An Outline of Social Psychology

Chapter 7: The Nature of Social Responses

Jacob Robert Kantor

Table of Contents | Next | Previous


Cultural reactions are not morphologically unique types of reaction systems. On the contrary, in their behavior forms they may be entirely similar to non-cultural responses.[1] For instance, I may perform a cultural reflex action which in all respects is like a typical universal response. To illustrate, when I throw my left hand out while stopping an automobile my action morphologically is exactly like throwing my hand out in attempting to avoid a missile. Furthermore, the morphological character of my idiosyncratic action of believing that this is good tobacco that I am smoking is the same as the morphological character of my cultural act of believing that a democracy is a good form of government. That is, as belief responses these two actions, when dissociated from their specific stimuli settings, differ little if at all. When we include their respective stimulational conditions, however, the variation between them is tremendous.

Naturally, cultural reactions may vary from non-cultural responses as widely as praying activities differ from the performance of pain reflexes. But the primary distinction between these two types of activities is functional rather than morphological. In other words, it is the type of contact be

( 204) -tween the person and the stimulus object which determines the form of response and not what the individual does as a biological mechanism. Tipping one's hat to a woman and to a man are morphologically equivalent performances. Culturally they are vastly different. Therefore, in spite of the fact that what the person does when performing a cultural reaction may be an exact duplicate of what happens when he performs a non-cultural response, the two adaptations as psychological facts vary enormously.

We recall that two types of criteria characterize cultural responses and mark them off sharply from other types of psychological behavior. In the first place, cultural reactions are stimulated by common or conventional stimuli (institutions). When such an institutional stimulus function is in operation it is quite independent of the natural properties of the stimulus object. It must be added, too, that the commonness of the stimulus function of a cultural object is not an accidental result of two or more persons reacting the same way to it. Rather, cultural stimuli have common functions because series of persons have endowed them with special properties.

In the second place, we mark off cultural from other responses because they are acquired through a culturalization process operating under specific group circumstances.

So far as non-cultural action is concerned my contact with the stimulus object results in a private and unique experience and the acquisition of a purely personal mode of conduct. If, as we have already shown, it is a universal type of action, the response developed depends upon the natural properties of the object and the biological characteristics of the individual,[2] plus some slight influence by the person's reactional biography pertaining to such situations and the particular circumstances of the moment. If the reaction is idiosyncratic,

( 205) the types of development are much more closely connected with the person's intimate reactional history.

Contrariwise, my contact with a cultural stimulus or situation is quite different. In that case, the reactions I perform are owing to a definite cultural or social experience with the result that my behavior conforms to that of a particular set of persons. Why I have this reaction and why it operates is explained on the basis that I as a particular individual have acquired my behavior equipment under certain social or cultural auspices. These auspices in detail amount to the fact that the individuals with whom I live or have lived have in the course of contact with their surroundings built up specific types of behavior. Thus if I had been a German of 1913 I most likely would have possessed as part of my equipment the belief that a monarchy is the best form of government. How entirely natural, that is to say, how much a matter of interaction of persons and stimuli conditions, cultural conduct really is, we may observe from the fact that not all Germans had this belief as a part of their equipment. Nor do all Americans now believe that monarchy is the poorest form of government. What is true of this specific illustration is true of every cultural response. Here we have merely run into the fact that there are all sorts of cultural groups existing in any particular community and that these groups overlap and interpenetrate. Through contact with all of these varying cultural collectivities whether they be large or small, the individual acquires his equipment of national, sexual, racial, occupational and other group responses in what is always a natural and usually an imperceptible manner.


By way of more sharply defining cultural or social behavior as distinct psychological phenomena we may isolate a series of their characteristics or properties. These qualities

( 206) belong to them by virtue of their genetic development and specific operation within psychological behavior situations. But before proceeding with this catalogue, the student of cultural behavior must be warned that these descriptive characteristics are not absolute marks of differentiation between cultural and non-cultural responses. That is, these characteristics do not belong exclusively to cultural action nor are they qualities of every cultural response. Taken as a whole, however, they serve well as a descriptive summary.

Because of the large number and complexity of cultural reactions our enumeration of their characteristics must be based upon several different criteria.

(A) First, we may consider the descriptive qualities of cultural responses which arise from their restriction to and evolution in some particular group.

Cultural behavior is artificial.—They have no biological (survival), environmental (geological, geographical), humanistic (economic or social), or rational bases. Such artificiality is exceedingly well shown in considering what the person does by way of eating, dressing and sleeping. Here we see that the selection and presence of food, its preparation, method of eating, (the use of utensils, tableware) etc., have no necessary relation to one's biological needs, the ease of procuring food or any other elemental circumstance. Also the mode of dressing, selecting and preferring the kind, cut, and quality of clothes involve activities unrelated to natural phenomena.[3] Similarly, the activities performed in sheltering oneself appear just as close to blind tradition as they are far from the re-

(207) -quirements of natural adaptation. Nevertheless they are performed because they are culturally dictated.

What function as aesthetic reactions may not be aesthetic; rational actions may not be reasonable; economic responses not economically advantageous, industrial processes, tools and principles not mechanically sound, hygienic reactions not conducive to health, etc. Moreover, we cannot escape the observation that the more complex the civilization of the individual's community the more intensified is the artificiality of his cultural behavior. When we compare groups living close to nature, such as the more primitive Eskimos, Indians, and Australians, with the more complex Asiatic or European peoples we observe the increasing artificiality of the behavior of the latter. In fact there is a positive correlation between the existence of anthropic complexity and the performance of artificial psychological conduct.

It would be a false impression to assume the existence of any condition driving cultural conduct away from natural circumstances. Nor is it possible for cultural conduct to be absolutely opposed to all natural (biological for example) conditions. Nevertheless there is no mistaking the wide gulf between cultural behavior and natural events. The former go on with great disregard of natural circumstances, but always, we should insist, in close connection with particular facts and situations. Certainly we may safely assert at this point that cultural behavior follows the anthropic traditions more than the biological or geographical circumstances of animal existence.[4]

When we turn to types of activity farther removed from natural life conditions, we find an even greater artificiality in

( 208) cultural conduct. Thus the beliefs, ideas, and imaginative behavior not directly connected with food, shelter, and clothing phenomena, take on the most unexpected and aberrant qualities from an ecological standpoint. What individuals believe and think as group members has absolutely no relationship to actual experiences. As long as stimuli are present to induce activities of this sort the behavior occurs with a remarkable indifference to actual adaptations to existing circumstances. Accordingly, among more primitive individuals we find all sorts of mystic behavior, while among more complex persons, beliefs and ideas exist concerning the nature of things and events, the way to cure diseases, the potency and virtues of rulers and popular leaders, methods of preventing sterility or fecundity, etc., all of which are absolutely incommensurable with actual phenomena.

