Theories of Socialization

Theories of Socialization

Socialization is the means by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as functioning members of their society.

Learning Objectives

Discuss the different types and theories of socialization

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Group socialization is the theory that an individual’s peer groups, rather than parental figures, influences his or her personality and behavior in adulthood.
  • Gender socialization refers to the learning of behavior and attitudes considered appropriate for a given sex.
  • Cultural socialization refers to parenting practices that teach children about their racial history or heritage and, sometimes, is referred to as pride development.
  • Sigmund Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: Id, ego, and super-ego.
  • Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence.
  • Positive Adult Development is one of the four major forms of adult developmental study that can be identified. The other three forms are directionless change, stasis, and decline.

Key Terms

  • socialization: The process of learning one’s culture and how to live within it.

“Socialization” is a term used by sociologists, social psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and educationalists to refer to the lifelong process of inheriting and disseminating norms, customs, and ideologies, providing an individual with the skills and habits necessary for participating within his or her own society. Socialization is thus “the means by which social and cultural continuity are attained.”

Socialization is the means by which human infants begin to acquire the skills necessary to perform as a functioning member of their society and is the most influential learning process one can experience. Unlike other living species, whose behavior is biologically set, humans need social experiences to learn their culture and to survive. Although cultural variability manifests in the actions, customs, and behaviors of whole social groups, the most fundamental expression of culture is found at the individual level. This expression can only occur after an individual has been socialized by his or her parents, family, extended family, and extended social networks.

The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept, created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902, stating that a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. The term refers to people shaping themselves based on other people’s perception, which leads people to reinforce other people’s perspectives on themselves. People shape themselves based on what other people perceive and confirm other people’s opinion on themselves.

George Herbert Mead developed a theory of social behaviorism to explain how social experience develops an individual’s personality. Mead’s central concept is the self: the part of an individual’s personality composed of self-awareness and self-image. Mead claimed that the self is not there at birth, rather, it is developed with social experience.

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. In his later work, Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: Id, ego, and super-ego. The id is the completely unconscious, impulsive, child-like portion of the psyche that operates on the “pleasure principle” and is the source of basic impulses and drives; it seeks immediate pleasure and gratification. The ego acts according to the reality principle (i.e., it seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bringing grief). Finally, the super-ego aims for perfection. It comprises that organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious that includes the individual’s ego ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency that criticizes and prohibits his or her drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions.

Different Forms of Socialization

Group socialization is the theory that an individual’s peer groups, rather than parental figures, influences his or her personality and behavior in adulthood. Adolescents spend more time with peers than with parents. Therefore, peer groups have stronger correlations with personality development than parental figures do. For example, twin brothers, whose genetic makeup are identical, will differ in personality because they have different groups of friends, not necessarily because their parents raised them differently.

Gender socialization Henslin (1999) contends that “an important part of socialization is the learning of culturally defined gender roles ” (p. 76). Gender socialization refers to the learning of behavior and attitudes considered appropriate for a given sex. Boys learn to be boys, and girls learn to be girls. This “learning” happens by way of many different agents of socialization. The family is certainly important in reinforcing gender roles, but so are one’s friends, school, work, and the mass media. Gender roles are reinforced through “countless subtle and not so subtle ways,” said Henslin (1999, p. 76).

Cultural socialization refers to parenting practices that teach children about their racial history or heritage and, sometimes, is referred to as “pride development. ” Preparation for bias refers to parenting practices focused on preparing children to be aware of, and cope with, discrimination. Promotion of mistrust refers to the parenting practices of socializing children to be wary of people from other races. Egalitarianism refers to socializing children with the belief that all people are equal and should be treated with a common humanity.

Cooley

In 1902, Charles Horton Cooley created the concept of the looking-glass self, which explored how identity is formed.

