Important Developments in American Social Psychology during the Past Decade[1]

Leonard S. Cottrell, Jr. and Ruth Gallagher
Cornell University


One of the most clearly marked trends in social psychology within the last decade has been the consistent refusal by social psychologists to define and limit their subject with any exactness.[2] For this reason, our search for important developments will take us across many lines between the social sciences. There is no final test of relevance for these excursions into other fields. They will be justified, however, if they help us to understand the position of present-day social psychology.

The trends as we have observed them seem to have brought social psychology to the edge of an important new threshold; but the work which will synthesize these trends and make social psychologists uniformly aware of the position of their science has not yet appeared. In the absence of such work, the authors have ventured to suggest some of the lines along which the new formulation may fall.

That the social psychology of the thirties differed from the social psychology of an earlier period is a fact easily enough determined by a casual glance at the journals. Many of the old dichotomies that engaged the theorists of the twenties and before have been quietly shelved with the consent of

( 108) all parties concerned.[3] We no longer argue for instance, about the place of the individual or the group, the body or the mind, in a hierarchy of reality. Further than that, discussion and research have reached out to encompass vast new areas of social life, and experimental techniques have become both more refined and more complex to accommodate this widening area of problems. But these things in and of themselves give no emergent character to the social psychology of the thirties. To appreciate the most vital and far-reaching shifts in emphasis and point of view that have appeared within the field, it is necessary to lose sight of social psychology for a while and go back to review the main currents that were influencing the social sciences as a whole at the end of the twenties.

The apparently inexhaustible pursuit of minutiae within the walls of specialized research in the social sciences had by this time put large quantities of monographic material on the shelves of the libraries, and there were many whose enthusiasm for segmental studies in highly specialized fields remained undimmed when they saw their fellow workers in other fields getting further and further from any point of rapprochement. Toward the end of the twenties, however, many of the foremost workers in each of the social sciences raised persistent cries for coöperation. Their protest was initially expressed in occasional articles that appeared in the journals, and later in more extensive works such as The Social Sciences and Their Interrelations, edited by Ogburn and Goldenweiser.[4] It found expression in the aims of the Institute of Human Relations at Yale, and in the efforts that culminated in the publication of the Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. The Encyclopedia, its editors claimed, embodied their conviction that "the interdependence of the social sciences is a concept necessary to their progress."[5] Later, in the writings of Robert Lynd and others, this movement expressed itself in the contention that the unification of the various social sciences, and ultimately their progress, depends in large part upon the explicit recognition of the rôle of social scientists in our particular culture.

The movement toward cross-disciplinary research was

( 109) perhaps most evident in the field of social psychology, and many new journals appeared which gave expression to this movement. It was as though social psychology, peculiarly dependent on insights from many approaches, had suffered most severely from rigid specialization, and now responded to the new trend in a proliferation of articles. Character and Personality, an English journal devoted to "psychodiagnostics," appeared in 1930, welcoming contributions from any and all of the social sciences. The Journal of Social Psychology came out in America at about the same time. Dedicated to the advancement of political, racial, and differential psychology, the range of its articles covered everything from the psychology of learning in chickens to ethnological evidences of ambivalence. The Journal of Abnormal Psychology, which in 1927 had added social psychology to its title, responded during the thirties with an editorial policy of equal catholicity.

The spirit that permeated these and other[6] journals in the field undoubtedly grew out of the general drive toward a reconciliation of the social sciences. Tolerance of all points of view and laissez faire were the implicit watchwords, and the prevailing attitude seemed to be to let the hindmost try to figure out what social psychology was all about. But behind this implicit attitude of tolerance there was another factor more vigorously at work in the field of social psychology than in any of the other social sciences. This factor was the special receptivity of social psychologists to the import of semantics, which made them even more cautious lest they exclude insights that happened to appear under different disciplinary labels than their own.

It is not hard to see why they took so readily to the semantic theories expressed by Oden and Richards, Korzybyski, Bridgman, Morris and others.[7] During the Twenties, social psychologists had become sharply aware of the contextual

( 110) meaning of some areas of behavior. Their most telling arguments against the instinct psychologists had been phrased in the terms of a situational explanation of behavior. The brilliant work of Cooley[8] and Mead [9] had established the self as a function of the social situation, at least in theory; and Thomas[l0] and others had made evident the importance of a person's own view of a particular situation in explaining his action. An intensive analysis of symbolic behavior had been made by G. H. Mead from the point of view of the communality of significant symbols;[11] yet the contextual meaning of speech, the purely instrumental view of symbols which we hold today, was scarcely a murmur in social psychology at that time. The fact that students of semantics found a most receptive audience among social psychologists is largely a result of the groundwork done by these "situation-minded" men in the twenties and before.

Further than that, social psychologists seized upon this new orientation toward symbols because it was more immediately valuable to them as a tool than to the other social scientists; and it was legitimately felt that when other disiciplines, such as political science, used semantic explanations in their analyses, they were contributing to a body of knowledge defined, however inchoately, as social psychology. Moreover, the subject matter of social psychology was in too chaotic a state to boast of anything that might be defended as a final truth about human behavior, and it was much the better part of valor for social psychologists to acknowledge at the behest of their own data, the complete relativity of words and beliefs, and to recognize symbols only as convenient ways of ordering events for the purpose of communication.[12]

It is this growing tolerance for insights under any name, and not alone the current vogue for coöperation within the social

(111) sciences, that helps to account for the catholicity of the journals in social psychology. It is this tendency which explains the impatience with any attempt to dogmatize about the limits or subject matter of social psychology, and which accounts also for the lack of acrimony and polemics in the journals.   The earlier formula was "define and do battle," while the present one is more that of "define if you must, but define operationally and qualify with an autobiographical sketch."

This new tendency to judge the relation of systems of words to contexts has enabled social psychologists to analyze social theory itself in a way which makes ardent controversy unnecessary. The validity of the insights of Freud and Marx, for instance, could be determined by referring their formulations to the milieux within which they were produced, while the validating test of revisions of Freud and Marx was their adequacy to explain the phenomena of our time. When it was fully appreciated that strong resistances to their ideas or a too

facile acceptance of them could be linked with accidents of one's own biography, it became easier to appraise the full genius of both men.

The writings, of Mannheim,[13] Lasswell,[14] J. F. Brown,[15] Lawrence Frank,[16] have served to point up our indebtedness to both Marx and Freud for the very insight which makes evaluation of their work no longer synonymous with exegesis or condemnation. The congruence between ideology and position in the social scale, which Marx explored so keenly, and the relation between verbal systems and unique personal needs which Freud formulated, are two sides of one of the most valuable coins in the social psychologist's pocket.

The phrase "position of the observer" or "observer bias" is a reflection of another facet of this new orientation,

( 112) and it has appeared more and more frequently, not only in the literature of social psychology, but in the works of sociologists and anthropologists wherever their research brings them in contact with concrete interpersonal behavior and meanings. The admission of bias is no longer an admission of incompetence for social research; in fact, an explicit statement of social, personal, scientific and doctrinal frames of reference is increasingly held to be the only way of delimiting the context within which research is meaningful. Again the psychoanalysts have led the way in their early application of this principle, with their demand that every analyst be himself analyzed, his psychic blind spots uncovered, and if possible, compensatory spectacles fitted.

John Dollard has perhaps most adequately shown the significance and technique of handling bias in the field of community studies,[17] while the names of DuBois,[18] Linton,[19] and Warner[20] are associated with the same effort In anthropology.

Although the first applications of the observer bias concept were made to explain perspective-variations that appeared in theory and research, it was not long until social psychologists were recognizing the importance of their bias as social scientists in defining their participation in broader social movements. That social scientists occupy a unique position in the affairs of their society, and have special loyalties and duties within that society which can only be gainsaid at the expense of limiting their vision and awareness, is a fact which social psychology is in a unique position to verify. Some of H. D. Lasswell's articles,[21] John Dewey's Freedom and Culture,[22] and Robert Lynd's Knowledge for What,[23] are excellent illustrations of this special application of the observer bias concept.

We shall have occasion to come back to this concept when we treat later of trends in clinical psychology, and trends

( 113) in what might be called the social psychology of group behavior. For the moment we shall mark it's importance only as one of several bridges that have made interdisciplinary cooperation feasible.

