Social Psychology

Social Psychology

Social Psychology

Social Psychology

Excerpt

The world is full of objects that a scientist may study. It is natural that science in its preoccupation with the environment should long overlook, as an object of study, man himself. Man is a creature not only capable of inspiring poetry and drama, but one whose social living may be scrutinized with the same scientific objectivity that is applied to nonhuman things. The application of scientific method to man and his problems of living with his neighbors is a comparatively recent development. It is as if a spectator at the opera, after having viewed the drama before him for some hours, should suddenly turn his glasses upon his companions and the audience.

Now the problems of late development are clearly demonstrated in the field of social science. In spite of its youth the development of social psychology, as compared with botany and astronomy, has been very rapid. The result has been an uneven rate of progress in its experimental findings. Research in some fields of social psychology has far outdistanced experimentation in other fields. Moreover, time has not yet permitted a thorough assimilation of facts and concepts in this broad province to a generally accepted systematic framework. These problems which grow out of the late development of the science conflict with two requirements of a textbook: (1) An elementary textbook should give the student a balanced and integrated picture of the whole discipline. (2) An elementary textbook must be related to the everyday life of the individual if it is to awaken a lasting interest in the subject matter.

Psychology has long taught us that one way to deal with a conflict is to ignore one of the elements. To date this has been a characteristic solution of the dilemma in many textbooks.

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