Social Psychology

Chapter 13: Social Attitudes and Social Consciousness

Floyd Henry Allport

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General Social Attitudes. In a foot-race the runner becomes `set' on his mark ready to spring forward at the signal. At the same time all possible movements not allied to this act are inhibited. A certain neural and muscular adjustment is established which determines the character and speed of the following response. We have likewise found on several occasions that to understand social behavior we must consider not only the stimulus and response, but also the preparations for response set up in the neuro-muscular system. Upon coming into the group or crowd attitudes are assumed for characteristic modes of behavior. Certain types of action are thus determined, and others inhibited, at the start. We are set, for example, to conform in our reactions to the conduct of the others. In thinking, we expand our range of associations to objects about us; and we tend to impress others with our conclusions, rather than prove them in a logical fashion. We set ourselves for rivalry, auto-competition, or cooperation, and are affected accordingly in our ,work. We even assume an attitude to react as if certain imagined social stimulations were present. In all these instances the attitude, or preparation in advance of the actual response constitutes an important determinant of the ensuing social behavior. Such neural settings, with their accompanying consciousness, arenumerous. and significant in social life. The present chapter will be devoted to their study.[1]

There is a general social attitude more universal and permanent than the ones we have just mentioned. The latter refer to particular tasks or situations in which we mingle with others. We have, however, a prepared et for responding in the presence of people as such. The mere presence of a fellow being determines us to a more selected and controlled group of reactions than when in the freedom

(321) of solitude. We must refrain from taking up the whole road or from monopolizing the comfortable seats. We tend to perform small services of a polite sort, and perhaps to communicate briefly with our fellows. Certain barriers are set up against the unrestrained use of language or emotional expression. Primitive tendencies in regard to sex and other matters for which convention demands privacy are held in abeyance. In short we adopt a bearing of courteous, socialized dignity; and this attitude determines the character of the things we do or say.[2]

This complex attitude is seldom present in consciousness, but it may be readily verified by the following common experience. If, after entering a room and going about our affairs under the impression that no one else is present, we chance to look over in a corner and see some one sitting, we are startled often to the point of exclamation. This starting is not merely the effect of the unexpected; for it is often natural to suppose that another person might be in the room. It is due to the sudden occurrence of the stimulus for assuming the general social attitude (inhibitions, controls, etc.) mentioned in the preceding paragraph, and to the neural conflict with the freer reactions already in progress. The abrupt shifting of motor settings is disconcerting. In such a situation we often reflect hurriedly upon what we have just done in order to assure ourselves that it was not undignified, unconventional, or otherwise at odds with the general social attitude. Preparation for response to persons, as distinct from response to things, is therefore fundamental in behavior.

Attitudes toward Specific Groups. Upon entering the presence of various groups we assume specific attitudes which control our responses in appropriate ways. Words heard in church arouse in us altogether different responses than the same words heard upon the street or in the club. Our immediate personal settings adopted in primary groups, are inhibited by the. formal attitude assumed when in a parliamentary body. We are set to react to the book agent in

(322) a manner very different from our reaction to a social caller. Agents sometimes capitalize this fact by simulating a caller at first, thus establishing in us an attitude of friendliness from which it is difficult for us later to withdraw. Our teachers, ministers, colleagues, merchants, and servants all derive their impressions of us from distinct attitudes we assume toward these classes respectively. We ourselves feel that it would be highly improper for us to confuse these attitudes. These varying aspects of our behavior are sometimes called different 'social selves.' The term 'self' thus employed is, however, vague and misleading; for it is not a self whose conduct is here observed, but only a segment of our habitual attitudes and reactions.

Self-Expressive Social Attitudes. There is a fairly universal readiness to communicate to others thoughts or feelings which we regard as significant. We are usually aware that the information will produce a sensation, create a laugh, impress the hearer with our own importance, or otherwise control the reactions of our fellows (cf. p. 287). Differences in personality are of course operative in this reaction-getting tendency. Ascendant, expansive, and rivalrous students speak up continually in class, while the more submissive often want to do so but dare not.

