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This discussion of the psychological aspects of socialization will focus on the developmental aspects of individual behavior which occur in or directly involve interaction with one or more persons,i.e., in a social context. Any interest in thedifferential effects of early experiences of the infant,of child-rearing practices, of peer group influences,in sum, of any of the factors which mayshape the configuration of behaviors that is consideredto be personality, directs us to the subjectarea of social development.

Interest in this area is probably as old as almostany other human concern and is portrayed throughoutwritten history. It is documented in Biblicalaccounts, the works of philosophers, autobiographies,and treatises on child-rearing practices.These accounts have been written mainly on thebasis of very limited evidence, usually little morethan the author’s own experiences. With the developmentof scientific methods for studying humanbehavior, investigators have increasingly turnedtheir attention to exploring all aspects of socialbehavior and how it develops.

Approaches. Methods employed to study socialApproaches. Methods employed to study socialdevelopment are to a great extent determined bythe questions the investigator asks and includealmost all the techniques which have ever beenused in psychological research. The approachesrange from experimental to correlational, longitudinalto cross-sectional, and comprise case studies,normative and descriptive studies, small samplecomparisons within a limited social group,cross-cultural analyses of many primitive societies,interviews and questionnaires, direct observations,etc. An excellent discussion of the many differentapproaches is provided by John Anderson (1946).Currently, an increasing interest in methods andtechniques per se parallels an increasing sophisticationamong investigators regarding the strengthsand weaknesses of these methods and the modificationsrequired when employing them with groupsdiffering in important respects, such as age, socialbackground, and race. In 1960 this interest inmethod was manifested when the Committee onChild Development of the National Academy ofSciences-National Research Council sponsored thepublication of a collection of papers presentingwhat was considered the wisdom of expert investigators,gained over years of using these methods(Mussen 1960). This awareness of the need for careful assessment of the appropriateness of atechnique to be applied to the questions, subjects,and inferences under investigation is a healthysign. Publication of books and papers which focuson critical and frequent foibles in the use of certainapproaches and methods stimulates concernwith and creative use of old and new techniques.

Historical perspective

Geneticism and environmentalism

One of the earliest controversies about the different factors involved in development was concerned with the relative impact on behavior of genetic endowment and environmental influences. This controversy led to heated arguments between most early researchers of social behavior. In the work of Binet (Binet & Simon 1905) on measuring intelligence, we see how taking a position on the environment-heredity issue can become associated with the goals and purposes of research without being a necessary assumption for it. As the attempts to develop a measure of intellectual abilities which would be comparable for different ages, would be stable for individuals over time, and would predict performance in school became increasingly successful, it was difficult not to acknowledge that what was measured was something mainly genetically endowed. And the relatively successful accomplishment of this goal led many to emphasize inherited characteristics over environmental influences. This position was clearly expressed by McDougall (1908), who, despite devoting much energy to the study of social development and being one of the first to use the phrase “social psychology,” incorporated into his theory a long list of instincts. This preformationist position accorded little importance to the contribution of external factors to the development of many social behaviors, such as aggression, gregariousness, and even techniques of child rearing. Gesell (1946) was another important contributor to the genetic position, with his model of reciprocal interweaving of the processes of behavioral differentiation and integration. Although some recognition of the contribution of environmental influences was made in his discussions of learning, these external factors were clearly less important than the teleological processes determining individual development. This emphasis on inherited developmental tendencies is also seen in the writings of Piaget (1923). Piaget’s schemata portray definite stages, or levels, of orderly progression, each stage occurring at a particular age, supporting the position of a genetically determined sequence in the developmental process. [SeeDevelopmental psychology, article on a theory of development; Genetics, article on genetics and behavior; Intelligence and intelligence testing; and the biographies of Binet and Gesell.]

A similar position, but with important differences, was earlier proposed by Baldwin (1897) to account for both the mental and social development of children. He posited that children have an inclination, apparently innate, to imitate and that imitation occurs in specific stages. This position was further developed by G. H. Mead (1934), in his description of the process whereby one learns to assume the role of another person. Although Baldwin and Mead seemed to assume an innate tendency to imitate, their presentations make external events crucial in determining much of social behavior, since the child cannot imitate a model unless it is there to copy. [SeeImitation; and the biographies of Baldwin and Mead.]


Interest in social development was further stimulated by Freud and the psychoanalytic theorists, whose position regarding the relative importance of innate and environmental influences is a mixed one. Although the basic driving forces of behavior are assumed to be inherited, many of the manifest forms of action are acquired through associations during interpersonal situations. The importance of these external events in the development of social behavior was especially recognized by Freud, who maintained that early familial influences could determine later personality characteristics. Freud was primarily interested in dynamic, complex motivations and how these dynamically interrelated forces account for the manifest social behavior of an individual. But in his early writing (1900) he addressed himself explicitly to the question of the basic mechanism accounting for these later complex associations. The key to this system, he proposed, is the reflex arc. Basic responses of personality are conditioned by early experiences. Clearly, then, the early experiences of each individual will be paramount in shaping his social development, according to this theory.

Behaviorism and learning

Although it was Pavlov (1927) who investigated and established the important variables involved in the acquisition of conditioned reflexes, he did not directly study social development. It was with Watson that conditioning became all-important in accounting for social behavior, as well as for almost all other behavior. Watson (1919) proposed that a person’s actions are—aside from a limited number of innate reflexes—completely the product of conditioning experiences. With this theory the pendulum had swung to the far extreme, completely away from any instinctivistic assumptions. Watson demanded that only external events and directly observable behavior be considered in building a psychological theory. With his research on children and their neurotic fears, Watson seemed very interested in demonstrating to parents the practical applications of his theory. Although the theory’s influence on the field of social development declined after a decade, the attitude toward scientific investigations of behavior through experimental methods, based on operational definitions and measurements, has been lasting. In addition, the battle between the environmentalists and nativists no longer seemed to be of such importance. Future theorists would have to acknowledge the role of environmental events, no matter what assumptions or positions they took regarding genetic contributions to behavior. [SeeLearning, article on classical conditioning; the biographies ofPavlov and Watson.]

Much of the work by learning theorists, such as Thorndike, Guthrie, Tolman, and Hull, was very relevant to social development; but it was especially at Yale University’s Institute of Human Relations that direct attention was devoted to research in this area. Hull (1943) provided the beginning of a systematic, mathematical account of the principles of learning, and this general theoretical approach was applied to the study of social development by Miller and Dollard (1941) and Mowrer (1950). Their work greatly stimulated research in this area, especially in the use of experimental methods. The creative use of this theoretical orientation for explanation was demonstrated by Whiting (1941) in his interpretation of the socialization processes involved in the development of a child in a primitive culture. Studies by Sears (Sears et al. 1953) of antecedent-consequent relations in parent-child behavior have given great impetus to the study of the impact of child-rearing practices on personality development. [See the biographies ofGuthrie; Hull; Thorndike; Tolman.]

Field theory

Kurt Lewin stimulated others to direct their attention to social development, especially where such behavior occurred in different environmental settings. Although his own work dealing with the development of social behavior was not extensive, the work of those influenced by his teaching and writing has been. (See, for example, Barker et al. 1943.) The conceptual scheme which he proposed, called field theory, emphasized the gestalt principle of considering the total situation, that is, all the factors in the environment which might affect behavior, as well as the personality characteristics of the individual. This orientation has stimulated interest in the ecological approach of studying the persisting conditions in the environment which significantly affect social development. [SeeField theory; Gestalt theory; and the biography ofLewin.]

Operant conditioning

One impetus for a recent surge in experimental orientation comes from the work on operant conditioning by Skinner. Although his own research dealt mainly with animals, he has discussed the application of his approach to the development of complex human behavior (1953) and even the establishment of a utopian culture (1948). His methodological prescriptions for an experimental analysis of behavior have stimulated the application of a different approach to many areas of social development previously studied mainly by indirect routes involving circuitous interpretations. [SeeLearning, articles onInstrumental learningandreinforcement; Utopianism, article onthe design of experimental communities.]

Although investigators differ in their theoretical orientations, their use of this experimental, behavioral approach, which to some degree involves a consensus about terms to use in describing research, has brought many diverse questions of social behavior under similar methodological inquiry.

Areas of research

Characteristics of the child

Until the 1960s most research assessed the influence of external events on the infant as if it were a one-way process. Research in the 1960s, however, shows that neonates. have different sensitivities and reactions to stimulation. Some of these differences have been related to constitutional characteristics of the infant and to the conditions of birth, such as amount of anesthesia and difficulties of delivery. Research now being conducted on infant-mother relations considers the interaction between the child and mother—both the degree to which the child influences the mother’s behavior and the degree to which the mother influences the child. For example, the findings that children difficult to toilet train are insensitive to unpleasant odors and that children very sensitive to being wet are easy to night-train indicate the potential interaction between important socialization processes and the child’s reactivity to relevant stimuli.

