Society and Personality: An Interactionist Approach to Social Psychology

Society and Personality: An Interactionist Approach to Social Psychology

Society and Personality: An Interactionist Approach to Social Psychology

Society and Personality: An Interactionist Approach to Social Psychology

Excerpt

The serious study of human nature reaches back into antiquity. Discussions of art, history, literature, and philosophy almost invariably lead to certain basic issues, the recurrent problems that confront men in their efforts to get along with one another. How satisfying is success won at the cost of personal integrity? Is brutality used in the attainment of noble ends self-defeating? Which values bring men their most lasting gratifications? There are as yet no definitive answers to such questions, and this has aroused considerable dissatisfaction in some quarters. Perhaps impatience with the slow and inexact route of the humanities accounts for the increasing interest in the scientific study of human behavior.

The subject matter of social psychology is much like that of the humanities, but its methods are more like those of the physical and biological sciences. But the discipline is young, and the development of demonstrated knowledge is still only a fond hope. The fact that social psychologists have thus far failed to solve some of the oldest problems confronting mankind should not discourage us from continuing the quest, however, for there is nothing inherent in human conduct that renders it unsuitable for scientific study. Furthermore, demonstrated knowledge does not develop in a vacuum; it evolves gradually during a long period of exploration and speculation. It is hoped that this book may play a part in the recruitment of more explorers for the charting of this fascinating and important frontier.

In spite of the short history of the field, the research literature has become so extensive that it is now impossible for any single person to claim mastery of all of it. During the past fifty years thousands of investigations-clinical, descriptive, and experimental--have been carried out, and countless facts have been recorded about the typical things men do under given circumstances. Since facts become significant only insofar as they are relevant to general principles, they have been presented in connection with a set of interrelated gen-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.