that most terrible disorder, general paralysis of the insane, exaggeration of this emotion and of its impulse of display is the leading symptom. The unfortunate patient is perpetually in a state of elated self-feeling, and his behaviour corresponds to his emotional state; he struts before the world, boasts of his strength, his immense wealth, his good looks, his luck, his family, when, perhaps, there is not the least foundation for his boastings.

As regards the emotion of subjection or negative self-feeling, we have the same grounds for regarding it as a primary emotion that accompanies the excitement of an instinctive disposition. The impulse of this instinct ex-presses itself in a slinking, crestfallen behaviour, a general diminution of muscular tone, slow restricted movements, a hanging down of the head, and sidelong glances. In the dog the picture is completed by the sinking of the tail between the legs. All these features express submissiveness, and are calculated to avoid attracting attention or to mollify the spectator. The nature of the instinct is sometimes very completely expressed in the behaviour of a young dog on the approach of a larger, older dog; he crouches or crawls with legs so bent that his belly scrapes the ground, his back hollowed, his tail tucked away, his head sunk and turned a little on one side, and so approaches the imposing stranger with every mark of submission.

The recognition of this behaviour as the expression of a special instinct of self-abasement and of a corresponding primary emotion enables us to escape from a much-discussed difficulty. It has been asked, "Can animals and young children that have not attained to self-consciousness feel shame?" And the answer usually given is,

(68) "No; shame implies self-consciousness." Yet some animals, notably the dog, sometimes behave in a way which the popular mind interprets as expressing shame. The truth seems to be that, while fully-developed shame, shame in the full sense of the word, does imply self-consciousness and a self-regarding sentiment, yet in the emotion that accompanies this impulse to slink submissively we may see the rudiment of shame; and, if we do not recognise this instinct, it is impossible to account for the genesis of shame or of bashfulness.

In children the expression of this emotion is often mistaken for that of fear; but the young child sitting on his mother's lap in perfect silence with face averted, casting sidelong glances at a stranger, presents a picture very different from that of fear.

Applying, again, our pathological test, we find that it is satisfied by this instinct of self-abasement. In many cases of mental disorder the exaggerated influence of this instinct seems to determine the leading symptoms. The patient shrinks from the observation of his fellows, thinks himself a most wretched, useless, sinful creature, and, in many cases, he develops delusions of having per-formed various unworthy or even criminal actions ; many such patients declare they are guilty of the unpardonable sin, although they attach no definite meaning to the phrase—that is to say, the patient's intellect endeavours to justify the persistent emotional state, which has no adequate cause in his relations to his fellow-men.

The Parental Instinct and the Tender Emotion

As regards the parental instinct and tender emotion, there are wide differences of opinion. Some of the authors who have paid most attention to the psychology of

( 69) the emotions, notably Mr. A. F. Shand, do not recognise tender emotion as primary;[11] others, especially Mr. Alex. Sutherland [12] and M. Ribot,[13] recognise it as a true primary and see in its impulse the root of all altruism; Mr. Sutherland, however, like Adam Smith and many other writers, has confused tender emotion with sympathy, a serious error of incomplete analysis, which Ribot has avoided.

The maternal instinct, which impels the mother to protect and cherish her young, is common to almost all the higher species of animals. Among the lower animals the perpetuation of the species is generally provided for by the production of an immense number of eggs or young (in some species of fish a single adult produces more than a million eggs), which are left entirely unprotected, and are so preyed upon by other creatures that on the average but one or two attain maturity. As we pass higher up the animal scale, we find the number of eggs or young more and more reduced, and the diminution of their number compensated for by parental protection. At the lowest stage this protection may consist in the provision of some merely physical shelter, as in the case of those animals that carry their eggs attached in some way to their bodies. Put, except at this lowest stage, the protection afforded to the young always involves some instinctive adaptation of the parent's behaviour. We may see this even among the fishes, some of which deposit their eggs in rude nests and watch over them, driving away creatures that might prey upon them. From this stage onwards protection of offspring becomes in-

( 70) -creasingly psychical in character, involves more profound modification of the parent's behaviour and a more pro-longed period of more effective guardianship. The highest stage is reached by those species in which each female produces at a birth but one or two young and protects them so efficiently that most of the young born reach maturity; the maintenance of the species thus becomes in the main the work of the parental instinct. In such species the protection and cherishing of the young is the constant and all-absorbing occupation of the mother, to which she devotes all her energies, and in the course of which she will at any time undergo privation, pain and death. The instinct becomes more powerful than any other, and can override any other, even fear itself ; for it works directly in the service of the species, while the other instincts work primarily in the service of the individual life, for which Nature cares little. All this has been well set out by Sutherland, with a wealth of illustrative detail, in his work on "The Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct."

When we follow up the evolution of this instinct to the highest animal level, we find among the apes the most remarkable examples of its operation. Thus in one species the mother is said to carry her young one clasped in one arm uninterruptedly for several months, never letting go of it in all her wanderings. This instinct is no less strong in many human mothers, in whom, of course, it becomes more or less intellectualised and organised as the most essential constituent of the sentiment of pa-rental love. Like other species, the human species is dependent upon this instinct for its continued existence and welfare. It is true that reason, working in the service of the egoistic impulses and sentiments, often circumvents the ends of this instinct and sets up habits

( 71) which are incompatible with it. When that occurs on a large scale in any society, that society is doomed to rapid decay. But the instinct itself can never die out, save with the disappearance of the human species itself ; it is kept strong and effective just because those families and races and nations in which it weakens become rapidly supplanted by those in which it is strong.