We have already referred to the artificiality of cultural responses resident in the fact that the cultural stimuli functions of objects are incommensurable with their natural properties. This is the case whether such stimuli objects are natural things or human phenomena existing in the surroundings of the individual. Once more, cultural reactions are responses to attributed characteristics of things which sets of particular persons have bestowed upon them. Hence the general process of building up cultural conduct means the endowment of objects with properties which need have nothing to do with their actual or prior constitution. A political party and its governmental policies may be absolutely detrimental to the welfare of a political group, but this in no wise prevents the individuals of the community from developing a belief in their efficiency and perfectibility. Similarly artificial is the ascription of virtues to herbs, or potencies to stones and sticks. That these objects have no powers or qualities such as the cultural behavior presupposes, weighs nothing in comparison to the fact that a certain group of individuals has somehow originated this type of cultural conduct and carries it on.

( 209) Moreover, these cultural responses are independent of changes and transformations of whatever surroundings the individuals performing such behavior happen to be in.

No less artificial is our cultural conduct to contrived or fashioned objects. Is there any correlation between the actual character of the facial make-up of a young woman and the beauty which she believes to achieve thereby? Do the conventional stimulational functions of the facial mask have any necessary connection with genuine beauty?

Social behavior is accidental.-From the foregoing we gather that it is quite possible for cultural responses to be accidentally originated. First, from the standpoint of the individual who performs the behavior, it is a sheer accident of being born into a particular community that determines whether he should wear trousers or skirts, cut his hair long or short, wear a beard or shave his face, eat oysters or abhor their sight. It is primarily in view of the many possibilities for acquiring one's cultural equipment that we call cultural behavior accidental, for ordinarily being born into a particular group is indeed no accident. On the other hand, how accidental one's social equipment may really be is gathered from the case of an emigrating family who finally lands in a different country than the one to which they originally intended going. All the members, and especially the future ones, may count as quite fortuitous the cultural personality equipment that they will acquire.

When we consider the cultural conduct belonging to smaller and more restricted groups such as occupational and professional collectivities, especially as we find them in the United States where classes and castes are still in the course of organization, the possession of particular cultural equipments looms up as quite a chance affair. The acquisition of social behavior such as various ideas, beliefs, and practices may be entirely the result of a combination of indifferent circumstances quite unpredictable in the case of any particular individual.

( 210)

From the standpoint of any specific cultural action regarded as a particular form of psychological adjustment, we find the accidental character is owing to the indeterministic or multiple contribution of geographical, biological, psychological and human (economic and commercial) circumstances to its origin. To illustrate, why certain food is eaten or certain clothing is worn may be accounted for by the fact that these things belong to a cultural complex which has come to play a part in the cultural life of a set of persons. When a group takes over an object of dress or food it may also adopt the method of wearing the garment, or of preparing or eating the food. Ordinarily the borrowing of a cultural object means ipso facto taking over the name. When the object is derived from one of several possible groups it is quite accidental whether one or another name is used for it. It may be quite accidental, too, that a cultural element has been acquired from one group rather than from another. While it is the apothecary with his multiple system of synonyms who best observes the accidental performance of cultural naming reactions, the existence of numerous couples such as violin-fiddle amply illustrates the prevalence of this phenomenon. In general, the entire process of naming as a branch of the linguistic field richly illustrates the accidental character of cultural reactions.

It is quite apparent that when a person responds to an institutional object his action is determined by some chance circumstance connected with it. Stimulational properties inhere in objects perhaps because of some connection they may have with other things. When we attempt to account for our social conduct toward women we may well be perplexed by the question whether European women above the peasant groups possess the qualities of delicacy and refinement because of a segregation of the sexes or whether the segregation exists because of these qualities. Clearly we might decide either way. In each case, of course, the causal condition is not independent of numerous anthropic events.

( 211) And we know further that the number of these conditions is usually unlimited. It is this very multiplicity and indeterminateness of the conditions underlying the stimuli functions of objects that give our cultural conduct its accidental character. We regard it as a chance circumstance that aesthetic objects should carry with them particular economic cultural qualities and vice versa, and that intellectual objects are complicated with political or social characteristics when they are responded to by persons of particular cultural collectivities.

Cultural Reactions Are Historical and Continuative. —Social reactions may be aptly described as historical. Howsoever long or short the period that they exist such actions are performed for no other apparent reason than that no interruption has occurred in their continuity. The answer to the question why much of our cultural behavior exists or occurs as it does is simply that such things are done and moreover done in a particular way. Here we have behavior trends similar to the general cultural trends referred to in our anthropic survey. Certain things we eat at the beginning of a meal while others are only consumed at the end.

Doubtless the continuative character of the more permanent forms of cultural conduct may be traced back to the close connection existing between psychological and anthropic phenomena. Social conduct continues its existence as a factor in a total historical complex because certain things and circumstances persist in anthropic systems. Thus cultural responses, along with the anthropic systems in general, just descend with various changes from generation to generation. Without question there are thousands of beliefs, attitudes and ideas continuously performed because they cluster around persisting religious; political and social institutions.

When such historical conduct is thoroughly imbedded in the traditions of a certain ethnic community we can only assume that they have been derived from other similar types

( 212) of behavior far back in the lives of those communities. Hence we may say that cultural actions are performed only because they have occurred in the past. They are the heritage of individuals at a particular time just as they have been for former sets of persons.

Cultural Responses Are Arbitrary.—By this we mean that they operate without the limits of fixed or accepted standards. That is to say, the performance of the actions themselves constitutes the standard no matter how much they conflict with other actions even in the same cultural system. On the one hand, we believe in political freedom, but on the other we condemn and suppress those who advocate diverse action. We value and pride ourselves upon our intelligence and education, and at the same time abhor novelty and discovery. Being otherwise rational individuals and knowing the dyshygienic risks of wearing exposing clothes in the winter or furs in the summer, our sartorial conformities still prevail upon us and we act in disregard of such knowledge.

Although violent anti-vivisectionists we are not necessarily pacific and may even glory in war and its butcheries. We may be the greatest egotists and utterly selfish but we do not spare ourselves when custom under the name of duty calls. We fight for democracy even when that really means the most oppressive despotism. This arbitrariness and inconsistency of conduct is not owing to ignorance of what we are doing, but is entirely a matter of acquiring certain cultural behavior traits and acting accordingly. Our action is simply dominated and conditioned by the institutional stimuli which our cultural background has forced upon us.

