[Review of Emergent human nature and Social psychology]


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Abstract

Reviews the books, Emergent human nature by Walter Coutu (1949) and Social psychology by Alfred R. Lindesmith and Anselm L. Strauss (1949). These two books by sociologists, both intended to be used as textbooks in social psychology, should be interesting and provocative to psychologists. Both of them hold that what is characteristically human in human nature is language or symbolic behavior, and that everything that is important in human behavior arises from the fact that man belongs to groups. Coutu's book is devoted primarily to developing a system. “It is a first attempt to incorporate in a systematic manner the great contribution of George Herbert Mead. It is also a first attempt to re-interpret Mead in terms of field theory and operationalism.” (p. x) Lindesmith and Strauss have presented a more conventional coverage of topics in the sociological tradition of social psychology. They show how important language is in human behavior in three ways: (1) by discussing the lack of language in non-human behavior, (2) by describing language behavior and its development in hominids, (3) by considering “men without symbols,” i.e., feral men, blind-deaf men, and aphasics. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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