Reflections on 100 Years of Experimental Social Psychology

By Aroldo Rodrigues; Robert V. Levine | Go to book overview

9
One Hundred Years of Rationality Assumptions in Social Psychology

Robert B. Zajonc

Robert Zajonc argues that social psychology, like psychology itself, is not a cumulative science. In physics, biology, geology, and other branches of the natural sciences, there is a consensus as to "the core subject matter of their inquiry"; in social psychology no such consensus exists. Zajonc believes that this lack of agreement derives from "a schism in our conceptions about the basic nature of the individual" -- specifically, the assumption of the rationality of humans. The rationalists, he says, believe that behavior is under the control of voluntary and willful reason; the irrationalists do not. He illustrates this schism by reviewing and classifying some of the most significant social psychological researchers over the past century. These differing views of human nature underlie the noncumulative history of the first century of social psychology. Zajonc maintains that social psychology must come to understand the realms of rationality and irrationality in human nature if it is to proceed in a cumulative fashion.

Two features characterize most sciences. First, they are cumulative. Their progress is fairly linear, and there is a way of knowing what the next problems are. In most fields textbook chapters follow in very much the same order. But social psychology (like psychology itself) is not cumulative. You can take any text in social psychology and shuffle the chapters at random without losing coherence. There is no compelling order. Zimbardo could rearrange the chapters of his splendid textbook in many different ways without loss of sales or intellectual quality.

Second, the scientists of a given discipline agree about the core subject matter of their inquiry. Physicists agree that physics is mostly about matter and energy, biologists agree that they study life and its processes, demographers agree that they study populations, and geologists agree that they are committed to the study of minerals. This is not to say that in any of these fields scholars believe they have the final answer. Physicists do not believe that they fully understand the nature of

-200-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reflections on 100 Years of Experimental Social Psychology
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 245

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.