Another such bridge, and again one whose origins are laid in the new sophistication about "the word," is apparent in the increasing use of what Korzybyski [24] has termed multiordinal words. Throughout the literature of the past ten years there appeared words which had specific meaning at different levels of abstraction and in different areas of research, but which were still endowed with enough community of meaning to service a startling assemblage of writers who shared space in the journals. H. S. Liddell could experiment and write about the importance of "frustration" in experimentally induced "neuroses" of sheep; Karen Horney, an analyst, and Ruth Landes, an anthropologist, could describe "culture-bred neuroses" among contemporary Americans or the Ojibwa Indians; and possibly in the same journal there might appear an article on Anti-Statism which employed all of these concepts. Among these words that gave entree to a more general universe of discourse, were frustration, learning, culture- and-personality, interpersonal relations, anxiety, security. There were others, to be sure, but the list is by no means interminable. There were enough however, to establish a certain working consensus within which cross-disciplinary translations came more and more easily.

In line with this growing consensus, it is not difficult to discern the growth of a deeper likeness of attitude and approach which facilitated conversion formulae. From whatever angle behavior was surveyed, observers found that words like dynamic, operational, field, organism-as-a-whole, best expressed the conditions of their research, and they showed a common tendency to avoid descriptions that could be termed atomistic, static, mechanistic, teleological. (We have separated these words from the content and insights which they clothed only for the moment and to illustrate a point. Some of them represent meanings of increasing depth and richness for students of behavior, and in this light they will be treated later as the product of the trends we have been underscoring.)

So much then for the dominant mood and frames of reference that characterized social psychology in the last ten years. Kurt Lewin has aptly summarized the new orientation which we have observed, in his distinction between Aristotelian and Galilean forms of thought.[25] The Aristotelian mode

( 114) dominated social psychology in the era of traits, instincts, and prepotent reflexes; while the present tendency to discard categorical labels in favor of observing movements in a field of force is distinctly Galilean. There is a definite ahistorical bias in this Galilean approach to social psychology, and the trends we shall note in the related fields of anthropology and psychiatry are likewise almost uniformly ahistorical. Social scientists have apparently taken over much of the philosophy of the physical scientists who seek to describe the functional interdependence of variables in a field, rather than simply to classify entities.

It should be added however that while we look with favor upon this field-ahistorical approach in social psychology which promises to get rid of futile attribute-hunting, we cannot afford to be completely uncritical of the applicability of this mode of thought to the process social psychologists are describing. It is the peculiar property of human behavior that it is both integrative of present dynamic fields and projective of past ones, and a philosophy of research which is so oriented to the temporal present that it is incapable of appreciating this fact will do little to enlarge our understanding of human experience, however intriguing the geometries it may produce.

How much has our understanding of man's behavior been increased in this era of inter-disciplinary accord? Any attempt to answer this question will require a critical survey of the contributions made by each of many different approaches. More than that, it calls for a synthesis of these insights in a way which, as we have suggested, has not as yet been attempted. That social psychologists have failed to make a satisfactory synthesis of the material which anthropologists, political scientists, psychiatrists and others have contributed in the last decade is only too evident if one looks at some of the most recent textbooks in social psychology.

The authors of these texts seem to have absorbed the conclusions of the ethnologist concerning the relation between personality and culture, and to have ignored almost completely the contributions of such men as Harry Stack Sullivan and J. L. Moreno to our understanding of interpersonal relations. They bow ceremoniously before the genetic studies of child development, but fail to tie this in with what George Herbert Mead could have told them about the process of socialization. Uniformly they seem impressed by the enormous amount of energy being thrown into attitude studies, and they faithfully include chapters on attitudes, without attempting to reconcile this particular tool of the trade with the lines of thought buried in

( 115) the culture-and-personality chapter. We may conclude, then, that although these authors have benefited from the work done in related fields, they are still unable to weld the new emphases in social psychology into one consistent theoretical frame.

Since we cannot evaluate these new emphases without some criticism of relevance and value, we propose to judge them by the extent to which they lend themselves to incorporation within a distinctly social psychological theory. The kind of theory we have in mind is one whose object is the understanding of inter- and intra-personal behavior, and one which will allow us to talk about large-scale social movements with the same vocabulary with which we explain personality phenomena. We propose to take at face value the recent tendency to explain. a particular detail of behavior as part of a larger field of processes and shall emphasize throughout those insights and conclusions which have increased our understanding of the contexts which shape behavior.

With this goal of understanding the dynamics of human behavior in mind, there is nothing in the journals that bulks so large and boots so little as the current attempts to measure various aspects of personality. With a few welcome exceptions, the quantifiers seem to have lost track of the intricacy and subtlety of the material at hand, namely interpersonal relations, in favor of developing methods which deal with increasingly segmental and isolated bits of behavior.[26] This is not to suggest that such quantitative studies are without value, but merely that to give them any meaning at all, they must be placed in a context of theory and experience which they themselves do little if anything to build. The insights which give the social psychologist whatever limited ability he has to understand and predict an individual's behavior, have come not from the exclusive cultivation of statistical research. Rather the more important

( 116) insights have come through the ability to take the rôle of others, in the Meadian sense, and through acquaintance with the work of those who are accustomed to see behavior in a context, be they dramatists, psychiatrists, or cultural anthropologists.


We have already suggested that the culture and personality problem, which was initially phrased most effectively by anthropologists, met with an enthusiastic reception in almost all quarters of social psychology. But the very enthusiasm with which it was accepted makes it hard to appreciate how recent is this phenomenon of anthropologist turned psychologist. C. G. Seligman, as early as 1924, at the annual meeting of the Royal Anthropological Institute, gave an address entitled "Anthropology and Psychology," in which he proposed the use of such psychological categories as introversion-extroversion for anthropological data.[27] But the working agreement between psychology and anthropology remained on this surface level of mutual acknowledgment until the thirties, when the concept of culture, along with a number of other reified entities, was subjected to critical analysis.

When culture could no longer be considered a superorganic entity that guaranteed the conformity of individuals, it became only a name for a collection of mutually dependent patterned responses which the ethnologist was able to recognize. Increasingly, as this view took hold, anthropologists sought to identify the relation between the concept of culture and the individuals who went about their daily affairs on Vancouver or Manhattan islands. The first fruit of their efforts was a modification of the old "type" picture of culture which they had previously found useful.[28] "Types" of behavior which they had described became instead "a measure of central tendency" in a range of behavior.

There now seemed to be two meanings to the term culture, where one had been sufficient before. There was the idealized structure of behavior; the account of relationships as

( 117) they should be, which practically every informant was capable of giving; and there was the endless variation of actual behavior, ground out each day as individuals strove to dodge or enact the idealized version of relationships which they could so glibly recount to the ethnologist.[29]

The first picture of culture was adequate for many of the problems of anthropologists, as it was for some problems in social psychology. The material under this frame worked up nicely into a static configuration which was useful for comparative studies. It was this type of data that Margaret Mead used to prove that sex and temperament were not inevitably linked as they happened to appear in our Western civilization,[30] and which Malinowski used to temper the zeal of the Freudians who would explain all history and culture in terms of the Oedipus Complex. [31] But there were at the same time a host of problems raised by the diffusionists and functionalists in anthropology which could not be answered by the simple comparison of static pictures of culture.

Anthropologists who sought to explain why a culture should absorb one particular trait and violently reject another, or why all the elements of a given culture should hang together in functional interdependence, seemingly in the air, were driven to explore the second meaning of culture.

A very provocative attack on these problems was made by Ruth Benedict in her Patterns of Culture, which came out in 1934.[32] She did not go any more minutely into the actual behavior that went on within the three cultures she described than others before her had done; indeed, her work is no less a comparative study than Margaret Mead's. But she succeeded in describing culture in terms that had meaning for the student of behavior. Her thesis was that cultural choices are to be interpreted as individual choices are interpreted--on the basis of characteristic configurations or related sets of attitudes which have an internal consistency.

Other anthropologists immediately grasped at this interpretative instrument for their data, and elaborated it by showing that the internal consistency was rooted in common training experiences in childhood, common sources of security, and

( 118) insecurity throughout life in a particular society. Landes used the approach to explain the Windigo psychosis of the Ojibwa, [33] while Hallowell,[34] Warner,[35] Opler[36] and others applied it to both specific and general aspects of the personality-in-culture problem.

