Review of Social Psychology by Knight Dunlap, An Introduction to Social Psychology by L.L. Bernard, Outlines of Abnormal Psychology by William McDougall, Problems of Personality edited by Campbell et al., The Meaning of Psychology by C.K. Ogden, Brains of Rats and Men by C.J. Herrick.
The reader, in glancing at the titles of the foregoing six volumes, will at once think of the Walrus. "Shoes and ships and sealing-wax" seem no more unrelated than some of the titles here grouped together. The unifying principle in the two cases is probably the same. The Walrus wanted to talk of many things because they all interested him; these books "belong together" for the purpose of this review because they all interest the reviewer. But the reason of this interest is that they all make, in some form, an attack on the problem of understanding human life, and attempt to discuss it either in its collective aspects or as developing personalities,
Professor Dunlap comes into the field of social psychology from the laboratory. The book follows a presidential address which the author de-livered a few years ago and which received severe criticism because in formulating the elements of human nature the author attempted to make a list of fundamental desires, which amounted to a total repudiation of all
( 483) laboratory technique. In this most readable book he has apparently enjoyed the excursion into a field where his training and reading have given him only an approximate competence. We are all familiar with the cavalier deliverances of presumptuous biologists in the field of human nature, but we have had few experimental psychologists who have spoken ex cathedra on subjects which demand a knowledge of sociology and ethnology. Even if the author had carefully read all the books in the meager bibliography, which with annotations occupies little more than half a page, he would hardly have been competent to deal with such difficult questions as the origin of religion or the evolution of the family. The dangers of getting out of one's field are shown by such a statement as appears in the footnote on page 91, where the need of retarding the increase in population, "keenly felt by primitive and later people," is said to be "expressed in practices of abortion, infanticide and devouring of infants, [sic] found among all primitive peoples."
The author has had much experience of a casual sort with disturbed husbands or wives and records acute observations which are as valuable as the common-sense observations of any other experienced gentleman, and no more. The attempt to formulate a system of social psychology is made with no reference to what has been done in this field in the past, and while this is clearly a defect, perhaps in the present state of thought such efforts should be encouraged.
Bernard's volume is in many ways the antithesis to Dunlap's. The author feels that schools of social psychology should be regarded as obsolete, and in a large volume the attempt is made to treat the subject synthetically. There is a chapter on definitions where the American text-books are all discussed and their formal definitions evaluated. Another chapter is on the schools in the same general method, after which the author presents an outline of his own method and point of view. In chapter iv there is set forth what each one of the four parts of the work is to deal with, and this summary is repeated in detail at the end of each of the four parts and summarized again at the end.
Dr. Bernard calls himself a behaviorist, and, as a good behaviorist, is interested in stimuli and responses. Also, as a behaviorist he dislikes the ancient vocabulary which abounds in reference to thought, imagination, meaning, reasoning, and other words which refer to introspective experience. Imagination becomes "neuro-psychic technique," and culture, or mores, is called "psycho-social environment." There is something to be said for breaking away from old terminology, but there is perhaps
( 484) more to be said for the aversion to neologisms which is so pronounced in France but which has not yet influenced American writers.
Dr. Bernard's interest in biology leads him to take an excursion into that field, which will be familiar to those who have read his very thorough book on instinct. The point of tension which the reviewer continually found recurring centers around a mode of treatment, the implication of which the author specifically denies. Environment and the "organism" are treated as metaphysically independent and as acting on each other. The reader will have to judge whether the author's disclaimer is borne out by his method of treatment. In the classification of environments the author views the subject from Mars. For example, among the "bio-social," non-human environments appear "medicines and perfumes of organic character." There is a difference between the inorganic mercury compounds and the organic opium derivatives, but whether this is important for social psychology seems doubtful. There is an extensive treatment of suggestion and the usual redundant attempt to account for it, which perhaps some day will be obsolete. Imitation occupies four chapters and the treatment is interesting but somewhat uncritical.
