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WORKS BY SAME AUTHOR

PRIMER OF PHYSIOLOGICAL PSYCHO-
LOGY. DENT & Co.

BODY AND MIND. METHUEN & Co.

PSYCHOLOGY, THE STUDY OF BE-
HAVIOUR. (Home University Library.)
WILLIAMS & NORGATE.

THE PAGAN TRIBES OF BORNEO.
(In conjunction with Dr. C. Hose.)

MACMILLAN & Co.



AN INTRODUCTION TO

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY



WILLIAM McDOUGALL, F.R.S.

LATE FELLOW OF ST. JOHN'S COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE, WILDE RF.AUhR
IN MENTAL PHILOSOPHY IN THE UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD



TENTH EDITION



METHUEN & CO. LTD.

36 ESSEX STREET W.G.

LONDON



First Published . . .
Second Edition
Third Edition, Revised.
Fourth Edition . .
Fifth Edition, Revised .
Sixth Edition ....
Seventh Edition . . .
Eighth Edition, Revised
Ninth Edition ....
Tenth Edition .



October 1908
October 1909
Novembtr 1910
August IQII
jfune\ igi2
January 19/3
September 1913
September 1914
August 7915
May



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION

IN this little book I have attempted to deal with a
difficult branch of psychology in a way that shall
make it intelligible and interesting to any cultivated
reader, and that shall imply no previous familiarity with
psychological treatises on his part ; for I hope that the
book may be of service to students of all the social
sciences, by providing them with the minimum of
psychological doctrine that is an indispensable part of
the equipment for work in any of these sciences. I
have not thought it necessary to enter into a discussion
of the exact scope of social psychology and of its
delimitation from sociology or the special social
sciences ; for I believe that such questions may be
left to solve themselves in the course of time with the
advance of the various branches of science concerned.
I would only say that I believe social psychology
to offer for research a vast and fertile field, which
has been but little worked hitherto, and that in this
book I have attempted to deal only with its most
fundamental problems, those the solution of which is a
presupposition of all profitable work in the various
branches of the science.

If I have severely criticised some of the views from
which I dissent, and have connected these views with
the names of writers who have maintained them, it is



vi SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

because I believe such criticism to be a great aid to
clearness of exposition and also to be much needed in
the present state of psychology ; the names thus made
use of were chosen because the bearers of them are
authors well known for their valuable contributions to
mental science. I hope that this brief acknowledgment
may serve as an apology to any of them under whose
eyes my criticisms may fall. I owe also some apology
to my fellow-workers for the somewhat dogmatic tone I
have adopted. I would not be taken to believe that
my utterances upon any of the questions dealt with
are infallible or incapable of being improved upon ;
but repeated expressions of deference and of the sense
of my own uncertainty would be out of place in a semi-
popular work of this character and would obscure the
course of my exposition.

Although I have tried to make this book intelligible
and useful to those who are not professed students of
psychology, it is by no means a mere dishing up of
current doctrines for popular consumption ; and it may
add to its usefulness in the hands of professional
psychologists if I indicate here the principal points
which, to the best of my belief, are original contributions
to psychological doctrine.

In Chapter II. I have tried to render fuller and clearer
the conceptions of instinct and of instinctive process,
from both the psychical and the nervous sides.

In Chapter III. I have elaborated a principle, briefly
enunciated in a previous work, which is, I believe, of the
first importance for the understanding of the life of
emotion and action the principle, namely, that all
emotion is the affective aspect of instinctive process.
The adoption of this principle leads me to define
emotion more strictly and narrowly than has been done



PREFACE

by other writers; and I have used it as a guide in
attempting to distinguish the more important of the
primary emotions.

In Chapter IV. I have combated the current view
that imitation is to be ascribed to an instinct of
imitation; and I have attempted to give greater
precision to the conception of suggestion, and to define
the principal conditions of suggestibility. I have
adopted a view of the most simple and primitive form
of sympathy that has been previously enunciated by
Herbert Spencer and others, and have proposed what
seems to be the only possible theory of the way in
which sympathetic induction of emotion takes place.
I have then suggested a modification of Professor
Groos's theory of play, and in this connection have
indulged in a speculation as to the peculiar nature and
origin of the emulative impulse.