Such arbitrariness appears very striking even in the clash and conflict of responses in the same cultural system. Much more arbitrariness, however, is exhibited when we compare different social reactions to the same objects on the part of individuals belonging to different cultural groups. Whereas to read books may in some groups be considered as a mark

( 213) of distinction, in others it is regarded as a sheer waste of time. In both groups, however, there is the institution of self-improvement and of employing one's time well. In observing comparative cultural reactions to stimuli objects we always find a veritable riot of inconsistencies with respect to beliefs, attitudes, customs and other practices. These differences constitute the basis for members of different groups looking down upon and despising each other. The whole gamut of national, racial, or even professional prejudices provides a glaring example of arbitrary social conduct.

In many cases the comparative arbitrariness of cultural behavior results from its connection with other features of an anthropic system. Thus because the French anthropic system includes a two gender language, Frenchmen always respond to inanimate objects with a sex reference. Because Englishmen have a triple gender language they regard this activity as arbitrary.

The same kind of arbitrary reference is of course found in groups using a triple gender. A German when referring to a woman as it, or to a turnip as she, may look upon his behavior as quite capricious, and from the standpoint of his own cultural system, too. As in the other language example the present arbitrariness results from the connection of linguistic actions with either linguistic or non-linguistic institutions.

As a general principle arbitrariness of social conduct is based upon the fact that such behavior is merely grounded in a complex of human circumstances. Here we find no compliance with the exigencies of nature or the wisdom developed through experimentation and human contrivance. Our cultural responses are quite uninfluenced by the many experiences of our reactional history nor do they aid us in pursuing some goal or end.

Cultural Conduct Is Stable.—Despite the fact that cultural responses are artificial and arbitrary, they appear to be

(214) inflexible. Probably because they are performed by a number of people they maintain a constant character.[5] Although as we shall see in another section, they are not in any sense immutable; they do maintain their form. Cultural activities appear to be independent of slight changes, and being distributed they keep their identity through repeated performance. Naturally the stability of cultural conduct is directly connected with its distribution, as instanced in the case of language. Accordingly, stability depends upon the generality of distribution, that is, upon the number of individuals participating in the performance. Thus when cultural conduct is distributed over a large number of individuals, such as ethnic or national groups, it is decidedly persistent.

Less stable in a degree are the activities which belong to smaller groups such as professional or occupational collectivities, but even some of these appear to have solid roots in the "nature of things." For example, the unreflecting lawyer who draws up legal instruments in a particular way cannot conceive of anyone questioning the appropriateness and necessity of doing it otherwise. Physicians who are not familiar with changes in the methods of diagnosis and treatment, but who proceed in accordance with their original learning, cannot but have the feeling that skills and techniques are absolute and immutable. This apparent fixity and irrevocable character of cultural performances are especially illustrated in the attitudes of pedagogues. No professionalized individual of any guild or academy escapes it. To the pedagogue especially, grammar is grammar and a lack of conformity in speech is an inexcusable liberty taken with the immutable order of things.

It is not surprising that the stability of cultural conduct

( 215) creates marked differentiation between individuals. The rigidity of our own manner of behaving accounts for the strangeness of other ways of doing things. The stability of our conduct makes us suspicious of new activity. For the same reason we condemn the action of individuals from other groups as queer and eccentric. Thus even within a limited collectivity such as among scholars, new ideas which threaten to upset or displace old ones seem to possess unsatisfactory and disagreeable qualities because they suggest an interference with the inherent harmony of one's previous ideational conduct.[6]

It might be added that the stability of cultural conduct varies not only with its distribution or the size of the group which performs such behavior, but also with its temporality. Naturally when cultural conduct is merely temporary, its stability is not so marked a quality. But behavior most limited in time, however, takes on absolute and rigid characteristics during the period of its performance. Accordingly it matters little how soon a certain fashion passes away since up to the time of such an eventuality, the rigor with which one abides by the dictates of this fashion, gives the action a sovereignty not to be ignored.

How stable certain cultural conduct becomes also depends upon the nature of its stimulus. The indefinite and pervasive character of ideas, beliefs, and other such stimuli lend considerable stability to social activity. Again, when the stimuli are subject to frequent changes, the stability of the reciprocal cultural responses is correspondingly curtailed.

Social Reactions Are Formal—Since cultural responses are very frequently acquired as reactions to sociological institutions, many of them operate as definite and fixed response patterns. Moreover, such reactions in their morphological

(216) character may be exceedingly rigid. Especially is this the case when they involve the use of some kind of instrument or tool. An instance of this we find in the limitations set upon one's manner of eating, in the sense that certain things must be handled with a knife and others with a fork. The same formality applies to modes of dressing. Not only are particular garments worn but they are put on in certain ways, and at certain times. This formality and standardization of cultural conduct is especially exemplified in activities called customs. Practically all of our behavior, to which we may refer as the amenities and severities of social intercourse, consists of standard modes of adapting ourselves to persons and things.

As we move from group to group we observe that although actions differ they all have this formal and organized character. Here we must first be introduced before speaking. There the peasant takes off his cap upon entering a shop. Similar formalities in behavior pattern are displayed in all professional and occupational groups. Frequently the formality with which particular activities are performed are minutely though not deliberately prescribed by the group in which such actions are found. Such enjoined usages extend to the most specific details of conduct resulting in a very rigid reactional format. At once one thinks of grammatical language behavior whether conforming to the grammar of the pedant or to group usage.

Cultural Responses Are Distributive.—Possibly the most typical characteristic of cultural conduct is that it is limited in range of distribution. Such a distribution means that a particular type of conduct is strictly confined to a set of given persons. This is the same thing as saying that by observing the various limitations of the occurrences of particular activities we may identify and organize distinct cultural behavior collectivities. Thus art, religious, and linguistic responses, though they may be ascribed to a great portion of

(217) all human individuals are performed in various specific ways according to particular sets of persons.

To illustrate, granting that English is spoken by a certain percentage of the earth's population, we find that these English reactions are distributed among smaller and smaller units. Each of these reactional collectivities performs English language responses by using particular modes of English expression. Thus certain idioms and grammatical forms are distributed only among particular and limited dialectal groups. The only basis for the larger anthropic organizations lies in the existence of the English language institutions in a sociological or anthropical sense.

The psychological group distribution of responses to cultural objects follows of course their anthropic distribution. In other words, the stimulational functions of anthropic institutions become different for different sets of people. For instance, the objects and ideas of the scientific community take on different stimulational properties for smaller divisions of the sociological group. Namely, the beliefs and practices with respect to scientific doctrine become more and more specialized.

