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But the term "law" is hardly applicable to the permanent relation between the elements of a system.

Social psychology

There are in this case two eventualities. In the first eventuality such relations are simply ideal connections established by our mind; whereas scientific laws are supposed to be real connections independent of our mind. When we find that the parts of a structure necessarily belong together, this "belonging together" may mean and often does mean simply that we consider them logically connected, whether there are any real forces which hold them together, or not. This is exemplified by the relations between the parts of a geometrical figure or of a work of art, and also by the "circle of colors" mentioned above.

Such an ideal connection may be valid even when the parts of a structure exist separately and are not brought together in fact.

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The parts of a machine "belong together", even If they have not yet been assembled; the terms of a scientific theory belong together even though nobody actually establishes or reconstructs their bond. As these examples show, "ideal" does not mean merely "subjective". The connection between the sides and angles in a triangle is not subjective: it is necessary and obvious for anybody who is able and willing to learn mathematics. So is the connection between the parts of a machine.

Social Psychology and the Law

But again, from this latter instance we see that man himself may make the ideal connection. By inventing a machine he creates new parts and fits them mentally together, makes them "belong together" in a way that was not known before. The same holds true of other structures, also of those of social psychology.

Social Influence: Crash Course Psychology #38

In the eyes of every believer, the dogmas and rites of a religion "belong together", are ideally connected just like the terms of a theory or the parts of a machine. In a legal contract the obligations of the parties are ideally connected from the point. Where a marriage custom has been long established, all the performances implied in it hold together in the eyes of the community, and each appears as a logically indispensable part of the whole.

A benefactor feels that gratitude should logically follow the benefit; a man who has performed a brilliant feat to gain recognition considers recognition as ideally due, as "belonging together" with the feat. Of ' course, if man can create new ideal connections, make things "belong together", he can also make real those which already subsist, bring together things which belong together. But this requires an active process which is not implied in the ideal connection as such.

Any given ideal connection may be made real or not; this does not depend on itself, but on active forces external to it. The parts of a machine may be assembled or not:. Likewise, in reasoning the proper conclusion may be drawn from the premises, or not: this depends on the logical ability and readiness of the man who is doing the reasoning.

Social Psychology and the Court of Law

In other words, the ideal connection does not realize itself by its own power. Its realization must be considered as a subsidiary question of fact not necessarily involved in its subsistence. We may always put the problem how any such ideal connection became real. There are two possible solutions. Either we assume creative activity on the part of some conscious subject who realized the ideal connection by his own free will, because he understood it and intended to make it real; or else we must claim that this realization was the result of some natural causes, and then appeal to the dynamic laws ruling the process of its realization.

Whereas the real connection expressed by the scientific or commonly-called "natural" law has a power of realizing itself by itself. As soon, for instance,. Therefore, the ideal connection is not a law. There is, however, another alternative. The static law may be more than an ideal "belonging together", a logical determination of the components of a system. It may mean a real reciprocal dependence between these components.

The balance of mechanical forces in the working of a machine; the interdependence of functions in the life of an organism, are examples of this type of dependence. In this sense, however, the static law reduces itself in modern science to a combination of dynamic laws, i. The mechanical balance means a strictly reciprocal functional dependence between two continuous processes.

The organic unity of a body is maintained by a rythmical alternation. This is clearly the significance of Comte's social solidarity consensus social ; it becomes also evident after a careful analysis that the generalizations of Mr. Ross quoted above, though static in formulation, ultimately presuppose dynamic laws.

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The theory of the well-known French psychologist, F. Paulhan, gives a very good illustration of this conception of static laws. Paulhan interprets all conscious life in terms of psychical systems whose elements are interconnected according to the principle of finality; psychical facts belong together because and in so far as they cooperate for a common purpose. Thus, there is between them a relation, not only of ideal, but of real interdependence.

When he now wishes to formulate the fundamental law of "systematic association", he gives it a definitely dynamic expression: "Every psychical fact tends to associate with itself and to make appear those psychical facts which can harmonize themselves with it, which can converge with it toward a common aim, or harmonious.