In Chapter V. I have attempted a physiological
interpretation of Mr. Shand's doctrine of the sentiments,
and have analysed the principal complex emotions in
the light of this doctrine and of the principle laid down
in Chapter II., respecting the relation of emotion to
instinct. The analyses reached are in many respects
novel; and I venture to think that, though they may
need much correction in detail, they have the merit of
having been achieved by a method very much superior to
the one commonly pursued, the latter being that of intro-
spective analysis unaided by any previous determination
of the primary emotions by the comparative method.

In Chapters VI., VII., VIII., and IX. I have applied
Mr. Shand's doctrine of the sentiments and the results
reached in the earlier chapters to the description of the
organisation of the life of emotion and impulse, and
have built upon these foundations an account which



viii SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

is more definite than any other with which I am
acquainted. Attention may be drawn to the account
offered of the nature of active or developed sympathy ;
but the principal novelty contained in these chapters is
what may, perhaps, without abuse of the phrase, be
called a theory of volition.

Of the heterogeneous assortment of ideas presented
in the second section of the book I find it impossible
to say what and how much is original. No doubt
almost all of them derive from a moderately extensive
reading of anthropological and sociological literature.

I have tried to make the reading of the book easier
by confining to footnotes the discussion of some difficult
questions of secondary importance.

Among those from whose views I have ventured to
express dissent in certain respects is Mr. A. F. Shand.
I have, however, adopted and made great use of his
theory of the sentiments, and I would take this
opportunity of saying how much I feel myself, in
common with other psychologists, indebted to him for
this theory, and how much I have profited, not only by
his too scanty published work, but also by exchange of
views in conversation.

I have pleasure also in acknowledging kind help
received from Dr. C. W. Saleeby, who has read the
proof-sheets of this book.

I hope that this book may be followed shortly by
another which will build upon the foundations laid in
this one, and will contain a discussion of the general
principles of collective psychology or the psychology of
groups, and an attempt to apply those principles to the
study of the most interesting and important form of
collective mental life, the life of peoples.

W. McD.



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION

I HAVE to return thanks for a number of kindly
appreciations and valuable criticisms of this book.
I hope to profit by the latter, but have not yet assimi-
lated them so completely as to have ventured to make
any alteration of the text This edition differs from the
first, therefore, only in that a few verbal slips have
been rectified.

1 take this opportunity to guard myself against
two misunderstandings. Although I have argued
that we must accept determinism in psychology,
I do not hold that the acceptance of determinism
implies the acceptance of psycho-physical monism,
with its implication, or rather postulate, that all human
action can be explained in terms of mechanical causa-
tion. I hoped that my recognition of final causes on
p. 263, and sentences on pp. 26, 27, and 44, would
sufficiently show that I hold to the reality of teleo-
logical determination of human and animal behaviour.
As regards the free-will problem, although I think we
must accept determinism in psychology and in the
social sciences as a methodological postulate, I am very
willing to believe in a little dose of free-will if the
conception can be made intelligible to me ; but it still
continues to elude my grasp.

In view of the remarks of several critics, I think



x PREFACE TO SECOND EDITION

it worth while to say very explicitly that I do not
mean to use the word " sentiment " as a synonym for
"complex emotion." The distinction is fundamental
to all the constructive part of the book.

It has been pointed out to me that the distinction
I have drawn between magic and religion in the foot-
note on p. 306 was proposed by Sir Alfred Lyall in an
essay in the first volume of his " Asiatic Studies." I
hasten to acknowledge the fact, and to apologise for
having put forward the suggestion as though it were
a novel one.

Since the demand for a second edition of my book
after less than a year from the date of its publication
seems to show that it may find its way into the hands
of a considerable number of readers, I feel, more keenly
than before, the need for public acknowledgment of my
indebtedness to other psychologists. I would, there-
fore, repair what now seems to me a serious omission
from the preface to the first edition, by indicating my
friends Professors William James, Lloyd Morgan, and
G. F. Stont as the writers from whose works I have
acquired my notions as to the nature of instinct and
conation and their role in mental life, and whom I would
like to claim as spiritual fathers of whatever is of value
in this book.