The same attitude exists when the group is not immediately present. When we have a bright idea or think of a joke we wish to go and tell some one. The scholar often meditates upon putting his thoughts before the public in an article or book. We want to see the direct effect of our action upon others. If we are of the day-dreaming sort, we are apt to imagine that our words and deeds are convincing others or evoking the plaudits of the throng, and in that way derive an innocuous satisfaction. A familiar example of self-expression is the annotating of one's books with critical comments. In many cases the attitude is again as if the author were there to see, and the mental imagery is that of orally telling him what one thinks. A student writes his views in library books, not only as a reaction to the author, but to impress other students who may later read the same book. Later on another student writes his comment below, ridiculing not the author but the first commentator. Then follows another, the thought meanwhile degenerating

(323) to a personal level. No actual contact is made by any annotator with any other; but social attitudes and imagery are sufficient to bridge the gap. In every college library may be found textbooks embellished with such anachronistic conversations.

In this connection should be mentioned the writing of names and personal views in public places. We long also to place our mark upon tops of high towers or mountains, or in distant historic spots. Books, 'benefit blankets,' and sofa cushions are autographed by us upon request. Few people object to recording their names in the visitors' register at places of public interest.

Attitudes toward Specific Persons. In addition to the general social attitude and the attitudes toward different groups or classes, we show also prepared responses toward specific individuals. Whereas we behave toward all chairs in about the same manner, and have certain common reactions for all dogs or all horses, we possess for each person of our acquaintance a highly specialized pattern of responses. The person himself, and the overt behavior traits of his personality, comprise a unique group of stimulations, evoking from us a reaction pattern different from our response to any other individual. One man compels our respect, admiration, and submission to his suggestions. Another arouses hatred and aversion, but also fear. Still another makes us contemptuous, or by his weakness invites our own responses of expansion and self-display. Some persons we must compel, some we seek to win, and others we strive merely to impress. One individual is our rival, another the object of our amorous desire, another our sympathetic confidant or advisor, and another is the one with whom we are most likely to stop and exchange jokes.

Toward no two persons are these behavior patterns identical. We must realize also that this personal behavior is represented, like other social reactions, by an advance preparation. There is a complex attitude which we assume upon coming into the presence of a particular acquaintance. We have become set to react to just that person by responses similar to those described above.

Recognition of a person is the assumption of just such a specific social attitude. We recognize an individual when we know how. on the basis of past experience, to react to him; that is, when we

(324) set ourselves for a specific pattern of reaction. Recognitive attitudes are often assumed with amazing swiftness, and upon the basis of the slightest sensory cues, such as shape of the back of the head, stoop of the body, or hang of the clothes. Mistakes in recognition are therefore frequent. When on the street we sometimes think we see a certain acquaintance coming and then avert our eyes until within speaking distance. If we have made a mistake in the person, we then discover it suddenly and when face to face with the individual. The effect is generally disconcerting, and we sometimes have an embarrassed consciousness that the other is aware of our confusion (social projection). The unpleasantness of this experience is largely due to the fact that as we drew near we were unconsciously assuming a specific attitude for greeting the supposed acquaintance. These prepared reactions were then suddenly blocked by discovery of the error; hence the visceral outlet in emotional confusion.

Another evidence of specific social attitudes is seen in the personality adjustments of correspondence. A letter written for one person by another never sounds exactly as it would if the former had written it. Apart from content, apart even from style, there are subtle modes of address, fine shadings between command and request, touches of familiarity and jocularity which are peculiar to one's relation to a specific correspondent, and which no amanuensis can duplicate.

Attitudes based upon the Behavior of Others toward us: The Social Self. We have so far discussed but one side of the attitudinal relations of individuals. It must not be forgotten that in social life the response to one's fellows forms a stimulus to which they in turn respond. Consequently each person toward whom the individual has prepared responses has also definite attitudes toward him. It makes a great deal of difference to us, moreover, what sort of attitudes our fellows assume. We strive to build up in them those settings which we them to have toward us. Furthermore, when such attitudes are established we strive to keep them as they are.

