Source Book For Social Psychology


Kimball Young

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Undoubtedly the importance of the emotions and the feelings in behavior has not been fully appreciated. The emotional and feeling aspects of social attitudes, which will become increasingly evident as we proceed in this volume, are still usually ignored or given a minor place in contrast with the emphasis placed upon the intellectual functions. As we mentioned in the previous chapter, the older intellectualistic interpretation of behavior still persists in spite of the incisive analysis of the whole field by Wallas, McDougall, Dewey, and Freud. It is so current to imagine that a man votes because "he makes up his mind"deliberately and rationally, or that he chooses his vocation, or his clothes, on similar rationalistic grounds, that the more adequate view is with difficulty understood. The present group of papers gives the biological and psychological basis of emotions, feelings, and temperament.

Miss Brierley's paper shows the physiological accompaniments of emotions. She also indicates the relation of instinctive to emotional behavior along the lines of McDougall. Watson would modify this to say that emotion is internal, covert behavior, whereas instinctive action is overt. The former involves the smooth muscles and glandular organs, the latter the striped muscles and the organs of gross bodily movement. Watson's paper gives the results of his study of the stimuli which evoke the fundamental emotions. This is important in giving the mechanisms which are innate. It also disabuses our minds of popular notions that children are innately afraid in the dark, of furry animals, etc.

It is important to note, however, that emotional responses may become associated with a wide range of objects and situations. Thus, while fear, rage, and love are the fundamental emotions, through association or conditioning a large number of situations may come

( 177) to be tied to these. Moreover, through combination and extension the higher types of emotions—grief, sorrow, joy, reverence, awe, and the like—may be built up. The mechanism of conditioning is described in a subsequent chapter.

The feelings or the affective processes refer to the "tonal quality"of the organism. They are usually classified under two types : pleasure or well-being, and pain or displeasure. The paper by Bogardus reviews the essential aspects of the feelings. It may be said further that the feeling of pleasure seems to accompany the fullness or completeness of response in the organism. When man secures the object of his attention and gratifies his drives or impulses, there ensues a state of well-being or release which we call pleasure. The bodily tensions arising from partial and incomplete responses are removed in the successful outcome. When the action or response is blocked or thwarted, the corresponding state is painful or disagreeable. Here the tensions remain because the final response is inhibited. There is no doubt that in many disturbances of personality, the thwarting of desires and ambitions plays a considerable rôle in mental break-downs and that the painful or displeasurable feeling states are the result of this blocking. However, it is apparent that the feelings do not initiate behavior. The feelings rather accompany action and set the seal of approval or disapproval upon it. The basis of behavior, as we have noted, is in the instinctive impulses and the emotions.

Temperament is related both to the emotions and to the feelings. It is based upon the general organization of the physiological mechanisms. Since antiquity men have observed that some persons are by general cast more joyful and sanguine than others. Some men are marked by irritability, tendencies to quick temper, and the like. Warren's paper gives the older classification of temperament correlated with the feelings of pleasure, pain, or indifference. He has also classified the general types of person into active or passive. This larger division may be considered a dual division of the volitional nature.

Mood should be considered the more or less temporary diurnal fluctuation within the general temperamental frame. Thus persons ordinarily cheerful may have an occasional "Blue Monday." Or grief over a death or severe shock may make for a change of mood from sanguine to melancholic.

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In Bridges' paper we have an attempt to relate temperament to certain instinctive tendencies, to endocrine gland activity, and to compensatory mechanisms which are evident in many personalities.

Related to temperament and to the whole complex of emotions and feelings is the will, or volitional pattern. The concept will has been much discussed in psychology. For our purposes we may consider it in terms of action and inhibition. There are certain types of persons whose actions are rapid and impulsive as against those who are slower and more deliberate. Likewise there are individual differences in powers of inhibition. Some persons are flexible, others are full of resistances. Some people can control their responses with much greater ease than others. These capacities are related both to intelligence and to temperament. One of the functions of intelligence is to inhibit the will until a more adequate adjustment can be made. Will is also related to expenditure of energy. Some persons are rapid, hyperactive ; others are slow and hypoactive.

The whole field of will and temperament in relation to personality has not been extensively investigated except in Miss Downey's work. Some experimental work on choice reactions has been done by Wheeler and others, but not in the light of personality adjustment. The short quotation from Miss Downey's book on will-temperament closes this chapter. She gives in a brief summary the outstanding features of her test, and also her three-fold classification of fundamental will patterns.

Much could be written regarding the will. There is no doubt that inhibition is related to the most complex social adjustments. Will and choice reactions go hand in hand. The individual who cam hold back, who can consider consequences, who can inhibit the cruder emotions and replace them with more socialized ones, who can accept the ethical standards of his society, who can cover up his more animal nature with reactions dependent on the higher mental functions, makes his social adjustments more successfully than others. To be weak-willed is to be ineffective in the social group. It is to be suggestible, to be led by every wind of doctrine. It is to be left at the mercy of the emotions and instinctive drives at their unsocialized level.

The process of making the personality is the process of modifying and extending the instinctive, emotional, and volitional quali-

( 179) -ties which come to us from our heredity and making them over through learning into socially acceptable features of behavior. Here the intellectual capacities come extensively into play, not to replace but to direct and to control these deeper racial tendencies which furnish the motive power to all action.

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