Sex. Studies of social development must consider the sex of the child, since the varied components of appropriate sex-role identity may be differentially influenced by many factors from the first days of life. There is evidence that some differences in early behavior are related to constitutional sex differences (Bell 1960). Among infant monkeys, for example, males actively engage in aggressive play, whereas the females tend to stay on the fringe of such activity (Harlow & Harlow 1962). In cross-cultural studies such sex differences in aggressive play also have been found to hold for children. These sex-related behavioral proclivities are probably reinforced by society, since they conform to sex-role expectations. Parents may, even without awareness, encourage certain behaviors in their sons and other behaviors in their daughters from birth. If this speculation is justified, current and future studies of early parental treatment, where very subtle aspects of rearing practices are measured, should show differential handling for the sexes, beginning with the neonate. [SeeIndividual differences, article onsex differences.]

Ordinal position. Ordinal position has been related to important social behavior, such as the development of affiliative motivation. Studies (e.g., Schachter 1959) indicate that under certain kinds of stress first-borns tend to want to be with others more than do persons who were born in a later ordinal position. It is possible that the amount of attention paid to the children changes, with less attention given to individual children as the family increases. It seems likely, too, that the parents’ behavior changes, because of their own differential experiences with children: as subsequent children arrive, the parents have more confidence in themselves and less anxiety about things that happen to the child. The greatest difference in treatment would most likely be between the first child and the others, but probably there are differences in handling each child. The consistency of differential treatment across families needs to be studied to determine the conditions that give rise to the effects associated with ordinal position. [See Individual psychology; the biography of Adler.]

Age and maturation. The age and maturational level of a child determine whether the occurrence of a particular event will have any salient effect on him and how permanent such an effect might be. The importance of age in relation to certain environmental conditions or learning situations will be evident throughout the following discussion.

Early environment

Studies of the effects of institutions on children indicate that the quality of stimulation provided by the environment may have critical consequences for the child. Research in maternal deprivation suggests that there are many important differences in the extent and quality of mother-child separation. Some immediate, measurable effects of maternal separation on the child’s behavior have been demonstrated, but there is little evidence of any long-term consequences if the separation is not followed by conditions that frequently compound the event. When separation is followed by institutionalization, however, the evidence suggests that serious personality impairment may result: deficits in motor, language, and social development. Such undesirable effects are not necessarily the result of being placed in the institution per se. Differences in the amount of stimulation given children in different institutions are associated with differential degrees of deleterious effects. Unfortunately, many of these institutions provide rather impoverished environments for infants and young children. Therefore, the immediate conditions experienced in the institution should be considered the major cause of deficits, rather than institutionalization itself. It may then be discovered that these conditions and experiences have the same effect on children never separated from their parents. The institution may tend to impose on the child a schedule which does not permit him to learn important social responses or perceive and react to caretakers and other persons in the way most children do. Researchers (e.g., Lovaas et al. 1965) are investigating ways of stimulating autistic and socially unresponsive children who have been markedly affected by such conditions to react to other persons as important stimuli in their environment. This work will attempt to modify social apathy and indiscriminate response to caretakers among these children and increase their tendency to imitate others. Work with animals that is analogous to therapeutic procedures (Schoenfeld 1950) suggests that even though the retarded or deviant behavior may be desirably modified, the person may still have a tendency to react to any future experiences of a similar nature in a dramatic fashion, responding abnormally under certain stressful conditions. [SeeInfancy, article onthe effects of early experience.]

Critical periods. The question whether there is a “critical period” for institutional deprivation experiences is unsettled. There is some suggestion that the age at which institutionalization occurs has different effects: retardation is associated with early commitment, whereas children eventually diagnosed as schizophrenic tend to have been institutionalized at a later age. There is some evidence that children who have a tonsillectomy when they are between three months and three years of age are more affected than children whose tonsillectomies occur when they are either younger or older. Even within this period, the effects are lessened by preparing the child before the operation and by having a familiar adult, usually his mother, with him as much as possible during his stay in the hospital. Since some individuals who experienced severe early childhood traumata due to separation from parents are not notably disturbed in later years, it would seem that the deprivation must be of a certain kind or quality or extend over a certain period to have any lasting effect.

Father models and initiations. Most of the research on separation and early deprivation focuses on the mother-child relationship and does not deal as much with the role of the father. This tendency to ignore the father’s influence on the child has been true of much of the research in child development. There is support, from cross-cultural and experimental studies, for the hypothesis that a child will imitate and identify with a person who controls his important resources. This theory suggests that the relationships between parents and other persons in the child’s awareness and their differential control of resources are important variables in his social development. Not only should child-rearing techniques be investigated, but research ought to consider by whom and under what conditions they are exercised.

There is evidence that a weak or absent father distorts a boy’s sex identity so that he tends to be effeminate or compensatorily overmasculine. Cross-cultural studies indicate that the custom of the initiation ceremony serves to fix masculine identity in boys in societies where the father is not in the household during the first two years of the child’s life (Burton & Whiting 1961). Similar conditions appear to exist in the lower-class subculture of the United States, especially in areas with delinquent gangs. Initiation rites into these gangs have characteristics similar to those of the initiation ceremonies of primitive societies, except that the rules for the boys in the primitive societies are socially desirable whereas the rules for the lower-class gang are often socially unacceptable to the society at large. Research is now needed to test whether or not any of the important elements of the initiation rites of primitive societies might function in a desirable manner for boys in our culture with the early experience of father absence or the presence of a poor father model. Furthermore, one should not look just at the undesirable side of these conditions; one also ought to consider what socially desirable behaviors—such as artistic, literary, or athletic pursuits—might result from early deprivation experiences. In the area of parental deprivation, the relationship between the absence of a male model in the home and the development of girls and the differential effects on boys and girls of maternal separation also need investigation (L. Yarrow’s 1961 review contains a fuller discussion of many of these issues and studies).

Deprivation and stimulation. A program of comparative research stemming from the effects of “gentling” animals to be used for experimental work shows that permanent behavioral and physiological effects are caused by different experiences during infancy. These effects are directly related to social development; animals (mainly rats) so handled tend to be less emotional, can solve certain types of problems better, are less timid, and are constitutionally more robust and socially more dominant than nongentled animals. Not as much research has been done in assessing effects of extra stimulation on children. Some early work has indicated that the later performance of children given special training for certain tasks is not very different from the performance of children who were not trained until they were more mature and could learn the tasks with a small amount of effort. Recent work does show that differential handling of infants affects their physical development: certain types of handling are associated with earlier sitting up and walking. There are also data suggesting that gentling affects human infants as well as animals, i.e., extra holding, rocking, and cuddling produces more placid and more contented babies, compared with those stimulated only for essential caretaking.

The research with animals also shows that early stimulation directly affects the growth of their endocrine system. One cross-cultural study (Landauer & Whiting 1964) shows that infancy stimulation in humans has an effect on height similar to that of infancy stimulation in animals. In societies with early stressful handling (baths in water of extreme temperature, massaging, piercing of skin) the average male height is greater than in societies without such customs, even when many factors known to affect growth—such as diet, sunshine, genetics, and geographical region—are controlled. These findings should stimulate additional research into the potentially beneficial effects of certain types of infancy stress in humans. The position that any stressful stimulation during infancy should be avoided would be challenged by this research. [SeeStress.]

One sees from the research on infancy that too little stimulation is deleterious and that an extra amount of regular or “normal” stimulation promotes desirable behavior; now there is even the possibility that stressful stimulation may cause some desired consequences.

Child-rearing practices

Much of the research on child-rearing practices has been based on interviews and questionnaires. Most of this information has been organized along two or three conceptual dimensions: love-hostility, control-autonomy, and, possibly, calm detachment-anxious emotional involvement (Becker 1964). While this is considered a useful conceptual framework for organizing research material, such two-dimensional or three-dimensional models are not meant to be any “truer” representation of the way parents interact with their children than are other models. Furthermore, these dimensions must be combined in just the right amounts, to describe what an actual parent is like. It is revealing that these data, coming from measures of verbal behavior, have a factor structure which seems very similar to the structure consistently found in studies of the underlying meaning in language: evaluation (good-bad), potency (strong-weak), and activity (fast-slow). The order or strength of the factors also is the same: good-bad or love-hostility tends to be the first factor; strong-weak or control-autonomy, the second factor; and fast-slow or high involvement-calm detachment, the third.

Disciplinary procedures. For general discussion, disciplinary techniques can be placed along a positive-negative continuum which appears to reflect an attitude shared by most middle-class American parents (and by research scientists). The positive techniques include rewarding, praising, and reasoning—practices considered to be psychological and love oriented and which in some ways reflect a child-centered attitude on the part of the parent. The negative methods, such as physical punishment, yelling and scolding, derogating, and threatening, reflect a more egocentric parent, in that they appear to express more of the parent’s frustration over the child’s behavior. Since studies in which data are obtained in interviews or questionnaires also indicate that positive disciplinary techniques are used by parents who are positive in other ways, such as providing a warm home environment and being interested in the happiness of their children and in developing their potential talents, it is difficult to winnow out just what important factors are involved in these research findings. In general, however, the positive methods of child-rearing are related to the following characteristics in the child: low aggression, low undesirable dependency, high sociability, and a high level of conscience development and of moral judgment, as reflected in a feeling of responsibility for his actions, the experiencing of guilt for deviations from prescribed standards, and the confessing of such deviations. Negative techniques are associated with the undesirable aspects of these behaviors (Becker 1964 provides a general review of this research).

