Review of Social Psychology by Ellis Freeman

Walter C. Reckless

Social Psychology. By ELLIS FREEMAN. New York: Henry Holt and Co., 1936. Pp. xii+491- $2.50.

After a long verbal struggle there are signs that psychologists and sociologists are beginning to present a united front to social psychology. Bear witness to psychologist Ellis Freeman's text on Social Psychology, whose main theme could have been composed quite as readily by a sociologist as by a psychologist.

The cultural and social interactional factors in the patterning of behavior are set forth in a convincing way for the student. The points of view of

( 834) social anthropology, sociology, and Gestalt psychology are welded together very effectively.

Much attention is devoted to the importance of social or group values which give meaning, shape, and direction to human action. Perhaps too much emphasis is put on the role of values in shaping behavior, thereby exposing the author to the risk of oversimplification.

The excellent textual analysis is frequently marred by poorly chosen chapter headings and sub-headings, which reflect a somewhat dubious conceptual overlay. The development of race prejudice, sex irregularities and religious cultism are considered to represent "inferior, adjustments socially fostered." The very pertinent analysis in chapter three does not square with its legend—"Individual Psychology, the Frame of Reference for Social Psychology."

Likewise the material in Part III, which really represents applications of the main theme to the economic and social order, suffers from being squeezed into "The Psychology of Some Fundamental Social Values," and could have been made more effective by different treatment and a more thorough acquaintance with sociological writings and researches. Like Allport, Freeman feels compelled to demolish once again the "group mind fallacy," which was relegated to the scrap heap of bad analogies long ago by American sociologists.

Vanderbilt University


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