Learning Objectives

Discuss Cooley’s idea of the “looking-glass self” and how people use socialization to create a personal identity and develop empathy for others

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept stating that a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others.
  • There are three components of the looking-glass self: We imagine how we appear to others, we imagine the judgment of that appearance, and we develop our self ( identity ) through the judgments of others.
  • George Herbert Mead described self as “taking the role of the other,” the premise for which the self is actualized. Through interaction with others, we begin to develop an identity about who we are, as well as empathy for others.

Key Terms

  • George Herbert Mead: (1863–1931) An American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists.
  • Looking-Glass self: The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept, created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902, stating that a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others.
  • Charles Horton Cooley: Charles Horton Cooley (August 17, 1864-May 8, 1929) was an American sociologist and the son of Thomas M. Cooley. He studied and went on to teach economics and sociology at the University of Michigan, and he was a founding member and the eighth president of the American Sociological Association.

The looking-glass self is a social psychological concept created by Charles Horton Cooley in 1902. It states that a person’s self grows out of society’s interpersonal interactions and the perceptions of others. The term refers to people shaping their identity based on the perception of others, which leads the people to reinforce other people’s perspectives on themselves. People shape themselves based on what other people perceive and confirm other people’s opinion of themselves.

There are three main components of the looking-glass self:

  • First, we imagine how we must appear to others.
  • Second, we imagine the judgment of that appearance.
  • Finally, we develop our self through the judgments of others.

In hypothesizing the framework for the looking glass self, Cooley said, “the mind is mental” because “the human mind is social. ” In other words, the mind’s mental ability is a direct result of human social interaction. Beginning as children, humans begin to define themselves within the context of their socializations. The child learns that the symbol of his/her crying will elicit a response from his/her parents, not only when they are in need of necessities, such as food, but also as a symbol to receive their attention. George Herbert Mead described the self as “taking the role of the other,” the premise for which the self is actualized. Through interaction with others, we begin to develop an identity about who we are, as well as empathy for others.

An example of the looking-self concept is computer technology. Using computer technology, people can create an avatar, a customized symbol that represents the computer user. For example, in the virtual world Second Life, the computer-user can create a human-like avatar that reflects the user in regard to race, age, physical makeup, status, and the like. By selecting certain physical characteristics or symbols, the avatar reflects how the creator seeks to be perceived in the virtual world and how the symbols used in the creation of the avatar influence others’ actions toward the computer user.

Mead

For Mead, the self arises out of the social act of communication, which is the basis for socialization.

Learning Objectives

Discuss Mead’s theory of social psychology in terms of two concepts – pragmatism and social behaviorism

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • George Herbert Mead was an American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist and one of several distinguished pragmatists.
  • The two most important roots of Mead’s work are the philosophy of pragmatism and social behaviorism.
  • Pragmatism is a wide-ranging philosophical position that states that people define the social and physical “objects” they encounter in the world according to their use for them.
  • One of his most influential ideas was the emergence of mind and self from the communication process between organisms, discussed in the book, Mind, Self and Society, also known as social behaviorism.

Key Terms

  • symbolic interactionism: Symbolic interactionism is the study of the patterns of communication, interpretation, and adjustment between individuals.
  • social behaviorism: Discussed in the book, Mind, Self and Society, social behaviorism refers to the emergence of mind and self from the communication process between organisms.
  • pragmatism: The theory that problems should be met with practical solutions rather than ideological ones; a concentration on facts rather than emotions or ideals.

George Herbert Mead was an American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general.

The two most important roots of Mead’s work, and of symbolic interactionism in general, are the philosophy of pragmatism and social behaviorism. Pragmatism is a wide ranging philosophical position from which several aspects of Mead’s influences can be identified. There are four main tenets of pragmatism: First, to pragmatists true reality does not exist “out there” in the real world, it “is actively created as we act in and toward the world. Second, people remember and base their knowledge of the world on what has been useful to them and are likely to alter what no longer “works. ” Third, people define the social and physical “objects” they encounter in the world according to their use for them. Lastly, if we want to understand actors, we must base that understanding on what people actually do. In Pragmatism nothing practical or useful is held to be necessarily true, nor is anything which helps to survive merely in the short term. For example, to believe my cheating spouse is faithful may help me feel better now, but it is certainly not useful from a more long-term perspective because it doesn’t align with the facts (and is therefore not true).