It is impossible to believe that the operation of this, the most powerful of the instincts, is not accompanied by a strong and definite emotion ; one may see the emotion expressed unmistakably by almost any mother among the higher animals, especially the birds and the mammals—by the cat, for example, and by most of the domestic animals ; and it is impossible to doubt that this emotion has in all cases the peculiar quality of the tender emotion provoked in the human parent by the spectacle of her helpless offspring. This primary emotion has been very generally ignored by the philosophers and psychologists ; that is, perhaps, to be explained by the fact that this instinct and its emotion are in the main decidedly weaker in men than in women, and in some men, perhaps, altogether lacking. We may even surmise that the philosophers as a 'class are men among whom this defect of native endowment is relatively common.

It may be asked, How can we account for the fact that men are at all capable of this emotion and of this disinterested protective impulse? For in its racial origin the instinct was undoubtedly primarily maternal. The answer is that it is very common to see a character, acquired by one sex to meet its special needs, transmitted, generally imperfectly and with large individual variations, to the members of the other sex. Familiar examples of such transmission of sexual characters are afforded by the horns and antlers of some species of sheep

(72) and deer. That the parental instinct is by no means altogether lacking in men is probably due in the main to such transference of a primarily maternal instinct, though it is probable that in the human species natural selection has confirmed and increased its inheritance by the male sex.

To this view, that the parental tenderness of human beings depends upon an instinct phylogenetically continuous with the parental instinct of the higher animals, it might be objected that the very widespread prevalence of infanticide among existing savages implies that primitive man lacked this instinct and its tender emotion. But that would be a most mistaken objection. There is no feature of savage life more nearly universal than the kindness and tenderness of savages, even of savage fathers, for their little children. All observers are agreed upon this point. I have many a time watched with interest a bloodthirsty head-hunter of Borneo spending a day at home tenderly nursing his infant in his arms. And it is a rule, to which there are few exceptions among savage peoples, that an infant is only killed during the first hours of its life. If the child is allowed to survive but a few days, then its life is safe; the tender emotion has been called out in fuller strength and has begun to be organised into a sentiment of parental love that is too strong to be overcome by prudential or purely selfish considerations.[14]

The view of the origin of parental tenderness here adopted compares, I think, very favourably with other ac-counts of its genesis. Bain taught that it is generated in the individual by the frequent repetition of the intense pleasure of contact with the young; though why this con-

( 73) -tact should be so highly pleasurable he did not explain.[15] Others have attributed to the expectation by the parent of filial care in his or her old age. This is one form of the absurd and constantly renewed attempt to reveal all altruism as arising essentially out of a more or less subtle regard for one's own welfare or pleasure. If tender emotion and the sentiment of love really arose from a disguised selfishness of this sort, how much stronger should be the love of the child for the parent than that of the parent for the child! For the child is for many years utterly dependent on the parent for his every pleasure and the satisfaction of his every need; whereas the mother's part—if she were not endowed with this powerful instinct—would be one long succession of sacrifices and painful efforts on behalf of her child. Parental love must always appear an insoluble riddle and paradox if we do not recognise this primary emotion, deeply rooted in an ancient instinct of vital importance to the race. Long ago the Roman moralists were perplexed by it. They noticed that in the Sullan prosecutions, while many sons denounced their fathers, no father was ever known to denounce his son; and they recognised that this fact was inexplicable by their theories of conduct. For their doctrine was like that of Bain, who said explicitly : "Tender feeling is as purely self-seeking as any other pleasure, and makes no inquiry as to the feelings of the beloved personality. It is by nature pleasurable, but does not necessarily cause us to seek the good of the object farther than is needful to gratify ourselves in the indulgence of the feeling." And again, in express reference to maternal tenderness, he wrote: "The superficial observer has to be told that the feeling in itself is as purely self-regarding as the pleasure of wine or of music. Under it we

(74) are induced to seek the presence of the beloved objects and to make the requisite sacrifices to gain the end, looking all the while at our own pleasure and to nothing beyond."[16] This doctrine is a gross libel on human nature, which is not so far inferior to animal nature in this respect as Bain's words imply. If Bain, and those who agree with his doctrine, were in the right, everything the cynics have said of human nature would be justified; for from this emotion and its impulse to cherish and protect spring generosity, gratitude, love, pity, true benevolence, and altruistic conduct of every kind ; in it they have their main and absolutely essential root, without which they would not be.[17]

Like the other primary emotions, the tender emotion cannot be described; a person who had not experienced it could no more be made to understand its quality than a totally colour-blind person can be made to understand the experience of colour-sensation. Its impulse is primarily to afford physical protection to the child, especially by throwing the arms about it; and that fundamental impulse persists in spite of the immense extension of the range of application of the impulse and its incorporation in many ideal sentiments.[18]

Like all the other instinctive impulses, this one, when its operation meets with obstruction or opposition, gives

( 75) place to, or is complicated by, the pugnacious or combative impulse directed against the source of the obstruction ; and, the impulse being essentially protective, its obstruction provokes anger perhaps more readily than the obstruction of any other. In almost all animals that display it, even in those which in all other situations are very timid, any attempt to remove the young from the protecting parent, or in any way to hurt them, provokes a fierce and desperate display of all their combative re-sources. By the human mother the same prompt yielding of the one impulse to the other is displayed on the same plane of physical protection, but also on the higher plane of ideal protection; the least threat, the smallest slight or aspersion (e.g., the mere speaking of the baby as "it, "instead of as "he" or "she"), the mere suggestion that it is not the most beautiful object in the world, will suffice to provoke a quick resentment.

