Social Attitudes

Attitudes and the Redirection of Behavior

Luther Lee Bernard
Professor of Sociology, Washington University

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I. NATURE, FUNCTION, AND KINDS OF ATTITUDES

AN attitude is an incompleted or suspended or inhibited act. It is a definite phase of behavior. The individual is born with some behavior patterns, whatever they may be called or from whatever source they may have come, the genes or the environment. These go into action under the stimulus of the environment and as a result of the necessity of making an adjustment to the conditions of survival. Immediately after birth many behavior patterns begin to be integrated, and this process of behavior integration goes on throughout active life, although it is at its maximum in childhood and youth, and diminishes somewhat in middle life and rapidly in old age.

Obviously it is not possible for all of one's behavior patterns to go into action at once, nor for them to respond to all of the stimuli afforded by a very complex environment, such as the social environment of man. Different behavior impulses in the same person frequently interfere with one another, and some things one very much desires to do are impossible because of the limitations of the resources at his disposal or because other persons interfere. Sometimes the difficulty arises from the fact that a new adjustment is demanded for which we have no behavior patterns integrated and must acquire them, possibly with much effort. In the meantime behavior is interrupted and incomplete. Whatever the cause of the inhibitions, the organism is prevented from making an immediately effective adjustment to its environmental situation. There is a conflict between behavior tendencies, or possibly the organism as a whole is inhibited or repressed in its behavior. In such a


( 47) case there is not merely a conflict of opposing behavior patterns within the organism, but the organism is in conflict with its environment. In either case, what Thomas has called a crisis has occurred. In cases of inner conflict between two opposing behavior impulses the crisis is usually, but not always, minor. Where the integrated behavior sets or habits of the organism must battle all along the line, or at crucial points, with the environment, the crisis may be a major one. This is especially true if an enforced abandonment of a well-adjusted occupation or the removal of a personality upon whom one is fundamentally dependent compels a complete and rapid readjustment of one's behavior patterns and a new integration of personality to meet the demands of a new or transformed environment.

Where the integrated or habitual behavior pattern finds immediate expression in a successful adjustment to environment there is an act complete in itself and satisfying. Where the adjustment behavior is interrupted, delayed, modified, or repressed, that is, where a crisis arises, where a wish or a set can not be realized in consummatory action, an attitude takes its place. The attitude is also behavior, but it is delayed or inhibited rather than consummatory behavior. The term attitude may also be used to include relatively uniform continuous or uniformly changing action, as when one has an attitude toward learning a language or an athletic attitude or a religious attitude. But even here there is an element of delayed or interrupted response, for we apply the term attitude not to that part of the behavior already completed, but to the action in preparation and yet to be achieved.

A great variety of attitudes arise out of these various situations of interrupted or incompleted response. Some of these attitudes are specific to the unrealized or incompleted response, others are directed toward the cause of the inhibition, others still are general in character. Some are directed inward toward the subject, others are social, or even physical, and neither particularly personal nor social. In other planes, attitudes may be characterized as depressed or hopeful, benevolent or vindictive, indomitable or vacillating, aesthetic, moral, criminal, political, economic, and so on without end. The essential fact with reference to all types of attitudes seems to be


(48) that they exist because the old behavior patterns were not allowed to operate without interference or because there was no integration of behavior patterns adequate to the adjustment demands of the situation. As a consequence the behavior of the organism is in an attitude of suspension towards some objective pending a release of the behavior pattern with reference to its goal, or pending a reorganization of the behavior patterns adequate to achieve adjustment to a new environmental situation or demand. In the one case there is suspense and the organism is integrated and ready. In the other the suspense is transformed into uncertainty and the behavior patterns are being disintegrated. The personality is itself in danger of being disintegrated with its behavior patterns. But as the organism begins to reintegrate its behavior patterns with reference to a new environmental objective, suspense and dispiritedness are transformed into expectancy as the newly integrating patterns begin to eventuate into consummatory behavior. With complete integration of behavior the attitude per se disappears.

Attitudes may further be classified as muscular or bodily or organic, on the one hand, and as mental or neuro-psychic, on the other. Of course, there is no absolute division between neuromuscular or bodily and neuro-psychic or mental attitudes, just as there is no clear cut and complete distinction between any other classified phenomena. But the distinction represents a real division at the extremes or poles of attitudinal behavior. Muscular tension and hyperactivity of the glands, with more or less of an emotional accompaniment, is characteristic of suspended or interrupted bodily action,, just as relatively complete collapse of muscular tensions and suspension of glandular activity, with emotional listlessness or depression, may accompany long interrupted or suspended or disorganized overt adjustment behavior. Likewise, a reintegration of behavior patterns with reference to a new or modified environmental objective, or upon the release of the old inhibitions, is marked by a heightening of muscular tensions and an increased glandular activity and heightened emotion, preparatory to the release of the behavior patterns into overt behavior.

Mental attitudes appear to begin in the emotional accompaniments of the neuro-muscular attitudes and are quite vague and diffused from an intellectual standpoint at this stage of devel-


( 49) -opment. Muscular and glandular responses have, however, their neural phases and are coŲrdinated by the neural organization. In fact, the interruption of overt muscular responses by unfamiliar or hostile environmental stimuli or by an inner conflict of behavior patterns seems to throw the process of readjusting the behavior patterns preparatory to a new and reintegrated adjustment response to the environmental situation back primarily upon the neural organization for settlement or resolution. In lower animals the relative simplicity of the neural centers prevents any very complex and delayed neural adjustment from taking place before overt muscular response again occurs. But among higher animals, more and more of the work of readjusting the attitudes preparatory to the final redirected overt response is performed by the neural centers. In the average human being perhaps most of this readjustment work is done there, and if the person has had intellectual training—has been taught to think before he acts—possibly nearly all readjustment of attitudes takes place in the neurons rather than in the muscles. This does not mean, of course, that the neurons act without the muscles. It may, perhaps, be doubted whether even in the most highly developed thought the neurons act without some muscular and glandular response. But as the animal type rises higher in the scale, as measured by neural equipment, and as the organism "learns" or is "trained" to delay its responses when they have been interrupted before repeating the old muscular responses or substituting new ones at random, there is this tendency to push back the reorganization of substitute responses from the muscles to the neural centers. The trial and error muscular responses are more and more inhibited, become rudimentary, and the trial and error becomes increasingly neural, with only fragmentary or substitute muscular responses.