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George Herbert Mead: George Herbert Mead (1863–1931) was an American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, primarily affiliated with the University of Chicago, where he was one of several distinguished pragmatists. He is regarded as one of the founders of social psychology and the American sociological tradition in general.

Mead was a very important figure in twentieth century social philosophy. One of his most influential ideas was the emergence of mind and self from the communication process between organisms, discussed in the book, Mind, Self and Society, also known as social behaviorism. For Mead, mind arises out of the social act of communication. Mead’s concept of the social act is relevant, not only to his theory of mind, but also to all facets of his social philosophy. His theory of “mind, self, and society” is, in effect, a philosophy of the act from the standpoint of a social process involving the interaction of many individuals, just as his theory of knowledge and value is a philosophy of the act from the standpoint of the experiencing individual in interaction with an environment.

Mead is a major American philosopher by virtue of being, along with John Dewey, Charles Peirce, and William James, one of the founders of pragmatism. He also made significant contributions to the philosophies of nature, science, and history, to philosophical anthropology, and to process philosophy. Dewey and Alfred North Whitehead considered Mead a thinker of the first rank. He is a classic example of a social theorist whose work does not fit easily within conventional disciplinary boundaries.

Freud

According to Freud, human behavior, experience, and cognition are largely determined by unconscious drives and events in early childhood.

Learning Objectives

Discuss Freud’s “id”, “ego” and “super-ego” and his six basic principles of psychoanalysis and how psychoanalysis is used today as a treatment for a variety of psychological disorders

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Psychoanalysis is a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst.
  • The specifics of the analyst’s interventions typically include confronting and clarifying the patient’s pathological defenses, wishes, and guilt.
  • Freud named his new theory the Oedipus complex after the famous Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. The Oedipus conflict was described as a state of psychosexual development and awareness.
  • The id is the completely unconscious, impulsive, child-like portion of the psyche that operates on the “pleasure principle” and is the source of basic impulses and drives.
  • The ego acts according to the reality principle (i.e., it seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bringing grief).
  • The super-ego aims for perfection. It comprises that organized part of the personality structure.
  • The super-ego aims for perfection. It comprises that organised part of the personality structure

Key Terms

  • Oedipus complex: In Freudian theory, the complex of emotions aroused in a child by an unconscious sexual desire for the parent of the opposite sex.
  • the unconscious: For Freud, the unconscious refers to the mental processes of which individuals make themselves unaware.

Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis. Interested in philosophy as a student, Freud later decided to become a neurological researcher in cerebral palsy, Aphasia, and microscopic neuroanatomy. Freud went on to develop theories about the unconscious mind and the mechanism of repression and established the field of verbal psychotherapy by creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst. The most common problems treatable with psychoanalysis include phobias, conversions, compulsions, obsessions, anxiety, attacks, depressions, sexual dysfunctions, a wide variety of relationship problems (such as dating and marital strife), and a wide variety of character problems (painful shyness, meanness, obnoxiousness, workaholism, hyperseductiveness, hyperemotionality, hyperfastidiousness).

The Basic Tenets of Psychoanalysis

The basic tenets of psychoanalysis include the following:

  • First, human behavior, experience, and cognition are largely determined by irrational drives.
  • Those drives are largely unconscious.
  • Attempts to bring those drives into awareness meet psychological resistance in the form of defense mechanisms.
  • Besides the inherited constitution of personality, one’s development is determined by events in early childhood.
  • Conflicts between conscious view of reality and unconscious (repressed) material can result in mental disturbances, such as neurosis, neurotic traits, anxiety, depression etc.
  • The liberation from the effects of the unconscious material is achieved through bringing this material into the consciousness.