PREFACE TO THE THIRt) EDITION

IN this edition I have made good a few omissions.
Of these additions the principal are the paragraphs
on remorse and on the food-seeking impulse, which
will be found on pages 158 and 83 respectively.
No other considerable alterations have been made.

W. McD.



PREFACE TO FIFTH EDITION xi

I HAVE added to this edition a supplementary
chapter on theories of action, in which I have
set forth, more explicitly than in the body of the book,
the general theory of action which underlies the whole
exposition ; and, in order to justify it and to set it in
stronger relief, I have added some criticisms of other
theories of action that have been and still are widely
accepted. This supplementary chapter is probably too
technical and controversial to interest the general
reader ; but I hope that it may render the book more
useful to serious students of the moral sciences.

W. MCD.
March, 1912



PREFACE TO EIGHTH EDITION

IN this edition I have attempted to make good a
serious defect of the earlier editions by adding a
supplementary chapter on the sex instinct No other
changes have been made ; for, although discussions of
the topics of this volume and criticisms of my views
have appeared in two important works recently pub-
lished (namely, Professor Thorndike's " Original Nature
of Man" and Mr. A. F. Shand's "Foundations of
Character "), I have not yet sufficiently digested them ;
and I must hope to be able to profit by them in
preparing a later edition.

W. MCD.

Oxford,

1914



CONTENTS



CHAPTER I

PACK

INTRODUCTION ...... I-l8

The position of psychology at the basis of all the social
sciences now theoretically recognised but practically ig-
nored Historical explanation of this anomalous state of
affairs Illustrations of the need of the social sciences for
better psychological foundations Ethics Economics
Political science Philosophy of history Jurisprudence.



SECTION I

THE MENTAL CHARACTERS OF MAN OF PRIMARY
IMPORTANCE FOR HIS LIFE IN SOCIETY



CHAPTER II

THE NATURE OF INSTINCTS AND THEIR PLACE IN THE

CONSTITUTION OF THE HUMAN MIND . . . 19-44

The vagueness of current conceptions of instinct The lack of
agreement as to the role of instincts in U t e human mind In-
stinctive process is truly mental, and involves knowing and
feeling as well as doing The physiological conception of
an instinct as an innate disposition, having three parts corres-

Xlii

* \



xiv SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

PAGE

ponding to these three functions The modification of instincts
on their afferent and efferent sides The relation of instinct to
emotion Instincts the prime movers of all human activity.

CHAPTER III

THE PRINCIPAL INSTINCTS AND THE PRIMARY EMOTIONS

OF MAN ....... 45-89

Three principles mainly relied upon in distinguishing the
primary emotions The instinct of flight and the emotion of
fear The instinct of repulsion and the emotion of disgust
The instinct of curiosity and the emotion of wonder The
instinct of pugnacity and the emotion of anger The
instincts of self-abasement (or subjection) and of self-asser-
tion (or self-display), and the emotions of subjection and
elation (or negative and positive self -feeling) The parental
instinct and the tender emotion The instinct of reproduc-
tion The gregarious instinct The instinct of acquisition
The instinct of construction.

CHAPTER IV
SOME GENERAL OR NON-SPECIFIC INNATE TENDENCIES . 90-120

Sympathy or the sympathetic induction of the emotions
Suggestion and suggestibility Contra-suggestion Imita-
tion The tendency to play and the emulative impulse Pro-
posed modification of Professor Groos's theory of play
Habit Temperament.

CHAPTER V

THE NATURE OF THE SENTIMENTS AND THE CONSTITUTION

OF SOME OF THE COMPLEX EMOTIONS . . . 121-158

Mr. Shand's conception of a sentiment Physiological inter-
pretation of this conception Complex emotions that do not
imply the existence of sentiments Admiration Awe Rever-
ence Gratitude Scorn Contempt Loathing Fascination
Envy Complex emotions that imply the existence of
sentiments Reproach Anxiety Jealousy Vengeful emo-
tion Resentment Shame Bashf ulness The nature of
joyful and of sorrowful emotion Of pity Of happiness
Of surprise.



CONTENTS xv

CHAPTER VI

PAGE
THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SENTIMENTS . . . 159-173

Sentiments of three principal types : love, hate, and respect
The genesis of hate Parental love as a type of highly
complex sentiment Active sympathy and its role in the
genesis of the sentiment of affection between persons.