We are hemmed in in our behavior by the manner in which others show they expect us to behave. We contribute to charities, enlist

(325) for military service, and attend church largely because our associates expect us to, or because we want them always to assume that we shall react in a charitable, patriotic, or pious manner. Stated in introspective terms, we are conscious of what we infer to be in the consciousness of others concerning us. Our consciousness of ourselves is largely a reflection of the consciousness which others have of us. This introspective phase of self has been aptly termed by Professor Cooley the "looking-glass self." We shall refer to it hereafter as the social self.

My idea of myself is thus largely my neighbor's idea of me, or rather my own idea of my neighbor's idea of me. To this we may add that `my idea of my neighbor's idea' is usually that which I want my neighbor to think; and hence may be an illusory social projection, a mental image rather than a reality. In this case the social self is the self which we wish and assume others to think we possess. The inter-relation of social attitudes is thus both complex and vital. Attitudes of others toward us whether real, supposed, or only wished, control both our self-consciousness and our personal conduct.

Behavior determined by the attitudes of others towards us may be conveniently illustrated under two heads: establishing the social self, and maintaining it. They will be discussed in order.

Building up Attitudes in Others toward us. Individuals differ widely in their craving for the esteem of society. In some, this drive is so strong as to lead to superficiality and posing. This is the type who ape the standard of living of the more wealthy, who dress for display beyond their means, and who feign superiority to menial work. Competition in the pursuit of fashions takes the place of a just sense of values. The aim is to impress and dazzle the throng without caring whether the throng is refined or vulgar, intelligent or stupid.[3] Others strive to build their social selves upon a worthier foundation. The good opinion is sought of those

(326) who count; and this may indeed be a limited class. Ideals of character are placed ahead of material display. The effort is to merit the esteem and reputation for culture which they wish to establish in the minds of their fellow men. Ambition for merited renown and intellectual leadership are thus constructive drives in the personality.

In most persons the building of the social self is a mean between the two extremes described above. Avoiding vulgar ostentation, we nevertheless pose a little. We are careful editors of our own narratives, elaborating the passages in which we shine, and censoring or extenuating the actions in which we appear to a disadvantage. This we do without consciousness of mendacity, distortion, or disingenuous motive. We believe for the time being that we are as we wish to have others see us.

The fact that individuals differ in the kind of social selves they achieve points a moral often overlooked. This moral is that our social self really originates in our own efforts to establish opinions and attitudes regarding us in others. The traits and possessions which we ourselves value we desire to place in the foreground of the consciousness of others in their evaluation of us. We may succeed in this, or only imagine that we succeed; but in any case our social self is no mere passive reflection of us from the minds of others. It is a social projection of our own personal ideals and aims. Our behavior accordingly is reinforced in the same direction, and objective personality traits become ingrained more deeply in response to the attitudes we seek to make others assume toward us.

Maintaining the Attitudes of Others toward us. The most remarkable fact about the social self is that once established it passes beyond the control of the individual. The attitude which others have toward us, that is, their expectation that we shall react in a given manner, tends to compel us to react in that manner. We feel that we must live up to our social self, or in some cases, perhaps, live down to it. The war hero and the famous man feel the necessity of playing an exalted role in their home town, because the consciousness of their achievements is perpetually evident in the attitudes of their fellow townsmen toward them. The girl who has lost her reputation for chastity finds the downward path an easy

(327) one, because the community shows that it expects further lapses in her conduct.

In cases where there is a discrepancy between the social and the actual self every effort is made to keep up pretenses. We cherish our hypocrisies. We dread disillusionment sometimes more than death itself. This reluctance is naturally strongest where the disclosure would lower us in the public estimation. The struggle here is often a conflict within the individual himself. Subjectively it is a craving for honesty with one's self and the world struggling against the desire for social approval. This conflict has formed the theme of numerous works of literature. Ibsen's Pillars of Society and Zangwill's Plaster Saints are familiar examples

When the denouement finally comes and the sin has found us out the social self collapses like a 'house built upon the sands.' The protagonist is no longer buoyed up nor constrained to high purposes by the admiring attitudes of his fellowmen. Their good opinion and their expectation of greatness has changed into an expectation of meanness. There springs up in the individual's consciousness a new and baser social self. Unfathomable remorse and self-abasement form the climax of such a drama.