The most ambitious as well as the most recent application of the theory has been made by Abram Kardiner, who brought his training as a psychoanalyst to bear upon anthropological materials supplied by Ralph Linton. It is not at all a novelty to find psychoanalysts making use of anthropological data--Freudians have long felt free to use anthropological materials in extending their theory. But Kardiner's book, The Individual and His Society,[37] while not entirely satisfactory, is none the less a landmark in the brief history of the fruitful collaboration between the two disciplines.

Anthropologists have often severely criticized the superimposition of Freudian theory on anthropological data, particularly when they, felt that the facts, except by some kind of intellectual sleight of hand, would not support the theory.[38] But they found when they themselves attempted to analyze their

data in terms of behavior, that there was no branch of psychology, social or otherwise, which offered them so comprehensive and valuable a formulation as the Freudian system. This would explain not only the appearance of Kardiner's book at this time, but also the recent great emphasis upon the abnormal in primitive cultures. For the only highly developed vocabulary which anthropologists have found to describe the dynamics of personality is the language of neurosis and conflict mechanisms, of homosexuality and insecurity.

( 119) However, one of the outstanding contributions to a generalized theory of human behavior which has come out of the recent labors of ethnologists could scarcely have been made with a more conventional psychological vocabulary and area of attention. We may safely say that the hypothesis that abnormality is relative to culture would have been a much longer time in the making if Ruth Benedict and the others who first presented it had been schooled in reaction-time psychology.

As a broad proposition, this hypothesis that deviate behavior is always to be reckoned from particular cultural norms was readily accepted by other social scientists. It was, after all, plainly a part of their own behavior- in-a- context theme. But a further implication of this proposition brought on considerable discussion outside of anthropological circles. That a particular culture may almost fortuitously seize upon a certain limited area of the possible range of human adaptability to elaborate as normal was a provocative notion. It sent psychiatrists and social psychologists off in search of an adequate theoretical statement of the concepts of normality and adjustment. Their problem was to evolve both a relative statement of normality in accordance with particular cultural norms, and an absolute statement, in accordance with the vaguely understood "range of human adaptability." This problem formed the setting of the frequent characterizations of whole societies as neurotic or unbalanced.

However important these considerations may be for social psychology, they have been in the nature of digressions in our account. We must return now to our original problem of tracing the anthropologist's increasing recourse to what we have termed the second meaning of culture. We have observed that Benedict found the abstract concept of culture sufficient for phrasing her hypotheses. Kardiner too, writing six years later, held to the same level of abstraction to show how certain critical institutions of a society, the family, modes of early discipline, and ways of giving security or withholding it were responsible for laying down the basic personality structure of the Individuals within the culture. The validation of these propositions, however, rested upon other workers in the field who were forced to use techniques quite different from the older methods adequate to a "type" picture of culture.

Whether it was to try to establish the range of behavior sanctioned within a society, or to discover personality likenesses which would justify the postulate of a basic personality structure In a culture, or to determine whether or not the questions raised by the diffusionists and functionalists could be

( 120) answered by observing individual choices and personality consistencies, field workers were increasingly drawn to the study of personalities in operation. There is an unprecedented number of life histories in the anthropological literature of the thirties to evidence their new orientation, but as yet no agreement as to how or why life histories should be gathered.

Even more significant than the growing bulk of life history materials is the difference in the type of biographical studies made. In 1932, Edward Sapir could say: "If the testimony of an individual is set down as such, as often happens in our anthropological monographs, it is not because of an interest in the individual himself as a matured and single organism of ideas but in his assumed typicality for the community as a whole."[39] By the end of the thirties, though, Sapir's own insights into the intimate meaning of individual experience for culture had developed sufficiently to give an antiquated flavor to his statement about the limits of the anthropologist's interest in the individual. Sachs' Black Hamlet,[40] William Dyk's Son of Old Man Hat,[41] Underhill's Autobiography of a Papago Woman,[42] and a dozen others43 have staked the anthropologist's claim in this area of research. At the same time anthropological theory has expanded to include the term "rôle" to cover the actual behavior of a person who occupies a particular theoretically defined status.[44]

Whether or not the ethnologist is getting over his depth in this attempt to pin culture down to personal experience will probably depend upon the amount of sound social psychology at his disposal. The present tendency to present life histories largely undoctored, with the hope that future field workers will have more psychiatric training, is certainly a transitional measure. If, as Sapir has indicated,[45] social psychology is really

( 121) the mother science from which both ethnology and psychiatry should be nourished, the rôle of social psychologists is rather clearly defined. From the cultural anthropologist we can learn much about how clusters of rights and duties are traditionally ascribed to individuals. We can use his term, status personality, to describe the basic minimum responsibilities which a society presents to an individual of a certain age, sex, and social position. Possibly by comparing the reactions of different persons who occupy similar statuses within a given society, we may as Linton[46] has suggested, approximate the conditions of a controlled laboratory experiment in human behavior. But before we are in any better position to do this than is the anthropologist with the aid of the psychiatrist, social psychology will have to undergo some rapid maturation. Only when we have refined our explanatory theory to accommodate the concrete data of both inter- and intra-personal relations will we be in a position to take up our end of the personality-in-culture problem which the ethnologist has been carrying almost alone.

As it now stands, the culture context of behavior is a useful but very crude Instrument. It allows us to determine with a fair degree of exactness what an individual should do under certain circumstances, but it gives us no hint at all as to what he will do. For this type of knowledge we must go to the field of psychiatry, where it has been necessary to work out some important rules of thumb for the prediction and control of a given person's behavior.


In shifting our attention from recent trends in anthropology to a consideration of recent trends in psychiatry, we need to look again at the concept of normality, which as we have seen, troubled the psychiatrists not a little after the publication of Benedict's book. The argument of Patterns of Culture had pointed unequivocally to the cultural roots of neurosis, and its author had taken pains to underscore the specificity of mental disorders in our society.[47] The immediate upshot of this new frame of reference for abnormality was a veritable wave of

( 122) finger-pointing at society.[48] Society became the patient, the criminal, the saboteur of mental hygienists. With nothing but a tenuous analogy to support them, students of abnormal behavior explored the "cleavages" of our society and made claim to illustrate these cleavages in the behavior of their patients. These enthusiastic followers of Rousseau and Benedict found probably the fullest representation of their case against society in Karen Horney's The Neurotic Personality of Our Times.[49] She not only found our competitive, conflict-laden culture at the bottom of the prevalent neurotic anxiety of our day, but she intimated further that the most normal among us were transgressing the somewhat metaphysical laws of "absolute" normality.

It is quite obvious that this type of thinking held some serious problems for psychoanalysts and psychiatrists themselves. They no longer knew what normality was, although they might still feel that they could recognize adjustment when they saw it. Those among them who did not use an iron-clad therapeutic method began to ask some disconcerting questions. The sturdy injunction to "face reality" was now somewhat impertinently countered by the question "whose reality?" for the possibility was uneasily recognized that reality might be only a temporary expression of a pathological status quo.[50] Many psychiatrists during this period became critical of their own therapeutic systems and began to rethink their concepts of adjustment and socialization in the light of the new relativity suggested by the anthropologists.

In the intensive reworking of psychoanalytic and

( 123) psychiatric theory during the thirties we can identify certain major trends which are of profound significance for social psychology. The single trend which is probably of most importance to us is the specific acknowledgment of the social origins of neurosis. Psychiatry is no longer in any sense a handmaiden of the biological sciences. From its earlier anatomical-physiological orientation it has swung wide around to the view, as expressed by Karen Horney, that the very essence of neurosis "consists of disturbances in the relations to self and others, and conflicts arising on these grounds."[51] This is a far cry from Freud's position, with his emphasis on the instinctual strivings of the id to assert itself against a tyrannical super-ego. The works of Erich Fromm,[52] Max Horkheimer,[53] Alfred Adler,[54] and others who expressed their views on the problem, have placed neurotic conflicts squarely in the middle of social relations, with the conviction that they should and must be treated on the level of interpersonal relations. Paradoxically enough, Trigant Burrow, who claims to hold a biological theory of neurosis, has given us an excellent description of the symbolic nature of personality conflict. Burrow's work is of sufficient importance to be dealt with later on. For the present, it is more appropriate to consider some of the implications of the reorientation in psychiatry suggested above.

