Reflections on 100 Years of Experimental Social Psychology

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

5
Reflections on Interpersonal Influence and Social Power in Experimental Social Psychology

Bertram H. Raven

After describing how he became involved in social psychology, Bertram Raven recounts the excitement of the years after World War II among young, democraticminded social psychologists. The value orientation of many of the leaders within this new and fascinating discipline was impressed upon their students. Before French and Raven published their well-known taxonomy of power bases in 1959, many studies highlighted the importance of reward, coercion, reference, legitimacy, expertise, and information in interpersonal influence. In the second part of his essay, Raven describes the integration of a number of social psychological phenomena within the framework of his power/interaction model.


The Second Half Century from a Personal Perspective

As we celebrate a century of theory and research in social psychology, it is startling for me to realize that I have been involved in our field for exactly half of its life span. In January 1947 I began my university studies at Ohio State, fresh out of my World War II military service. Those were heady times. The long war was finally over. Nazism was destroyed, and we looked toward an era of peace, prosperity, and democracy. There was new interest in eliminating prejudice and discrimination on the basis of race, religion, and nationality. The United Nations was established to further international understanding and cooperation, and there was a determination that never again would we need to settle international differences through wars.

My last year in the army seemed like a meaningless waste of time. I had been trained as a medium tank crewman, prepared for the final battles in the Far East. But by the time our replacement units were at sea in the Pacific, the war was over.

-114-

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