The protoplasm of the neurons seems to be more sensitive than that of the other bodily tissues, and this fact, together perhaps with the denser organization and closer concentration of the neurons in vast numbers in the cerebral cortex, gives rise to consciousness; or at least to a more highly concentrated consciousness, than arises in the rest of the behaving organism. In the lower animals this consciousness appears to be almost exclusively emotional, but in man, perhaps because of the use


(50) of definite symbolical values such as language, it rises to the intellectual plane. The more definite the symbolic values of language become apparently the more intellectual the consciousness of the neural readjustment behavior becomes. Thus, emotional consciousness is de facto associated functionally with much more extensive manifestations of muscular and glandular behavior than is intellectual consciousness. As a consequence we not infrequently define emotion objectively in terms of the muscular behavior (which is visible to the naked eye) and the glandular behavior (which can be measured by instruments) which function with the emotional consciousness. This is quite proper, since the diffused and vague or emotional consciousness is inseparable from the more or less random muscular and glandular attempts to reŽstablish effective overt adjustment behavior patterns. On the other hand, we do not define or describe intellectual consciousness, or ideas, in terms of muscular and glandular behavior, because they have such slight and unstable accompaniments of this sort. Instead we characterize ideas in terms of spoken or written words, and sometimes in terms of gestures. The gestures are the rudimentary or substitute, largely inhibited, muscular movements mentioned above. The spoken and written words are the product of substitute muscular movements of the throat and of the writing muscles. This sort of consciousness has been so completely symbolized that it is communicated through words, which in the form of written language are deposited wholly outside of the neuromuscular organism in which they originated as substitute or reorganized adjustment behavior patterns and values of a neuro-psychic type.

In this way the reorganization of attitudes into new preparatory behavior patterns—presumably preparatory to successful overt adjustment behavior—is pushed back increasingly from the immediate neuro-muscular overt response to the realm of the neuro-psychic response. Thus readjustment of behavior comes to be made, at least among some men, in terms of ideas and thought instead of in terms of muscular movement and glandular response. The emotions represent an intermediate process, by no means disconnected from either extreme. Mind thus grows out of the readjustment of behavior process and is not to be disconnected from the neuro-muscular mechanisms.


(51) If the term neuro-psychic is allowable in this connection, its function clearly is to characterize that phase of the highly refined neuro-muscular and neuro-glandular readjustment behavior processes which are farthest removed from the direct muscular and glandular functioning and are most highly concentrated on the neural end, with its direct subjective or conscious manifestation, which tends to be communicated through some sort of verbal symbols.

It is easy to see why mental attitudes have greater significance for the adjustment or readjustment of behavior processes than have the overt or bodily attitudes. It is on the mental or higher neuro-psychic level of attitudinal reorganization that the socially most significant, most complex, most far-reaching and far-seeing redirections of behavior occur. It is here that all planning of programs, all study of technique, all conscious weighing of values take place. Here the sciences are created out of the concrete and abstract, field and laboratory, adjustment experience of man. Here also they are standardized and objectified by the process of symbolization we call language, which enables them to be transferred as symbolical organizations to external containers and carriers, such as books, art, libraries, museums, etc. Language itself is the embodiment and objectification of the content of this neuro-psychic readjustment technique. Finally, the neuro-psychic readjusting attitudes perform the function of criticizing, of inhibiting and controlling the neuro-muscular attitudes. The former actually symbolize and objectify in language values the latter and reconstruct them in mental or verbal imagery before releasing them for overt expression. Thus the higher neuro-psychic or intellectual attitudes exercise a marked control and direction over the neuro-muscular attitudes. If they exercise less control over the neuro-glandular attitudes it is because it is less easy to image and objectify and organize their behavior symbolically or logically, because they have less objective expression.

Language, as the objective embodiment of the neuro-psychic or intellectual attitudes, exercises an important function in the redirection of attitudes, particularly of social attitudes and of that phase of social attitudes we call collective. Verbal language being the symbolization of the mental attitudes, and


( 52) especially of the intellectual attitudes, makes possible the communication of these attitudes from one person to another. The emotional and relatively muscular attitudes are more easily communicated, because they can be perceived directly through the senses, either in their complete activity expressions or in their partial and substitute forms of expression, such as pantomime, gesture, and the emotional expressions of the face and other parts of the body. The process of conditioning our responses to such overt or muscular and emotional attitudes in others is relatively direct, since we have learned to recognize the same attitudes in ourselves and in others. But the process of conditioning our intellectual attitudinal responses to the intellectual attitudes of others is more abstract and difficult and involves the mastery of the abstract symbols (language) themselves, the work of many years of learning.

This process by which each one ordinarily or normally becomes conditioned to respond in kind to the overt or neuromuscular attitudes and to the inner mental or neuro-psychic attitudes of other people may be called interconditioning of responses. By means of the process a whole group learns to act and to think largely alike. They have essentially the same attitudes towards the same environmental situations or questions. Particularly is this the case if the symbolical values of attitudinal behavior are pretty generally diffused among them. But if only a portion of the population is in possession of the symbolical values in which the more abstract intellectual attitudes are objectified and through which, therefore, they must be communicated, we are likely to have a situation in which the larger or illiterate portion of the group or society respond to one set of attitudes and values, while the highly literate minority respond to a very different system of attitudinal values. Such distinctions can be observed between white and Negro morality, native and immigrant political attitudes, and fundamentalist and scientific theories of philosophy.

This interconditioning of attitudinal responses, on whatever basis or level of attitudes, results in the creation of collective attitudes. Some of the collective attitudes are universal and some are class attitudes. Universal collective attitudes are more likely to be on the overt or emotional level, although there is nothing to guarantee that the lower level attitudes will become


( 53) universal through interconditioning, simply because the language or symbolization of these attitudes is universally comprehensible. The higher level or neuro-psychic—especially the intellectual attitudes—held by the highly literate classes may be so critical of the lower level attitudes that the latter will not become current or cease to be current among the highly literate classes through class interconditioning. This is particularly true of certain types of attitudes which we call "manners" or the etiquette of the average person. It is also frequently true of certain types of moral conduct.