These findings are frequently complicated, in that the relationships may hold only for boys or only for girls. For example, high maternal warmth and nurturance has been associated with high conscience and leadership in boys but with low conscience and dependency in girls. Possibly, since any technique would be used in a much broader context of shaping the child in the appropriate sex role, with all the concomitant aspects of this complex concept, such as aggression, dependency, independency, differential physical and cognitive skills, demonstration of affection and other emotions, etc., the same child-rearing technique could produce quite different behavior in boys and girls. Still, it is difficult to accept, without further investigation, the idea that the same child-rearing practice by the same parent should produce opposite effects in a son and in a daughter. The evidence must be considered in light of the differential perceptions usually found for children and parents. Boys are seen as more aggressive, independent, and difficult to train than girls. Mother and father perceptions also conform to sex-role stereotypes. Mothers, as compared with fathers, are seen as more nurturant and loving and as less strict, using less physical punishment but more psychological types of discipline, and are less fear-arousing than the father. Since the same-sex parent is seen as more restrictive and frustrating than the opposite-sex parent, there are interactions in these perceptions. In addition, the father’s use of physical punishment is especially frequent with boys, and the mother’s use of psychological control is rated as being more appropriate for girls than for boys. These differential perceptions may account for some of the differences in the consequences of the same parent-child relationship. Many of these relationships probably reveal more about beliefs or values of the respondent (mother, father, teacher, or child) than they reflect the actual methods or personal characteristics considered important in child rearing. The contaminated research design (all data from the same respondent) used in most of these studies raises questions about the validity of the measures and the relationships between them. Expectations of investigators and types of bias within respondents have been shown to effect just such findings as those in the child-rearing research. Investigations of the degree of correspondence between measures obtained at the time child-rearing events occurred and retrospective accounts of these same events show little correlation (M. Yarrow et al. 1964). The number of significant correlations between measures of rearing techniques obtained through direct observations of parent-child interactions and measures of these same techniques obtained through interview ratings or questionnaires is no greater than chance (Zunich 1962; Brody 1965). These data give us pause when we consider interpretations of findings in child-rearing studies. There is a trend, in this research, for investigators to cross-verify results based on indirect methods with the results of more direct measures, a trend which seems necessary to clarify some of the theoretically conflicting interpretations proposed by different researchers.

There are serious difficulties in demonstrating the relationships of child-rearing practices with later behavior, because of the many intervening events which may lessen the evidence of some direct effect. On the other hand, behavior learned by a small child may not manifest itself until a much later time, when it is appropriate. Certain questions, therefore, can be answered only through longitudinal studies, even though they are difficult and costly to execute.

Psychoanalytic propositions

Psychoanalytic theory stimulated interest in the effects of early socialization processes on social and personality development.

Weaning and oral behaviors. Freud termed the first period of development the oral stage and attributed many enduring consequences to events surrounding oral stimulation and frustration, especially the feeding process. In spite of a great deal of research dealing with types of nursing (breast or bottle, demand or scheduled) and weaning practices, there is little consistent evidence of permanent personality characteristics related to these feeding experiences. There seem to be no differential personality consequences between breast and bottle feeding; the important variable appears to be how the mother feels about it. The amount of upset associated with weaning has been shown to increase with the length of time the child nurses, up to about 12 months, at which time it begins to decrease; in other words, there is a curvilinear relationship between amount of upset and length of nursing. Cross-cultural research suggests that the amount of upset is related to adult oral anxiety, measured by the extent of attributing illness to something one has eaten. Perhaps of greater interest to parents in our society is the fact that thumbsucking has also been related to upset over weaning. Nonnutritive sucking, however, is not necessarily an index of anxiety. Research indicates that it may just as well be associated with a strongly reinforced habit as with the amount of disturbance and frustration involved in feeding and weaning. These data suggest that if only a positive experience has been associated with sucking, the response is modifiable by making some incompatible response more rewarding. However, thumbsucking seems to be self-rewarding, so it will not just stop by itself—at least not for a very long time. Punishing it appears to make it more resistant to elimination. For the present, one recommendation to parents who wish to stop their child from thumbsucking is to give him a pacifier. This seems to be quickly forgotten by the child when it is too much trouble for him to find or when something interesting engages his attention. The response is then broken up in the natural course of events and disappears.

Toilet training. The many studies of toilet training have also tended to yield generally inconsistent and insignificant results. The traits considered characteristic of the “anal” personality, i.e., parsimony, obstinacy, orderliness, have been found to occur together in people, but the indications are that these behaviors are more likely due to direct training than to the indirect effects of toilet training. This suggests that the learning conditions established by the mother and her attitudes about her child, which may determine her toilet-training regimen, have lasting effects on social development.

Aggression and dependency

Two of the most thoroughly investigated areas of social development are aggression and dependency. These domains have been studied using many different methods and with both humans and animals as subjects. In general, physical punishment by parents is related to physical aggression in the child. There is evidence of limiting conditions for the overt expression of aggression, especially for girls. When fantasy and direct observations are used as measures, covert aggression is directly related to the extent of parental use of physical punishment, but overt aggression is curvilinearly related (Sears et al. 1953). Where there is no physical punishment, the child shows little aggression. As parental use of physical punishment increases, so does the child’s aggressive behavior—up to a certain point. It seems that at some level of punishment overt aggressive behavior is inhibited, but covert aggression—as expressed in fantasy—is not. This information indicates that the more aggressive the parents are toward the child, the more aggression will be produced in the child’s motivational system, even though overt aggression may be discouraged when the punishment is severe enough. The implication is that there might be some conditions under which this repressed hostility would become overt. Direct support for this conclusion comes from experimental studies which show that a child will imitate the aggressive behavior of a model when the opportunity presents itself and the context indicates that no punishment for such aggression will occur (Bandura & Walters 1963). Such findings are supported by cross-cultural research which shows that societies rated high on use of painful child-rearing customs (rough handling and physical punishment) tend to have aggressive rather than benevolent gods. Other studies demonstrate that aggression can be produced in children through permissiveness toward and direct rewarding of aggressive behavior.

For dependency, the evidence again is that it may be produced through direct reinforcement. In addition, the combination of rewarding dependency when the child is young and then frustrating or punishing such behavior after it becomes part of his behavior pattern seems to produce dependency of a more rigid and persistent nature. If no punishment is associated with dependency behavior, it seems that not reinforcing it any longer will extinguish it. In light of the findings of investigations of both aggression and dependency, a reasonable hypothesis appears to be that behavior which is rewarded and encouraged in the early years and then punished when the child is older will be difficult to control and stop. Current evidence suggests that an effective procedure would be to stop rewarding the behavior the parent wants to eliminate and reward some incompatible behavior instead.

Modifying behavior

Research in nursery school settings has revealed that social dominance, timidity, aggression, socially desirable interactions with peers, and somewhat aberrant idiosyncratic behavior, such as crawling or walking on hands and feet rather than upright, can be modified through applying social-learning paradigms, mostly some adaptation of operant conditioning in the natural setting (Scott et al. 1967). The basic design of these experiments is to have a teacher or other adult give affectionate attention immediately following the desired behavior and not respond in any way to the undesired acts. Such studies usually demonstrate that the less-desired behavior was being maintained through the teacher’s paying attention to the child (often by scolding) only when he was doing what she did not want him to do. By contrast, the teacher tends to ignore him when he behaves well. Rarely have these studies investigated the combination of positive and negative reinforcement for desired and undesired behavior, respectively. Since there is evidence from learning experiments that when the two responses are mutually exclusive such differential rewarding and punishing is the most efficient teaching paradigm, it will be important to know how such contingencies work in a natural, everyday teaching situation. The hypothesis stated above for aggression and dependency implies that once behavior has become part of the child’s repertory of responding, the introduction of punishment, while it may inhibit the behavior temporarily, will actually make it more resistant to modification. However, if there is a mutually exclusive type of behavior readily available for the parents to reward, a combination of disapproval of the undesired activity and approval of the acceptable behavior may be more effective than trying to modify the behavior through approval alone. [SeeLearning, especially the articles oninstrumental learning and reinforcement.]

Labeling. There is experimental evidence that clear labeling of behavior helps a child discriminate in one situation and then transfer his learning to a new situation. This finding suggests that parents and teachers will be more successful in developing certain desired social behavior in their children by clearly labeling the behavior they are rewarding and punishing. This interpretation implies that the more they provide the child with cognitive support for their approval and disapproval, the more the child will understand how he should act in a quite different place but where the abstract aspect of the situation is the same.

Consistency. The desirability of consistency in child rearing is often stated. However, there are many kinds of consistency possible, ranging from the evaluation of certain behavior as always good or always bad to the unvarying use of certain techniques for rewarding or punishing. Most research on consistency has addressed itself to consistency of the former type. Inconsistent or capricious discipline is associated with socially undesirable behavior, as is apparent from studies of delinquents and their parents. There is evidence which suggests that some ways of being inconsistent would produce desired results. First, if the parents always use the same kind of reward (or punishment), the child might become satiated with it (or adapt to it) and its power to reinforce would be attenuated. This suggests that to maintain effectiveness, rewards and punishments for the same type of behavior should be varied. Studies also show that once behavior is well established, making rewards or punishments unpredictable for the child will maintain the behavior in the absence of the parent better than if the parent is consistent in rewarding every time the child acts well or in punishing every time he is bad. The important distinction here is that a type of behavior, when it is reinforced, is either always rewarded or always punished, in contrast to the undesirable kind of inconsistency, where the same behavior is sometimes rewarded and sometimes punished.

