An Introduction to Social Psychology by William McDougall

By William McDougall

A pioneering paintings in psychology, this significantly influential ebook, first released in 1908, served as a catalyst within the learn of the rules of social habit. one of many first surveys to target human motivation, the amount assisted in laying the principles of a brand new self-discipline, isolating the sphere from sociology and common psychology. well known, long-lived and ever suitable, this landmark ebook continues to be important to lecturers and scholars of psychology. 1961 ed. one of the issues lined: where of instincts within the structure of the human brain; basic feelings of guy, and the character of sentiments; progress of reproductive and parental instincts; constitution of personality.

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Hence it is difficult to discover what objects and impressions were its natural excitants in primitive man. The wail of the very young infant has but little variety; but mothers claim to be able to distinguish the cries of fear, of anger, and of bodily discomfort, at a very early age, and it is probable that these three modes of reaction become gradually differentiated from a single instinctive impulse, that of the cry, whose function is merely to signal to the mother the need for her ministrations.

Shall we, then, say that the sudden loud sound of the gun excites the instinct of fear, and that, because the perception of this sound is constantly accompanied by the visual perception of the human form, the idea of the latter becomes associated with the idea of the sound, so that thereafter the sight of a man reproduces the idea of the sound of the gun, and hence leads to the excitement of the instinct by way of its innately organised afferent inlet, the system of auditory neurones? 12 Its acceptance involves the attribution of free ideas, of the power of representation of objects independently of sense- presentation, to whatever animals display this kind of modification of instinctive behaviour by experience— that is to say, to all the animals save the lowest; and there are good reasons for believing that only man and the higher animals have this power.

But the obstruction of every other instinctive impulse may in its turn become the occasion of anger. , when its impulse to flight is obstructed—is apt to turn upon its pursuers and to fight furiously, until an opportunity for escape presents itself. Darwin has shown the significance of the facial expression of anger, of the contracted brow and raised upper lip; and man shares with many of the animals the tendency to frighten his opponent by loud roars or bellowings. As with most of the other human instincts, the excitement of this one is expressed in its purest form by children.

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