This intimate alliance between tender emotion and anger is of great importance for the social life of man, and the right understanding of it is fundamental for a true theory of the moral sentiments; for the anger evoked in this way is the germ of all moral indignation, and on moral indignation justice and the greater part of public law are in the main founded. Thus, paradoxical as it may seem, beneficence and punishment alike have their firmest and most essential root in the parental instinct. For the understanding of the relation of this instinct to moral indignation, it is important to note that the object which is the primary provocative of tender emotion is, not the child itself, but the child's expression of pain, fear, or distress of any kind, especially the child's cry of distress; further, that this instinctive response is provoked by the cry, not only of one's own offspring, but of any child. Tender emotion and the protective impulse

(76) are, no doubt, evoked more readily and intensely by one's own offspring, because about them a strongly organised and complex sentiment grows up. But the distress of any child will evoke this response in a very intense degree in those in whom the instinct is strong. There are women—and men also, though fewer—who cannot sit still, or pursue any occupation, within sound of the distressed cry of a child; if circumstances compel them to restrain their impulse to run to its relief, they yet cannot withdraw their attention from the sound, but continue to listen in painful agitation.

In the human being, just as is the case in some degree with all the instinctive responses, and as we noticed especially in the case of disgust, there takes place a vast extension of the field of application of the maternal instinct. The similarity of various objects to the primary or natively given object, similarities which in many cases can only be operative for a highly developed mind, enables them to evoke tender emotion and its protective impulse directly—i.e., not merely by way of associative re-production of the natively given object. In this way the emotion is liable to be evoked, not only by the distress of a child, but by the mere sight or thought of a perfectly happy child; for its feebleness, its delicacy, its obvious incapacity to supply its own needs, its liability to a thou-sand different ills, suggest to the mind its need of protection. By a further extension of the same kind the emotion may be evoked by the sight of any very young animal, especially if in distress; Wordsworth's poem on the pet lamb is the celebration of this emotion in its purest form; and indeed it would be easy to wax enthusiastic in the cause of an instinct that is the source of the only entirely admirable, satisfying, and perfect human rela-

( 77) -tionship, as well as of every kind of purely disinterested conduct. In a similar direct fashion the distress of any adult (towards whom we harbour no hostile sentiment) evokes the emotion; but in this case it is more apt to be complicated by sympathetic pain, when it becomes the painful, tender emotion we call pity; whereas the child, or any other helpless and delicate thing, may call it out in the pure form without alloy of sympathetic pain. It is amusing to observe how, in those women in whom the instinct is strong, it is apt to be excited, owing to the subtle working of similarity, by any and every object that is small and delicate of its kind—a very small cup, or chair, or book, or what not.

Extension takes place also through association in virtue of contiguity; the objects intimately connected with the prime object of the emotion—such objects as the clothes, the toys, the bed, of the beloved child—become capable of exciting the emotion directly.

But the former mode of direct extension of the field of application is in this case the more important. It is in virtue of such extension to similars that, when we see, or hear of, the ill-treatment of any weak, defenceless creature (especially, of course, if the creature be a child) tender emotion and the protective impulse are aroused on its behalf, but are apt to give place at once to the anger we call moral indignation against the perpetrator of the cruelty; and in bad cases we are quite prepared to tear the offender limb from limb, the tardy process of the law with its mild punishments seeming utterly inadequate to afford vicarious satisfaction to our anger.[19]

How is this great fact of wholly disinterested anger

( 78) or indignation to be accounted for, if not in the way here suggested? The question is an important one; it supplies a touchstone for all theories of the moral emotions and sentiments. For, as was said above, this disinterested indignation is the ultimate root of justice and of public law ; without its support law and its machinery would be most inadequate safeguards of personal rights and liberties ; and, in opposition to the moral indignation of a majority of members of any society, laws can only be very imperfectly enforced by the strongest despotism, as we see in Russia at the present time. Those who deny any truly altruistic motive to man and seek to reduce apparent altruism to subtle and far-sighted egoism, must simply deny the obvious facts, and must seek some far-fetched unreal explanations of such phenomena as the anti-slavery and Congo-reform movements, the anti-vivisection crusade, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Let us examine briefly the way in which Bain sought to account for ostensibly disinterested emotion and action. As we have seen above, he regarded tender emotion as wholly self-seeking, and, like many other authors, he attributed such actions as we are considering to sympathy. He wrote: "From a region of the mind quite apart from the tender emotion arises the principle of sympathy, or the prompting to take on the pleasures and pains of other beings, and act on them as

(79) if they were our own. Instead of being a source of pleasure to us, the primary operation of sympathy is to make us surrender pleasures and to incur pains. This is a paradox of our constitution to be again more fully considered." [20]