Peer-group influences

The first peer group for many children consists of their siblings. The sex of these siblings is important to the child’s social development since older sibs may have much influence over him, both directly, through rewarding and punishing his behavior, and more indirectly, through providing a model. These experiences would be expected to affect his later social relations (Koch 1960). There is evidence that a later preference for same-sex or opposite-sex playmates is related to whether the child has had opposite-sex sibs or not, relatively greater preference for opposite-sex playmates being associated with having opposite-sex sibs (Koch 1957).

Studies have assessed the effects of nursery school and kindergarten attendance on social development, based on the assumption that such effects stem from the child’s association with other children his age. The results are inconsistent: some show positive associations with desirable social development, and others show no relationship or even show some indication, in the investigator’s opinion, that the child in nursery school may be habituated in his behavior too early. To a great extent the variability of results seems due to differences in the kinds of measures and behaviors employed in these studies. At this time there seems to be little that can clearly be stated about empirical results or that would lead us to even a tentative conclusion about the differential effect of preschool attendance per se on a child’s social development. Differences between various nursery school settings do have differential effects on the child’s social behavior, but investigations to determine the important variables distinguishing the settings still need to be made. Some studies clearly show that social behavior of individual children, as well as group differences, are modified by certain training regimes and specific procedures. Ascendance and submission, social participation, leadership, and positive and negative social interaction have been the behaviors modified in the direction considered desirable.

Peer influences on social behavior have been shown to affect aggression, honesty, expressed values, leadership, participation in diverse extracurricular activities, friendship choices, and identity with a group and its activities. These differences in behavior have been related to whether the child was a member of a particular clique, club, classroom, school, or social class. For some of these associations it is difficult to determine how much to attribute to peer influences and how much to more basic factors, such as family influences, which would determine the child’s assignment to these different social units. However, it seems clear that the peer group does influence the social behavior of the child, even if such influence is only to reinforce behavior which was already a part of the child’s repertory. Interesting demonstrations of peer influences on social development come from studies of the kibbutzim and of Soviet methods of character training. Analyses of these peer settings indicate that the peer group does act as a powerful socializing agent in rewarding and censuring and successfully shaping behavior of its members in conformity with the group’s standards. The evidence available for the Soviet methods of education comes mainly from analyses of their written works, with some support coming from interviews with teachers and a limited amount of direct observation in the schools (Bronfenbrenner 1962). More extended research of socialization has been possible in the kibbutzim of Israel. Direct observations in the nursery indicate that the peer group is important in developing socially desirable habits of eating, toileting, sex, independence, and aggression (Faigin 1958).

The sex and age of the child are important attributes in determining what peer grouping he becomes a member of and how the peer group acts toward him. Cross-cultural studies indicate that from the earliest years the sexes are treated differently by their parents. Other studies indicate that the teaching of behaviors appropriate to the different sex roles, which is begun in the home, is reinforced by the peer groups. Sex seems to be the major determinant in early peer grouping, where the members engage with a vengeance in sex-typed play and eschew behavior considered to be characteristic of the opposite sex. With increasing age, individual friendships become stronger, the role of the individual in the group becomes more distinctive, organized social activity increases, and the individual’s identity with the group and the degree to which he is controlled by the group’s sanctions increases. Even for groups formed for just a short time, there is evidence that reputations and expectations of an individual’s behavior are quickly formed and are quite stable. Such social perceptions by the peer group appear to be strong determinants in shaping the member’s behavior to conform to his reputation and the expectations the others have for him (Campbell’s 1964 review provides fuller coverage of this topic).

Other influences

Since the average American child spends much time watching television and motion pictures, the importance of these media for teaching values and different kinds of behavior is obvious. A program of research in social learning by Bandura and Walters (1963) shows that children will imitate an aggressive model in a motion picture. Watching aggression in a movie also elicits preference for and participation in aggressive play. For adults there is some evidence that, when an individual is already aggressively aroused, watching an aggressive movie acts as a catharsis. For children, however, far from acting as a fantasy reduction of aggressive impulses, the viewing acts to arouse aggression in them. These studies indicate that aggression is more easily aroused and elicited in children than are other forms of behavior. There is some indication that adolescents who watch television programs depicting many stresses and strains of adult life are likely to be more anxious and dependent on their families than are children who do not watch such programs. Television viewing has been associated with a tendency to stereotype nationalities and at the same time with a tendency not to ascribe value judgments to minorities. The evidence suggests that the mass media may have both very desirable and undesirable influences on social development. The effects of viewing appear to be found mainly when the behavior learned is reinforced in the home or is not dissonant with the home values. Still, the implication is that parents would do well to exert some supervision over the viewing choices of their children.

Reading material. Little evidence of the effects of reading material on behavior is available. Studies have shown that the reading of an inordinate number of comic books, especially those with highly aggressive content, may be a symptom of emotional problems in a child and is more characteristic of delinquent children than nondelinquents. But the causal relationship is not clear, since the disturbed child may turn to the fantasy material because of his anxieties. Content analyses of recommended children’s literature indicate rather consistent portrayal of certain roles having certain behavioral traits. This probably reinforces what the child is learning in the home, school, and peer groups about these roles. What the child reads may, nevertheless, teach him certain attitudes, values, and behaviors, which may later be manifested as overt behavior in appropriate situations. But at this time there seems to be no clear evidence in support of this hypothesis.


Several main currents in the flow of research in social development may be noted. One of these, which has a well-established tradition and has always been an integral part of this area of investigation, is the application of learning principles from the experimental laboratory to the more complex areas of human behavior. This paradigm has been especially prominent in recent research investigating some of the important parameters involved in the development of social behavior. The way of thinking about stimuli, responses, reinforcements, and the many other factors found important in experimental studies has been employed both in the design and in the conceptualization of studies of social behavior in nonexperimental settings, and this trend is increasing. This stamp has been felt in no small way in the tightening up of definitions of the behavior and other variables under study. The influence seems to be most apparent in the following kinds of research: (1) observational studies, where data are obtained in a sequential manner in order to ascertain the potential effects of immediate events on behavior; (2) applied uses in therapy and in the modification of behavior of institutionalized persons; and (3) the creative use of experimental designs in natural settings, where the changes in behavior produced by the experimenter’s control of the environment are investigated.

Another dominant trend is in the self-conscious awareness of methods and measuring techniques. There are signs of uneasiness about the labels that have been applied to certain measures which have not been carefully tied to actual behavior. There is increasing use of research designs to assess the correspondence between indirect and direct measures of attitudes and beliefs and their overt behavioral manifestations. The indications are that information from all these levels will provide a fuller understanding of the processes involved in behavior and its development. New techniques are being devised to record and analyze sequential events, in order to assess the effects of different environmental contingencies in determining actions. Obtaining such data in turn demands the development of new kinds of multivariate analytical models, especially for analyzing interaction sequences in a setting such as the home or school.

Another important trend stems from studies of the newborn. These studies have forced researchers to consider possible genetic factors involved in social development. Emphasis is placed on studying the mother-infant relationship as a truly dyadic one, where the infant is shaping the mother’s behavior as well as being affected by her. The concept of “critical periods” has been given special consideration in this area of research. The question of whether an experience has differential effects depending on the maturational age of the child is now being extended from studies of the infancy period to studies involving later ages. [See Imprinting.]

Roger V. Burton

[Directly related are the entriesAdolescence; Developmental psychology; Infancy; Personality, article onpersonality development. Other relevant material may be found inAggression; Imitation; Learning, especially the article onlearning in children; Psychoanalysis.]


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“Socialization” gained currency in the 1930s as a term denoting the process by which culture is transmitted from one generation to the next. Dollard described the process as “an account of how a new person is added to the group and becomes an adult capable of meeting the traditional expectations of his society for a person of his sex and age” (1935, chapter 1). Although a review article by Irvin Child entitled “Socialization” (1954) signaled its formal acceptance, persons doing research on this process have never been too happy with the term—in part because of its ambiguous connotations and in part because it suggests that the concept is limited to the learning of social roles. This implied exclusion of the transmission of beliefs, values, and other cognitive aspects of culture led Kluckhohn (1939) to suggest “culturalization” and Herskovits (1948) to propose “enculturation” as alternative terms. Although these terms, especially the latter, have much to recommend them, they have not been widely used. Nor has “socialization” been universally accepted. “Child rearing” seems to be gaining some favor as an alternative (Sears et al. 1957; B. Whiting 1963), but it also fails to suggest cultural transmission.

Psychoanalytic and cultural approaches

The writings of Freud turned the attention of anthropologists to the study of socialization. Although culture is by definition (Tylor 1871) learned anew by each generation, the study of this process was almost entirely neglected by anthropologists until after 1925. Up to this time , American anthropologists were primarily concerned with the history of cultures and with describing how traits were diffused or borrowed. For example, in their ethnographies a description of a cradle board detailed sufficiently so that it could be identified as either a “Plains type” or a “Plateau type” was often the only material bearing in any way on infancy or childhood. In Europe and England, where evolutionary theories were in vogue, there was even less concern with this topic.