The foregoing considerations explain why repentance comes rather upon discovery than upon the actual commission of the misdeed. The experience commonly designated as 'conscience' is practically identical with consciousness of the social self. As long as the behavior of others toward us is of a respectful type it is difficult for us to feel ourselves worthy only of reproach. Disclosure makes us realize that attitudes toward us express no longer respect, but condemnation; and thereupon we feel the emotion of shame. A public official may without qualms of conscience hold his office and enjoy the respect of all while concealing a crime he has committed. As soon as a public disclosure is made, though it be years Inter, he resigns from his office with a sudden, overwhelming consciousness of guilt.

A more hopeful phase of the shattering of the social self is the possibility that it may be rebuilt upon a surer foundation. The collapse of undeserved prestige is a necessary condition for its reconstruction upon a basis of genuine merit. The noblest char-

(328) -acters are those whose social selves are laid upon a foundation of 'one hundred per cent' truth. Just as one lie leads to another, so hypocrisy widens the gap between character-fact and character-pretense, until nothing but the total collapse and shame of discovery can clear the way for a new start. In youths this process forms one of the most useful means of character building. In the early and plastic years the response to attitudes of others involves the formation of principles of conduct which time cannot alter.

The desire to preserve one's status in the attitudes of associates is not limited to a defense against the lowering of reputation. Even though the change of attitude would be in no way derogatory, we still hesitate to break up old habits of others toward us. If a person has for some time been under a wrong impression concerning us, we have a curious dislike in regard to correcting that impression.[4] It is unpleasant to disturb settled relationships and ways of regarding us, even for the sake of vindicating ourselves.

The same tendency shows itself in the reluctance to alter arrangements of our business and social life. Any sudden change in our person or habits which may disturb the expectations of our fellows is distasteful. The man who has recently shaved his moustache feels notoriously ill at ease until his friends have become accustomed to his altered appearance. When we have prepared for departure on a trip and have said farewell to our friends we do not like to meet them again before we start. It is awkward and even embarrassing to have to say good-bye a second time. Since our friend has considered us gone, at least so far as he is concerned, it seems inappropriate for us still to be present. A similar awkwardness is felt in making any sort of unexpected appearance before another. Some are loath to make calls without previous intimations. The guest feels more comfortable when announced or preceded by his visiting card than when making an unheralded entrance upon his host.

In almost every community there are long-standing emnities in which the original dispute has been forgotten, but the persons

(329) remain estranged merely because each is too proud to ` break the ice.' Each party to the quarrel feels that the other expects him to behave as an enemy; and so he plays the hostile role until it becomes a part of his social self. In more temporary situations similar behavior is observed. Our facial expression and bearing sometimes assume a character to accord with the way in which others are at the moment regarding us. If we realize that we are suspected, although we may be perfectly innocent of the charge, we often find ourselves putting on a 'hang-dog' look, and even having for the moment a consciousness of guilt. [5] When some one expresses admiration for our courage we cannot avoid swaggering a little though we know the praise may be unwarranted. When some one plies us to divulge a secret which we are supposed to possess, but which in reality we know nothing about, it is hard to keep from assuming a wise and knowing expression. Responses such as these are immediate and involuntary. And, what is strangest of all, we have the characteristic consciousness for the time, of possessing the traits, the knowledge, or the status, which others are attributing to us, and this in spite of our certain knowledge that the attribution is false. Surely the control exercised by the attitudes of others upon behavior and consciousness is most pervasive and fundamental. 