Interconditioning on the higher or intellectual level, perhaps to some extent on the emotional level, creates what we call public opinion, or the highest form of collective attitude. Public opinion is merely the interconditioned expression of mental attitudes, and is, of course, relative to the group or class among whose members the ideas or mental attitudes are interconditioned. Thus public opinion is always group or class opinion, and is perhaps rarely universal, although it tends to become more nearly so with the growth of more ubiquitous means (such as the press, radio, movie) of conveying attitudes symbolically from one person to another and the organization of propaganda behind certain types of attitudes.

There is, of course, no guarantee that the interconditioned attitudes represented in public opinion are socially good or logically correct, from the standpoint of their adaptability to and confirmability in human experience and behavior. Only in so far as they are submitted to the test of a carefully organized and tested knowledge (science) is public opinion dependable from these standpoints. Interested propaganda rarely subjects itself to such a test. But regardless of the scientific dependability and the social validity of public opinion, once it has become the interconditioned mental attitudinal content of a group or class, it immediately serves as critic and censor of all other attitudes, whether mental or overt, whether individual or collective. In this respect its function is similar to that of the individual mental attitude which criticizes, redirects, and controls the lower level attitudes of the individual. But the collective attitude of public opinion is much more powerful than the individual higher level attitude, because it is so strongly reinforced by interconditioning or mutual suggestion. It has


(54) the weight of numbers, and is likely to be dogmatic and aggressively coercive. It tends to censor all variant behavior, unless some provision is made for the setting up of an objective standard of variability, such as freedom of discussion. Even scientifically determined attitudes, as well as those induced through interested propaganda, may be dogmatic and coercive because of the mere weight of the mass of people behind them.

2. THE REDIRECTION OF BEHAVIOR IN INDIVIDUALS

With the neural and organic nature of the attitude and its relation to the redirection of behavior thus briefly outlined we may now proceed to illustrate the process of redirection itself. It seems to be clear that the attitude is merely incompleted or interrupted or preparatory behavior. It is the set of the organism, and the set may be primarily muscular and glandular, or mental, or both. The division into neuro-muscular and neuro-psychic or mental attitudes is not absolute, but relative to the degree of emphasis upon overt behavior on the one hand and upon inner or neural response on the other hand. Since the adjustment cannot be immediately consummated in overt behavior, because of some obstacle without or within the behaving organism, attempts at readjustment of the behavior are made and these reveal the attitude or objective drive of the organism. In order that too much energy and time may not be consumed in random muscular responses, on the analogy of a rat learning the maze or a horse attempting to open a gate, a complex neural mechanism develops in the higher animals which tries out possibilities of overt adjustment neurally and symbolically before they are tried out muscularly. That is, animals capable of doing so often think out readjustments of interrupted behavior or new behavior before actually attempting to perform that behavior. This thinking out of adjustment constitutes the mental attitudes. In their highest form, as intellectual attitudes, they cannot easily be read from the direct overt behavior but must be detected from substitute overt behavior, or the results of it, which is language.

Attitudes thus arise in crises of adjustment, great or small. And they are usually connected with some sort of conflict. The conflict usually arises first between the environment and the


( 55) individual's ready-made behavior patterns, but in reflective animals, where neuro-psychic functioning is highly developed, the conflict may arise between unrealized impulses to overt expression. In any case conflicts of behavior with the environment are likely to be transferred to a conflict between alternative behavior patterns. In the lower animals these conflicts are settled on an almost purely neuro-muscular level, but in man the conflict may be fought out at considerable length on the neuro-psychic level and with much emotional strain. Whether there is emotional strain in the resolution of the conflict of attitudes and the redirection of behavior depends largely on how much of a neuro-muscular or neuro-glandular drive there is in directions not compatible with environmental organization or with that previous neuro-psychic organization, which in the terminology of moral consciousness we call conscience. If the conflict of attitudes can be reduced to a mere conflict of symbols the redirection of behavior may be accomplished without any appreciable mental strain. It is notably easier to advise others regarding their behavior than to choose our own under conflict, because it is easier to reduce their behavior to a conflict of symbols on our neuro-psychic plane.

It is easy to detect the neuro-muscular basis of the redirection of behavior in the lower animals. The rat learns to run the maze or to avoid an obstacle erected in the maze by reacting directly and muscularly to the obstructing stimuli. He responds neuro-muscularly to all the possibilities presented by his maze environment until one possibility proves successful. He learns a new adjustment through a relatively direct sensory coŲrdination of his muscles. In the case of the rat the muscular behavior is not first inhibited pending the resolution of the conflict in the neuro-psychic processes. The same is true of the horse in learning to open the gate that admits him to the pasture, and of the dog who seeks to free himself from his collar and chain. All employ crude direct neuro-muscular trial and error processes. A slightly more advanced method is sometimes employed by dogs. As I walk home along a certain street a dog with something analogous to an inferiority complex comes out and barks at me. If I show signs of fear he changes his behavior by coming closer, evidently ready to reestablish his "self-feeling" by taking a bite at me if my panto-


(56) -mime or gesture or bodily display of emotion indicates that my attitude is sufficiently recessive to make such action safe for him. If I show no attitudinal response to him, he is at a loss how to redirect his behavior and merely continues at a safe distance to bark menacingly. If I respond aggressively, he changes his attitude quickly, retreating to physical safety and pouring forth a perfect torrent of compensatory menacing barks.