The early writings of Freud were little noticed by anthropologists, but when Totem and Taboo appeared in 1913, this invasion of the ethnological domain could not be ignored by them. For the most part, the initial response of anthropologists was negative. Kroeber (1920) wrote a critical review of the work in the American Anthropologist, and Malinowski (1927), in an attack upon Freudian theory, argued that the Oedipus complex did not occur in the Trobriand Islands. It was Edward Sapir who anticipated the view of psychoanalytic theory that was to be taken by many anthropologists :

Those who are profoundly convinced of the epochmaking importance of the psychological mechanisms revealed by Freud and, even more, of the extraordinary suggestiveness of numerous lines of inquiry opened up by psychoanalysis, without, at the same time, being blind to criticisms that need to be made of certain psychoanalytic theory, can only hope and pray that this not altogether healthy overpopularity of the subject prove no hindrance to the study of the perplexing problems with which the Freudian psychology bristles. ([1917] 1949, p. 522)

Margaret Mead, setting sail for Samoa in 1925, was the first anthropologist to engage in field work with the avowed intention of studying an aspect of socialization. In this first study, she was not strongly influenced by psychoanalytic theory. In her report on the life of adolescent girls (1928) she did not talk of Oedipal complexes or oral fixations but rather about the everyday life of these girls, paying particular attention to the ways in which their lives contrasted with those of American girls of the same age. Her description of growing up in New Guinea (1930) was also more anthropological than psychoanalytic in its conception, but her later study of three contrasting cultures in New Guinea (1935) clearly showed Freudian influence.

During this early period two psychoanalysts, Geza Roheim and Erik Erikson, did field work in non-Western societies; the former worked mainly in Australia and Melanesia (Normanby Island), and the latter studied the American Indians (Sioux and Yurok). Both of them reported child-rearing practices and interpreted some of the rituals, values, and customs as the consequence of unconscious conflicts engendered by these practices. Roheim was so arbitrary and dogmatic in his interpretations that he antagonized many anthropologists and gave the study of socialization a bad name among the more conservative members of the profession. Erikson’s interpretations were, by contrast, sensitive, illuminating, and nondogmatic— a fact which did much to counteract the influence of Roheim (see Erikson 1950).

In 1932-1933 Edward Sapir and John Dollard gave a joint seminar on culture and personality at Yale University. Dollard, a sociologist, had just returned from Germany, where he had received psychoanalytic training. The combination of the cultural and psychoanalytic approaches for the study of personality development was clearly expressed by Dollard soon after this in his Criteria for the Life History (1935). Partly as a consequence of this seminar, a number of life histories of preliterate men and women were published (see Dyk 1938; Ford 1941; Talayesva 1942).

A few years later Abram Kardiner, a psychoanalyst, and Ralph Linton, an anthropologist, instituted another seminar on personality development, held this time at Columbia University, which resulted in the publication of two important volumes: The Individual and His Society (Kardiner 1939) and The Psychological Frontiers of Society (Kardiner 1945). These consisted of case studies of a number of societies whose projective systems were interpreted in the light of their “basic disciplines,” for example, weaning, toilet training, and the control of sex, dependence, and aggression. The cultural material was supplied by an anthropologist with a firsthand knowledge of the case; in most instances the field work had been done prior to the seminar. Cora DuBois’ work on the Alorese, reported both in the second volume and in a separate monograph (1944), was a landmark in the study of socialization from the combined viewpoints of psychoanalysis and cultural anthropology.

The influence of psychoanalytic thinking upon anthropologists that occurred mainly in the decade 1925-1935 resulted in a dramatic change in ethnographic research. Most general ethnographies written after 1930 included descriptions of infancy and childhood. Furthermore, field studies explicitly focusing on the socialization process were undertaken. Child-rearing practices were even used to interpret the “national character” of modern nations [seeNational character].

Learning theory and socialization studies

In the mid-1930s, learning theory was added as a third component in the study of socialization. This came about as a consequence of a seminar at the Institute of Human Relations at Yale University. Among the participants in this group were John Dollard and Earl Zinn, representing the psychoanalytic viewpoint; C. S. Ford, B. Malinowski, G. P. Murdock, and John W. M. Whiting, representing anthropology; and Leonard Doob, Carl Hovland, Clark Hull, O. Hobart Mowrer, Neal Miller, and Robert Sears, representing learning and behavior theory.

Since both the psychoanalytic and the cultural approaches imply learning, the early studies of socialization had an implicit and usually common-sense theory of learning which seemed to serve the purpose well enough at the ethnographic level. Thus Mead described an aspect of Samoan education as follows:

From birth until the age of four or five a child’s education is exceedingly simple. They must be house-broken, a matter made more difficult by an habitual indifference to the activities of very small children. They must learn to sit or crawl within the house and never to stand upright unless it is absolutely necessary; never to address an adult in a standing position; to stay out of the sun; not to tangle the strands of the weaver; not to scatter the cut-up cocoanut which is spread out to dry; to keep their scant loin cloths at least nominally fastened to their persons; to treat fire and knives with proper caution; not to touch the kava bowl, or the kava cup, and, if their father is a chief, not to crawl on his bed-place when he is by. These are really simply a series of avoidances, enforced by occasional cuffings and a deal of exasperated shouting and ineffectual conversation. (1928, pp. 22-23)

The attempt by John W. M. Whiting (1941) to apply a more formal version of learning theory to the socialization process of the Kwoma of New Guinea was, as Gladwin comments, “so literal that it was almost a tour de force. The exercise has therefore not been repeated” (1961, p. 153). Certainly the Kwoma data were in no sense the test of a theory, but they did provide a vehicle for presenting a view of certain aspects of the socialization process. In this study the role of the socializing agent was stressed, as indicated by the following quotation:

A Kwoma child learns but a small part of his cultural habits by free trial and error, that is, without some member of his society guiding and directing him. Were he to do so, he would learn those habits which were most rewarding to him and to him alone. This, however, is not what actually happens. He is forced to learn, not the habits which might be most rewarding to him alone, but the habits which are specified in the culture as being best … . Thus an essential set of conditions for social learning is the behavior of the socializing agents … .

Before the analysis of teaching techniques is undertaken, several terms which are to be used should be defined. The terms “teacher” and “pupil” will be employed in a special sense, the former to mean anyone who attempts to change the habit structure of another person, the latter, any person whose habit structure is being so changed. Although Kwoma parents most frequently play the role of teacher, with their children as pupils, the teacher-pupil relation is not by any means restricted to them. Co-mothers, siblings, paternal uncles, and aunts, and other relatives frequently play the role of teacher as well … .

Unless the essentials for learning are already supplied by the interaction of the environment and the pupil, they must be supplied by the teacher. In other words, when such conditions are not already present, the teacher, in order to change the habit structure of the pupil in the desired manner, must provide motivation, guidance, and reward. Each of the various teaching techniques employed at Kwoma may be classed under one or another of these three categories. The following table presents this classification:

1. Providing motivation

a. punishing

b. scolding

c. threatening

d. warning

e. inciting

2. Providing guidance

a. leading

b. instructing

c. demonstrating

3. Providing reward

a. giving

b. helping

c. praising

(J. Whiting 1941, pp. 177-178; 180)

An analysis of the method by which supernatural beliefs were transmitted in Kwoma society was also presented. This analysis was intended as an antidote both to some of the more exaggerated Freudian interpretations, which seemed to imply that the so-called projective systems of a culture were reinvented each generation from the neurotic fantasies of its members, and to the bizarre “racial unconscious” hypothesis, which held that religious beliefs were genetically transmitted.

Since learning theory was not especially useful as an interpretive device, the Kwoma example was not followed. However, as one of the bases for developing the so-called complex mechanisms of social learning, it was invaluable. Another and more profound influence of learning theory was methodological rather than substantive.

Learning and behavior theory was developed in the laboratory rather than on the “couch” or in the “field,” and therefore the method used was experimental rather than descriptive and interpretive. The stating of hypotheses so that they can be tested or jeopardized is crucial to a laboratory science. Although the procedures of the controlled experiment are inappropriate for the study of socialization, correlational studies both within and across cultures are quite feasible. The effect of work by the experimental-learning theorists was to introduce hypothesis testing, case counting, and the use of statistics to the study of socialization. John W. M. Whiting and Irvin Child expressed this development in their cross-cultural study of socialization :

Most previous work in culture and personality has been oriented primarily toward seeking concrete understanding of specific cases. Our work in contrast is oriented toward testing generalized hypotheses applicable to any case. The difference is not between interest and lack of interest in general hypotheses. The student who is primarily oriented toward full interpretation of the individual case inevitably makes use of general hypotheses as an interpretive device. But he is inclined to take their validity for granted and use them simply as tools which contribute to the understanding of the concrete case. We are not willing to take the validity of any hypothesis for granted until we see adequate evidence to support it, and we are willing to leave to the future the task of applying validated hypotheses to the interpretation of specific cases. (1953, p. 5)

The comparative study of socialization

Socialization as cause and as effect

The Whiting and Child study used data from 75 mostly preliterate societies for which sufficient descriptive data on the socialization process were available. The hypotheses tested were derived from Freudian theory but modified by learning theory and adapted to the categories of cultural anthropology in such a way that they were testable.