Here he has clearly committed himself to a position that needs much explanation. But, when we seek his fuller consideration of this paradox, all we find is a pas-sage of a few lines in his section on moral disapprobation. This passage tells us that, when another's conduct in-spires a feeling of disapprobation as violating the maxims recognised to be binding, "It is to be supposed that the same sense of duty that operates upon one's own self, and stings with remorse and fear in case of disobedience, should come into play when some other per-son is the guilty agent. The feeling that rises up to-wards that person is a strong feeling of displeasure or dislike, proportioned to the strength of our regard to the violated duty. There arises a moral resentment, or a dis-position to inflict punishment upon the offender."[21] That is to say, according to Bain, the source of all disinterested moral indignation is the reflection, "If I had done that, I should have been punished ; therefore he must be punished." Now, this attitude is not uncommon, especially in the nursery, and it plays some small part, no doubt, in securing equal distribution of punishments ; but it is surely wholly inadequate to account for that paradox of our constitution previously recognised by Bain. In order to realise how far from the truth this doctrine is, we have only to consider what kinds of conduct provoke our moral indignation most strongly. If we hear of a man robbing a bank, holding up a mail train, or killing another in fair

(80) fight, we may agree that he should be punished; for we recognise intellectually that the interests of society demand that such things shall not be done too frequently, and we ourselves might shrink from similar conduct; but our feeling towards the criminal may be one of pity, or perhaps merely one of amusement dashed with admiration for his audacity and skill. But let the act be one inflicting pain on a helpless creature—an act of cruelty to a horse, a dog, or, above all, to a child—and our moral indignation blazes out, even though the act be one for which the law prescribes no punishment. Bain's explanation of his "paradox" of sympathy is then utterly inadequate, and a closer examination of his statement of the principle of sympathy shows that it is false, and that any plausibility it may seem to possess depends upon the vague and rhetorical language in which it is made. His statement is that sympathy is the prompting to take on the pains and pleasures of another being, and to endeavour to abolish that other's pain and to prolong his pleasure. But, if we use more accurate language, we shall have to say that the sympathetic pain or pleasure we experience is immediately evoked in us by the spectacle of pain or of pleasure, and that we then act on it because it is our own pain or pleasure; and the action we take (so long as no other principle is at work) is directed to cut short our own pain and to prolong our own pleasure, quite regardless of the feelings of the other person. Now, the easiest and quickest way of cutting short sympathetically induced pain is to turn our eyes and our thoughts away from the suffering creature; and this is the way invariably followed by all sensitive natures in which the tender emotion and its protective impulse are weak. They pass by the sick and suffering with averted gaze, and resolutely banish all thoughts of them,

(81) surrounding themselves as far as possible with gay and cheerful faces. No doubt the spectacle of the poor man who fell among thieves was just as distressing to the priest and the Levite, who passed by on the other side, as to the good Samaritan who tenderly cared for him. They may well have been exquisitely sensitive souls, who would have fainted away if they had been compelled to gaze upon his wounds. The great difference between them and the Samaritan was that in him the tender emotion and its impulse were evoked, and that this impulse overcame, or prevented, the aversion naturally induced by the painful and, perhaps, disgusting spectacle.[22]

Our susceptibility to sympathetically induced pain or pleasure, operating alone, simply inclines us, then, to avoid the neighbourhood of the distressed and to seek the company of the cheerful; but tender emotion draws us near to the suffering and the sad, seeking to alleviate their distress. It is to be noted also that the intensity of the emotion and the strength of its impulse to cherish and protect, and also the violence of the anger we feel against him who inflicts pain on any weak and defenceless creature—all these bear no constant relation to the intensity of our sympathetically induced pain. There are natures so strong and so happily constituted that they hardly know pain; yet they may be very tender-hearted and easily roused to anger by the spectacle of cruelty. Again, the mere threat of injury to a feeble creature may provoke an instantaneous anger; and it would be absurd to suppose that in such a case one first pictures the suffering of the creature that would result if the threat were executed, then sympathetically experiences

(82) the pain, and then, putting oneself in the place of the prospectively injured, goes on to feel anger against him who threatens. The response is as direct and instantaneous as the mother's emotion at the cry of her child or her impulse to fly to its defence; and it is essentially the same process.

In no other way than that here proposed is it possible to account for disinterested beneficence and moral indignation. If this view is rejected, they remain a paradox and a miracle—tendencies, mysteriously implanted in the human breast, that have no history in the evolutionary process, no analogy and no intelligible connection with, no resemblance to, any of the other features of our mental constitution.

The importance of establishing the place of tender emotion among the primary emotions necessitates in this place a brief criticism of Mr. Shand's treatment of it, although this criticism may be more easily understood after reading Chapters V. and VI., in which the organisation of the sentiments is discussed.

According to Mr. Shand,[23] tender emotion is always complex, and into its composition there enter always both joy and sorrow. He arrives at this view in the following way: Accepting the traditional view that joy and sorrow are primary emotions, he says that joy is a diffusive emotion that has no specific tendency (for he has not accepted the guiding principle followed in these pages, namely, that each primary emotion accompanies the excitement of an instinctive disposition of specific tendency) ; and sorrow, he says, has two impulses, namely, to cling to its object and to restore it, to repair the injury done to it that is the cause of the sorrow. He then takes

( 83) pity as the simplest type of tender emotion, and finds that it has the fundamental impulses of sorrow, to restore and to cling to its object; but pity is not pure sorrow, because it has an element of sweetness; which element he identifies with joy. Hence pity, the simplest variety of tender emotion, is, he says, a fusion of joy and sorrow.