It is only when these differences are minimized and the activities are made general and abstract that communal limitations fade out. And it is precisely in the degree that we permit this to occur that we leave the field of psychological happenings and occupy ourselves with statistical or anthropic phenomena. The only safe guide therefore for those who wish to keep close to the facts of psychological cultural conduct is to center their observations around the behavior of particular persons.

(B) A second series of descriptive traits of cultural responses may be isolated upon the basis of the influences of a collectivity upon the actions of persons.

Social Behavior Is Distinctive.—By their cultural conduct individuals are distinguished as belonging to one group

(218) rather than another. A person's speech, manners, and ideas stigmatize him as a member of a particular occupational unit, of an intellectual or non-intellectual community, of a linguisticdialectal collectivity, etc. An enumeration of all the different cultural responses that the person performs affords information regarding all the groups in which he acquires social conduct.

Cultural Responses Are Powerful.—The unmistakable strength and imperiousness which characterize cultural reactions are reminiscent of the manner and place in which they were developed. This point is obvious when the collectivity in which the person is building up his behavior corresponds to an ethnic or national group. Because language and manners are acquired as necessary participants in a certain community these cultural reactions possess a decided inevitability and strength. Cultural religious beliefs are notoriously impervious to the onslaught of logic or the influence of general experience. Magical beliefs and practices are powerful enough to resist any sort of an attack. Customs and manner reactions too are performed as though the person must act in this wise and no other. Such inevitability is not merely a passive characteristic resisting change and preventing opposition, but it gives the person's actions a decided trend and force.

Only slightly diminished in strength are cultural responses when they are not acquired under such inevitable auspices as the national or ethnic group. Even when one's social behavior is the result of belonging to professional or fraternal organizations, the traits acquired show a marked strength as compared with most of the activities developed on the basis of one's own experience with things.

Cultural Behavior Is Dominant.—Because cultural conduct is shared it appears to dominate the individual's behaviorlife. It determines to a great extent the kind of personality that he shall be. There is more involved here than a mere

(219) tagging of the individual as a member of a certain series of collectivities. When one reacts culturally one's conduct is determined in the sense that one does what his group does rather than what circumstances require. Instead of independently acquiring tastes, manners, and beliefs, through his own experiences, the person is dominated in performing such actions by the influence of various psychological collectivities.

To be submerged by groups to the extent of taking on social habits, beliefs, language, manners, thought, etc., places great limitations upon the individual. He may be regarded as acting under compulsion, and with respect to complex activities without thought or deliberation. In view of the great number of cultural responses comprised in our behavior equipment the extent of the person's dominance is strikingly apparent. Whether we regard it to his advantage or disadvantage is another question.

(C) When we turn to the consideration of the influences which individuals exert upon cultural reactions, both while acquiring and performing them we discover a third descriptive basis for such responses. It is certain that the acquisition of cultural conduct by individuals is in no sense a passive process. Especially when persons already possess a particular type of cultural or even non-cultural equipment, the additional social conduct they acquire is accordingly influenced. In a sense the characteristics elicited upon the basis of this criterion display reverse descriptive features from those listed under the two criteria already discussed, and especially the latter.

Social Reactions Are Modifiable.—When a new member of a given collectivity acquires reactions he inevitably introduces certain specific changes in the quality of the responses. That is, if a stranger enters a psychological collectivity, either by birth or migration, the chances exist that the responses he will share with the older members will be slightly different from theirs. Indeed, in not a few cases the induction of such modifications are practically inevitable. Cultural be-

( 220) -havior, therefore, no matter how fundamental in the life of the individual, nor how imperiously it operates when acquired, is subject to various modifications during the acquisitional process. Such alterations as occur, naturally develop over a period of time, and so on the whole, there is not at any particular moment any interference with the formality and continuity qualities of cultural behavior traits.

How these variations in cultural actions take place may be observed, for example, when the individual acquires his language behavior. When succeeding generations of persons are inducted into a language group they are responsible for some slight changes in the speech concerned. These variations may be exceedingly small or quite large. Every living language thus takes on different characteristics in the course of time. In this connection it may be observed how rapidly and markedly the French language has recently been changing.[7]

Cultural Behavior Is Transient.—The cumulative effect of changes in cultural conduct over a long period of time suggests that social behavior is impermanent. Despite its rigorous patterning and formality, however, cultural action like all human phenomena is temporary and transient. In other words, it arises under definite conditions, undergoes a series of developments and then disappears. Although the name of the behavior and its general adjustmental circumstances may continue to exist, the specific response types go out of existence.

The permanency of behavior forms follows the constancy

( 221) of the social institutions and the human circumstances involved. Accordingly, linguistic and religious behavior and in general conduct connected with ethnic, national or large group phenomena are more lasting. Behavior involving smaller collectivities and personal institutions are generally speaking more transient in character. Striking examples of the latter type are obviously fads, and styles. When institutions themselves shift and change, then the responses to them naturally do not long remain part of the person's equipment.

(D) Still another criterion for the isolation of cultural behavior characteristics may be discerned in the peculiar relationship which the individual sustains to the various collectivities during the process of acquiring cultural conduct. In this relation the person may be regarded as being operated upon by the collectivity.

Cultural Responses Are Imposed.—We are not exaggerating when we say that cultural responses are practically forced upon the individual by the various groups of which he is a component member. In other words, by virtue of being in a certain community it is determined that the individual shall acquire numerous cultural responses. For the most part there is nothing intentional on the side of the group. The person merely as a matter of course must respond in a manner consonant with the group's reactional conditions. Whatever compulsion exists may be entirely summed up in the necessity to build up certain equipment if the person is to have effective contact with other members of the same group. This situation is exceptionally easy to observe when the collectivities are large national or ethnic units, but it is demonstrated by smaller aggregations as well.

Cultural equipment may, however, be deliberately imposed upon persons. This is sometimes the case with national groups, the members of which insist that all participants of the community shall behave in a particular way. Sometimes this means merely an insistence upon outward conformity, as was

( 222) the case in the Greek and Roman communities with respect to religious observance, or it may be a demand for thorough similarity of action, as when governments attempt to control the thinking and believing of the individuals in the nation. The prescription may be overtly proclaimed or insidiously suggested.

Social Responses Are Unwittingly Acquired.—For the most part persons take on cultural behavior more or less automatically and without the knowledge that they are doing so. Reactions are simply acquired and performed. It is only when persons culturalized in a certain way come into contact with members of other groups that they discover that their behavior is distinctive and subject to comparison.

On the other hand, cultural reactions acquired in voluntary associations are not only wittingly but intentionally acquired, and sometimes not without the exertion of great effort.

(E) Finally we may characterize cultural responses as features of the personality equipment of the individual. At this point will emerge various comparisons between cultural and non-cultural reactions as components of the total behavior equipment of a given personality.