As analysts broke away from the old instinctual moorings in their theory, there was an inevitable accompanying shift in their practice. If neurosis consisted of "disturbances in the relations to self and others," the psychoanalytic interview, which was par excellence a self-other relation, became an exploration of social interaction rather than a one-way process of interpreting unconscious processes. The psychic mechanism of projection took on a new meaning as analysts learned to identify the ways in which the integrated character structure of the patient invariably set the stage for the interview. The analyst himself was no longer willing to remain a mute part of the furnishings of his clinic. More and more, as he became convinced of the diagnostic value of the present situation, he tended to exploit its therapeutic value.

( 123)

The prevailing sociological nature of this shift should perhaps be explored before we go on to look at some of the new and fruitful techniques which accompanied it. If the faulty character structure which lay at the base of neurotic disturbances could be discovered in the patient's current reactions to the interview and the analyst, there was little need to conduct a laborious and lengthy search for traumatic experiences of early childhood. Traumatic experiences there may have been, to be sure, but it was felt that the way in which these were interpreted by the patient was already a function of the disturbances in his self-other relationships. It was not his compulsive re-enaction of these experiences which was of importance per se, rather it was important that he was now using them in present situations to keep his anxiety under control.[55]

What we have called the sociological nature of this shift was really a shift from a mechanistic position to an interactional one. It is the counterpart of the same shift we observed in anthropology when anthropologists focused their interest on actual rather than ideal behavior patterns. Under this new view, the patient no longer seemed to be just a battleground for attributed id strivings and super-ego coercions. In Sullivan's terms, he seemed to be "much more simply human than otherwise," striving as tenaciously to live in the present as the analyst, but with perhaps a more rigid set of expectations which exposed him more perilously to the buffeting of daily life.[56]

Both anthropology and psychiatry have come closer to the realm of social psychology with their concentration on interpersonal behavior. But if the anthropologist's point of view has been more or less wholeheartedly accepted in social psychology, as we have suggested, the insights from the new international approaches in psychiatry are still to be incorporated in a social psychological theory of behavior. The contributions of psychiatrists like Harry Stack Sullivan and J. L. Moreno are still not sufficiently recognized by social psychologists.

Psychiatrists are called upon to deal with only a part of the behavioral relations which it is the goal of social psychology to understand, but they have had the advantage of an additional goad to their efforts which has brought them to a consideration of basic data and methods. While academic

( 125) theorists were making minutely meaningless correlations, the psychiatrist had his hands full with, troubled and distraught patients whom he had to try to help with all the knowledge at his command. He himself was deeply involved in the interpersonal relationships which he was attempting to elucidate, and whatever he has ventured to say about the interpenetration of these relationships makes our present statements about observer-bias and our situational analyses look very crude.[57]

We may look forward to the day when social psychologists have a contribution to make to clinical psychiatry, but that day is still in the remote future so long as we are content to look upon the work of psychiatrists with a kind of blurred benevolence. We must first become thoroughly conversant with clinical theories and techniques, and then critical of them, in the light of a theory which encompasses creative spontaneous behavior as readily as compulsive neurotic behavior.

It would be beyond the scope of this paper to review in detail the specific methods evolved by all of the outstanding psychiatrists of the thirties. However, to illustrate some of the trends in psychiatry that we have already marked, it would be profitable to look at the work of a few men who have seemed to set the pace for these trends and to trace out some of the implications of their views for social psychology.

In our discussion of the growing affirmation of the social basis of neurosis, we had occasion to refer to the work of Trigant Burrow, who styles himself a phylobiologist.[58] His position is not so anomalous as it sounds, for although his primary interest is in the fundamental organic unity which characterizes man as a member of a biological phylum, he posits as the cause and root of all neuroses and social conflict the divisive symbolic world within which man operates. While other social theorists were content to label some of the elements of our culture as possible sources of maladjustment, Burrow was laboring to prove that all social life, in so far as it depended on purely symbolic adjustments, was pathological.

This pathology, he argued, could be observed in the conflict engendered when man's tendency to adjust as a whole biological organism to real promises and threats from the environment, was sidetracked by the projective symbolic system

( 126) which operates through the cerebrum and projicient nervous system. Fundamentally, the conflict could be traced to the training each of us receives for life as a social being. We have had our attention deflected from the important adjustive processes carried on by the organism as a whole, and directed outside ourselves, to the illusory world of symbols. We behave, not in furtherance of the adjustment of our organisms to the world of things, but in a way to frustrate this adjustment by operating in a web of social images for which we employ increasingly only our cerebral mechanism.

In his description of the symbolic type of adjustments we try to make, "matching periphery with periphery," Burrow has given us as good a description of the introjection of the attitudes of others, by which images we guide our behavior, as G. H, Mead has done.[59] But Mead was capable of appreciating the enormous service of symbolic adjustments in extending man's control over the environment, and even elevated the process, in the name of "taking the rôle of the other," to an ethical principle. For him, Burrow's use of the word "histrionic" to describe mental processes, would be quite acceptable. But rather than see this histrionic rôle-taking as inserting a wedge between man's adjustment as a whole and his cerebral responses, Mead has observed that the process of taking the rôle of the other by the use of significant symbols involves an incipient tendency to act, involving the whole organism.

Although Burrow consistently refuses to recognize the tremendous functional importance[60] of symbolic behavior, his emphasis on the pathological aspects of projective responses has served to point up the miscarriages to which symbolic adjustments are remarkably prone. In his therapeutic technique of phyloanalysis,[61] he has used as a first principle that the analyst is as much involved in the reactions he is studying as are the patients. Albeit he has chosen to see this involvement as part of an inescapable social deflection of attention, which all who participate in the group analysis must strive to redirect to the actual tensions and adjustments arising in the organism, his insight into the importance of the here and now, both for the analyst and for the patients, is of distinct value to

( 127) us. His frame of reference is the immediate situation; he occupies a position within this frame of reference as a participant.[62] There is hardly a distinction between patient and analyst; in fact many who are neither "neurotic" nor "analytic" in this particular sense take part in the phyloanalytic sessions. Nor is there any attempt made to substitute another set of verbal symbols in the name of therapy, for the systems of beliefs held by the participants, however delusive or realistic they may seem to the therapist.

The whole effort of the group is to redirect their attention from the mesh of social images to the strains arising within the organism as a whole. Burrow contends that neurotic conflict can only be alleviated by teaching the patient to discriminate between two entirely different sets of tensions in his organism. There are the cerebral tensions centering chiefly about the eyes, which arise when attention has been deflected to the partitive, symbolic area of behavior, and those deep-lying rhythms of adjustment in the organism as a whole, whose fulfillment is constantly threatened by interference from the cerebral areas.

In his concentration upon the meaning of the present in an interpersonal situation and in his conscious attempts to direct awareness, now to the realm of projective meanings and now to the concomitant responses within the organism, Burrow has moved toward a method of delimiting the situation within which behavior can be observed. His theoretical units are not isolated attitudes or traits but the self-other patterns which are significant in the behavior of the organism as a whole at a given moment. His theory, however, could profitably be revised along the lines which Mead has elaborated to make it serviceable for social psychology.

Harry Stack Sullivan employs a much more orthodox method in his psychiatric practice, but it is no less significant for our purposes than Trigant Burrow's. His definition of the interview situation in terms of the relevant self-other patterns that are operative forms the keystone of his therapy. For him, as for Burrow, the psychiatrist is not an isolated onlooker but is integrated with the patient in a complex of interpersonal relations whose intricacies he is competent to explore only by virtue of his superior alertness to the intrusion of dissociated impulses.

In a brilliantly organized theory of personality

( 128) development,[63] Sullivan attempts to show the influences within a given culture which channelize awareness, the disciplines which actually repress the child's interest in certain objects and activities, and the cultural omissions which serve to blind him to certain meanings by withholding the tools of awareness. These objects of the child's perception, but not his apperception, enter to complicate the patterns of verbal response which he learns along the way. When the discrepancy between his verbal self-other patterns and these "parataxic" or dissociated elements becomes so great as to cause serious anxiety, we have all the symptoms of a neurosis. For Sullivan the goal of therapy [64] is to allow the patient to discover the unrecognized components of behavior, including the wholly unnoticed actions in the service of dissociated impulses. The patient must become alert to changes in his own body as he engages in interpersonal relations: voice changes, molar movements, and increases and decreases of tension which mark the intrusion of dissociated impulses. In this goal there is a close similarity between the therapy of Burrow and Sullivan, but there is an important difference which makes Sullivan's work more directly pertinent to the problems of social psychology. He does not brand all symbolic interchange as pathological; he attempts to simplify symbolic interchange by bringing the parataxic elements into consciousness.