In this study Whiting and Child made a distinction between the maintenance systems and the projective systems of a culture. The former include “the economic, political, and social organization of a society—the basic customs surrounding nourishment, sheltering, and the protection of its members” (Whiting & Child 1953, p. 310); the projection systems (Kardiner 1945) include magic, art, and religion. In any culture, socialization was assumed to be an effect of the maintenance systems and a cause of the projective systems. Thus, this model assumes that insofar as socialization affects the habit structure or personality of the members of a society, it becomes one of the mechanisms by which culture is integrated.

Following this study by Whiting and Child, a fairly large number of cross-cultural studies were undertaken to test hypotheses concerning either the effect of the maintenance systems upon socialization or the effect of socialization upon magical beliefs and rituals (these are reviewed in J. Whiting 1961).

Findings relating socialization to the projective systems include the following: the treatment of infants in a society is predictive of beliefs about the nature of the gods (Spiro & D’Andrade 1958; Lambert et al. 1959; J. Whiting 1959a); the severity of socialization leads to complexity in decorative art (Barry 1957); achievement imagery in folk tales is predictable from the age and severity of independence training (McClelland & Friedman 1952; however, in a replication of this study by Child et al. 1958, this relationship was not supported by the data); last, that an exclusive relationship between mother and son during infancy is associated with male initiation rites at puberty (J. Whiting et al. 1958; Burton & Whiting 1961).

Studies purporting to show that socialization is an effect of maintenance-system variables have found the following associations: the amount of indulgence during infancy is predictable from the number of adult females in the household—large extended family households being the most indulgent and households consisting of a mother and child alone being the least indulgent (J. Whiting 1961); extended family households are also the most severe in controlling the aggressions of their children (J. Whiting 1959); the type of subsistence economy is predictive of the strength of socialization pressure to train the child toward being compliant rather than assertive, the strongest pressure being found among pastoral societies and the weakest among the hunters and gatherers (Barry etal. 1959).

Comparative case studies

Paralleling the type of cross-cultural studies reported above was a series of comparative case studies using the so-called method of controlled comparison. Margaret Mead’s investigation of three societies in New Guinea—the Arapesh, the Mundugumor, and the Tchambuli—was the first of these (1935). In this study she concluded that the personalities of the two sexes are socially produced and may vary to the extent that the biological stereotype may actually be reversed.

A few years later the first large interdisciplinary project was undertaken. This was the Indian Education Research Project jointly undertaken by the Committee on Human Development of the University of Chicago and the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs. A long list of notables from the fields of anthropology, psychology, and education constituted the advisory committee. This ambitious project undertook the study of socialization and its effects upon personality in each of five societies: the Hopi, Navajo, Papago, Sioux, and Zñni. Standard tests such as the Rorschach, the Thematic Apperception Test, Stewart’s Emotional Response Test, Goodenough’s Draw-a-Man Test, the Arthur Point Scale of Performance, and Bavelas’ Moral Ideology Test were given to children, and the societies were compared on the basis of the test results. The major results of the project, however, were a series of descriptive monographs (Leighton & Kluckhohn 1947; Thompson & Joseph 1944; Macgregor 1946; Joseph et al. 1949). Although each of these was written by a different person, they provided far more comparable data than those which are usually available for the large sample cross-cultural studies.

In the above studies the society is the basic unit of comparison. Although in the Indian Education Project tests were given to individual children, the only intra-cultural comparison made was between subgroups judged to be more or less traditional.

Another project in which several societies were simultaneously studied—the Coordinated Investigation of Micronesian Anthropology—was undertaken shortly after the end of World War II. Although this project was not specifically addressed to studies of child rearing or personality development, several excellent studies on these topics resulted, notably one on Ifaluk (Burrows & Spiro 1953) and one on Truk (Gladwin & Sarason 1953).

The advantage of these projects, as compared with the cross-cultural studies based on large samples, was that they provided case studies in greater depth and with greater comparability; however, they suffered from providing too few cases to enable a confident interpretation of observed differences.

Replication studies

The next step in research-design efficiency was taken by Prothro (1961), who went further than using standard instruments for comparative purposes. He set himself the task of replicating, in Lebanon, a study of child-rearing practices that had been carried out in a suburb of Boston by Sears, Maccoby, and Levin (1957). The same interview was used as a basic research instrument. Some of Prothro’s findings confirmed the Boston study, and some did not:

If we compare the children who did have feeding difficulty with those who did not, we find that the first conclusion of the American study is confirmed by our data. Feeding problems for Arab and Armenian children were not linked to infant weaning problems or to age at weaning. The feeding problems of the five-year-old—New Englander or Middle Easterner—are not linked to problems of feeding and weaning in infancy. The relationship of maternal warmth to feeding problems is, however, the opposite of that found in America. The warmer mothers were more likely to report feeding problems. Of those mothers whose children had feeding problems, 47 per cent were high in warmth and 37 per cent were low in warmth. Of mothers not reporting any feeding problems, 35 per cent were high in warmth and 45 per cent were low in warmth. This distribution … could not have occurred only by chance. Maternal warmth was associated with more feeding problems … .

It is not difficult to adduce post hoc explanations for the difference between our findings and those in America. American mothers generally try to see that their children eat enough, and eat a “proper” diet. Warm and cold mothers alike would concern themselves with what the child ate, and the warmth or coldness would express itself in the way in which they tried to achieve this goal. In Lebanon, however, there is less attention given to the diet of the toddler, so that greater warmth might express itself in greater concern for diet, more efforts to insure the eating of “healthful” foods, and more awareness of any balky or “finicky” habits that did exist. Thus greater warmth might produce pressures comparable to those found in America. Whether this explanation is correct or not, we can be certain of one fact—the [negative] correlation found in the United States between maternal warmth and feeding problems does not obtain in Lebanon. Warmer mothers reported more such problems. (1961, pp. 83-84)

As can be seen from the above quotation, the replication strategy is powerful when the results of various studies confirm one another, but when they do not, further replications are required. Large-scale comparative studies with carefully controlled methods of data collection and replication and a large enough sample of societies to adequately jeopardize a hypothesis have yet to be undertaken.

Subsystem replication. An alternative strategy that Roberts and Sutton-Smith have called subsystem replication has much merit. This design requires that any hypothesis to be tested be put in double jeopardy, that is, tested on the basis of cultural differences among an adequate sample of societies and also on either subgroup or individual differences within) one or more of these societies. Studies involving socialization variables and using this strategy have been done by John W. M. Whiting (1954; Whiting et al. 1966a) and Roberts and Sutton-Smith (1962).

The most elaborate attempt so far to use the subsystem-replication strategy was the so-called Six Culture Project, which was directed by Irvin Child, William Lambert, and John W. M. Whiting. For this study teams of investigators underwent training in standard methods of interviewing and observing children for a year before going into the field. At the end of this training period the senior investigators and the field teams prepared a document, Field Guide for the Study of Socialization (Whiting et al. 1966fo), for the purpose of maximizing the uniformity of their data collection. Inaddition, Beatrice Whiting acted as a clearinghouse during the period of field work and attempted to solve unanticipated field-work problems in a way that would maximize uniformity.

The design of this study called for collection of cultural data on each of the six societies, using standard ethnographic techniques for comparison at the societal level. For subsystem replication, a sample of 24 children from the ages of three to ten, balanced by sex and age, was chosen at random from the census of all children in the community selected for study. These children together with their parents were chosen for intensive study. (See B. Whiting 1963 for a description of the cultures and the child-rearing practices and Minturn & Lambert 1964 for a factor analysis of standard interviews with each of the sample mothers.)

Although the effort to insure comparability of data collection represented by this study is a step forward in the comparative study of socialization, there is still a long way to go before satisfactory standards are achieved. Perhaps the next step will be the collection of a limited amount of data relevant to the testing of a specific hypothesis, carried out by a single person or team, on an appropriate sample of societies.

Anthropologists, stimulated by the work of Freud, have in increasing numbers turned their attention to the problem of cultural transmission. Ethnographies detailing this process, almost wholly absent in 1920, are now a commonplace. This has added what might be termed a “third dimension” to the description of a culture. More importantly, it has introduced an appreciation that the “natural man” assumption is inadequate for a complete understanding of cultural integration. The evidence from comparative studies of socialization indicates that man as a bearer of culture is not just a primate who thinks logically or prelogically and whose feelings are based upon primary needs such as hunger, thirst, sex, fear, and the like; in addition, as a consequence of the child-rearing methods of his society, man has blind spots and distortions in his cognitive processes and specific anxieties which may form the emotional underpinning and raison d’etre for elaborate rituals and magico-religious beliefs.

John W. M. Whiting

[See alsoCulture and Personality.]


Barry, Herbert 1957 Relationships Between Child Training and the Pictorial Arts. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 54:380-383.

Barry, Herbert; Child, Irvin L.; and Bacon, Margaret K. 1959 Relation of Child Training to Subsistence Economy. American Anthropologist New Series 61:51-63.

Burrows, Edwin G.; and Spiro, Melford (1953) 1957 An Atoll Culture: Ethnography of Ifaluk in the Central Carolines. 2d ed. New Haven: Human Relations Area Files.