Social Consciousness. We may define social consciousness as the consciousness accompanying social attitudes and overt responses to stimuli. It is the awareness of the various social relationships we have been discussing. Considered in detail, it embraces the following: (1) consciousness of attitudes and of emotional and overt behavior toward others and toward society at large; (2) perceptual consciousness of how others are responding to this behavior of ours, or imagery of how they would respond if present; (3) consciousness, either in sensory or imaginal terms, of the permanent attitudes or overt behavior of others toward us (social self); and (4) sensory or imaginal consciousness that others are reacting to the same object or situation that we are, and that their response is similar to or different from our own.


The pattern of social consciousness is complex and subtle. Be; cause of its omnipresence in our lives it is seldom clearly distinguished from other conscious data. It seldom attains focal clearness (that is, occupies our attention directly), but forms a vague background of daily experience, giving a social tinge to our feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and acts. It is so fleeting that it is difficult even for the trained introspectionist to analyze. A quick thrill of elated emotion is felt when we are the object of admiration, combined with fragmentary imagery or sensations of the admiring and submissive expressions of those about us. When tempted to commit some unworthy deed, a vague and fleeting panorama of mental imagery sometimes appears, composed of disapproving expressions of our fellow beings. This may be combined with the kinaesthetic experience of hanging our heads or cowering in shame. The impression of universality in the crowd experience, or in merely reading or contemplating matters of public interest, is carried in terms of social mental imagery. The awareness of our 'position in the community,' our 'sense of personal dignity,' and our 'honor,' all involve imaginative, emotional, and attitudinal consciousness of our relations with our fellow men. These are a few of the more typical forms of social consciousness.[6]

The Genetic Development of Social Consciousness and the Social Self. Although all accounts of the self and social consciousness of the infant must be speculative, there is good reason to believe that development in this respect is gradual. Various stages may be roughly distinguished. The first experience of self is probably gained through the earliest situations in which the baby reacts vigorously to the world about him. The prepotent responses, combined with the protopathetic emotion (p. 93), afford a basis for such awareness. Hunger is not an abstract, depersonalized experience; it is the baby's own hunger. Struggling against obstacles to movement brings to consciousness an array of emotional and kinaesthetic elements associated with the effort of the child to free himself. Such elements no doubt provide a distinct consciousness of self in opposition to the thwarting agencies.


This self, however, is necessarily limited to the bare activities in operation. The child distinguishes only between this struggling, hungry self on the one hand, and the 'not-self' or environment on the other. He does not distinguish between social and non-social objects in this environment. But before many months have elapsed the child's behavior shows a clear differentiation. Social objects are recognized and responded to in a manner quite different from the behavior toward non-social objects. The anger and hunger cries are used more specifically to control human beings. There appears also a new laryngeal response, the 'hurt cry,' as a remonstrance against oppression and an appeal for sympathy (see p. 181). Pleasurable responses such as those of feeding and responses to caressing and tickling are conditioned by human facial expressions, tones, and words which accompany these acts. The infant therefore adds these associated social impressions to the general consciousness of his own bodily states and activities.

With further development these responses to social stimuli and special controls of others acquire a new significance. Professor Baldwin and others have pointed out a stage in which the child is conscious of those about him, not only as sources of important and pleasant stimulation, but as selves similar to his own. Expressive behavior now acquires for him a new meaning. He is aware of what it means in terms of his own thoughts and feelings when he makes such expressions himself. The mechanism involved here is probably that of sympathy, or socially conditioned emotional response, described in Chapter X. Broadening of experience has also made the child aware that various states of feeling and emotion follow upon certain types of situations. The child who is familiar with the pain of a burn can sympathize with the same feeling when he sees another burned and observes the expression of pain. There is thus developed an awareness of an environment composed of selves similar to his own. This stage marks a distinct advance in the richness of the self-experience. It has been aptly, though figuratively, called the 'ejective stage' of self-consciousness.[7]


Ejective consciousness is of fundamental importance in human society. Its possession, according to Professor Washburn, not only distinguishes the child from the asocial infant, but places the social psychology of man upon a different plane from that of the lower animals. Instead of responding, like the latter, merely to the overt acts of his fellows, man is able to respond by sympathetic reaction to the evidences of their thought and feeling. It is possible therefore to establish permanent attitudes for our behavior toward others, attitudes based upon a standing knowledge of how others habitually feel and think concerning various matters. Upon ejective self-consciousness is founded therefore that stable regard for others which is the very basis of social life.