A great many people also are like that, except that their display of attitudes can be regulated more subtly because of greater capacity to understand the attitudes of others. The dog could understand only gesture language and some primary emotional expressions. But people can respond to the intellectual attitudinal expressions of words. In play groups, in fraternities, and in social life generally, one may observe repeatedly this struggle for domination. One person or group takes a menacing attitude toward another with the apparent objective of securing the lead or upper hand or even of forcing the other into an attitude of subservience. He does not take the step directly, but "feels out" the other person by presenting his intentions in the form of muscular, emotional, or intellectual attitudes, and watches for the corresponding attitudinal responses. He then initiates consummatory behavior or desists from this mode of attack according as the response attitudes of the other person are interpreted. This sort of attitudinal play, preparatory to the determination of a set behavior procedure, may be observed at the beginning of each new college year, occurring between sophomores and freshmen. The sophomores are perhaps seeking to compensate their damaged self-feeling arising from the hazing activities of the preceding year, but they do not wish to be too rash in their behavior, lest they stir up determined opposition. The attitudinal onslaught works through suggestion or progressive conditioning and gradually breaks down resistance which might otherwise be formidable.

Almost daily I have the opportunity of observing a "Cry Baby" boy of four or five dominate his mother and redirect her behavior through the attitudinal onslaught. He cries for whatever he wishes and she usually gives it to him. If denied anything he can burst into torrents of weeping instantly. Frequently, if she is slow in responding, he retires from the scene


(57) of contest, having learned apparently that withdrawal produces anxiety in his mother. If she does not call him back immediately or if he fears his crying will drown out her call, he stops crying long enough to make observations on her response. When he has satisfied himself that he has not yet succeeded in redirecting her behavior, he begins again to cry with renewed energy. When finally she gives in he ceases crying immediately, brushes away the tears with his sleeve, and goes about enjoying the fruits of his victory happily. When occasionally the mother determines to redirect his attitudes she gives him a swift spank and a few emphatic words and he goes about his business sulkily, but minus the tears. No doubt most of us use very similar methods of getting what we want, but usually we go about it less systematically, or possibly on a higher attitudinal level than that used by "Cry Baby." His weakness of body, and possibly of mind, encourages him to use a low level of attitudinal response. I tried out on him the simple experiment of calling him "Cry Baby," when I saw him performing in the way described above. Now the sight of me, without the words, is sufficient to redirect his exploiting behavior to the socially more approved silence.

A very similar, but unconscious, case was that of a young woman who had developed on the neuro-psychic plane an attitude of self-denial toward her parents and others upon whom she was dependent. She had apparently consciously taken this attitude over from the mores of her environment. For example, she would never ask for clothes, trips, or other privileges, but if they were not offered her she became very much depressed and her usually cheerful attitudes were changed into irritability and sullen silence. When she secured what she desired, her cheerfulness, talkativeness and good will returned immediately. It is difficult to say whether her parents ever analyzed the cause of her attitudes or "moods," but a friend did and told her of the results of the analysis. The exposition was met with an indignant denial and more sulkiness. The parents and most of her friends became conditioned to doing pleasant things for her because of the pleasant response she gave. Perhaps, in some degree, this is the method by which all of us control responses in others through the expression, more or less subconsciously, of our own attitudes.


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In the cases so far analyzed there has been little evidence of inner conflict or repression of the control attitudes by means of which the various organisms cited have sought to overcome the obstacles to their behavior expressions offered by the environment. The attitudes themselves have been used, when possible, to force an adjustment on the part of the environment. The conflict has been with the environment rather than inner conflicts primarily. The attitudes have changed into the original drives when the environmental obstacles disappeared. If these obstacles did not disappear the conflict was thrown back upon the attitudes of the organism itself and it was forced to work out a redirection of its own attitudinal behavior preparatory to a new overt or consummatory behavior drive, where such neuro-psychic redirection was possible. For example, when I showed resistance to the barking dog, he retreated and barked furiously. The dog's conflict retired into substitute attitudinal behavior, similar in a rudimentary way to our language, and attempted to rise to a higher or neuro-psychic plane, but the limited neural organization of the dog did not enable it to go far in this direction. When "Cry Baby" met with temporary resistance from his mother he cried, which act was the objective symbolization of an inner conflict of attitudes on an emotional level. He did not intellectualize the situation, although my epithet apparently did something to lead him in this direction. If his mother's resistance was emphatic, he quickly substituted another behavior pattern, still showing some signs of conflict, but without raising the conflict to the higher rational attitudinal plane. If she yielded, the original drive went back into action and attitudes disappeared instantly in consummation. In the case of the young lady, an environmental balking of her wishes immediately resulted in conflict within, on the emotional plane, manifested by irritability, silence, and sulking. The analysis provided her by her friend, although immediately it gave rise to additional conflict and irritability, had the ultimate effect of intellectualizing the conflict and of changing her policy or attitudinal technique of dealing with her parents and friends in a marked degree.

In none of these cases, except possibly the last two, were there any signs of repression due to inner conflict. When I call the boy "Cry Baby" he becomes silent, that is, he represses his


(59) former attitude of exploitation or direct attempt to remove environmental obstacles by redirecting his mother's behavior. The young lady, before she intellectualized her emotional conflict, was apparently repressing an attitude of overcoming presumed parental resistance. Now that she has intellectualized the conflict there is no need of repression, for she has redirected her own attitudes. That is, her higher level attitudes have acted as critics and redirectors of her emotional attitudes, which themselves were able merely to repress the lower neuromuscular desires or impulses to expression. Some of the best examples of emotional repression of attitudes, with a subsequent release, are to be found in the phenomena of conversion. Conversion may be of two kinds, emotional and intellectual. Where it is emotional, one repression is merely substituted for another. Where it is intellectual, as in the case of the young lady, the result is normally to destroy or greatly to diminish all repression and to initiate a program of direct and successful overt behavior.