Mr. Shand does not attempt to account for sorrow, or to trace its history in the race, or to show how it gets its disinterested impulse to restore and do good to its object. And this is the all-important question, for this impulse of tender emotion is, as has been said, the source of all altruistic conduct. He simply begs the question in assuming sorrow to be a primary emotion having this impulse. Further, in the course of his discussion Shand recognises the existence of a kind of sorrow or grief that has no impulse to restore its object—the hard, bitter variety of grief ; and in doing that he implicitly admits that sorrow is complex and derived from simpler elements. He makes also this significant admission: "The tenderness of pity seems to come from the ideas and impulses that go out to relieve suffering." Now, that is just the point I wish to insist upon—that there is in pity as one element this impulse to cherish and protect, with its accompanying tender emotion ; and that this is present also in sorrow proper, but that it is not in itself painful—as sorrow is—and therefore is not sorrow, but is one of the primary elements of which sorrowful emotion is compounded.

According to the view here adopted, the element of pain in pity is sympathetically induced pain,[24] and the clement of sweetness is the pleasure that attends the sat-

( 84) -isfaction of the impulse of the tender emotion. That this view is truer than the other is, I think, shown by the fact that pity may be wholly devoid of this element of sweetness without losing its essential character—namely, in the case of pity evoked by some terrible suffering that we are powerless to relieve; in this case the pain of the obstructed tender impulse is added to the sympathetic pain, and our pity is wholly painful.

Another good reason for refusing to regard sorrow as one of the primary emotions is the fact that sorrowful emotion of every kind presupposes the existence of an organised sentiment, and is, in fact, the tender emotion developed within the sentiment of love and rendered painful either by sympathetically induced pain—as in the case of injury to the beloved object, or by the baffling of its impulse—as in the case of the loss of that object. If, as seems to me indisputable, sorrow pre-supposes the organised sentiment of love, it clearly can-not be regarded as a primary emotion.

Some other Instincts of less well-defined Emotional Tendency

The seven instincts we have now reviewed are those whose excitement yields the most definite of the primary emotions; from these seven primary emotions together with feelings of pleasure and pain (and perhaps also feelings of excitement and of depression) are compounded all, or almost all, the affective states that are popularly recognised as emotions, and for which common speech has definite names. But there are other human instincts which, though some of them play but a minor part in the genesis of the emotions, have im-

( 85) -pulses that are of great importance for social life; they must therefore be mentioned.

Of these by far the most important is the sexual instinct or instinct of reproduction. It is unnecessary to say anything of the great strength of its impulse or of the violence of the emotional excitement that accompanies its exercise. One point of interest is its intimate connection with the parental instinct. There can, I think, be little doubt that this connection is an innate one, and that in all (save debased) natures it secures that the object of the sexual impulse shall become also the object in some degree of tender emotion.[25] The biological utility of an innate connection of this kind is obvious. It would prepare the way for that co-operation between the male and female in which, even among the animals, a lifelong fidelity and mutual tenderness is often touchingly displayed.

This instinct, more than any other, is apt in mankind to lend the immense energy of its impulse to the sentiments and complex impulses into which it enters, while its specific character remains submerged and unconscious. It is unnecessary to dwell on this feature, since it has been dealt with exhaustively in many thousands of novels. From the point of view of this section the chief importance of this instinct is that it illustrates, in a manner that must convince the most obtuse, the continuity and the essential similarity of nature and function between the human and the animal instincts.

In connection with the instinct of reproduction a few words must be said about sexual jealousy and female

( 86) coyness. These are regarded by some authors as special instincts, but perhaps without sufficiently good grounds. Jealousy in the full sense of the word is a complex emotion that presupposes an organised sentiment, and there is no reason to regard the hostile behaviour of the male animal in the presence of rivals as necessarily implying any such complex emotion or sentiment. The assumption of a specially intimate innate connection between the instincts of reproduction and of pugnacity will account for the fact that the anger of the male, both in the human and in most animal species, is so readily aroused in an intense degree by any threat of opposition to the operation of the sexual impulse ; and perhaps the great strength of the sexual impulse sufficiently accounts for it.

The coyness of the female in the presence of the male may be accounted for in similar fashion by the assumption that in the female the instinct of reproduction has specially intimate innate relations to the instincts of self-display and self-abasement, so that the presence of the male excites these as well as the former instinct.

The desire for food that we experience when hungry, with the impulse to seize it, to carry it to the mouth, to chew it and swallow it, must, I think, be regarded as rooted in a true instinct. In many of the animals the movements of feeding exhibit all the marks of truly instinctive behaviour. But in ourselves the instinct becomes at an early age so greatly modified through experience, on both its receptive and its executive sides, that little, save the strong impulse, remains to mark the instinctive nature of the process of feeding.

The gregarious instinct is one of the human instincts of greatest social importance, for it has played a great part in moulding societary forms. The affective aspect of the operation of this instinct is not sufficiently in

( 87) -tense or specific to have been given a name. The instinct is displayed by many species of animals, even by some very low in the scale of mental capacity. Its operation in its simplest form implies none of the higher qualities of mind, neither sympathy nor capacity for mutual aid. Mr. Francis Galton has given the classical description of the operation of the crude instinct. De-scribing the South African ox in Damaraland,[26] he says he displays no affection for his fellows, and hardly seems to notice their existence, so long as he is among them ; but, if he becomes separated from the herd, he displays an extreme distress that will not let him rest until he succeeds in rejoining it, when he hastens to bury him-self in the midst of it, seeking the closest possible con-tact with the bodies of his fellows. There we see the working of the gregarious instinct in all its simplicity, a mere uneasiness in isolation and satisfaction in being one of a herd. Its utility to animals liable to the attacks of beasts of prey is obvious.