The development of awareness of the social self forms an interesting chapter in the history of the child. After a realization has come to him that the other members of the family are real selves, it is a short step to regarding himself as one of the family group and as a self recognized by the other selves just as he recognizes them. Language encourages this point of view, for the child is often addressed by his own name used in the third person rather than by the pronoun 'you.' (For example, "Does Helen want to play with her doll?" Or, "John is a naughty boy." ) The child thus refers to himself by name (or sometimes by 'you,' when this form has been used in addressing him) long before he uses the pronoun I.' [8] This use of his own name is to be regarded not merely as a substitute for 'I,' but as an evidence that he is aware of himself largely as others see him. If he has been the object of continual parental admonition and concern, this tendency will of course be more pronounced. The writer's son at the age of three would often scold himself and deprecate his own conduct while at the same time performing the forbidden act. Examples such as the following were common: "Santa won't bring you any toys if you squeal like that"; or, while riding on his tricycle, "If you fall off, Edward,

(333) you'll hurt my knee"; and after tasting sour milk against his mother's advice, "Now, I told you that was sour." Evidently a large portion of the child's consciousness of himself is made up of the expressions used toward him by others. His self is largely a social self.

With further growth the discrepancy between the social self and the real self diminishes. Not only is the child aware of himself as his parents see him; but he wants to be aware of himself as they wish him to be. He refrains from the forbidden act instead of merely verbally abjuring it. The social self and the real self coalesce, and he becomes socialized. In this way the family, the church, and the school unite in building up the social self of the child in accordance with the ideals for which these institutions stand. Throughout life the individual carries with him the image of himself which he retains from the primary, face-to-face groups in which he was reared.[9]

Some General Aspects of Social Consciousness. The social consciousness accompanying contributory social stimulation offers a few points worthy of notice. We have already discussed the awareness that others about us are reacting as we are to a common stimulus, an awareness which is present in the impression of universality. Social consciousness of this sort arises whenever we are confronted by an object or situation which we realize at the same time is stimulating others. Printed slogans and public appeals of all sorts attain suggestive power because of the prestige of large numbers which comes into the individual's consciousness as he realizes that thousands are reading and reacting to these appeals as he is doing. War posters exerted a powerful influence through attitudes of this sort. The splendid cooperation which existed during the war reflected this consciousness of each that others were making patriotic sacrifices, and were expecting the same of him. The soldier as he marched in line was conscious of the others marching about him, of the fact that each was drilled as he was to execute precise movements upon command, and that each was marching along for the same purpose and toward the same goal as he.


One of the laws of such social consciousness is that it is particularly strong when a command is given or when the group as a whole is directly addressed. If the speaker makes a personal appeal directly to his audience, a pleasantly exalted feeling is aroused in each individual. Each is impressed with the fact that every other is being addressed; and through thus calling the individual's attention to the group as a whole the social consciousness of each is increased. Physical contact, touching elbows, holding hands (a practice followed in some revival services), rising or singing in concert, and similar measures tend to produce the same effect upon the social consciousness of the individual.

Similar in effect to direct address is the giving of instructions and commands to a group drilled for the purpose. The writer can remember how at military training camp commands shouted by the officer were followed by vivid consciousness that the other soldiers were all hearing and obeying in the same manner as the writer. The change from marching in route order to marching at attention brought a tremendous experience, kinaesthetic and visual, of fitting in precisely with a great body of comrades who marched as one man. In executing the manual of arms this experience was particularly vivid, especially when the drill was conducted in entire regimental front. The tones of the Colonel's voice, faint in the distance, were impressive because of the vastness of the group upon whose ears they fell. Although the writer could see only a few men on his right and left, his imagery of long lines of troops extending far into the distance on either side, all executing the movements in unison with himself, is still fresh in his mind.