If we accept Mead's analysis [65] of the way in which meaning emerges from an incorporated verbal structure of rights and duties, Sullivan's work suggests an important amendment. The meaning that is borne by verbal interchange in interpersonal relations can be completely distorted by the dissociated elements which are at work to set the tone and color of the situation. It is impossible to know the intentions of another fully; but it becomes easier to approximate this understanding when you are aware of the subverbal reaction tendencies in your own behavior which you would otherwise unwittingly project on the situation, and when, at the same time, you are aware of the meaning of certain tensions and irrelevant motions which are complicating the verbal response of the other.

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The effective element in Sullivan's therapy is his attempt to make the patient situation conscious, and in this his work is a distinct refinement on the Freudian method. Freud was content to find the traumatic experiences in the past life of a patient and based his therapy on the hope that consciousness of these experiences within the non-evaluative frame of reference provided by the analyst would work the cure. Sullivan gives the patient no such opportunity to relax his alertness to the adjustments required in the present situation. Knowledge of the specific origins of a neurosis may be enlightening, if one can find them, but that knowledge alone Is not enough to equip the patient for satisfactory social life. When the patient has learned to interpret changes in his behavior from the point of view of their relevance to the changing demands of various social situations, he has the maximum insight into his problems that Sullivan is able to give him.

The distinct value of Sullivan's work for social psychology lies in his use of the situational analysis of behavior. In his hands, however, "situation" is no longer the vague and undefined melange of stimuli which the earlier theorists were content to posit. It has become sharpened and defined as he traces out the network of self-other patterns that frame a given present and underscores their mutual interdependence.

If, as the authors of the paper believe, the social psychology of George Herbert Mead is the most comprehensive and valuable theory that has appeared in the field of social psychology itself, we have at our disposal a critical frame of reference within which we can evaluate the efforts of such men as Burrow and Sullivan. Mead's analysis of the genesis of the self, [66] and his description of the social act [67] with its boundaries set by incorporated self-other patterns, is more satisfactory than anything as yet offered by the clinicians. After we have surveyed the work of Moreno, whose experiments in psychodramatics offer a vivid clinical demonstration of Mead's role theory, we will be in a better position to discuss the advantage of using such a theory as Mead's as an integrating core for social psychology, and at the same time to consider it in relation to the trends we have reviewed.

Moreno[68] has perhaps done more to define the actual

( 130) unit of behavior [69] which he has chosen to observe in his clinical practice than any other modern psychiatrist. His area of attention is described broadly by the term "interpersonal relations," but the unique dramatic method he has developed for the treatment of self-other disturbances has permitted him to explore concretely the dimensions of a behavioral rôle. He allows the patient to act out a whole complex of behavior, integrated as a rôle appropriate to a given situation. The patient may act alone, or with the assistance of trained "auxiliary egos" from Dr. Moreno's staff, or with persons from his own conflictful outside world. The goal of psychodramatic therapy is much like that of Sullivan's therapy; that is, it is hoped that the patient may become alert to the situational determination of his behavior. However, Moreno's method has at least one advantage over Sullivan's. He is able to establish the links for the patient between a great variety of situations and their accompanying rôles, and to show how the differing expectations of the others in these situations either influence or fall to influence his behavior. For him the dissociated or parataxic elements of behavior which Sullivan stresses become integrated into rôles when the situation is appropriately defined by the subject. The opportunity to act out these whole units of behavior, which otherwise receive only partial or symbolic fulfillment, has a distinct cathartic effect. Further than that, the psychodramatic theater in its use of auxiliary egos has almost done away with the analyst as observer. There is only mutual participation in dramatic episodes which anyone, including the patient, may attempt to elucidate.

However brilliant Moreno's work may be in execution, his theoretical formulations are not entirely satisfactory for our purposes.[70] He, as a clinical psychologist, need not be over-concerned, for instance, with the problem of the way in which these rôles become part of a patient's reaction system, or with the relation of internalized dramatic behavior to

(131) intelligence, but we who are endeavoring to explain these things in social psychology cannot be content with a simple description of his experiments. His work gains in significance when we view it from the vantage point of Meadian psychology. Because he has hit upon an experimental technique that is adapted to the same descriptive unit that Mead himself used in a much broader social psychological theory,[71] we may expect to amend or enlarge the conclusions of both men in the light of the contributions of each.

The chief service done by Moreno for Meadian social psychology is to make concrete the social act or social situation within which behavior goes on. Sullivan and Burrow have both attempted the same thing in their analyses, as we have noted, but Moreno has identified the more significant behavioral unit, the rôle, in his experiments. Because Mead has concentrated his attention upon showing the social process through which the "self" originates, the fact that the self was throughout its life-history ever a part of a process had to be inferred from his work, rather than found there. It was probably Moreno's very lack of concern over such origins that enabled him to chart the behavioral manifestations of different conceptions of self within at least partially controlled social situations.

It is this type of experimentation which will allow us to expand Mead's theory to include, for example, the symptoms of personality conflict which appears when situations which call for incompatible rôles overlap. If we hold to Mead's view that meaning inheres in the ability to call out implicitly in one's self the rôle which one is calling out explicitly in the response of another, we can shift our attention from the philosophical aspects of the process upon which he concentrated, and focus instead upon the experiences that limit and frustrate this rôle-taking ability. As we have seen, the work of clinical psychologists like Moreno and Sullivan is admirably adapted to show the ways in which a rigid projective tendency can inhibit any real awareness of the desires and needs of another in an experimentally controlled interpersonal situation. When Meadian theory is thus amended to account for the pathology as well as the promise of the rôle-taking process, social psychology may be in a position to implement the recent work of the clinicians.

For example, we might be able to suggest a better way out of the "adjustment-normality" dilemma than they themselves have been able to find, and at the same time integrate their work with the recent trends in cultural anthropology. As a tentative illustration, we might use the concept of socialization.

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Socialization need not represent either a norm or an ideal. It is more profitable to see it as the simple end-product of a given individual's experiences in a definite social milieu at a certain cross section of time. This view is close to the insight of Sapir [72] that there are as many intimate meanings of culture as there are individuals who embody the culture. Our interest would be centered on the number and variety of rôles which the individual had incorporated and the patterns of interpersonal relations within which these rôles were molded and found expression.[73]

Our concern with the primary groups as conditioning agents for the individual would take two forms. We would be interested first of all in the character of the interpersonal relationships which gave the individual a unique set of rôle patterns--his personal tendencies to see himself habitually as advantaged or disadvantaged, for instance. Our second concern with the primary groups would be the way in which they, as a part of a larger cultural configuration, molded the individual for participation in this larger configuration. Mead's term, the "generalized other,"[74] and his analysis of its growth and function, could be used to cover adequately the incorporation of this broadly similar set of expectations, verbally expressed as rights and duties, within a particular culture.

But we have as yet to account for the deeper likenesses of attitude and expectations lying below the level of verbally expressed rôle-relations--the basic personality structure which Kardiner and Benedict posit for a given culture.[75] This generalized set of expectancies and action patterns, would make difficult, for instance, the adjustment of a Zuni Indian to Kwakiutl culture, no matter how thoroughly he had learned the verbal structure of rôles, and might account for a literate Kwakiutl's getting along admirably on Wall street.[76] The incorporation of this basic personality structure can be explained by an extension of Mead's concept of the "generalized other" to describe basic likenesses laid down in the common satisfactions or dissatisfactions of early training experiences. The analysis of this type of common experience in our culture would undoubtedly

(133) have to fall along class and caste lines, as L. K. Frank and Dollard have suggested,[77] for there is a great dissimilarity in the basic training procedures from one sub-group to another in our society. Yet there is enough similarity within each subgroups to permit us to differentiate the basic personality matrix of one group from another.

Such a theory of socialization is in line with the growing tendency in anthropology and psychiatry to see the individual in a concrete setting of interpersonal relations. It has the further advantage of coördinating and focusing attention in both fields upon the actual processes of socialization.