CHAPTER VII

THE GROWTH OF SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS AND OF THE SELF-
REGARDING SENTIMENT ..... 174-208

Illustration of behaviour unregulated by self-regarding senti-
ment The problem of moral conduct defined Genesis of
ideas of self and of other selves Why are we so much
influenced by praise and blame ? This is the crucial problem
for the theory of morals The solution furnished by the
study of the growth of the self-regarding sentiment under
the moulding influences of the social environment Regula-
tion of conduct by regard for praise and blame implies only
egoistic motives Complication of these motives by certain
pseudo-altruistic motives and by quasi-altruistic motives
springing from the extended self-regarding sentiment.

CHAPTER VIII

THE ADVANCE TO THE HIGHER PLANE OF SOCIAL CON-
DUCT ....... 209-227

Defects of public opinion as supreme sanction of conduct
Moral judgments are of two kinds, original and imitative
The relation of emotion to moral judgment The moral
sentiments and their relation to the moral tradition The
influence of admired personalities The influence of native
disposition on the growth of moral sentiments The synthesis
of the abstract moral sentiments and the self-regarding
sentiment The role of aesthetic admiration.

CHAPTER IX
VOLITION ....... 228-264

The weaker seems to overcome the stronger impulse in
moral effort Whence comes the energy that re-enforces the
weaker moral impulse ? Freewill and determinism The



xvi SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY



moral difficulty of determinism very real, though commonly
misstated Volition distinguished from other modes of co-
nation The immediate effects of volition The inhibitory
view of volition criticised Volition denned and illustrated
Its determining energy traced to the self-regarding sentiment
Two types of hard choice The sentiment for self-control
Character its relation to the sentiments.



SECTION II

THE OPERATION OF THE PRIMARY TENDENCIES OF THE
HUMAN MIND IN THE LIFE OP SOCIETIES

CHAPTER X
THE REPRODUCTIVE AND THE PARENTAL INSTINCTS 265-278

Their relation to the birth-rate The rival influences of
reason and of the social sanctions on the operation of these
instincts No reason to suppose that these instincts are
becoming weaker The extensions of the field of operation
of the parental instinct beyond the family.

CHAPTER XI
THE INSTINCT OF PUGNACITY . . . ' . 279-295

Its operation among primitive peoples Its role in the
evolution of human nature and human societies Its operation
under the forms of revenge and moral indignation in the
maintenance of social order The tendency for emulation to
supplant pugnacity.

CHAPTER XII

THE GREGARIOUS INSTINCT .... 296-301

The pernicious influence of its crude operation among
civilised peoples Its subtler operations in determining the
structure of society.

CHAPTER XIII

THE INSTINCTS THROUGH WHICH RELIGIOUS CONCEPTIONS
AFFECT SOCIAL LIFE . . . . . 302-32!

Fear Subjection Curiosity The parental instinct Their
emotions blended in admiration, awe, reverence The im-
portance of the supernatural sanctions of custom How the



CONTENTS xvii

PAGE

tender emotion became incorporated in the sentiment for the
Divine power Relation of religion to morality Curiosity,
the source of the spirit of inquiry, and hence of science.

CHAPTER XIV

THE INSTINCTS OF ACQUISITION AND CONSTRUCTION . 322-324

CHAPTER XV

IMITATION, PLAY, AND HABIT .... 325-351

The prime condition of collective mental life And of the
persistence and growth of tradition Imitation as agent of
social conservation Imitation as an agent of progress
Play as socialising influence Habit Its role in social
conservation.

SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER I
THEORIES OF ACTION ..... 352

The theory of action implied in foregoing discussions
Other theories of action Psychological Hedonism The
pleasure-pain theory The ideo-motor theory Intuitional
theories.