Two of the best known conversions of the emotional type in history are those of Paul and Augustine. Paul's was sudden; Augustine's more gradual, but nevertheless largely emotional. Paul had become familiar with the opinions and doctrines, the traditions and beliefs, of the Christians, but in order that they might not contaminate his own traditional religious beliefs he carefully repressed and segregated them in his mind, even going to the extent of persecuting the Christians in order that he might better fortify himself against emotional infection. But the act of extreme repression was his undoing. He created another personality, as it were, a segregated Christian personality, on the neuro-psychic plane within his organism. The attention he constantly gave it in concentrating upon his persecutions brought it into the focus of his neuro-psychic attitudes and in a sudden crisis of inner conflict on his way to Damascus to persecute the Christians he became a Christian—the Christian personality became uppermost. Thereafter, in order to retain an emotional sanction for the new personality in conflict with the old, he threw himself into tireless propaganda for the new faith. Yet, since the Christian Personality tad conquered on the neuro-psychic level, but with an emotional sanction, he now devoted his activities in support of the new


(60) religion to a process of rationalizing his change of heart on an intellectual basis. He could not very well retain his new faith unless he gave it an intellectual basis, or raised it to a higher attitudinal level than that on which he had formerly defended Judaism. But the new defense, because of its origin in emotional conflict, remained more in the nature of rationalization than of reason or science. He still appealed to dogma.

Essentially the same sort of conversions occur in vast numbers at religious and political meetings. People who go to scoff remain to pray. Perhaps the fact that they went to scoff indicates that they had already built up a rival secondary personality within themselves corresponding to the attitudes of the opposing doctrines and were keeping it under control by scoffing. Persecution of rival views or men or institutions practically always indicates just this condition. But it is very dangerous for those who wish to remain orthodox to push their persecutions into the rival's camp. The environment there may summon to the fore the devil they have been beating down into the subconscious within them. Conversion of even those who are apparently the most antagonistic may occur relatively easily under such circumstances. But the conversion will not easily stand under such circumstances and on such an emotional level. When the new converts get back into their old environments the old personalities will again become dominant. It is, therefore, sound policy for the sect or the party which receives a new and valuable convert to welcome him joyously and to give him, as the Catholic Church gave to Newman, an important function in the organization. If he is given something to defend he will identify himself with the organization and if his task is to win other converts he will rationalize his own emotional conversion and build up a body of doctrine. It is not an accident that the great theological leaders of the Christian Church have all been converts from opposing religions or sects. Paul, Augustine, Luther, Wesley are the leaders, and the more marked their conversion the greater doctrinal leaders they were.

The conversion or redirection of Augustine was in consider able degree on an intellectual plane, although it had a strong emotional basis in his concern for the future welfare of his soul and in a derivative concern for his earthly morals. While he was trying to readjust his morals and find a satisfactory


( 61) religious sanction for them, he was also diligently seeking for a theology which would be intellectually consistent. The result was almost as much the creation of a new religious philosophy as conversion to an old one. This mixture of moral emotional and theological elements in the conversion, or integration, of Augustine's religious thought and emotion is even more apparent in the sectarian divergence of Wesley. His dissatisfaction with the Episcopal Church was primarily a moral one, but his attempt to reconstruct a religious philosophy was even less theological and metaphysical than that of Augustine. He made his appeal for intellectual consistency largely to objective facts of social welfare, the putative practical results of religion upon society in this world rather than exclusively upon the results for the soul in the hereafter.

Conversion on an intellectual basis is a much slower process, at least in its obvious aspects, less cataclysmic, and more difficult to achieve. This is true in spite of the fact that presumably intellectual attitudes are not restrained in any considerable degree by emotion and favor freedom of discussion, with relative ease of reorientation of attitudes. These presumptions are only partly true. There is very little discussion or playing off of intellectual attitudes, even in one's own mind, on a purely intellectual basis. Conflicts of attitudes arise ordinarily on a lower level of behavior and, in some cases, are brought up to the intellectual plane for objective settlement. It is very difficult to secure a purely objective weighing of the symbolic values of behavior without the interference of the emotions and consequent rationalization or special pleading in intellectual terms for an emotional or neuro-muscular behavior set. Where such freedom from lower level attitudinal control is secured in the redirection of behavior, it is usually achieved as the result of a slow process and the redirection itself, instead of being marked and catastrophic, as in emotional redirection or conversion, may be scarcely observable. In fact we do not ordinarily apply the term conversion to such intellectualized redirections of attitudes. The trained and seasoned thinker may achieve such objectivity in his balancing of symbolic attitudinal values, such freedom from lower level controls, that he can choose intellectually between two sets of attitudinal values on the neuro-psychic level without concerning himself with the


(62) probable consequences for himself of such redirection of behavior. But this is not the experience of the average person. It is relatively easy, however, to make intellectual choices between attitudinal values for others, especially if one has become so used to dealing with intellectual symbols of behavior that he has lost much of the concreteness of emotional sympathy. One may also choose quite logically and objectively between the intellectualized symbolic values of attitudes or behavior for himself, but not so act when in practice he is reduced to making a choice on the emotional and neuro-muscular and neuro-glandular levels. This "conflict between theory and practice," between ideals and their realization, is, of course, well known to ethics and philosophy, as well as to religion.

In summarizing, it may be said that not only do the attitudes represent or symbolize behavior which has been inhibited or delayed or which is in process of organization or reorganization, and is, therefore, seeking to secure consummatory overt expression, but the attitudes serve also as means to the control of the behavior of others who obstruct our own drives or who may facilitate them. This last is possible because the perception of our attitudes indicates to the resisting organisms or personalities what our "intentions" are and probable behavior will be and they are thereby stimulated to adjust to this behavior beforehand. Likewise, our attitudes may be used, when consciously objectified and symbolized on the higher neuro-psychic plane, to weigh and select or redirect our own behavior according to the symbolical attitudinal and consummatory behavior values already established by some process of emotional or intellectual selection. This is introspective control or redirection of our attitudinal behavior. Traditional symbolic values or sanctions tend, of course, to be replaced, or confirmed, by scientifically determined values or sanctions, especially when the selection or redirection occurs on the intellectual neuro-psychic plane.