For the analyst at least, this would be a way out of the "normality" dilemma. His interest in the socialization which a given subject had undergone would be directed to the expectancy and response patterns which he had incorporated on two different levels and these would again be referable to their uniqueness or generality within a given population. The projective frames of reference which the patient revealed by his rôles in the interview situation could first be checked for their specificity within the milieu in which the patient grew up and then judged, not in the light of the analyst's philosophy of adjustment, but in the light of their relevance to the actual demands of the subject's current interpersonal world. Instead of clamping a mold of "normality" down upon the patient, it would be assumed that his incorporated self-other relationships were normal, i.e., explicable in terms of his past experience, but that these patterns were inadequate to meet the requirements of a particular present. The present effort in psychiatry to consider both the rôle of the analyst and the rôle of the patient in the concrete interpersonal situation of the interview would contain the important modification which Moreno's work has pointed up.[78] The outside world of relationships to which the patient had adjusted, and to which he was still trying to adjust, would become the constant reference in therapy, rather than some hypothetical norm of conduct.

This extended contextual view is one to which psychiatry will undoubtedly come, but as yet the analyst has no theoretical principle that is adequate to cope with the problem it raises. Such a view will undoubtedly help the analyst to understand the behavior of his patients better. But unless he can satisfactorily phrase the patient's responsibility to his social

( 134) environment in non-normative terms, the patient may frequently use the analyst's insights only as a justification for continuing his non-adjustive behavior. When the analyst couches his attempts to make the patient "situation-minded in terms of the superior adjustments he can make by taking the rôle of the others who make up his Interpersonal world, this dilemma will be met. (Taking the rôle of the other here means recognizing the expectations of others and amending one's own behavior thereby.) In this way the analyst will not have given the patient just a new set of time and position bound values, but a technique of adjustment within his own social world and confidence in that technique.


To move from a consideration of relevant trends in psychiatry to a consideration of trends in the study of intergroup behavior is not so capricious a jump as it might at first seem Political scientists like H. D. Lasswell, Jerome Frank, and Thurman Arnold during the thirties used the vocabulary of clinical psychologists for much the same reason that anthropologists did. With this tool of analysis, political scientists or men like Lasswell and Lewin who operate on the periphery of sociology, contributed more to our understanding of the dynamics of group interaction than did sociologists proper. We might suggest as a possible explanation that, largely because of their study of propaganda, political scientists were in an advantageous position. They could see the dynamic relationship between symbolic adjustments to large-scale group movements and the symbolic adjustments in interpersonal relations, while sociologists were content to describe the movements of group largely divorced from the meanings of these movements to individuals.

As Lasswell has analyzed [79] the new alignment of research in political science, students of comparative government like C. E. Merriam,[80] who wanted to describe American party politics realistically, were confronted with the myriad operations of pressure and promotional groups which deliberately sought to influence the acts of officials and citizens. The study of the operations of these groups led to a fresh awakening of

( 135) interest in the deliberate use of symbols to influence collective attitudes. Lasswell concludes that the "discovery of the significance of propaganda was thus part of the expansion of the intellectual tasks which were implicit in the investigation of political phenomena." As part of a much larger context, however, this movement among political scientists could be seen as an intensification of the anti- intellectualism [81] that has increasingly dominated political and social theory since the time of Freud and Marx. Scientific interest in the uses to which propaganda is put by pressure groups is a special development within this larger movement which has been sharpened and quickened, not only as Lasswell has suggested, but also by the blatant use of propaganda in the first world war and its subsequent use in Germany, Italy, and Russia.

When seen as part of a widespread and increasing antiintellectualism, the books that have appeared in political science during the thirties lose much of their stimulating novelty for social psychologists. They contain not so much a body of content that has to be mastered as a point of view which has been increasingly bolstered from all sides. However, there is no doubt that Lasswell's World Politics and Personal Insecurity [82] and Psychopathology and Politics,[83] Arnold's Symbols of Government [84] and The Folklore of Capitalism, [85] and Jerome Frank's Law and the Modern Mind [86] were vigorous contributors to the relativism that is so explicit in our thinking today. The essential contribution of these scholars was to ground political institutions in social psychological processes.

These writers chose to follow the leads of the propagandist, and explored the meaning of institutions as part of the symbolic behavior adjustments of persons. Whether these persons were administrators who were the executive agents of institutions, taxpayers who lived in a state of painful symbolic expectation, or agitators who wanted things their way, the problem was to determine how they managed to project their needs and desires onto a stage so far removed from the bare structure of loyalties and duties of interpersonal relations.

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In these analyses the Freudian mechanism of substitute satisfaction came in for some heavy duty. It was assumed, for instance, that although now that you were a justice of the Supreme Court you were too big to run home to father, you could take a sound conservative attitude toward the stability of the law and thus preserve the paternal trappings of your symbolic world. But when the many possible applications of Freudian theory had been made to explain secondary symbol satisfactions, there still remained much in the phenomena of intergroup behavior which called for a somewhat different approach. Perhaps hatred of an authoritarian father would account for certain individuals embracing a revolutionary political ideology; but it would be difficult to account for the entire membership of the Communist Party in these terms.

A more satisfying way of looking at intergroup processes, at least for those like Lewin [87] who were interested less in political debunking and more in the social psychology of group interaction, was to use a situational analysis in the symbolic context provided by the propagandist. The underlying assumption of this view was that if an individual could actually identify his interests with the symbol of a particular group or could so have his interests defined by a clever propagandist, he held somewhere in his reaction system the tendency to act in the name of that symbol, the capacity to suffer or rejoice with its varying fate. The problem that faced the students who dealt with group interaction was to describe the conditions under which these identifications took place and to chart the individual behavioral reflection of shifting alignments in the world of secondary symbols. It was a problem, chiefly, in identifying position in situational fields and correlating these positions with the characteristic modes of behavior which accompany them.

Those who are familiar with the exposition of this point of view made by Marx and Sorel, may legitimately wonder wherein the theory of the thirties added anything new to their original formulation. The modern group theorists, as we have seen, took a unique departure in the thirties in personalizing the processes of group interaction; and just as in anthropology and psychiatry, when interest became focused on actual interpersonal and intrapersonal relations, an "attribute" frame of reference gave way before an interactional one. Marx's description of bourgeois mentality was essentially an ascription of

( 137) an attribute. It might keenly describe the behavior and outlook of George Babbitt at a Thursday afternoon Kiwanis luncheon, but it did nothing to illuminate the kindred secondary symbolic identification which permitted him to suffer through an entire season when the White Sox were in a batting slump. For the modern theorist, Babbitt has become a welter of such identifications. Instead of relying upon class attributes to describe his behavior, they see him as operating in a world of secondary symbols that fade in and out of his conscious attention and attempt to explain his actions in terms of the shifting or stable structure of this unique personalized field.

These at least are the farthest lines along which the social psychological theory of collective behavior has come; but the theoretical trail blazed by men like Kurt Lewin [88] and J. F. Brown [89] is still a long way from becoming a research highway. So far, research into the problem has confined itself almost exclusively to attempts to show the effects of certain gross positional frames, such as class and caste upon personality. In this direction the work of John Dollard, Allison Davis,[90] and Lloyd Warner [91] represent perhaps some of the best efforts. However valuable this type of research may be in portraying personality development where social rôles are clear-cut and rigidly maintained, it hardly touches the dynamics of collective behavior as Lewin, for instance, has outlined them. Furthermore, the recent barrage of attitude and value studies oriented around such undefined positional points as economic class and race differences seem to be even more woefully behind the speculative efforts of Lasswell and Lewin. To characterize the present state of social psychology in reference to the study of collectivities, there seems to be a great willingness to employ both a positional and an interactional frame of analysis. Research, however, is running in compulsive circles around only the baldest of positional concepts.

In our review of the contributions made by anthropology and psychiatry during the thirties to social psychology, we have intimated that the analytic and predictive power of social psychology has been enhanced with every effort to make more concrete an interactional frame which we may call the situation. At the same time we have suggested that the interdependent

( 138) processes which characterize a situation stood out most clearly when dynamic self-other patterns were used as descriptive units. It was only with these units that the Incorporated expectations which characterize personality were intelligible; moreover, these units made explicit in interactional terms the position of the observer in relation to the behavior he was studying. We suggested further the value of the unit-term "rôle," which as Mead has used it makes clear not only the genetic development of incorporated self-other patterns but also their operation in current interpersonal relations. It is with these insight tools, we believe, that an adequate social psychological theory of inter- and intra-personal relations will develop.