The instinct is commonly strongly confirmed by habit ; the individual is born into a society of some sort and grows up in it, and the being with others and doing as they do becomes a habit deeply rooted in the instinct. It would seem to be a general rule, the explanation of which is to be found in the principle of sympathetic emotion to be considered later, that the more numerous the herd or crowd or society in which the individual finds himself the more complete is the satisfaction of this impulse. It is probably owing to this peculiarity of the instinct that gregarious animals of so many species are found at times in aggregations far larger than are necessary for mutual protection or for the securing of any other advantage. Travellers on the prairies of North

( 88) America in the early days of exploration have told how the bison might sometimes be seen in an immense herd that blackened the surface of the plain for many miles in all directions. In a similar way some kinds of deer and of birds gather together and move from place to place in vast aggregations.

Although opinions differ widely as to the form of primitive human society, some inclining to the view that it was a large promiscuous horde, others, with more probability, regarding it as a comparatively small group of near blood relatives, almost all anthropologists agree that primitive man was to some extent gregarious in his habits; and the strength of the instinct as it still exists in civilised men lends support to this view.

The gregarious instinct is no exception to the rule that the human instincts are liable ● to a morbid hypertrophy under which their emotions and impulses are revealed with exaggerated intensity. The condition known to alienists as agoraphobia seems to result from the morbidly intense working of this instinct—the patient will not re-main alone, will not cross a wide empty space, and seeks always to be surrounded by other human beings. But of the normal man also it is true that, as Professor James says: "To be alone is one of the greatest of evils for him. Solitary confinement is by many regarded as a mode of torture too cruel and unnatural for civilised countries to adopt. To one long pent up on a desert island the sight of a human footprint or a human form in the distance would be the most tumultuously exciting of experiences."[27]

In civilised communities we may see evidence of the operation of this instinct on every hand. For all but a few exceptional, and generally highly cultivated, persons

( 89) the one essential condition of recreation is the being one of a crowd. The normal daily recreation of the population of our towns is to go out in the evening and to walk up and down the streets in which the throng is densest—the Strand, Oxford Street, or the Old Kent Road; and the smallest occasion—a foreign prince driving to a railway-station or a Lord Mayor's Show—will line the streets for hours with many thousands whose interest in the prince or the show alone would hardly lead them to take a dozen steps out of their way. On their few short holidays the working classes rush together from town and country alike to those resorts in which they are assured of the presence of a large mass of their fellows. It is the same instinct working on a slightly higher plane that brings tens of thousands to the cricket and football grounds on half-holidays. Crowds of this sorts exert a greater fascination and afford a more complete satisfaction to the gregarious instinct than the mere aim-less aggregations of the streets, because all their members are simultaneously concerned with the same objects, all are moved by the same emotions, all shout and applaud together. It would be absurd to suppose that it is merely the individuals' interest in the game that brings these huge crowds together. What proportion of the ten thousand witnesses of a football match would stand for an hour or more in the wind and rain, if each man were isolated from the rest of the crowd and saw only the players?

Even cultured minds are not immune to the fascination of the herd. Who has not felt it as he has stood at the Mansion House crossing or walked down Cheapside? How few prefer at nightfall the lonely Thames Embankment, full of mysterious poetry as the barges sweep slowly onward with the flood-tide, to the garish crowded

( 90) Strand a hundred yards away ! We cultivated persons usually say to ourselves, when we yield to this fascination, that we are taking an intelligent interest in the life of the people. But such intellectual interest plays but a small part, and beneath works the powerful impulse of this ancient instinct.

The possession of this instinct, even in great strength, does not necessarily imply sociability of temperament. Many a man leads in London a most solitary, unsociable life, who yet would find it hard to live far away from the thronged city. Such men are like Mr. Galton's oxen, unsociable but gregarious ; and they illustrate the fact that sociability, although it has the gregarious instinct at its foundation, is a more complex, more highly developed, tendency. As an element of this more complex tendency to sociability, the instinct largely determines the forms of the recreations of even the cultured classes, and is the root of no small part of the pleasure we find in attendance at the theatre, at concerts, lectures, and all such entertainments. How much more satisfying is a good play if one sits in a well-filled theatre than if half the seats are empty ; especially if the house is unanimous and loud in the expression of its feelings ! But this instinct has in all ages produced more important social effects that must be considered in a later chapter,

Two other instincts of considerable social importance demand a brief mention. The impulse to collect and hoard various objects is displayed in one way or another by almost all human beings, and seems to be due to a true instinct; it is manifested by many animals in the blind, unintelligent manner that is characteristic of crude instinct. And, like other instinctive impulses of man, it is liable to become morbidly exaggerated, when it appears, in a mild form, as the collecting mania and, in greater

( 91) excess, as miserliness and kleptomania. Like other instincts, it ripens naturally and comes into play independently of all training. Statistical inquiry among large numbers of children has shown that very few attain adult life without having made a collection of objects of one kind or another, usually without any definite purpose ; such collecting is no doubt primarily due to the ripening of an instinct of acquisition.