Disproportionate Number of Social Responses.—Relative to non-cultural activities cultural responses constitute the greatest number of psychological adaptations. It is not unlikely that perhaps nine-tenths or even more of our reactions consist of these arbitrary and accidental modes of adaptation which we acquire from the psychological groups in which we live.

The specific elements of our reactional equipments are proportioned according to the stimuli objects and situations with which we are in contact. Now it happens that because of the number of institutions about us and their effect upon our behavior we ordinarily respond to most objects and situations with cultural rather than non-cultural reactions. It is rare

( 223) for most persons, even in thinking behavior situations, to react idiosyncratically, or to display independence of action. And even when one's thinking behavior is not wholly conventional, it is for the most part still cultural. Since this is true of thinking responses which afford the greatest scope for uniqueness of contact with stimuli, the rest of one's reactions must be cultural in an overwhelming majority.

Confirmatory data are found also in the field of affective conduct. While we might well expect persons to build up idiosyncratic responses of pity, fear, admiration, and contempt, we find instead that affective attitudes are predominately cultural in character. Things and persons are responded to as institutions instead of as private surrounding objects. We conclude that on the whole then human behavior is disproportionately cultural, even when other conditions are possible.

Social Conduct Is Prominent and Important.—Since cultural responses overshadow all other types of behavior equipment they are more prominent and even appear to be more important than other types of reactions.

This importance, however, can only be ascribed to cultural conduct from specific standpoints. Certainly, as sheer conformity and conventional reactions, cultural behavior cannot compete in moment with idiosyncratic responses. But, unfortunately, the latter are not very common in the behavior of human individuals in general. For this reason cultural responses stand out more conspicuously and even seem more significant. Of a surety it is cultural reactions that on the whole distinguish individuals from each other, seeing that they cover more noticeable features of the individual's behavior life than any other types of action. For example, whether one is culturalized as a member of only one national or ethnic group or of several, his cultural activities comprise a better basis for distinguishing between him and other persons than any other behavior form, for each individual is a mem-

( 224) -ber of numerous professional, religious, occupational, social, and other kinds of cultural psychological organizations.


Our study of cultural phenomena surely carries with it the impression that cultural responses constitute an infinite array of specific activities. In view of this fact, some form of classification might add materially to our understanding of them.

But as always happens with facts so complex, their organization amounts to no less than a form of description. It is not as though the materials were all ready to hand for grouping and arranging. Thus the choice of a classificatory method presents us with almost insuperable difficulties. The data are too intricate to lend themselves to any sort of definite logical arrangement; they have too many facets to allow an orderly division on the basis of some obvious quality or character. We shall find it expedient therefore to organize the data of cultural conduct on the basis of a four-fold arrangement.

First, we separate off cultural responses from each other according to the type of anthropic or sociological group in which they operate. In this instance we take as the basis of our classification the group circumstances or auspices in which the actions arise and function. The question here is the derivation of the person's cultural actions. Is the behavior derived from a religious association, that is, from a collectivity of believers or unbelievers, from an intellectual or intelligent group, from an occupational unit, or from a linguistic community, etc. In each case, of course we are dealing with particular units of persons who share in the performance of certain actions. While we are referring here to ethnic and sociological organizations the emphasis is entirely upon the locus of the behavior, and not upon any ethnic, national, or geographical fact.

( 225)

In the second place, we may classify cultural responses by throwing into relief the type of stimulation or institution which elicits them. Are they reactions to ideas, customs, laws, beliefs, or to other actions, or records and prescriptions of behavior? Or are the cultural responses made to objects (canoes, houses, trees) ; persons (chiefs, priests) ; and conditions (holidays or taboos), belonging to a specified aggregation of individuals? Not the type of group is now stressed but things which have taken on specific cultural stimulational functions and which now call out responses of reverence, awe, intelligence, loyalty, skill, hate, disapproval, etc.

The type of psychological collectivity forms our third basis of classification. Since psychological units are merely persons who share in the performance of specific conventional responses we are really referring here to a kind of psychological equipment. These acts or equipments constitute very specialized ways of handling tools and weapons, knowing definite things, performing very specific types of moral belief and custom actions, in addition to thinking and attitudinizing in particular manners.

Our fourth classificatory foundation is erected upon the particular psychological forms of our cultural behavior. We have elsewhere made it clear that cultural responses may comprise every morphological form of action. Our present classifying basis is therefore designed to emphasize that cultural responses include every variety of reaction system that the individual performs. Accordingly we now question whether the response is an overt manipulation of some sort, or an implicit one distantly removed from the adjustment stimuli objects. The enumeration of the particular responses in this class therefore will include very fundamental and elementary activities, such as specific responses of eating, sexual activities, groaning, grieving, sighing, walking, singing, gesturing, as well as the most complicated forms involving subtle and inapparent reaction systems. Nor can this classi-

( 226) -fication exclude the intricate reactions ordinarily referred to as talent and temperament, as well as feelings, dreamings, and imaginings. In brief, cultural conduct consists of all the types of actions represented by the categories of general psychology from reflexes up to the most intricate conceptual conduct.

Whenever we point to any one specific response as an illustration of cultural behavior we invariably find that it exemplifies each of the four features that we have mentioned as a basis of classification. This is obvious of course since each feature is only a selected aspect derived from a single complex datum. Nevertheless, it appears most expedient to emphasize the group auspices under which cultural responses arise, letting the other features fall naturally into place.

Since cultural responses occur in every possible type of human organization it turns out that the classification of actions according to the groups in which they are found amounts to the enumeration of all the human groups to which an individual belongs. This is an entirely superfluous if not an impossible enterprise. Our catalogue of classificatory groups must of necessity be exceedingly fragmentary but we trust carries a sufficient number of actions to be suggestive of the character of cultural behavior.

Ethnic Conduct.—Social psychologists have always been most impressed by ethnic data. Indeed, as we have indicated, the whole subject of social psychology began its history with observations of ethnic facts. Nothing is more obvious than the differences in the language, myths, manners and customs of different races or ethnic units. The human circumstances surrounding racial groups make it inevitable that the persons constituting these human organizations should act in unique ways. Our present task is to suggest illustrations of psychological collectivities developing in and existing under ethnic auspices. Religious collectivities are represented by persons performing Mohammedan, Buddhistic and Christian responses. Marriage, taboo and other custom collectivities as well as

(227) linguistic ones, are suggested by the Eskimo, Japanese, Bushmen and Chinese ethnic environments. Naturally, the names may stand for actions performed by collectivities synonymous with the ethnic community or subordinate to it.