But what of the social psychology of intergroup phenomena? Is this area of research destined to remain a speculative step-child? We think not. The psychology of Interpersonal relations has been implemented by the efforts of clinicians who have been striving within the concrete interview situation to make primary symbolic behavior meaningful. While group theorists can scarcely hope to have the phenotypic phenomena of group interaction compressed for them into such favorable experimental dimensions,[92] this is not inevitably a handicap. Instead of proceeding, as psychiatrists and anthropologists have done, from an increasingly definite description of the social situation to a search for a relevant behavioral unit, the social psychology of group interaction may profitably take over the theoretical leads from these fields and proceed in the opposite direction.

If secondary symbol identifications are assumed not to be attributes but rôles related to certain as yet poorly described situations, the dynamics of group interaction become explicable in the dynamic language of self-other patterns and are immediately amenable to all the insight about rôle-relations which the social psychology of interpersonal relations can contribute. With such an orientation, the laboratory for investigation of symbolized group relations becomes the individual. If this approach is adopted, utilizing first the descriptive elements and then the method of clinical psychologists, social psychology will have taken a major step toward establishing an interactional theory of group dynamics, a theory which is competent to describe group allegiances and alignments as movement within a field whose dimensions are role patterns of expectation and response.


If adjustment in an interpersonal relation depends upon the ability to take the rôle of the other as a guide to behavior, adjustment in the world of secondary symbol relationships is dependent no less upon the same process.[93] And just as in interpersonal relations, where this process is facilitated by a knowledge of all the dissociated elements which offer a clue to the actual position taken by the participants, whatever we can learn with our positional analyses about real needs and goals beneath the verbiage of certain collectivities will help to make our rôle adjustments at this level more realistic. We suspect that successful psychiatric therapy depends upon the extent to which those who are entangled in an interpersonal situation are able to see the relationship between behavior and position in a given situation. When this insight is finally transmitted, anxiety and projected fears and threats subside, for the patient is equipped more genuinely to take the rôle of those others with whom he interacts and to guide or amend his behavior by this process. A social psychological theory of group interaction, based on the same role principles, can offer a similar therapy for the tangled and conflict-ridden group relations of our modern world.

In a sense, a democracy which truly invites the free expression of partisan opinion, is a large-scale replica of Moreno's psychodramatic theatre. But unless these opinions are unequivocally associated with underlying positional needs, public debate and pressure group activities promise only an ever increasing confusion. When people who act in the name of a collectivity can see the relativity of their own beliefs to the position which they occupy as readily as they are coming to see the relativity of their opponents' beliefs, we may predict that the paranoidal witch-hunting and anxiety which accompany "final truth" thinking of any kind will disappear. The Immediate task of the social psychologist is to make available the knowledge which he is accumulating about the relation between positional needs and verbal expression, and then, using the principles derived from his study of interpersonal relations, to suggest the adjustment values of the rôle-taking process in an intergroup situation.


  1. Presented to the Sociological Research Association, September, 1940. (This is the first part of the article. The second part will appear in the next issue - Ed.)
  2. For an excellent statement of this condition in general psychology, see G. W. Allport's presidential address before the 47th annual meeting of the American Psychological Association,: The Psychologist's Frame of Reference, Psych. Bull., January, 1940, pp. 1-28.
  3. An adequate summary of the dominant mood of social psychology in 1929 is given by Ellsworth Faris in his article on "Current Trends in Social Psychology," pp. 119-133 in Essays in Philosophy, ed. by T. V. Smith and W. K. Wright, Chicago, 1929.
  4. New York, 1927.
  5. See also the statement of the aims of the Journal of Social Philosophy, vol. I, no. 1, October, 1935.
  6. Among these other periodicals could be listed The Journal of Orthopsychiatry, which came out in 1930, Psychiatry, a Journal of the Biology and Pathology of Interpersonal Relations, 1938, and Sociometry; a Journal of Interpersonal Relations, 1937.
  7. A partial list of these authors and their works would include: Ogden and Richards, The Meaning of Meaning, New York, 1923; rev. ed. 1936; Bridgman, P.W. The Logic of Modern Physics, New York, 1932; Korzybyski, Alfred, Science and Sanity, New York, 1933; Arnold, Thurman, Folklore of Capitalism, New Haven, 1937; Chase, Stuart, The Tyranny of Words, New York, 1938; Morris, C.W., "Foundations of the Theory of Signs," International Encyclopedia of Unified Science, I, Chicago, 1938.
  8. Cooley, Charles H. Human Nature and The Social Order, New York, 1902, 1922.
  9. Mead's lectures were not published until 1934. For appreciative discussion of his work see F. B. Karpf, American Social Psychology, New York, 1932 and Ellsworth Faris, "The Social Psychology of George Mead," Am. Jour. of Sociology, vol. 43, 1937, pp. 391-403.
  10. Thomas, W. I. and Znaniecki, Florian, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America, Chicago, 1918-20.
  11. Mead, George Herbert, Mind, Self, and Society, Chicago, 1934.
  12. H. D. Lasswell's article, "Person, Personality, Group, Culture," in Psychiatry, vol. 2, no. 4, 1939, pp. 533-561, gives a brief but valuable account of this "word consciousness" in psychology, in his attempt to clarify the method by which the meaning of the terms in his title may be made explicit.
  13. Mannheim, Karl, Ideology and Utopia, English translation New York, 1936.
  14. Lasswell, H. D. World Politics and Personal Insecurity, New York, 1935, especially p. 128 ff.; "The Contribution of Freud's Insight Interview to the Social Science," Am. J. Soc. vol. 45, no. 3, pp. 375-390, November, 1939.
  15. Brown, J. F. Psychology and the Social Order, New York, 1936, pp. 446-461. "Individual, Group, and Social Field," Am. J. Soc., vol. 44, pp. 858-867. "Freud vs. Marx; Real and Pseudo Problems Distinguished," Psychiatry vol. I, pp. 249-255, May, 1938.
  16. Frank, L. K. "Cultural Coercion and Individual Distortion," Psychiatry, vol. 2, pp. 11-27, February, 1939.
  17. See particularly his chapter on "Bias," pp. 33-41, in Caste and Class in A Southern Town, New Haven, 1937.
  18. DuBois, Cora, "Some Psychological Objectives and Techniques in Ethnography," Journ. Soc. Psych., vol. 8, pp. 285-300, 1937.
  19. Linton, Ralph. The Study of Man, New York, 1936.
  20. Warner, W. L. "The Society, the Individual and His Mental Disorders," Am. Journ. Psychiatry, Vol. 94, pp. 275-284.
  21. Of particular importance is his: "The Moral Vocation of the Middle Income Skill Group," Internat. Jour. Ethics, vol. 45, pp. 127-137.
  22. New York, 1939.
  23. Princeton University Press, 1939.
  24. Op cit.
  25. Lewin, Kurt. A Dynamic Theory of Personality, New York, 1935. p. I ff.
  26. Gardner Murphy expressed his dissatisfaction with this type of research in his Chairman's address before the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.
  27. The following statement is instructive. "Undoubtedly a large part of our trouble has been an over-rapid development of research techniques which can be applied to the surface aspects of almost any social response, and are reasonably sure to give a publishable numerical answer to almost any causal question."
  28. Murphy, Gardner, "The Research Task of Social Psychology," Jour. Soc. Psych., vol. 10, no. I, pp. 107-120. (February, 1939) See also: Alexander, Franz, "Evaluation of Statistical and Analytic Methods in Psychiatry and Psychology." Am. Jour. Orthopsychiatry, vol. 4, no. 4, October, 1934. pp. 433-448.
  29. For a good illustration of the growing psychological sophistication in anthropology, it is interesting to compare this paper, which appeared in vol. 54 of the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, (pp. 13-46), with a later article by Seligman entitled "Anthropological Perspective and Psychological Theory," which appeared in vol. 62 of this same journal (pp. 193-228).
  30. DuBois, Cora, op. cit.
  31. Sapir, Edward. "Why Cultural Anthropology Needs the Psychiatrist," Psychiatry vol. I, no. I, pp. 7-12, February, 1938.
  32. Mead, Margaret. Sex and Temperament, New York, 1935.
  33. Malinowski, B. Sex and Repression in Savage Society, New York, 1926.
  34. Boston.
  35. Landes, Ruth. "The Abnormal Among the Ojibwa Indians." Journal Abnormal and Soc. Psych. vol. 33, pp. 14-33, 1938. "The Personality of the Ojibwa," Character and Personality, vol. 6, pp. 51-60, 1937. The Ojibwa Woman, New York, 1937.
  36. Hallowell, A. I. Culture and Mental Disorder, Jour. Abnormal and Soc. Psych. vol. 29, pp. I-9, 1934. "Fear and Anxiety as Cultural and Individual Variables in a Primitive Society," Jour. Soc. Psych. vol. 9, no. I, pp. 25-47, 1938.
  37. Warner, W. L. op. cit.
  38. Opler, M. E. "Personality and Culture: A Methodological Suggestion for a Study of Their Interrelations," Psychiatry, vol. I, no. 2, p. 217-20. 1938.
    New York, 1939.
    Roheim, Geza. Myth, Magic and the Divine King, New York, 1930.
    Freud, Sigmund. Totem and Tabu, New York, 1931. We have in mind particularly the reaction that greeted these two.
  39. Sapir, Edward, "Cultural Anthropology and Psychiatry," Jour. Ab. and Soc. Psych. vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 220-242, October, 1932.
  40. Sachs, W. London, 1936.
  41. New York, 1938.
  42. Mem. Amer. Anthrop. Assoc., no. 46, pp. I-64, 1936.
  43. Gillin's bibliography of 231 titles may be used for further reference.
    Gillin, John, "Personality in Preliterate Societies," Am. Soc. Rev. vol. 4, no. 5, pp. 681-702. October, 1939.
  44. "See particularly chapters 16 and 26 in Linton's Study of Man, op. cit.
    Also A. A. Goldenweiser's Individual Pattern and Involution of Primitive Society, pp. 99-104, in Essays Presented to A. L. Kroeber, Berkeley, 1936.
  45. “Cultural Anthropology and Psychiatry”, op. cit.
  46. Op. cit.
  47. For a succinct statement of Benedict's point of view on this problem, see Benedict, Ruth, "Anthropology and the Abnormal," Jour. Gen. Psych. vol. 10, pp. 59-80, 1934.
  48. For instance: Kroeber, A. L., "Psychosis or Social Sanction," Character and Personality, vol. 8, p. 204-209. Bain, Read, "Our Scizoid Culture," Sociology and Soc. Research, vol. 19, pp. 267-276, 1934-1935.
    Benedict, Ruth, "Continuities and Discontinuities in Cultural Conditioning," Psychiatry, vol. I, no. 2, pp. 161-167, 1938.
    Devereux, George, "Maladjustment and Social Neurosis," Am. Soc. Rev., vol, 4, pp. 844-851, 1939.
  49. New York, 1937.
  50. Frank, L. K., "Facing Reality in Family Life," Mental Hygiene, vol, 21, pp. 224 230, 1937.
    Wright, H. S., "Facing Reality," Jour. Ab. and Soc. Psych. vol. 32, pp. 223-35.
    Foley, J. P., Jr., "The Criterion of Abnormality," Jour. Ab. and Soc. Psych. vol. 30, pp. 279-291.
    A biological criterion for abnormality was suggested by Andras Angyal, in his article "The Concept of Bionegativity," Psychiatry, vol. I, no. 3, pp. 303-307, 1938.
  51. Horney, Karen, New Ways in Psychoanalysis, New York, 1939.
  52. Fromm, Erich, "Die Psychoanalytische Charakterologie and ihre Bedeutung fur die Sozialpsychologie," Zeitschrift fur Sozialforschung, vol. I, pp. 252-277, 1932.
  53. See his foreword to Autorität and Familie, Studien aus demInstitut fur Sozialforschung, Librairie Felix Alcan, Paris, 1936.
  54. Adler, Alfred, "What is Neurosis?" Int. Jour. Indiv. Psychology, vol. I, no. I, April, 1935. pp. I-8.
  55. See Karen Horney's discussion of Freud's mechanistic philosophy, op. cit.