Psychoanalysis as Treatment

Freudian psychoanalysis refers to a specific type of treatment in which the “analysand” (the analytic patient) verbalizes thoughts, including free associations, fantasies, and dreams, from which the analyst induces the unconscious conflicts. This causes the patient’s symptoms and character problems, and interprets them for the patient to create insight for resolution of the problems. The specifics of the analyst’s interventions typically include confronting and clarifying the patient’s pathological defenses, wishes, and guilt. Through the analysis of conflicts, including those contributing to resistance and those involving transference onto the analyst of distorted reactions, psychoanalytic treatment can hypothesize how patients unconsciously are their own worst enemies: how unconscious, symbolic reactions that have been stimulated by experience are causing symptoms.

The Id, The Ego, Super-Ego

Freud hoped to prove that his model was universally valid and thus turned to ancient mythology and contemporary ethnography for comparative material. Freud named his new theory the Oedipus complex after the famous Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. The Oedipus conflict was described as a state of psychosexual development and awareness. In his later work, Freud proposed that the human psyche could be divided into three parts: Id, ego, and super-ego. The id is the completely unconscious, impulsive, child-like portion of the psyche that operates on the “pleasure principle” and is the source of basic impulses and drives; it seeks immediate pleasure and gratification. The ego acts according to the reality principle (i.e., it seeks to please the id’s drive in realistic ways that will benefit in the long term rather than bringing grief). Finally, the super-ego aims for perfection. It comprises that organized part of the personality structure, mainly but not entirely unconscious, that includes the individual’s ego, ideals, spiritual goals, and the psychic agency that criticizes and prohibits his or her drives, fantasies, feelings, and actions.

Piaget

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence.

Learning Objectives

Analyze the differences between accommodation and assimilation, in relation to Piaget’s stages

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called “genetic epistemology,” the study of the origins of knowledge.
  • Piaget argued that all people undergo a series of stages and transformations. Transformations refer to all manners of changes that a thing or person can experience, while states refer to the conditions or the appearances in which things or persons can be found between transformations.
  • Piaget identified four stages of cognitive development: sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operational, and formal operational. Through these stages, children progress in their thinking and logical processes.
  • Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence that explains how individuals perceive and adapt to new information through the processes of assimilation and accommodation.
  • Assimilation is the process of taking one’s environment and new information and fitting it into pre-existing cognitive schemas. Accommodation is the process of taking one’s environment and new information, and altering one’s pre-existing schemas in order to fit in the new information.
  • Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched.
  • Object permanence is the understanding that objects continue to exist even when they cannot be seen, heard, or touched.
  • The concrete operational stage is the third of four stages of cognitive development in Piaget’s theory.
  • The final stage is known as formal operational stage (adolescence and into adulthood): Intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts.

Key Terms

  • genetic epistemology: Genetic epistemology is a study of the origins of knowledge. The discipline was established by Jean Piaget.
  • object permanence: The understanding (typically developed during early infancy) that an object still exists even when it disappears from sight, or other senses.
  • accommodation: Accommodation, unlike assimilation, is the process of taking one’s environment and new information, and altering one’s pre-existing schemas in order to fit in the new information.

Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children. His theory of cognitive development and epistemological view are together called “genetic epistemology. ” He believed answers for the epistemological questions at his time could be better addressed by looking at their genetic components. This led to his experiments with children and adolescents in which he explored the thinking and logic processes used by children of different ages.

Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence. Piaget believed that reality is a dynamic system of continuous change and as such, it is defined in reference to the two conditions that define dynamic systems. Specifically, he argued that reality involves transformations and states. Transformations refer to all manners of changes that a thing or person can undergo. States refer to the conditions or the appearances in which things or persons can be found between transformations.

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Jean Piaget: Jean Piaget was a French-speaking Swiss developmental psychologist and philosopher known for his epistemological studies with children.

