Author: Michael A. Hogg , R. Scott Tindale
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 13, 2002)
Two of the earliest texts in social psychology were Le Bon’s (1896/1960) Psychologie des Foules (Psychology of Crowds) and McDougall’s (1920) The Group Mind. Both espoused as a central tenet the view that behavior in social aggregates was not simply a function of some combination of individual acts. Rather, they saw social behavior as being guided by forces defined by the aggregate – a “collective consciousness” or “group mind” – that could not be understood fully by simply understanding individual behavior or individual minds. Such ideas were not unusual for the times. Durkheim (1893/1984, 1965), Mead (1934) and other sociologists and social philosophers also saw collective or shared meaning as an integral component for understanding social behavior (see Farr, 1996). However, with the onset of behaviorism, psychology’s focus moved almost exclusively onto the individual, and the notion of collective thought and meaning fell out of favor (Allport, 1924). In mainstream social psychology, focus on aggregates versus individuals has waxed and waned (see Steiner, 1974, 1986; Moreland, Hogg, & Hains, 1994 for reviews), but the key explanatory variables have remained mainly at the individual level. Thus, in recent social psychology textbooks, the early ideas concerning “collective cognition” are rarely mentioned except for historical context, if they are mentioned at all (e.g., Baron & Byrne, 2000).
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