Social Psychology: An Analysis of Social Behavior
Table of Contents
"Human nature is so large, life touches life at so many points, and
words are so elusive."
Erwin F. Smith
The Social Setting of Human Behavior
"The roots of the present lie deep in the past."-STUBBS
Perhaps the commonest fallacy of the textbook psychology lies in the assumption that the beginnings of social behavior exist only in the individual. It is because of this misconception that we introduce the material in this book with two chapters bearing on the social-cultural background of human personality. This brief discussion of group life should not mislead the deader into any unscientific notions about "group mind" or "collective consciousness." Rather it simply acquaints him with the fundamental types of social-cultural stimuli to which the individual is exposed from birth to death, and without which he could not carry on. Following this introductory division we turn to a psychological analysis of individual behavior.
The first chapter presents the social antecedents of human behavior; the second reviews the nature of group life and surveys the place of human culture as a background upon which human personality itself is developed.
The Psychology of Individual Behavior
"Emotions are not only the most important forces in the life of the individual human being, but they are also the most powerful force of nature known to us. Every page in the history of nations testifies to their invincible power." -LANGE
"We see things not as they are but as we are. " — PATRICK
"No one supposes that all the individuals of the same species are cast in the very same mold."-DARWIN
In this section we shall briefly review those aspects of behavior in the individual which constitute the biological foundation of his social relations. The opening chapter discusses certain fundamental biological mechanisms. The further chapters treat instinctive-emotional behavior, habit formation, the development of intellectual functions, and the important fact of human variability. There is no need in a treatise in social psychology to devote undue space to general psychology. To review the psychobiological foundations of behavior the reader should consult the standard textbooks in systematic psychology. Particularly pertinent are those of Woodworth, Wheeler, Gates, Perrin and Klein, Dashiell, Leary, Carr, Martin, and Watson. A briefer review of general psychology will be found in Allport's Social Psychology, chapters II-IV inclusive.
Personality and Group Participation
Behold the Child among his new-born blisses,
. . . . . . . . . . .
See, at his. feet, some little plan or chart,
Some fragment from his dream of human life,
Shaped by himself with newly-learned art;
A wedding or a festival,
A mourning or a funeral,
And this hath now his heart,
And unto this he frames his song;
Then will he fit his tongue
To dialogues of business, love or strife;
But it will not be long _
Ere this be thrown aside, '
And with new joy and pride
The little Actor cons another part . . . .
"A man may be one thing as a church member and another thing as a member of the business community."-DEWEY
In the last section we dealt with the major mechanisms of individual behavior. We now turn to study the rise of the personality out of the social milieu in which the individual lies, moves, and has his being. The personality may be defined as the sum total of images, ideas, ':attitudes, and habits of the individual organized in terms of his social participation. Personality, therefore, is an outgrowth of the conditioning of the individual to the personal-social and cultural environment. The first chapter in this division deals with the rise of language in the individual. Language, the foundation of communication between persons, makes advanced social participation possible. Subsequent chapters show how the personality grows up in relation to family, play-groups, neighborhood, congenial groups, gangs, comradeships, and the whole range of secondary groups and institutions. The important place of occupational attitudes in the personality receives a separate chapter. The section closes with a discussion of leadership, authority, and prestige as they are related to group backgrounds.
Personality and Subjective Patterns
"All thinking being conducted by use of words, much depends upon the words which get prestige from the dominant activities to which they first apply. We shall, therefore, expect to find mechanical metaphors playing a great part in our social sciences."-HOBSON
"If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences." --THOMAS
"Passion and prejudice govern the world; only under the name of reason." --WESLEY
This section deals with the nature of the internal world of ideas, images, and attitudes. These patterns are bound up with meanings which are largely social in origin, and which can be understood only in terms of the social-cultural milieu. What Bernard has called the psycho-social environment, consisting largely of the symbols of language, lies at the basis of meaning. Hence we must expose the close connection of language content and social reality.
It may be objected that the term subjective or internal pattern is inappropriate. We hold that it is defensible for the reason that reactions are determined by two sorts of factors-by external situations, material objects, and persons; and by internal conditions, emotions, feelings, bodily sets or attitudes, and the images and ideas associated therewith. These internal aspects of personality control overt responses as much as do the physical objects or other individuals that impress one through the peripheral sense organs. This subjective content constitutes what might be called the intra-individual environment.
Following the chapter on language and social reality, we shall examine the place of stereotypes, myths, and legends in behavior. The seat ion closes with two chapters on prejudice which exemplify the influence of the internal factors on behavior.
The Crowd and the Public
"Truth-never shows herself in crowds."-BUTLER
"Some of us fall behind the fashions, but no one ever gets ahead of them." --PARK
"Opinion is truth filtered through the moods, the blood, the dispositions of the spectator."--PHILLIPS
"Here shall the Press the People's right maintain,
Unaw'd by influence and unbrib'd by gain."-STORY
The present section deals with those aspects of collective behavior which are described by the terms, the crowd and the public. The crowd is a grouping of relatively large numbers of persons who are in physical and psychological contiguity to each other. We exclude from the crowd the primary groups of family, playground, neighborhood, congeniality groups and gangs. The public is a non-contiguous grouping. We exclude from the public the more distinctly organized and formalized (institutionalized) secondary groups. It will be necessary to keep in mind the cultural trends which lie at the basis of crowd and public behavior. Nevertheless, in crowd and public activity, the culturally determined reactions are less evident than are certain more natural, spontaneous responses. Thus the crowd and the public represent forms of human association somewhat more dependent on personal-social than upon cultural-institutional relationship.;. Both the crowd and the public depend, moreover, upon mobility and communication. The former is further contingent on contiguity of space, the latter only on contiguity of time. The former is a type of person-to-person grouping based on locality. The latter is a type of grouping based on ease of communication without reference to locality but resting upon common interests.
At the outset we shall deal with certain general characteristics of the crowd. Then we shall study some of the more specific features of crowd and mob psychology. The audience will be treated as a specialized form of crowd. Fashion touches both the crowd and the public as a form of collective behavior. The section will conclude with a treatment of public opinion, including a discussion of censorship and propaganda which reveals the relation of public opinion to social control.