We seem to be justified in assuming in man an instinct of construction. The playful activities of children seem to be in part determined by its impulse; and in most civilised adults it still survives, though but little scope is allowed it by the circumstances of the majority. For most of us the satisfaction of having actually made something is very real, quite apart from the value or usefulness of the thing made. And the simple desire to make something, rooted in this instinct, is probably a contributing motive to all human constructions from a mud-pie to a metaphysical system or a code of laws.

The instincts enumerated above, together with a number of minor instincts, such as those that prompt to crawling and walking, are, I think, all that we can recognise with certainty in the constitution of the human mind. Lightly to postulate an indefinite number and variety of human instincts is a cheap and easy way to solve psychological problems, and is an error hardly less serious and less common than the opposite error of ignoring all the instincts. How often do we not hear of the religious instinct ! Renan asserted that the religious instinct is as natural to man as the nest-building instinct is to birds, and many authors have written of it as one of the fundamental attributes of the human mind.[28] But, if

( 92) we accept the doctrine of the evolution of man from animal forms, we are compelled to seek the origin of religious emotions and impulses in instincts that are not specifically religious. And consideration of the conditions, manifestations, and tendencies of religious emotions must lead to the same search. For it is clear that religious emotion is not a simple and specific variety, such as could be conditioned by any one instinct; it is rather a very complex and diversified product of the co-operation of several instincts, which bring forth very heterogeneous manifestations, differing from one another as widely as light from darkness, according to the degree and kind of guidance afforded by imagination and reason.

Much has been written in recent years of instincts of imitation, of sympathy, and of play, and the postulation of these instincts seems to have been allowed to pass without challenge. Yet, as I shall show in the following section, there is no sufficient justification for it; for all the behaviour attributed to these three supposed instincts may be otherwise accounted for.

Professor James admits an instinct of emulation or rivalry, but the propriety of this admission is to my mind questionable. It is possible that all the behaviour which is attributed to this instinct may be accounted for as proceeding from the instincts of pugnacity and of self-display or self-assertion. It would, I think, be difficult to make out any good case for the existence of such an instinct in the animal world. But a suggestion as to the peculiar position and origin of a human instinct of emulation will be made in the next chapter.