Cultural responses of the ethnic variety are not in any sense confined exclusively to linguistic, religious, and custom types. Besides these classes of action there are thinking, believing, striving, sex, and feeling responses which are shared by numbers of persons as definite organizations under ethnic auspices.

National Conduct.—National organizations of various sorts are also conducive to the development of common social behavior. According to the geographic, military, and administrative boundaries, different conventional responses are acquired. Religious, linguistic, and custom reactions have a place here as well as among the ethnic examples. Most prominent nationalistic behavior are patriotic acts and beliefs, and the innumerable loyalty reactions to rules, administrations, military leaders and national traditions.

Communal Conduct.—Within nations there always exist numerous specializations of sociological organizations, such as civic, tribal, and communal units. Within each of these are all sorts of psychological collectivities performing actions tending toward the maintenance and improvement of the things and conditions of the communities. Specific examples are competitive responses, reactions of grandeur, as well as acts of pride and prejudice.

Sex Behavior.—In complex cultural organizations at least the most striking and outstanding behavior distinguishes individuals as belonging to one or the other of the sexual groups. Indeed, the conduct of men and women vary tremendously in almost every department of activity. For instance, many objects acquire a differential linguistic stimulational function for the male and female members respectively. Immediately we think, too, of all the differences in the kind of work, play, and intellectual conduct indulged in by men and women.


To enumerate some of the sex divergences which we find in our own society we may consider different religious behavior. It is a commonplace that women are more frequently in contact with religious institutions and also perform a larger number of responses of this sort. With regard to intellectual behavior the belief is well grounded that men are generally more logical than are the women of the collectivity. This difference points directly to the disparities in the daily activities of the male and female groups. In most cases the men of the community are more in contact with situations demanding stricter relationships with things. As a result, the personal conduct of men and women varies also. For instance, women are more concealed and retiring and in general more distantly removed from the burdens and conflicts of life.

Probably the most radical differences between the behavior of the sex groups are those involving actual sex conduct. Here the male is aggressive, bold, and takes the role of the pursuer, while in most cases, the female is coy, shy, and hesitant even to the point of shrinking from sex relationships. Equally informing instances of reactional variation are found in all the branches of the respective behavior of the two sex groups. Men are free-spoken with respect to the stories they may tell while women as a rule do not indulge in such liberties. Similarly, swearing is predominantly a masculine trait. So distinct, in fact, is the respective conduct of the male and female groups that they have different languages. In the first place, the vocabularies indicating contacts with environing things are different, while with respect to the same objects, women employ euphuisms and concealments of the actual object referred to. In short, woman's conduct is genteel, to the point where her delicacy of response leads to much blushing and considerable fainting in the presence of objects which stimulate men to approach and handle them in more effective ways.

Very instructive for the student of social psychology are the constant modifications in the relative behavior of the members

( 229) of sex groups. Because of the perpetual social, economic, and other changes taking place in society, we find the cultural behavior of men and women groups diverging more and more. Frequently they come very close together. Especially instructive are the various transferences of reactions from one sex group to another. For example, the cultivation of the arts in our own civilization is shifting from the male to the female group.

Occupational Reactions.—Occupational collectivities of all varieties constitute definite centers or loci for the development and operation of cultural behavior. Let us suggest the techniques of sailors, plumbers, bankers and agriculturalists, the skills of workers in stone, metal or other materials, as examples of such intrinsic occupational response conventions. The individuals belonging to all these occupational groups possess in addition special linguistic equipments not shared by outsiders; they likewise acquire specific intelligence activities correlated with their unique object institutions. Nor does occupational membership fail to confer upon the individual's behavior, traits of an ideational sort in the form of beliefs and ideas. These distinguish his occupational equipment from the rest of his behavior make-up and at the same time mark him off from the individuals of another group. Familiar illustrations are the particular superstitious reactions of sailors and gamblers and the mythological attitudes of husbandmen.

Sport and Play Groups.—No individual is without specific behavior equipments that symbolize his participation in sport and play groups. From contact with the institutions of these units he acquires distinct shared play behavior. Not only does he perform particular conduct in the form of skills, knacks, etc., which are characteristic of each specific group, but also language, ideational, and aesthetic reactions. Golf players, fishermen, horsemen, athletes and hunters have common technical behavior entirely different from each other as members of specific sport collectivities. Their individual

(230) equipments, however, comprise also distinct admiration and worship responses to play and sport institutions as well as numerous aesthetic reactions. The group auspices for these activities constitute definite subdivisions of practically all anthropic systems. It is quite clear then that these play and sport social groups possess a status and distinctness equal to the national and political collectivities which are all too frequently regarded as the exclusive reactional associations.

Linguistic Conduct.—We have already referred to numerous types of conventional linguistic reactions. We may add then that because language responses are among the most common and typical forms of human behavior, particular kinds of language acts are performed by persons as participants in every form of psychological organization. Linguistic organizations themselves must be regarded as loci for institutions stimulating the development and performance of distinct varieties of cultural responses. Among these cultural reactions are the infinitude of pronunciation, vocabulary, stress, intonation, word order and other purely linguistic acts. But these do not exhaust the conventional reactions sponsored by linguistic associations. Here arise many common modes of social thinking, intellectual attitudes, etc., induced by the existence of various linguistic customs and other institutions. Perhaps these suggestions will suffice to point to the great influence of language upon social conduct.

Religious Conduct.—Religious associations as the environment of religious institutions make place for a tremendous array of specific cultural conduct. Because of the solid establishment of innumerable religious phenomena in practically all human societies such conventional responses are extremely prominent in marking off persons as members of psychological collectivities. No one is exempt from the performance of many positive or negative religious activities in common with other individuals. Accordingly, religious convictions, beliefs, attitudes and practices partake of every variety of pattern

(231) correlating with the many types of atheistic, theistic, and deistic institutions.

Conspicuous cultural religious conduct comprises a wide variety of intellectual attitudes and speculative activities. These are closely intertwined with religious creeds and their establishment, as well as involved in disproving the value of the beliefs of others and the existence of objects stimulating such convictions. Ideas and practices having to do with the institution of salvation, with prayers, and pilgrimages are very frequently striking behavior forms and in many cases dominate the complete behavior lives of individuals of given groups. In addition to all these religious behavior equipments are the customary practices of sacrificing, feasting and fasting, connected with church and ecclesiastical heirarchies. All of these types of cultural responses amount to a tremendous percentage of the reactional experiences of individuals, especially when we consider the influence upon other cultural activities of religious behavior. Here we refer to the particular forms which educational, scientific, political, and custom behavior take on because of a religious influence.