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Thus, there are no "static laws" in social psychology, nor, for that matter, in psychology in general. Psychical structures are either ideal systems for whose realization we can account only by a free and creative activity of the subject, or else by processes subjected to dynamic laws; or they are real systems which reduce themselves to combinations of dynamic laws.

Therefore, every law of social psychology must be a dynamic law, that is, a law of psychical becoming. The most common form of dynamic laws used in social psychology belongs to the type for which the term "empirical laws" has been coined. Such a "law" simply asserts that according to observation all conscious living' beings, or all human beings, or all human groups, or all representatives of a certain class of human beings or groups act, feel, or think in a certain way: or, more generally, that a certain kind of facts occur in the behavior of those, beings or groups.

Ellwood in a characteristic argumentation limits social laws to this type: "In sow science we can use the term 'law' merely, to indicate a relatively uniform and regular way in which things happen.

Pam Mueller and Janice Nadler

We return thus to the old meaning of this word: regularity in an observed phenomenon The uniform characters of human nature and of society are due to instincts or habits, adaptations to ends pursued rather than mechanical necessities. The 'habits' of individual behavior.

A social law is the statement of a habitual mode of action of individuals or groups among them". Generalizations of this variety are current in common reflection and can be found in profusion in popular and scientific psychological literature of all ages. A few statements selected at random may serve as illustration: "Man always wants more than he has"; "The behavior of women is irrational", "Man is a political animal".

A few examples drawn from modern social psychology will show the scientific development of these generalizations. Le Bon on the psychology of crowds: "Nothing is ever premeditated in crowds. They can run successively the gamut of the most opposite emotions under the influence of momentary stimulations. We shall also quote one important conception from the field of general psychology which has been frequently applied to social psychology: the pair of correlative laws formulated by Wundt as "the law of creative synthesis" and "the law of relating analysis".

Both laws are briefly formulated in the statement: "Every psychological synthesis represents a unified whole which realizes new properties as compared with its elements, and the parts of this compound. What is now the difference between these "laws" and the laws of physical sciences, which are the recognized models of present scientific method?

We should not be misled by any similarity of formulation, for this is often consciously sought by social psychologists: we should look beyond the formula to the objective order of things which it tries to express. Thus analyzed, the difference is simple and clear: the psychological laws of empirical uniformity define certain facts, the laws of physical science define certain relations between facts. Or, if we decide to treat connected facts as one process, we might say that the psychological law of uniformity defines a process in its totality whereas the physical law tries also to determine the connection between the parts of a process.

Each of the psychological laws quoted above merely describes what more or less generally happens: there are facts of imitation descending from the superior to the inferior; there is an active tendency in man to associate with his fellows; there is a psychological synthesis producing something that was not in the elements. Whereas, the laws of motion describe what changes in speed.

It follows that logically these so-called psychological "laws" are not laws of facts in the exact sense of the term, but merely descriptions of classes of facts. They do not give scientific explanations, but only scientific classifications; they classify facts just as zoology classifies animals. Explanation of a fact implies the possibility of deducing this fact from another: we explain the changes in the movement of a body by deducing them from the application of certain forces to this body. Whereas neither the laws of imitation nor the law of creative synthesis permits us to explain any fact. If we see that a man has imitated his superior, we do not know yet why he has done so; we know only that he has done something most men do. And when we find that a psychological synthesis has occurred, we cannot explain it by anything that happened before; on the contrary, the law explicitly states that the results of the synthetic process are a creative product not to be explained by the nature of the elements which have gone to produce it.

This has made some authors say that the law of creative synthesis is simply a confession that psychical life treated by Wundt's method is irrational; and perhaps this was one of the reasons why Wundt himself preferred to call it a "principle" rather than a "law". Of course, if we could find that the synthesis adds to the elements something which is always the same when the elements are the same, the law would assume a different character; but such an interpretation is precluded by the whole theory. It follows, further, that the relative validity of the "laws" here discussed depends an the generality with which the facts described by these laws occur in empirical observation.

Generality takes here the place of the necessity characterizing physical laws.