SUPPLEMENTARY CHAPTER II

ON THE SEX INSTINCT ..... 385

General sketch of the role of the sex instinct in reproduc-
tion The organization of the sex instinct It is complex
on its perceptual as well as on its executive side Lust and
love Sex instinct as a spring of energy Its secondary
social workings The development of the instinct Professor
Freud's views examined Repression and sublimation
Modesty and coyness Sexual inversions and perversions
Co-education Sex enlightenment The problem of
adolescence. v

INDEX 425



SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY



CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION

AMONG students of the social sciences there has
always been a certain number who have recognised
the fact that some knowledge of the human mind and
of its modes of operation is an essential part of their
equipment, and that the successful development of the
social sciences must be dependent upon the fulness and
accuracy of such knowledge. These propositions are so
obviously true that any formal attempt to demonstrate
them is superfluous. Those who do not accept them as
soon as they are made will not be convinced of their
truth by any chain of formal reasoning. It is, then, a
remarkable fact that psychology, the science which
claims to formulate the body of ascertained truths about
the constitution and working of the mind, and which
endeavours to refine and to add to this knowledge,
has not been generally and practically recognised as the
essential common foundation on which all the social
sciences ethics, economics, political science, philosophy
of history, sociology, and cultural anthropology, and the
more special social sciences, such as the sciences of
religion, of law, of education, and of art must be built
up. Of the workers in these sciences, some, like Corar^.



2 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

and, at the present time, M. Durkheim, repudiate the
claim of psychology to such recognition. Some do lip
service to psychology, but in practice ignore it, and will
sit down to write a treatise on morals or economics, or
any other of the social sciences, cheerfully confessing that
they know nothing of psychology. A certain number,
perhaps the majority, of recent writers on social topics
recognise the true position of psychology, but in practice
are content to take as their psychological foundations the
vague and extremely misleading psychology embodied
in common speech, with the addition of a few hasty
assumptions about the mind made to suit their par-
ticular purposes. There are signs, however, that this
regrettable state jf affairs is about to pass away, that
psychology will before long be accorded in universal
practice the position at the base of the social sciences
which the more clear-sighted have long seen that it
ought to occupy.

Since this volume is designed to promote this change
of practice, it is fitting that it should open with a brief
inquiry into the causes of the anomalous state of affairs
at present obtaining and with some indication of the
way in which it is hoped that the change may be
brought about. For there can be no question that the
lack of practical recognition of psychology by the
workers in the social sciences has been in the main
due to its deficiencies, and that the only way of esta-
blishing it in its true place is to make good these
deficiencies. What, then, are these deficiencies, and
why have they so long persisted? We may attempt
very briefly to indicate the answers to these questions
without presuming to apportion any blame for the long
continuance of these deficiencies between the professed
psychologists and the workers in the social sciences.

The department of psychology that is of primary



INTRODUCTION 3

importance for the social sciences is that which deals
with the springs of human action, the impulses and
motives that sustain mental and bodily activity and
regulate conduct; and this, of all the departments of
psychology, is the one that has remained in the most
backward state, in which the greatest obscurity, vague-
ness, and confusion still reign. The answers to such
problems as the proper classification of conscious states,
the analysis of them into their elements, the nature of
these elements and the laws of the compounding of
them, have but little bearing upon the social sciences;
the same may be said of the range of problems con-
nected with the relations of soul and body, of psychical
and physical process, of consciousness and brain pro-
cesses ; and also of the discussion of the more purely
intellectual processes, of the way we arrive at the per-
ception of relations of time and place or of likeness
and difference, of the classification and description of
the intellectual processes of ideation, conception, com-
parison, and abstraction, and of their relations to one
another. Not these processes themselves, but only the
results or products of these processes the knowledge
or system of ideas and beliefs achieved by them,
and the way in which these ideas and beliefs regulate
conduct and determine social institutions and the
relations of men to one another in society are of
Immediate importance for the social sciences. It is the
mental forces, the sources of energy, which set the ends
and sustain the course of all human activity of which
forces the intellectual processes are but the servants,
instruments, or means that must be clearly defined, and
whose history in the race and in the individual must be
made clear, before the social sciences can build upon a
firm psychological foundation. Now, it is with the
questions of the former classes that psychologists have



4 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

chiefly concerned themselves and in regard to which
they have made the most progress towards a consistent
and generally acceptable body of doctrine : and they have
unduly neglected these more socially important problems.
This has been the result of several conditions, a result
which we, looking back upon the history of the sciences,
can see to have been inevitable. It was inevitable that,
when men began to reflect upon the complex pheno-
mena of social life, they should have concentrated
their attention upon the problems immediately pre-



Online LibraryWilliam McDougallAn introduction to social psychology → online text (page 1 of 34)