As a final example of the social consciousness we may mention that solemn and beautiful ceremony of the American Army, retreat. Standing at attention each soldier is proud to feel himself as one of an army and nation whose flag and whose anthem are thus to be honored. The impression of universality seems to each soldier to render his behavior a part of the response not only of his regiment but of the entire army, and beyond that of the nation at large, its ideals and its power. The exalted feeling of a participant in this ceremony is well described by Professor R. B. Perry in the following words:


Every late afternoon at the last note of retreat, the flag is lowered, and the band plays "The Star-Spangled Banner." Men in ranks are ordered to attention. Men and officers out of ranks stand at attention where they are, facing the flag, and saluting as the music ceases. Thus to stand at attention toward sundown, listening to solemn music sounding faintly in the distance, to see and to feel that every fellow soldier is standing also rigid and intent - to experience this reverent and collective silence which forbears to say that which cannot be said, is at once to understand and to dedicate that day's work.[10]


Cooley, C. H., Human Nature and the Social Order, chs. 3, 5, 6.

Baldwin, J. M., Mental Development in the Child and the Race.

Social and Ethical Interpretation, ch. 2.

Gault, R. H., "The Standpoint of Social Psychology," Journal of Abnormal Psychology and Social Psychology, 1921, XVI, 41-46.

Social Psychology, ch. 2.

Washburn, M. F., "The Social Psychology of Man and the Lower Animals," Studies in Psychology: Titchener Commemorative Volume, 1917, pp. 11-17.

James, Wm., Principles of Psychology, vol. i, ch. 10 (pp. 291-329).

Bogardus, E. S., Essentials of Social Psychology (2d ed.), ch. 4.

Edman, I., Human Traits and their Social Significance, pp. 148-64.

George, W. H., "Economic and Social Factors in War," American Journal of Sociology, 1918, XXIII, 747-53.

Mead, G. H., "The Social Self," Journal of Philosophy, Psychology, and Scientific Methods, 1913, x, 374-80.



  1. For an additional account of attitude, review the discussion of suggestion in Chapter X.
  2. In conversation we often experience an emotional tension, a kind of `visceral glow,' and a hyperkinetic activity level. We feel that we have been 'playing up' to the social environment. A sudden kinesthetic drop in tension is thus felt when the guests have departed, or when we are walking with some one and a parting of the ways abruptly ends an animated conversation.
  3. This tendency is well satirized in Synge's drama, The Playboy of the Western World. A young vagabond, running away from home, comes into a strange country and gains a kind of prestige among the simple-minded rustics through the rumor that he has murdered his own father. He enjoys this role of outlaw hero until the irate father himself appears upon the scene. In order to maintain his prestige (social self) in the minds of the peasants he sets about, though unsuccessfully, to commit the murder in earnest.
  4. Those who have been mistakenly reported as dead, and duly mourned, have been reluctant, both in truth and fiction, to upset everybody by 'coming to life.' Numerous plots in fiction have been based upon the failure to correct mistaken identities.
  5. A lady of the writer's acquaintance received an anonymous birthday gift and proceeded to accuse her sister of having sent it. The latter immediately assumed a guilty expression, and remarked that she knew she looked guilty, but the truth was she had not sent the present.
  6. Other forms have already been described, such as the consciousness in the following: social facilitation (p. 279), projection (p. 306), rivalry (p. 281), suggestibility in crowd behavior (p. 304), moral reactions in crowds (pp. 312-13), and egotism in crowds (p.316 and footnote).
  7. One of the earliest signs of this stage is seen when the child is affected by the simulated crying of its parent. The sound of weeping, similar to that made by the child himself, has become a conditioner of the grief emotion which it accompanies. The response of the child to the pretended hurt cry of the parent is at first astonishment and then sympathetic grief.
  8. Since the word I' is not employed by elders in indicating the child, its use has to he learned by inference from its use by others to mean themselves. For the child to refer to himself as `1' is therefore a probable indication that the elective stage of self-consciousness has been reached.
  9. Cf. R. H. Gault (reference cited at the end of this chapter).
  10. The Free Man and the Soldier, p. 82. Quoted by courtesy of the publishers, Messrs. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.

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