Burton, Roger V.; and Whiting, John W. M. 1961 The Absent Father and Cross-sex Identity. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly of Behavior and Development 7:85-95.

Child, Irvin L. 1954 Socialization. Volume 2, pages 655-692 in Gardner Lindzey (editor), Handbook of Social Psychology. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

Child, Irvin L.; Storm, Thomas; and Veroff, Joseph 1958 Achievement Themes in Folk Tales Related to Socialization Practice. Pages 479-492 in John W. Atkinson (editor), Motives in Fantasy, Action, and Society: A Method of Assessment and Study. Princeton, N.J.: Van Nostrand.

Dollard, John (1935) 1949 Criteria for the Life History: With Analyses of Six Notable Documents. Gloucester, Mass.: Smith. → See especially Chapter 1.

Dubois, Cora A. (1944) 1960 The People of Alor: A Social-psychological Study of an East-Indian Island. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press. → A two-volume paperback edition was published in 1961 by Harper.

Dyk, Walter 1938 Son of Old Man Hat: A Navaho Autobiography. New York: Harcourt.

Erikson, Erik H. (1950) 1964 Childhood and Society. 2d ed., rev. & enl. New York: Norton.

Ford, Clellan 1941 Smoke From Their Fires: The Life of a Kwakiutl Chief. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Freud, Sigmund (1913) 1959 Totem and Taboo. Volume 13, pages ix-162 in Sigmund Freud, The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. London: Hogarth; New York: Macmillan.

Gladwin, Thomas 1961 Oceania. Pages 135-171 in Francis L. K. Hsu (editor), Psychological Anthropology: Approaches to Culture and Personality. Home-wood, 111.: Dorsey.

Gladwin, Thomas; and Sarason, Seymour B. 1953 Truk: Man in Paradise. Viking Fund Publications in Anthropology, No. 20. New York: Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.

Herskovits, Melville J. 1948 Man and His Works: The Science of Cultural Anthropology. New York: Knopf.

Joseph, Alice; Spicer, Rosamund B.; and Chesky, Jane 1949 The Desert People: A Study of the Papago Indians. Univ. of Chicago Press.

Kardiner, Abram (1939) 1955 The Individual and His Society: The Psychodynamics of Primitive Social Organization. New York: Columbia Univ. Press.

Kardiner, Abram 1945 The Psychological Frontiers of Society. New York: Columbia Univ. Press. → A paperback edition was published in 1963.

Kluckhohn, Clyde 1939 Theoretical Bases for an Empirical Method of Studying the Acquisition of Culture by Individuals. Man 39:98-105.

Kroeber, Alfred L. 1920 Totem and Taboo: An Ethnologic Psychoanalysis. American Anthropologist New Series 22:48-55.

Lambert, William W.; Thiandis, Leigh M.; and Wolf, Margery 1959 Some Correlates of Beliefs in theMalevolence and Benevolence of Supernatural Beings: A Cross Societal Study. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 58:162-169.

Landy, David 1959 Tropical Childhood: Cultural Transmission and Learning in a Rural Puerto Rican Village. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press.

Leighton, Dorothea (CROSS); and Kluckhohn, Clyde 1947 Children of the People: The Navaho Individual and His Development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Mcclelland, David C.; and Friedman, G. A. 1952 A Cross-cultural Study of the Relationship Between Child-training Practices and Achievement Motivation Appearing in Folk Tales. Pages 243-249 in Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Readings in Social Psychology. 2d ed. New York: Holt.

Macgregor, Gordon 1946 Warriors Without Weapons: Study of the Society and Personality Development of the Pine Ridge Sioux. Univ. of Chicago Press.

Malinowski, Bronislaw (1927)1953 Sex and Repression in Savage Society. London: Routledge; New York: Harcourt. → A paperback edition was published in 1955 by Meridian.

Mead, Margaret (1928) 1961 Coming of Age in Samoa: A Psychological Study of Primitive Youth for Western Civilization. New York: Morrow.

Mead, Margaret (1930) 1953 Growing Up in New Guinea. New York: New American Library.

Mead, Margaret (1935) 1950 Sex and Temperament in Three Primitive Societies. New York: Mentor.

Mead, Margaret 1949 Male and Female: A Study of the Sexes in a Changing World. London: Gollancz; New York: Morrow. → A paperback edition was published in 1955 by New American Library.

Minturn, Leigh; and Lambert, William W. 1964 Mothers of Six Cultures: Antecedents of Child Rearing. New York: Wiley.

Prothro, Edwin T. 1961 Child Rearing in the Lebanon. Harvard University Middle Eastern Monograph No. 8. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press. → Copyright 1961 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Extracts from this book are reprinted by the permission of the publishers.

Roberts, J. M.; and Button-Smith, B. 1962 Child Training and Game Involvement. Ethnology 1:166-185.

Sapir, Edward (1917) 1949 Excerpt From a [Book] Review of Oskar Pfister, The Psychoanalytic Method. Pages 522-525 in Edward Sapir, Selected Writings of Edward Sapir in Language, Culture and Personality. Berkeley and Los Angeles: Univ. of California Press.

Sears, Robert R.; Maccoby, E. E.; and Levin, H. 1957 Patterns of Child Rearing. Evanston, 111.: Row, Peterson.

Spiro, Melford E.; and D’ANDRADE, ROY G. 1958 A Cross-cultural Study of Some Supernatural Beliefs. American Anthropologist New Series 60:456-466.

Talayesva, Don C. 1942 Sun Chief: The Autobiography of a Hopi Indian. Edited by Leo Simmons. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Thompson, Laura; and Joseph, Alice (1944) 1947 The Hopi Way. Univ. of Chicago Press.

Tylor, Edward B. (1871) 1958 Primitive Culture: Researches Into the Development of Mythology, Philosophy, Religion, Art and Custom. Volume 1: Origins of Culture. Gloucester, Mass.: Smith.

Whiting, Beatrice B. (editor) 1963 Six Cultures: Studies of Child Rearing. New York: Wiley.

Whiting, John W. M. 1941 Becoming a Kwoma: Teaching and Learning in a New Guinea Tribe. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Whiting, John W. M. 1954 The Cross-cultural Method. Volume 1, pages 523-531 in Gardner Lindzey (editor), Handbook of Social Psychology. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

Whiting, John W. M. 1959a Sorcery, Sin, and the Superego: A Cross-cultural Study of Some Mechanisms of Social Control. Volume 7, pages 174-195 in Marshall R. Jones (editor), Nebraska Symposium on Motivation. Lincoln: Univ. of Nebraska Press.

Whiting, John W. M. 1959b Cultural and Sociological Influences on Development. Pages 5-9 in Maryland Child Growth and Development Institute, Baltimore, 1959, Maryland Child Growth and Development Institute, June 1-5, 1959. Baltimore: Maryland State Department of Health.

Whiting, John W. M. 1961 Socialization Process and Personality. Pages 355-380 in Francis L. K. Hsu (editor), Psychological Anthropology: Approaches to Culture and Personality. Homewood, 111.: Dorsey.

Whiting, John W. M.; and Child, Irvin L. 1953 Child Training and Personality: A Cross-cultural Study. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press. → A paperback edition was published in 1962.

Whiting, John W. M.; Kluckhohn, Richard; and Anthony, Albert 1958 The Function of Male Initiation Ceremonies at Puberty. Pages 359-371 in Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Readings in Social Psychology. 3d ed. New York: Holt.

Whiting, John W. M. et al. 1966a The Learning of Values. Pages 83-125 in Evon Z. Vogt and Ethel M. Albert (editors), People of Rimrock: A Study of Values in Five Cultures. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press.

Whiting, John W. M. et al. 1966b Field Guide for the Study of Socialization. New York: Wiley.


Narrowly conceived, political socialization is the deliberate inculcation of political information, values, and practices by instructional agents who have been formally charged with this responsibility. A broader conception would encompass all political learning, formal and informal, deliberate and unplanned, at every stage of the life cycle, including not only explicitly political learning but also nominally nonpolitical learning that affects political behavior, such as the learning of politically relevant social attitudes and the acquisition of politically relevant personality characteristics. For the present purposes we shall think of political socialization in the second, more comprehensive, sense.

The importance of political socialization

Political actions are determined both by the “objective” situations in which political actors find themselves (for example, the constraints and rewards imposed by the environment, including the structure of political institutions) and by the predispositions that citizens and their leaders have acquired through prior experience—inter alia, their political goals, expectations about the rules of the game of politics, conceptions of the legitimacy of men and institutions, group loyalties, assumptions about “human nature,” and orientations toward authority. The nature of these predispositions and the processes through which they are acquired are matters of crucial political importance. For example, the political socialization process of a society may contribute to stability or instability, to continuity or change, to high or low levels of public political participation.

Socialization is an economical tool of government. To the degree that government relies upon the habituated responses of citizens, the necessity of environmental constraints is lessened. Authority is more stable when obeyed automatically than when sanctions must be threatened or employed. Yet it is not necessarily the stable, secure government that attends consciously and explicitly to political socialization. Rather, civic training becomes a deliberate policy when elements of potential instability are perceived in a political system—for instance, when an attempt is being made to weld together diverse and antagonistic populations into a single nation. Extensive formal political education also occurs where, as is the case under totalitarianism, the state carries on many of the functions ordinarily performed by other institutions, such as the family.

