Reflections on 100 Years of Experimental Social Psychology

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

10
Afterword: Reflecting on Reflections
Robert V. Levine and Aroldo Rodrigues

In the previous chapters nine legends of experimental social psychology look back on the field they helped to create. The chapters do not fit neatly together. But what else should we expect? If we invite nine authorities to sit around a table, we should be prepared for a many-sided conversation. In fact, we hoped for such a conversation and the present authors did not disappoint us. But although the chapters diverge on many levels, there are several common themes worth noting.


Kurt Lewin
With the exception of Pepitone's detailed review of early social psychology textbooks, there is here little reference -- and certainly little sense of intimate connection -- to roots going back as far as 100 years or, for that matter, to very much before Kurt Lewin in the late 1930s. When Berkowitz goes back to early textbooks, for example, he begins with Newcomb and Hartley 1947 Readings in Social Psychology. Partly, of course, this simply reflects Berkowitz's choice to focus on the times he lived through rather than those he just read about. But it also speaks to the perceptible roots of the field as it is practiced today. In textbooks much older than Newcomb and Hartley, the tables of contents are not just broader and more interdisciplinary than those of textbooks today, as Berkowitz points out, but seem almost unrelated to the topic areas as defined in current books.If we look, for example, at a late edition of William McDougall 1908 Introduction to Social Psychology (which Pepitone describes as the "other" pioneer social psychology textbook), we find an almost unrecognizable table of contents ( McDougall, 1923). The first section ("The Mental Characters of Man of Primary Importance for His Life in Society") contains the following chapters:
"The Nature of Instincts and Their Place in the Constitution of the Human Mind"

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