Aesthetic Behavior.—The field of aesthetic behavior though ordinarily a restricted type of activity, sums up in its aggregate a great mass of specific conventional restrictions. Aesthetic responses are after all distributed throughout the behavior equipments of all persons. Everybody has aesthetic tastes and interests though they may be unknown as such. It follows then that these aesthetic reactions are for most people purely cultural. Idiosyncratic aesthetic responses are comparatively rare.

Probably the most outstanding types of aesthetic behavior are those which divide off persons who are interested in natural and created types of beauty from those who are not. By virtue of reacting in these opposite ways, persons constitute members of different types of psychological collectivities. Within the more distinctly aesthetic groups we find all sorts

(232) of different types of appreciative and creative acts. According to the particular aesthetic dictates of one's group one develops and practices many techniques along with the discrimination and enjoyment of musical, pictorial, dramatic and other species of beauty.

Illustrative of the contrasts in aesthetic cultural activities is the breach between the Oriental taste for the ethereal and refined forms of beauty and the Occidental delight in what the Oriental calls fleshy and mundane. How numerous the aesthetic activities are within any acknowledged aesthetic group is illustrated by the existence of all types of conventions and schools. In painting, one thinks of the many differences in tastes, appreciation, and constructive techniques marking off the various members of the expressionistic, impressionistic, futuristic and classical groups. The details of these schools offer intimations as to the different color, composition, and drawing institutions among others, around which the schools are organized.

In the vocal arts, different cultural activities, exemplify various modes of singing, phrasing, enunciating, etc. The use of consonant and dissonant sounds illustrates the variety of institutions found among different musical collectivities. When we consider the large interpenetration of the aesthetic and religious phases of civilization, at once a whole host of varying aesthetic behavior conventions is suggested.

Intellectual Behavior.—The behavior aspects of intellectual life provide many classes of cultural conduct. Every complex anthropic unit is replete with numerous intellectual associations harboring intellectual psychological collectivities. Just as in the case of aesthetic conduct so in the intellectual field the outstanding groups are the intellectual and nonintellectual associations. Of the former we may regard the members of different philosophical schools as the most extreme types. Then there are simpler and more common intellectual collectivities, reading clubs, groups of people interested in

(233) geography, travel, birds, etc. In each of these sets people build up as parts of their cultural personality equipment, certain ideas, notions, knowledge, suppositions and intellectual attitudes. Naturally these intellectual communities are divided and subdivided into more particular groups in which specific institutions are developed and certain behavior equipments organized. While the so-called technical intellectual behavior of the philosopher and scientist is the easiest to refer to, our greatest source of conventional intellectual activity must be looked for among everyday circumstances where opinions, attitudes, and assumptions are performed.

Temperamental Activity.—Among the most subtle conventional responses are temperamental reactions. Naturally the most easily observed are those responses developed under ethnic or national auspices. There is no mistaking the Oriental and Occidental temperaments. But conventional temperamental responses are not limited to collectivities and connected only with such large group organizations. Easily recognizable are temperamental responses developed in occupational and aesthetic organizations. For instance, according to their cultural auspices persons assume various feeling attitudes and perform many types of gesture responses both of the facial and other forms.

Economic Conduct.—Without falling into the error of making economic activities in any sense more fundamental than others in the lives of human individuals we must give some attention to a few of the numerous economic groups from which we derive our economic cultural equipment. Consider the specialized activities which individuals perform as members of trade unions. More particularly we refer to the acts and attitudes of bargaining, the conservation and defense of one's interests, the adherence to certain rules and regulations, and the practice of loyal and supporting activities to specific institutions of the general labor union group. Corresponding activities of the employers' associations serve

(234) similar functions in the general domain of the production and distribution of goods.

Commercial pursuits under the heading of economic behavior suggest immediately many familiar conventional activities involved in the marketing of products and their transportation and delivery. Such behavior becomes specialized according to groups of institutional stimuli. Quite easily can we compare commercial methods and activities in different ethnic units or in different trades and industries in any particular ethnic organization.

Looming large in the field of social conduct are the tremendously multiplied and varying activities constituting salesmanship. So important does this series of reactions appear on the part of sellers and buyers of things that a whole branch of psychology is devoted to the study of such behavior. Not all these responses of course are cultural in character, but every complex civilization, and especially our own, offers innumerable instances of well-organized cultural associations of individuals, each member of which is equipped with a great number of cultural responses to selling or marketing institutions. Particular salesmanship groups are fully accoutered with their own ritual, customs, mysteries, faiths, practices, and deities; so that aspirants to memberships in these groups must undergo a rigid course of behavior acquisition, precisely as is the case with novitiates in various religious cults.

Professional Behavior.—Especially distinctive are the activities which individuals perform as members of particular professional groups. Such behavior is distinguishing not only in the sense of identifying persons who perform such action but also as giving a definiteness and particularity to the groups themselves.

The outer forms of professional conduct, such as manners and customs, lend dignity and cultural tone to the participating individuals. Professional behavior is ordinarily manifested by distinctive dress, speech, and general deportment of the

( 235) members of these groups. Though it is difficult to formulate in words, there is no mistaking the unique personal deportment of the physician, the lawyer, the teacher, and scholar. We have all observed the professional man's calmness and frequently his detachedness of attitudes which, doubtless with less palpable modes of behavior; constitute what is popularly referred to as the professional air.

More concrete in description are ethical customs and professional standards as they are revealed among the members of professional collectivities. Every professional group has its code of conduct which prescribes behavior. Such is the ethical conduct of physicians or the draftsmanship standards of the painter or sculptor.

Many of the subtle cultural activities performed by professional individuals take the form of ideas and attitudes that are responses to the specific stimuli of particular professional groups. Some of this behavior patently marks the adherence of individuals to particular schools of thought and professional practice, such as the homeopaths and allopaths in medicine. Besides this more intrinsic subtle conduct the various members exhibit attitudes of participation and unity peculiar to their professional group and which distinguish them from individuals of other walks of life. Not to be ignored also are the arrogance and authoritativeness marking the professional personality.

Political Conduct.—Both the dependence of action and the blind following and unreflective loyalty of individuals in the performance of political behavior suggest at once conventional differences of cultural conduct. The behavior performed in political groups covers a large range of responses constituting participation in the administrative functions of human organization. Besides the voting and supporting of candidates for office, the more subtle activities of reflection and belief with respect to the character of government, the necessity for supporting it and the methods and possibilities of changing

(236) it, give us further instances of cultural conduct that are probably more imposed upon individuals than most of the other types of social behavior. Besides being more general and inevitable such behavior is inescapable, since it touches upon the life of an individual by the mere fact of his living in a community. For this reason the classes of political behavior groups not only include loci of positive conduct of all sorts but also negative attitudes and responses that mark off individuals as participants in specialized political organizations. Politicians and reformers in the field of political life are tremendously agitated over the social custom of not voting. From a psychological standpoint of course persons performing such behavior constitute members of numerous groups, since the political fact of not voting really comprises large numbers of diverse psychological circumstances.