Piaget explains the growth of characteristics and types of thinking as the result of four stages of development. The stages are as follows:

  • The sensorimotor stage is the first of the four stages in cognitive development that “extends from birth to the acquisition of language. ” In this stage, infants construct an understanding of the world by coordinating experiences with physical actions–in other words, infants gain knowledge of the word from the physical actions they perform. The development of object permanence is one of the most important accomplishments of this stage.
  • The pre-operational stage is the second stage of cognitive development. It begins around the end of the second year. During this stage, the child learns to use and to represent objects by images, words, and drawings. The child is able to form stable concepts, as well as mental reasoning and magical beliefs.
  • The third stage is called the “concrete operational stage” and occurs approximately between the ages of 7 and 11 years. In this stage, children develop the appropriate use of logic and are able to think abstractly, make rational judgments about concrete phenomena, and systematically manipulate symbols related to concrete objects.
  • The final stage is known as the “formal operational stage” (adolescence and into adulthood). Intelligence is demonstrated through the logical use of symbols related to abstract concepts. At this point, the person is capable of hypothetical and deductive reasoning.

When studying the field of education Piaget identified two processes: accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation describes how humans perceive and adapt to new information. It is the process of taking one’s environment and new information and fitting it into pre-existing cognitive schemas. Accommodation, unlike assimilation, is the process of taking one’s environment and new information and altering one’s pre-existing schemas in order to fit in the new information.

Levinson

Daniel J. Levinson was one of the founders of the field of positive adult development.

Learning Objectives

Summarize Daniel Levinson’s theory of positive adult development and how it influenced changes in the perception of development during adulthood

Key Takeaways

Key Points

  • As a theory, positive adult development asserts that development continues after adolescence, long into adulthood.
  • In positive adult development research, scientists question not only whether development ceases after adolescence, but also a notion, popularized by many gerontologists, that a decline occurs after late adolescence.
  • Positive adult developmental processes are divided into at least six areas of study: hierarchical complexity, knowledge, experience, expertise, wisdom, and spirituality.

Key Terms

  • stasis: inactivity; a freezing, or state of motionlessness
  • positive adult development: Positive adult development is one of the four major forms of adult developmental study that can be identified.
  • decline: downward movement, fall

Daniel Levinson

Daniel J. Levinson, an American psychologist, was one of the founders of the field of positive adult development. He was born in New York City on May 28, 1920, and completed his dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1947. In this dissertation, he attempted to develop a way of measuring ethnocentrism. In 1950, he moved to Harvard University. From 1966 to 1990, he was a professor of psychology at the Yale University School of Medicine.

Levinson’s two most important books were Seasons of a Man’s Life and Seasons of a Woman’s Life, which continue to be highly influential works. His multidisciplinary approach is reflected in his work on the life structure theory of adult development.

Positive Adult Development

Positive adult development is one of the four major forms of adult developmental study. The other three are directionless change, stasis, and decline. Positive adult developmental processes are divided into the following six areas of study:

  • hierarchical complexity
  • knowledge
  • experience
  • expertise
  • wisdom
  • spirituality

Research in this field questions not only whether development ceases after adolescence, but also the notion, popularized by many gerontologists, that a decline occurs after late adolescence. Research shows that positive development does still occur during adulthood. Recent studies indicate that such development is useful in predicting things such as an individual’s health, life satisfaction, and ability to contribute to society.

Now that there is scientific proof that individuals continue to develop as adults, researchers have begun investigating how to foster such development. Rather than just describing, as phenomenon, the fact that adults continue to develop, researchers are interested in aiding and guiding that development. For educators of adults in formal settings, this has been a priority in many ways already. More recently, researchers have begun to experiment with hypotheses about fostering positive adult development. These methods are used in organizational and educational setting. Some use developmentally-designed, structured public discourse to address complex public issues.

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Positive Adult Development: Research in Positive Adult Development questions not only whether development ceases after adolescence, but also the notion, popularized by many gerontologists, that a decline occurs after late adolescence.