The book has all the defects of an attempt to synthesize and mediate, but it has a wealth of material and cannot be neglected by anyone who is trying to keep up with work in this field. There is a splendid bibliography of forty-five closely printed pages, which the student will find invaluable.
Professor McDougall's book Outlines of Abnormal Psychology is comprehensive and written with his usual readable style and enlivened by his customary flings at his opponents. The work hardly belongs in the category of sociological literature; but in his discussion of abnormal behavior, there is involved a theory of personality which clearly concerns social psychologists. Those who have read the previous volumes by Professor McDougall do not need to be told that he has not changed his point of view. The instincts still govern in this work. But here is presented a definite physiological locus for them. On page 229 is a diagram of the brain with the traditional imaginary neurology. "As an approximation to the truth," the author says that he is "probably right" in locating the "energy" of the instincts in the thalamus with their cortical cognitive centers tied up by neurones ascending and descending. This is but a single instance of the difficulty which a vitalist has in dispensing with mechanisms. The book is large, comprehensive, interesting, and provo-
( 485) -cative. McDougall has a theory of his own on every controverted point, but it was Darwin who remarked that a bad theory often may be of real service to science.
The volume in honor of Morton Prince is again on the margin of this field. There are twenty-four papers by eminent scholars in America and Europe, each one writing on what he is interested in and with the variety of interests which such an enterprise would naturally bring out. Readers of this journal will be especially interested in Ernest Jones's discussion of abnormal psychology and social psychology, which is all too brief but full of suggestions of intimate relations and the possibility of fruitful co-operation. Roback has a long paper on "Character," which has a useful historical discussion. McDougall's attack on Freud is written with his usual vigor and ends with the verdict "not proven and wildly improbable." Jung's chapter on psychological types should be read by all who know Jung. The qualifications in the statements of the author are far more tentative and modest than those of most of those who quote him. Limits of space forbid a more adequate discussion of the contributions of Elliot Smith, Janet, Langfeld, and many others. The book is far more valuable than most commemorative volumes, and is eminently worth owning.
C. K. Ogden has placed us under obligation previously for his part in writing The Meaning of Meaning. In The Meaning of Psychology the debt becomes much greater. Here we have what we have long been seeking. The author has read all the books and is a partisan of none. Moreover, he possesses the gift of writing, which the English universities seem to know how to transmit. The work starts off with this sentence, "There are four and a half good reasons for studying psychology seriously." In the opinion of the reviewer there exists no comparable volume where the untechnical reader can so quickly and so adequately learn what psychology is all about. It is all here, from McDougall to Koffka, and it would be a delight to write a long review of it, but this word of unqualified praise and admiration must suffice.
Professor Herrick is a biologist with a soul. He has wishes, aspirations, and purposes, and so is no behaviorist. But he is a scientific experimentalist, and can therefore never be a vitalist. Besides, he knows how to write engagingly and persuasively. After the technical part of the book is out of the way, the discussion turns to the general theme of the relation
( 486) of mind and body, where the author valiantly and, in the opinion of the reviewer, successfully combats Watson, Lashley, Hunter, and other behaviorists, on the one hand, in insisting that imagination and purpose are as real as granite; and McDougall, on the other hand, who wants to rule purpose out of the causal sequence. Mind is real, thoughts happen, but they happen with the action of the brain, and are limited by its possibilities.
It is quite apparent that social psychology is at present in a some-what chaotic state, but it is a hopeful chaos. In these volumes it is revealed that psychologists, sociologists, psychiatrists, physicians, and psychologists of the laboratory sort, as well as workers in the field of anatomy, are all interested in these problems and earnestly and seriously devoting themselves to investigation or reflection or both. It is far too early for an agreement, but a synthesis will ultimately appear, and in the meantime we may be sincerely glad that every investigator is working in his own field, and we may wisely counsel every reader to give them each a hearing and to read each book in an attitude of friendly hostility.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO