The Psychology of Ego-Involvements: Social Attitudes & Identifications

By Muzafer Sherif; Hadley Cantril | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 11
EGO-INVOLVEMENTS IN CONCRETE SOCIAL
SITUATIONS

In our review of experiments and controlled investigations (ch. 6), we saw how various kinds of ego-involvements entered in to shape or modify experience and behavior. We saw how an individual identified himself with certain occupational or status groups, how his role as a member of a class was related to affectively toned attitudes. We found that in some instances experience and behavior were modified by ego-involvements which resulted from the acceptance of established norms and values, whereas some ego-involvements resulted from the momentary demands of the actual experimental situation in which the individual found himself.

The concept of ego-involvement is, of course, not a mere artifact created to account for artificial laboratory situations or for the facts obtained in other controlled investigations. Indeed, the laboratory experiments and other investigations came sometime after observations of concrete social situations had suggested the usefulness and validity of the concept. [4, 5, 41] Equipped with a knowledge of how the ego develops in the child, how it is re-formed in adolescence, how it is constituted and how it affects behavior in controlled laboratory situations, we now have some solid basis from which to view ego-involved activities as they can be seen in concrete social situations.

We can consider only a scattered few of the thousands of examples one might choose for analysis. We shall proceed from relatively simple to more complicated situations. We repeat again that the basic psychological principles are the same, whether they are demonstrated in laboratory experiments, controlled investigations, simple or complicated situations of everyday life.

"The apparel oft proclaims the man." Whatever the origin or

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