Legal Behavior.—Exceedingly common are the myriads of specific cultural responses that individuals are constantly performing to the legal institutions of their groups. Every form of human society is literally replete with legal enactments and traditions which place limitations upon the activities of individuals for the actual or presumed benefit of others, as well as for the individual himself. Accordingly we find numerous actions performed daily which may be generally described as obedience or disobedience to various specific legal institutions. Individuals, as members of particular groups, dress, speak, and otherwise conduct themselves according to prescriptions of all sorts. No better can this whole situation be illustrated than by the inspection of one's own action while driving a motor car. Learning to drive is not merely a process of developing individual adjustment responses to a machine but also a matter of being initiated into a group which reacts to a variety of traffic laws and customs.

The conventional character of legal performances is especially apparent when individuals protest against acting in a prescribed manner, for instance, when undesirable laws come

( 237) into existence. Laws exemplify a deliberate culturalization of persons so that their acts will conform to those of a legal group, either by positive performance of action or the inhibition of certain responses. Obviously very specific personal acts are involved.

Caste and Status Behavior.–Social equipments correlated with status groups present us with additional patterns of important cultural conduct. From a sociological standpoint we may describe these responses as duties, rights, obligations and responsibilities. Specifically they extend over reactions one performs to persons of superior or inferior status in one's group, for example, activities which acknowledge inferiority or superiority in a military hierarchy. Such behavior is well exemplified in speech conduct, such as the use of salutations "Sir," "Your Honor," etc. In more subtle ways these responses occur in economic and welfare situations in which individuals participate in certain groups as stewards with respect to other individuals. In complex society, groups exist whose members conventionally regard themselves as responsible for supplying other members with maintenance, hospital service, schools, research institutions, etc. Correspondingly, other groups consist of members who perform the reciprocal social conduct of receiving what is due them or of obtaining benefits conferred upon them by individuals of the steward groups.

Learning Conduct.—Wherever in human society the complexity of life makes knowledge and information the definite concerns of individuals we have great numbers of educational institutions and corresponding social educational conduct. In the first place, there are numerous conventional practices of acquiring information and employing it. Classes arise marking off the learned from the unlearned. The learned classes themselves again divide off into groups with superior and inferior orientation toward their respective milieux. Typical conditions here are the presence or absence of superstitions

(238) or the performance of rational behavior. Very frequently the learned are different from the unlearned in performing different forms of conventional irrational responses or adjusting to the surroundings with different superstitious attitudes.

Domestic Conduct.—As our final illustration of the classificatory organization of cultural conduct we may consider some of the most interesting of all cultural equipments, namely, domestic cultural activities. Much interest attaches to these behavior types because to a great extent they are responses to persons. Even though in family relations or inter-personal activities it is possible to have elaborate idiosyncratic behavior, we find as a matter of fact a predominance of conventional responses. Typical examples are the cultural reactions of admiration, love and obedience which individuals blindly perform with respect to each other as husband and wife or parents and children, without regard to the qualities of the persons involved. Husbands and wives conform in loving and admiring each other without questioning whether they actually do so. Children respect and adore their parents simply because they are responding to the institutional necessities of the situation rather than because they have the kind of likes, dislikes and knowledge which would make such behavior plausible or because the parents manifest traits which really call out such responses.

Especially instructive are the various conventional responses to children. These reactions have to do with the actual practices and beliefs with respect to how many children a family should or might have and their function in the family group. In some communities it is the conventional attitude that children are the complete or partial supports of the family and its status. Thus they are considered as workers, hands necessary for the maintenance of the family and for meeting what circumstances may arise. In other communities the attitude prevails that children exist in order to support the parents in their old age, while others on the contrary regard

( 239) children as autonomous human beings destined to lead their own independent lives.

In conclusion, we must emphasize, what we have already suggested, namely, that groups are constantly interpenetrating each other. That is to say, the behavior performed to a particular type of stimulus occurs under many different circumstances. Thus our conventional political behavior is riot confined to what are ordinarily political situations but prevails also in the field of science and religion. We have already indicated that the essentially religious types of conduct are found in scientific and political behavior situations as well as in those ordinarily called religious. The resulting instability and lack of definition of groups is, however, far from a hindrance to the conceptions of the psychologist. Being exclusively interested in the specific behavior of individuals, he accordingly follows the fortunes of any type of conduct, in whatever human situations they may lead him. As long as the psychologist. can observe the conduct of persons he does not lose sight of his investigative objects, even though the rigid description of his data may sometimes be impossible.


  1. Every response, of course, is a singular act. Even what is conventionally regarded as the same act is never performed absolutely twice alike. We need only insist that between any two responses (whether cultural or non-cultural) to what we regard as the same stimulational function there is a general adjustmental identity.
  2. The development of conformity reaction equipment characterizes cultural responses more than their independence of biological conditions.
  3. Though our speech is inexact it does not betray us. Nothing is more natural than the occurrence of cultural human events as they happen. Nor can any one declare that they should not occur. There is, however, no objection to drawing up a contrast between cultural and natural phenomena as we are doing in the interest of our description and interpretation. Let it be remarked, too, that the cultural variations from biological and other adaptations may be superior as well as inferior forms of action upon whatever standard we may choose our comparison.
  4. The artificial characteristic of social behavior can be better observed against a background of the more intimate collectivities within an anthropic system, than against a large ethnic system. Not only are the former closer to psychological facts but they attain to a complexity of development which better illustrates humanistic conditions.
  5. This description of course applies equally to conventional behavior variation. To be original and different may be decidedly the fashion. Truly there is nothing so constant as change in behavior situations where innovation wears the crown.
  6. This situation simulates the resistance to change in one's idiosyncratic conduct, though here the disturbance is not in the stability of cultural behavior but in the authority and correctness of one's own reflection.
  7. A recent writer declares that "Colloquial French is at present in a state of flux. Its vocabulary and pronunciation change imperceptibly from year to year, so that the spoken French of 1922 is in some respects a different language from that of 1890. Not since the middle of the seventeenth century have such rapid and important alterations taken place." Again he writes, "Certain letters which were pronounced half a century ago are sounded no longer. In this manner the very commonest words have been affected; one might say that two or three letters out of every hundred have disappeared in common speech." Cf. Cowley, Literary Rev., July 1, 1922.

Valid HTML 4.01 Strict Valid CSS2