3. THE REDIRECTION OF COLLECTIVE BEHAVIOR

Collective behavior is only individual behavior in its collective aspects. It may consist of the multiplication of identical or similar acts, or it may represent the coŲperative adjustment


(63) of unlike, but complementary, behaviors. It does not represent the behavior of a new and independent organism, self-functioning as a unit. The behavior of the collectivity centers in the several individual units of the collectivity, although the behavior of each unit may be conditioned or determined by the similar or dissimilar behavior of the other units. In other words, collective behavior is the result of the reciprocal interconditioning of the behavior of one unit of the collectivity by the other units, or perhaps of the conditioning of all the units by the behavior of some one unit or object, such as the leader, a newspaper, a tradition, or some other central or serial and circulating stimulus. Interconditioning of units, one by another, or relatively uniform conditioning by the same unit or circulating medium are closely related processes. The former is perhaps the more democratic process and probably permits of a greater variety of responses within the collectivity, while the latter mode of conditioning is likely to involve a larger degree of compulsion, conscious or otherwise, while it may secure a greater uniformity of behavior. In typical reciprocal interconditioning of collective behavior there is likely to be some degree of central stimulus domination, and in collective conditioning from a common center or by a serial or circulating medium there is also very likely to be a considerable amount of secondary reciprocal interconditioning, which serves as reenforcement to the central conditioning process.

The primitive group and the isolated rural community are good examples of the collectivity whose behavior is primarily reciprocally interconditioned rather than centrally conditioned. Other good examples may be found in real discussion groups, where all the members participate freely in the discussion and there is no obvious dominance of opinion by one or more outstanding or authoritative personalities or by a set creed or a collection of articles of faith. The old style Quaker silent meeting achieved something in the nature of this reciprocal interconditioning of behavior, although it was founded on the theory that the divine spirit would move the members to response. The expression, vox populi, vox dei, is based on the same tacit psychological assumption that a supernatural intuition moves the masses to an expression of their opinions.

The redirection of attitudes in any of the groups here men-


( 64) -tioned must normally occur through discussion, or its emotional analogs, although the ideas or impulses may originate in the mind of some particular person who has evolved consciously or unconsciously a new pattern of behavior for the group. In the mystical groups, such as Quaker meetings or prayer groups, the new attitudinal patterns may come as an intuition or as a revelation, as indeed is frequently the case also among primitive peoples, where the technique of discussion and of verbalization of viewpoints is but poorly developed and where there is need of a supernatural sanction to give a new idea or attitude sufficient prestige to make headway against old conventions. The revelation, if not consciously faked—as perhaps is not usually the case may come through the medicine man, a neurotic, or some other sensitive type, or in fact through anyone, by way of a dream, a vision, prayer, fasting, or simply as the result of meditation and silent communion. In other cases the new attitudinal pattern for the group may be the conscious invention of some intellectual or other leader, presented to the group for discussion and decision. This is the usual method of modern discussion groups and deliberative assemblies, with their committees often appointed for the purpose of presenting ideas for discussion. In the relatively leaderless community groups, not under the domination of a mystic philosophy, such as an isolated rural community, the new patterns are more likely to originate in a quieter way and to be developed very slowly through the discussion of random variations in behavior that occur more or less spontaneously from time to time. But such isolated communities are becoming very rare, owing to their invasion by newspapers, radio, advertising, agricultural and home economics extension agents, and the commercialized appeals of near-by towns. The examples of redirection of the attitudes of collectivities primarily through reciprocal interconditioning or discussion and person to person imitation of behavior are becoming constantly less numerous and less clear cut.

The more frequent type of the obvious redirection of collective attitudes is through central conditioning by leaders, advertising, newspapers, radios, movies, lecturers, preachers, teachers, salesmen, demonstrators, and similar fixed or circulating agencies. The mob and the crowd are the usual face-to-


( 65) -face media through which this redirection by a central conditioning agency takes place. The crowd leader provides the pattern, which is taken up by the members of the crowd with little or no criticism or reciprocally interconditioning discussion. Frequently I have watched street salesmen of fake utilities give their demonstrations of the use of the article, accompanying it with a set talk regarding its virtues, appealing to the crowd to adopt the new technique, and closing the harangue, before there was time to ask questions, with "Who will be the first to pay a quarter for this dollar article?" If no genuine victim offers himself immediately, perhaps there are confederates who purchase and start the suggestion going. In the street religious and political meetings essentially the same sort of methods of salesmanship of ideas and emotional values are used. The salesman or speaker conditions in his hearers a pattern attitude favorable to acceptance or purchasing and then releases the attitude for overt consummatory response by the final suggestion in the form of an invitation or the responsive behavior of confederates. Frequently the taking up of a collection or the offering of pamphlets for sale breaks up the meeting or disperses the old crowd and the leaders have to wait for a new one to form. Sometimes they kill two birds with one stone by this method, as it were. They gather in a few coins while at the same time they clear the ground of those who have not come under the spell of the salesman or orator and thus they make room for others who may do so.

In the old camp meetings I attended as a boy in Texas, there was in use a device which worked fairly well. There were a few consecrated persons who would go out among the audience while the appeal to accept salvation and escape hell fire was at its most agonizing period of vividness and intensity and bring in those who showed any signs of being affected. Sometimes they would get a score or more up at the "mourners' bench" and "wrestle" with them in prayer, while the preacher would now drop on his knees and talk more intimately to the Lord about the erring penitents. The "workers" kneeling with the "mourners" would interject frequent "amens" and add some more persuasive arguments of their own intended for purely local consumption. I remember particularly a couple who got their chief recreation in life from doing this sort of


( 66) thing, but they were not as effective as they might have been had their own religious convictions made them better and more effective citizens in the community. However, the technique of redirection of attitudes was a good one and the mass of concentrated reenforcing suggestion frequently resulted in numerous conversions. When announcing the number of such collective conversions, the minister was accustomed to add that "the Lord had walked among them."

This technique appears to have been improved in some modern meetings. The automobile, men's clothing, and tobacco advertisers have taught the thought and emotional values salesmen the effectiveness of conditioning religious and political ideas to sex stimuli. One can scarcely find an advertisement of the three commercial commodities above mentioned that does not include one or more pretty women, frequently in short bathing suits, and pointed with some such expression as "having fun with Ethel." This technique is, of course, obvious enough. The interest in a car, a cigarette, or a brand of clothes is conditioned to the highly efficient sex stimulus, and the drive to purchase thereby becomes vastly augmented. Some modern revivalists and political campaigners recognize the great value of distributing attractive young women through the audiences as "workers," with the result that the political or religious motivation becomes conditioned also to sex appeal, with much more marked results in the number of conversions. One well-known woman revivalist quite obviously plays up the sex appeal in her preaching in the large cities as a means of winning converts to Christ. Another well-known evangelist uses the analogous device of conditioning the interest of his hearers in their salvation to a previously well-established interest in baseball. The older and very effective device, not now so much used as formerly, was to condition the interest in salvation to the fear of hell-fire. The insurance salesman conditions his prospect's attitudes to the fear of want, the desire for security, and above all to his attachment for his loved ones. The radical conditions his bearers' interest in his political program to their hatred of economic exploitation or to race, class, and religious prejudices already well grounded in them. Our last presidential campaign afforded some excellent examples of this


(67) sort of appeal to prejudice, especially with reference to religion and alcohol.

The redirection of opinion and other attitudes through circulating stimuli, such as newspapers, magazines, books, traveling propagandists, movies, vaudeville speakers, billboard and periodical advertising, uses essentially the same technique. However, since the audiences and visiencies are more widely distributed and less under the direct control of the central propaganda agencies, there is more opportunity for discussion and antagonistic reciprocal interconditioning. The old method of guarding against such counteractive conditioning of attitudes was to limit freedom of speech and propaganda by political or religious bans, and this method is still employed in all countries in crises, such as war, and habitually in countries governed by dictators and powerful oligarchies. But the more effective control or monopolization of conditioning stimuli at present is through economic rather than political channels. The newspapers may be bought up or controlled by a particular faction or they may be intimidated by advertisers. In the same or similar ways the radio and other media of propaganda may be controlled. Unorganized interests, such as the general public welfare, have practically no opportunity under such economic competition of securing adequate responses to their stimuli and of creating favorable attitudes in the masses of the population. And if the selection of teachers and preachers is made in such a way as to favor particular ideas or creeds or to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to contradictory facts, a whole population may have standard type attitudes created in its members favorable to special interest programs and contrary to their own s popular interests.

As a matter of fact, no such drastically thoroughgoing economic control over the stimuli which condition attitudinal responses on a collective basis has ever been achieved. Always, up to the present at least, there have been two large parties in this country with sufficient economic resources available for propaganda purposes that two viewpoints (perhaps not always markedly distinct) have been set forth through regular channels of suggestion. In the matter of religion, the contending factions have been even more numerous and the control of propaganda even less centralized, owing to lack of sufficiently


( 68) large economic resources to be used for propaganda purposes. It may truthfully be said that in the United States at the present time there is more opportunity for free thinking religiously than politically. There are more points of view adequately presented in the religious field than in the political. This condition ordinarily does not result from a policy of physical repression of political thinking or attitude formation, but from the fact that the avenues of political propaganda or conditioning are relatively much more controlled through economic means than is the case with religion. The political propaganda of the dominant party interests is relatively much more powerful and effective.

As a result of the incompleteness of the control over the conditioning of attitudes in political and religious opinions there is a good deal of conflict in these fields of collective behavior, as indeed there is also in other fields, such as morals, art, justice, education, etc. Sect is arrayed against sect, especially at the extremes, and this conflict of sects waxes and wanes as one set of conditioning arguments or stimuli or another preponderates in the interconditioning process. At certain periods, as in recent years between the Protestants and the Catholics, the conflict becomes quite heated, but at other periods it dies down so as to be practically imperceptible. An unusual activity in propaganda on one side is likely to stir up a similar propagandic response on the other side.

In a hotly contested political campaign the reciprocal interconditioning, as well as the central and serial conditioning, is likely to be so active that there is a great deal of resulting vacillation of opinion. It becomes practically impossible to predict the result of the elections from the conversation one hears in public places. I asked a Minneapolis barber in September, 1928, who would be elected President. He remarked that if one believed what he heard it would be Smith, but that he had learned from the previous campaign (1924) that you couldn't depend on what people said. At that time he had been sure that La Follette would be elected, but evidently the people didn't vote the way they talked: Last minute propaganda and last minute decisions often play a large part in such matters. t1 great deal of the talk beforehand is "bull" and "bear" argument, put forth largely to draw the other fellow out and get


(69) his opinions. But it is probably also true that the barber would hear more Smith propaganda than Hoover talk because the barber shops are favorite resorts for the damp brotherhood, and fewer women than men have their hair cut or remain to argue.

Another interesting phase of the redirection of attitudes in political campaigns is the last minute climb to the bandwagon. The political weather vanes watch the clouds almost until it begins to rain and then they seek shelter. The more active the central and serial propagandizing agencies, on the one hand, and the more effective the reciprocal interconditioning from discussion and mutual suggestion, on the other hand, the more difficult it becomes to predict which way the final storm will blow. The last presidential campaign afforded a considerable number of instances of perplexed political leaders. Rumors were rife for weeks before the day of election to the effect that this and that senator, governor, etc., would come out at the "appropriate time" for Smith. The Norris bolt to Smith apparently so unsettled Hoover's political peace of mind that he greatly liberalized his agrarian policy overnight. The Simmons bolt from the Smith camp appears to have been better calculated than Norris' bolt from Hoover.

Where actual and free discussion, undominated by propaganda, can be secured on large public questions the formation of collective attitudes, including public opinion, is much more normal and healthy. This fact is, of course, fully appreciated by those who have sought to secure open forums and an untrammeled press and other agencies or carriers of free and frank discussion. But in a world so filled with all sorts of propaganda agencies, whose concern it is to present only partisan viewpoints and condition partisan attitudes, this is not an easy result to achieve. Even where discussion exists copiously and apparently free, it may be so dominated by all sorts of subtle propaganda that few or none of the participants are voicing their own independent attitudes. More likely they are simply parroting the views of others and rendering their interconditioning oil ail emotional basis all the more effective because of the reŽnforcement of reciprocal suggestion. The ideal basis for the redirection of behavior is free and unimpeded discussion of the merits of the behavior projected on an intel-


(70) -ectual basis. This would permit each person concerned to make up his mind regarding his behavior on the basis of the facts involved. For the most effective working of such a system it is necessary to have available the results of scientific investigation of the consequences and conditions of such behavior, when they exist. This presupposes libraries, nonpartisan books and periodicals, and other unbiased sources of information, and perhaps some sort of intellectual leadership of a more personal, but unprejudiced sort. It also involves a certain background of scientific training and information on the part of the persons who are using discussion as a basis for interconditioning effective collective attitudes. Needless to say, all of these favorable conditions rarely exist together in the most favorable combination for any large number of people. Consequently collective as well as individual attitudes are usually integrated or redirected primarily on the basis of propaganda through central and serial conditioning sources and in the interests of the propagandizers or those who have employed them rather than in the interests of the persons and groups whose behavior is being reconditioned.