  1. It has often been remarked that the emotions are fluid and indefinable, that they are in perpetual flux and are experienced in an infinite number of subtle varieties. This truth may be used as an argument against the propriety of attempting to exhibit all the many varieties of our emotional experience as reducible by analysis to a small number of distinct primary emotions. But such an objection would be ill-taken. We may see an instructive parallel in the case of our colour-sensations. The colour-sensations present, like the emotions, an indefinitely great variety of qualities shading into one another by imperceptible gradations; but this fact does not prevent us regarding all these many delicate varieties as reducible by analysis to a few simple primary qualities from which they are formed by fusion, or blending, in all proportions. Rather it is the indefinitely great variety of colour qualities, their subtle gradations, and the peculiar affinities between them, that justify us in seeking to exhibit them as fusions in many different proportions of a few primary qualities. And the same is true of the emotions.
    Of course, if the James-Lange theory of the emotions is true, then each of the primary emotions is in principle not an elementary affection of consciousness or mode of experience, but a complex of organic sensations and feeling tone. But in that case the conception of a primary emotion, and the propriety of regarding each complex emotion as a fusion of two or more primary emotions, are not invalidated. For the primary emotion must be regarded (according to that theory) as a complex of organic sensation and feeling tone which is constant and specific in character, its nature having been determined and fixed by the evolutionary process at a very remote pre-human period.
  2. "A Primer of Physiological Psychology," 1905. That the principle is not generally recognised is shown by the fact that in Baldwin's Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology (1905) no mention is made of any intimate relation between emotion and instinct; we are there told that no adequate psychological definition of instinct is possible, since the psychological state involved is exhausted by the terms "sensation" (and also "perception"), "instinct," "feeling," and "impulse"; and instinct is defined as "an inherited reaction of the sensori-motor type, relatively complex and markedly adaptive in character, and common to a group of individuals." Professor James, who treats of the instincts and the emotions in successive chapters, comes very near to the recognition of the principle laid down above, without, however, explicitly stating it. Others who have recognised—more or less explicitly—this relation between instinct and emotion are Schneider ("Der thierische Wille"), Ribot ("Psychologie des Sentiments"), and Rutgers Marshal ("Pain, Pleasure, and .Esthetics," and "Instinct and Reason").
    Mr. Shand (Chapter xvi., Stout's "Groundwork of Psychology") has rightly insisted upon the impossibility of analysing the complex emotions by unaided introspection, and has laid down the principle that we must rely largely on the observation of their motor tendencies. But he has not combined this sound methodological suggestion with the recognition of the above-mentioned guiding principle. It is on this combination that I rely in the present chapter.
  3. That the emotion as a fact of consciousness may properly be distinguished from the cognitive process which it accompanies and qualifies is, I think, obvious and indisputable. The propriety of distinguishing between the conative element in consciousness, the impulse, appetite, desire, or aversion, and the accompanying emotion is not so obvious. For these features are most intimately and constantly associated, and introspective discrimination of them is usually difficult. Nevertheless they show a certain degree of independence of one another; e.g., with frequent repetition of a particular emotional situation and reaction, the affective aspect of the process tends to become less prominent, while the impulse grows stronger.
  4. It may be noted in passing that this is one of a class of facts which offers very great difficulty to any attempt to account for instinctive action on purely mechanical principles.
  5. 'Lest any reader should infer, from what is said above of the immediate and often irrational character of our emotional responses upon the reception of certain sense-impressions, that I accept the James-Lange theory of emotion in the extreme form in which it is stated by Professor James, I would point out that the acceptance of the theory is by no means implied by my treatment of emotion. In the course of the discussion of instinct in the preceding chapter, it was expressly stated that the instinctive process is not to be regarded as merely a compound reflex, initiated by crude sensation, but that its first stage always involves distinct cognition, which, in the case of purely instinctive action, is always a sense-perception. That is to say, the sense-impressions must undergo the psychical elaboration and synthesis implied by the word "perception"; but such perceptual elaboration is in every case only rendered possible by the activities of a preformed psycho-physical disposition, which in the case of the purely instinctive action is innately organised. Professor Ward has effectively criticised the James-Lange theory (Art. "Psychology" in supplementary volumes of "Encyclopaedia Britannica," 9th edition), and I would in the main endorse that criticism, though I think Professor Ward does not sufficiently recognise that our emotional responses are bound up with, and in many cases are immediately determined by, simple perceptions. He writes: "Let Professor James be confronted first by a chained bear and next by a bear at large: to the one object he presents a bun, and to the other a clean pair of heels." This passage seems by implication to ignore the truth I wish especially to insist upon, namely, the immediacy with which the emotional response follows upon perception, if the perceptual disposition involved is a part of the instinctive disposition, or if it has be-come connected with its central part as an acquired afferent inlet in the way discussed in Chapter II. There is a world of difference between, on the one hand, the instinctive response to the object that excites fear, and, on the other hand, running away because one judges that discretion is the better part of valour. I well remember standing in the zoological garden at Calcutta be-fore a very strong cage in which was a huge Bengal tiger fresh from the jungle. A low-caste Hindu sweeper had amused him-self by teasing the monster, and every time he came near the cage the tiger bounded forward with an awful roar. At each of many repetitions of this performance a cold shudder of fear passed over me, and only by an effort could I restrain the im-pulse to beat a hasty retreat. Though I knew the bars confined the brute more securely than any chain, it was not because the emotion of fear and the corresponding impulse were lacking that I did not show a "clean pair of heels."
  6. It is worth noting that, if the emotional accompaniment of these two very different sets of bodily symptoms seems to have essentially the same quality in the two cases and to be unmistakably fear, this fact is very difficult to reconcile with the James-Lange theory of emotion interpreted in a literal fashion.
  7. A form of admiration in which curiosity (or wonder in the sense in which the word is here used) predominates (see chap. v.).
  8. It may be objected that, if a man strikes me a sudden and unprovoked blow, my anger is effectually and instantaneously aroused, even when I am at the moment not actively engaged in any way; for it may be said that in this case the blow does not obstruct or oppose any impulse working within me at the moment. To raise this objection would be to ignore my consciousness of the personal relation and my personal attitude toward the striker. The impulse, the thwarting of which is this case provokes my anger, is the impulse of self-assertion, which is habitually in play during personal intercourse. That this is the case we may see on reflecting the anger would not be aroused if the blow came from a purely impersonal source — if, for example, it came from a falling branch, of if the blow received from a person were clearly quite accidental and unavoidable under the circumstances. Anger at the stupidity of others might also be quoted as an instance not conformable to the law; but it is only when such stupidity hinders the execution of some plan that the normal man is angered.
  9. “Psychology of the Emotions,” p. 240.
  10. One of my boys, who learnt to walk when eighteen months old, delighted in the applause that greeted his first steps, and, every time that one of his many excursions across the room failed to evoke it, he threw himself prone upon the floor with loud cries of anger and displeasure.
  11. See his chapter on the emotions in Professor Stout's "Groundwork of Psychology."
  12. "Origin and Growth of the Moral Instinct."
  13. Op. cit.
  14. Cf. Chap. XVII. of E. Westermarck's "Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas." London, 1906.
  15. "Emotions and the Will," p. 82.
  16. Op. cit., p. 80.
  17. There are women, happily few, whose attitude towards their children shows them to be devoid of the maternal instinct. Reflection upon the conduct of such a woman will discover that her conduct in all relations proceeds from purely selfish motives.
  18. It is, I think, not improbable that the impulse to kiss the child, which is certainly strong and seems to be innate, is a modification of the maternal impulse to lick the young which is a feature of the maternal instinct of so many animal species.
  19. It is a fair question whether, among those nations who pride themselves upon having attained so high a state of civilisation that they can no longer inflict capital punishment, the greater clemency of the law should not be attributed to a relative deficiency in the strength of the parental instinct in the mass of the people, and to a consequent relative incapacity for moral indignation. At the present moment the moral indignation of a large section of the French people is clamouring for the death of a wretch who has been convicted of cruelly maltreating a child and to whom, it is thought, the presidential clemency may be extended.
  20. Op. cit., p. 83.
  21. Op. Cit., p. 291.
  22. For fuller discussion of sympathy see Chapters IV. and VI.
  23. Professor Stout's "Groundwork of Psychology," chap. xvi.
  24. See Chapter IV.
  25. In so far, of course, as the impulse is not completely thwarted.
  26. "Inquiries into Human Faculty," p. 72.
  27. "Principles of Psychology."
  28. Cf. p. 309.

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