  56. H. S. Sullivan, "Some Conceptions of Modern Psychiatry," Psychiatry, vol. 3, no. I, pp. 1-10. 1940.

  57. See: Sullivan, Harry Stack, "A Note on Formulating the Relationship of the Individual and the Group," Am. Jour. Soc., vol. 44, pp. 932-37.

  58. Burrow, Trigant, The Biology of Human Conflict, New York, 1937, also, "The Physiological Basis of Neurosis and Dream," Jour. Soc. Psych., vol. I, no. I, pp. 48-65, 1930.

  59. Mind, Self and Society, op cit.

  60. See two articles in the Journal of Philosophy, September, 1936, by John M. Brewster, entitled "A Behavioristic Account of the Logical Functions of Universals."

  61. Galt, William, "Phyloanalysis," Jour. Ab. and Soc. Psych. vol. 27, pp. 411-429, 1933.

  62. Burrow, Trigant, "Altering Frames of Reference in the Sphere of Human Behavior," Jour. Soc. Philos. vol. 2, pp. 118-141.

  63. The most comprehensive statement of Sullivan's position is to be found in his "Conceptions of Modern Psychiatry," given as the first William Alanson White Memorial Lectures, and published in Psychiatry, vol. 3, pp. 1-117, 1940.

  64. Op. cit., pp. 87 ff.

  65. See the introduction to Mind, Self and Society, op cit. by C. W. Morris, pp. xx-xxvi.

  66. Mind, Self, and Society, op. cit., pp. 135 ff.

  67. Mead, G. H., The Philosophy of the Act. Chicago, 1938. pp. 3-23.

  68. Moreno, J. L., "Interpersonal Therapy and the Psychopathology of Inter-Relations," Sociometry, vol. I, no. I, 1937. pp. 976. ———. "Psychodramatic Shock Therapy, a Sociometric Approach to the Problem of Mental Disorder," Sociometry, vol. 2, no. I, 1939, pp. I-30. ———. "Psychodramatic Treatment of Marriage Problems," Sociometry, vol. 3, no. I, 1940. pp. 1-23.

  69. For an excellent theoretical treatment of this problem see Talcott Parsons' Structure of Social Action, New York, 1937, especially chapter 19.

  70. See, for instance, his "Psychodramatic Treatment of Marriage Problems," op. cit.

  71. Op. cit.

  72. Op. cit.

  73. For an illustration of this use of "Socialization," see Davis, Kingsley, "Extreme Social Isolation of a Child," Am. Jour. Sociol. vol. 45, no. 4, January, 1940. pp. 554-565.

  74. Mind, Self and Society, op. cit., pp. 152-63.

  75. Op. cit.

  76. Patterns of Culture, op. cit.

  77. Op. cit. Also, Davis, Kingsley, "Mental Hygiene and the Class Structure," Psychiatry, vol. I, 1938. pp. 55-65.

  78. Op. cit.

  79. Op. cit.

  80. Merriman, C. E. and Gosnell, H. F. The American Party System. Rev. ed., New York, 1929.

  81. See Becker, Carl, "Some Generalities that Still Glitter," Yale Review, Summer, 1940. pp. 649-667.

  82. Op. cit.

  83. New York, 1935.

  84. New Haven, 1935.

  85. Op. cit.

  86. New York, 1931.

  87. Lewin, Kurt. Op. cit.,see also his "Field Theory and Experiment in Social Psychology: Concepts and Methods. Am. Jour. Sociol. Vol. 44, 1939. pp. 868-965.

  88. Op. cit.

  89. Op. cit.

  90. Davis, Allison, and Dollard, John. Children of Bondage, Washington, D.C., 1940.

  91. Research on "Yankee City," to be published.

  92. Except by the use of cogent analogues. See R. Lippitt, "Field Theory and Experiment in Social Psychology: Autocratic and Democratic Group Atmospheres." Am. Jour. Sociol. vol. 45, 1939. pp. 26-59.

  93. Mead, G. H., "National-Mindedness and International-Mindedness," Internat. Jour. of Ethics. vol. 34, 1929. pp. 385-407.

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