Summarizing, it may be said that the method of redirecting collective behavior is subjectively the same as that of redirecting individual behavior, for collective behavior is merely multiple or complementary and coŲrdinate individual behavior on a larger scale. The subjective technique is that earlier described in sections I and z, as the reorganization of attitudes, largely on the emotional and intellectual levels. Collective behavior in large groups or collectivities must be organized on the basis of the higher levels of attitudinal response because these responses can be conditioned at a distance or throughout a large area only by means of symbolic stimuli carried through distance conveyers, such as radio, periodicals, movies, or traveling lecturers, or by the relaying of the stimuli from one carrier to another. It is not impossible to create wide-spread collective attitudes on a low attitudinal response basis, but the relaying of such attitudes must take place directly from individual to individual, with the result that the collective attitude is formed or reformed very slowly. In our rapidly communicating world such a method of conditioning collective attitudes is probably usually prevented by interference from the more rapid trans-


(71) -mission of stimuli through the higher level symbol carrying channels. The result of the more effective functioning of symbolic and intellectual stimuli in the conditioning of collective attitudes is that wide-spread collective attitudes have a chance of being better informed and scientifically more dependable than the old individual attitudes of limited isolated and primitive collectivities. But this is not always the case, since propaganda and collective fear and hate motives may easily overcome the advantage of transmission by intellectual symbols and actually prostitute the intellectual technique of attitudinal integration to their own ends. Objectively viewed, the methods of conditioning collective attitudes is that of the three-fold technique described in this section. It should, of course, always be remembered that collective attitudes are individual attitudes conditioned and organized by the attitudes of other individuals. This is the usual method of conditioning attitudes and it is the process which renders them social.

4. THE HYGIENE OF THE REDIRECTION OF BEHAVIOR

Since attitudes arise in conflict or crisis situations, in which the old adjustment to the environment is no longer adequate, or where two or more behavior impulses or patterns are contending for mastery, the redirected attitudes frequently take on a pathological character. This is particularly the case when there is no successful redirection of attitudes which can eventuate into successful overt consummatory behavior. Repression rather than solution results from the conflict and there is no adequate organized outlet for the energies and impulses to action. This is as true of the intellectual neuro-psychic as of the neuro-muscular and neuro-glandular impulses.

Also conflict and crisis may not result in the redirection of attitudes or in their repression, but they may be compensated by the integration of defense attitudes which serve the function of reŽnforcing attitudes which might otherwise undergo disintegration. This defense attitude frequently takes the form of dogmatism, possibly with a persecution complex or paranoic tendency, which demands retaliation and destruction of the cause of the conflict. Such defense attitudes are very common in political and religious history. In other cases the defense


(72) attitude may take on a negative character, compensating the feeling of conflict with daydreaming or even, in extreme cases, with dementia praecox.

Collectively, the conflict is ordinarily between two collective behavior patterns, such as creeds, beliefs, programs, rituals, etc. Each collectivity being conditioned to its own attitudinal responses looks with disfavor upon those of another collectivity. This fact has always resulted in various collective and individual taboos, sanctions, campaigns for regularity, prizes or premiums, discrimination, persecution, etc. Here rationalization of one's own collective attitudinal values is greatly facilitated by the process of reciprocal interconditioning and suggestive reŽnforcement discussed above. It is usually easy enough to build up such collective defense rationalizations where the conflicting collective standards are correlated with groups physically separated from one another. But if the conflicting behavior patterns pertain to economic classes or to religious sects in the same population, such defense rationalization is much more difficult and the conflict may sooner or later have to be resolved by raising the conflicting attitudes to the intellectual plane where they may be redirected on a rational basis rather than rationalized. This is exactly what happens when we attempt to redirect our attitudes with the aid of scientific knowledge, a procedure which becomes increasingly possible and is constantly more used as the fund of scientific data increases and widens to include the data of social relationships.

Where such redirection of attitudes cannot be achieved on a rational or scientific basis, but defense rationalization continues on an emotional level, persecution and struggle, possibly revolution and civil war, may ultimately eventuate. Although such a solution is often hailed as a triumph for democracy, the net result, as Martin has pointed out, is usually not a rational redirection of attitudes at all, but rather the putting of another set of irrational but rationalized attitudes into a position of dominance, giving rise to new dogmatisms, intolerances, and persecutions. Apparently the only way in which such collective conflicts, as well as individual conflict, can be successfully and hygienically solved is by securing a redirection of behavior toward a more feasible environmental objective. This can be accomplished most successfully by the rational reconditioning


(73) of attitudes on a higher neuro-psychic or intellectual and symbolic plane to the facts of science, preferably through free discussion, and with a minimum of distortion through propaganda. This is not an easy road to mental and social sanity, but it appears to be the only one that actually arrives at the goal.

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

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Bernard, L. L., An Introduction to Social Psychology, Chap. XVI, New York, 1926.

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Mead, G. H., "Social Consciousness and the Consciousness of Meaning," Psychological Bulletin, 1910, Vol. VII, pp. 397-405

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Thurstone, L. L., "The Measurement of Opinion," Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1928, Vol. XXII, pp. 415-30.

Watson, J. B., "The Unverbalized in Human Behavior," Psychological Review, 1924, Vol. XXXI, pp. 273-80.

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Zimmerman, C. C., "Types of Farmers' Attitudes," Social Forces, 1927, Vol. V, pp. 591-96.

 

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