In the United States considerable explicit discussion of the importance of civic training can be found in the educational literature of the turn of the century, at which time sizable immigrant populations were being assimilated. Civic education is still considered a key function of the schools. Although detailed research has not been carried out, it seems likely that preoccupation with formal civic education and the inculcation of patriotism in the United States is greater than in Britain, but less than in an unstable democracy such as France, and certainly far less than in the Soviet Union, where “character training” and child-raising practices, as well as specifically political education, are officially discussed in terms of the requirements of the state (Bronfenbrenner 1962).

The study of political socialization

Scholarly interest in political socialization is coeval with the beginnings of political theory. It is difficult to think of a political theorist who exceeds Plato in his concern with the training of citizens. Countless insights into the nature and significance of political socialization may be found in traditional political thought—for example, in Aristotle’s discussion of “the type of character appropriate to a constitution” or in Bodin’s assertion that “children who stand in little awe of their parents, and have even less fear of the wrath of God, readily set at defiance the authority of the magistrates.” Nevertheless, neither classical nor contemporary scholarship has produced a generally agreed-upon framework for analyzing political socialization, much less a codified body of knowledge.

Three strands of twentieth-century writing may be noted: (1) In the late 1920s and early 1930s there was concerted discussion of political education by social scientists. The formal aspects of civic training were examined in a number of studies sponsored by the American Historical Association (e.g., Merriam 1934; Pierce 1933), and “the making of citizens” was the subject of a series edited by Charles E. Merriam (summarized in Merriam 1931). (2) During World War II and the postwar decade, there was a great deal of interest in personality and politics and national character. Attempts were made to describe politically significant variations in personality within and between societies and to indicate their developmental origins (Inkeles & Levinson 1954). (3) Finally, the late 1950s and early 1960s saw the beginning of direct research on the development of political behavior, especially studies of the political development of children and adolescents. During this period the label “political socialization” came to be applied to such research (Hyman 1959).

The process of political socialization

Although there is no generally accepted approach to the study of political socialization, much of what is known and much of what ought to be known can be summed up in the following paraphrase of Lasswell’s formulation of the general process of communication: (a) Who (b) learns what (c) from whom (d) under what circumstances (e) with what effects? In what follows, each element of this formulation will be elaborated upon, with illustrations from the rather scanty body of existing knowedge.

Who learns

Political learning varies in terms of the social and psychological characteristics of the individuals educated. These characteristics affect the socializing influences an individual will receive and his receptivity to them.

Sex and social class are two of the many social-psychological characteristics affecting political learning. Among adults, men are more likely than women to participate in politics; members of the upper social strata are more politically active than members of the lower strata. Research on children’s political awareness, showing that these differences have already begun to be established by nine years of age, sheds partial light on the source of the adult variation. Sex differences in political activity, for example, seem to be encouraged by the entire process of psychological sex-typing. Beginning with preschool play activity, male children learn to orient themselves to aspects of the environment beyond their primary ’circle and eventually to politics; girls are subtly or directly encouraged to develop domestic concerns. This predisposes them to ignore politics. Class differences in political involvement result from the circularly reinforcing tendency of generations of lower-class and upper-class parents to furnish their children with models of the adult role that either include or fail to include civic involvement. Lower-class families, in addition to failing to serve as political exemplars for their children, provide fewer of the skills and resources that facilitate political participation (Green-stein 1965, chapters 5, 6).

The variation in political learning between cultures is probably greater than the variations within cultures. In France, for example, there is evidently much less political communication between parents and children than in the United States. Over 80 per cent of American adults, but less than 30 per cent of French adults, are able to report what their parents’ party preferences were when they were growing up. The failure of French families to foster party attachment apparently contributes to the high proportion of uncommitted voters in the French electorate; this, in turn, provides more leeway in France than in the United States for the rise and fall of new mass political movements (Converse & Dupeux 1962).

What is learned

When discussing the content of political education, it is important to distinguish politically relevant aspects of personality development from specifically political learning. The former include basic dispositions, beliefs, and attitudes that affect political behavior. The latter involves: (1) learning connected with the citizen role (partisan attachment, ideology, motivation to participate); (2) learning connected with the subject role (national loyalty, orientations toward authority, conceptions of the legitimacy of institutions); and (3) learning connected with recruitment to and performance of specialized roles, such as bureaucrat, party functionary, and legislator [seePolitical recruitment and careers].

The following discussion will focus on one aspect of personality development and the learning of orientations connected with the citizen and subject roles.

The most influential formulation connecting personality and personality development with political behavior is the construct summed up by the phrase “authoritarian personality” (Adorno et al. 1950). In brief, it is hypothesized that certain developmental experiences predispose people to acquire complementary needs: to comply with what they perceive to be superior authorities and to dominate subordinates. Such individuals are unable to acknowledge their hostility toward authority figures, their doubts about their strength, and their sexual and aggressive impulses. The need to repress these inner needs, it is argued, results from unbendingly stern treatment received in childhood from parents who both generated strong antagonisms toward themselves and forbade expression of these antagonisms. These “nonpolitical” aspects of child training lead by reaction formation to the crystallization of a character type that is tough out of an underlying sense of weakness, deferring to authority and deflecting unconscious hostility toward authority into punitive behavior toward the weak and unauthoritative.

Apart from questions about the empirical validity of the authoritarian personality construct, a general question may be raised about the relationship between deep personality needs and political behavior. LeVine (1960) has convincingly shown a one-to-one relationship between personality patterns resulting from child-training practices and political behavior in two preliterate African tribal groups. Among the Gusii, children are thoroughly subordinated to adults. The Nuer are much more egalitarian; for example, children talk back to their parents freely. And the former have been much more compliant to British colonial authority than the latter. In complex, industrial societies, however, much intervenes between child-training practices and adult behavior. Schools, mass media, and adult work experience expose people to values other than those acquired in the home; behavior may be determined by conventional cultural orientations, such as party identifications; political roles are institutionalized and may be so clearly defined as to leave little room for the effects of personal idiosyncrasies. Under these circumstances, the effects of personality on political behavior may often be marginal rather than central, circuitous rather than direct.

In contrast to personality development, specific learning about politics is generally thought to be an outgrowth of late childhood and the adolescent years. Actually, many political orientations are learned much earlier. In the preschool years, children commonly acquire conceptions of the police and the military, of symbols such as the flag, and (especially during periods of widespread attention to politics, such as election campaigns) of certain public officials and some of the more superficial aspects of partisan politics. In the United States, the president seems most often to be the first public official of whom children become aware. Very young children have little in the way of specific understanding of the presidential role and duties; nevertheless, they have clear conceptions of the importance of the presidential role. The child’s first conception of the president, and indeed of politics in general, tends to be quite positive, if not idealized. Political cynicism, although prevalent in the adult population, does not seem to emerge until adolescence or thereafter. The positive tone of early political learning, it has been argued, helps to account for the widespread acceptance of the legitimacy of American political institutions (Easton & Hess 1962).

American children become familiar with the president much earlier than with Congress or individual congressmen. At the state and local levels also, it is executives who are understood before legislators. The simplicity of perceiving and explaining a single figure rather than an assembly and the greater attention in the mass media to executives probably account for this sequence of learning. Simplicity of perception probably also accounts for the early age at which party loyalties are acquired in the United States, since the two major parties are highly visible. There is evidence that by nine years of age children are about as likely to have attachments to one or the other of the major political parties as are young adults of voting age. Ideological orientations are formed much later than party attachments; preadolescent children show little awareness of political issues (Greenstein 1965, chapters 3, 4).

The agents of political socialization

We may conveniently take the United States, since it falls somewhere between the extremes of complete reliance upon informal socialization and massive inculcation of political orientations, as a case study for examining the agents of political education.

Civic-training practices in American schools are quite heterogeneous; curriculum is a matter of state and local policy. The study of government generally does not begin until late in elementary school. Instruction tends to be formalistic, stressing the structure rather than the dynamics of government. By and large, the classroom is not an agency for advancement of viewpoints related to party politics, but the schools are exposed to the general societal process of political and politically relevant communication and persuasion. Interest groups—industries, professions, liberal and conservative associations, patriotic societies, ethnic groups, agencies of government—vie for a hearing in the classroom. Groups provide teachers with instructional materials, send speakers to schools, and take an interest in the content of textbooks. (These groups also, of course, have direct programs designed to convey their views to children and adults.) From the earliest grades, schools purvey the symbols of nationalism through observance of holidays, teaching about national heroes, and patriotic ceremonies.

If the schools transmit communications from the entire range of societal institutions, so also do the mass media. The latter are extraordinarily important agents of political socialization. In the early 1960s the average American grade school child spent approximately twenty hours weekly viewing television and additional hours being exposed to other media (Witty et al. 1963). Many of the communications thus received are without specific political content, but some contact with political information is unavoidable. And children deliberately seek information about certain dramatic political events. The long-run effect of media attention is probably to build up, gradually and inadvertently, an awareness of basic elements in the political system.

There is much research suggesting that face-to-face communication in a primary group setting (family, peer group, neighborhood) is more persuasive than communication through the mass media. The study of political socialization supports this view strongly. In particular, the family is a vital source of socialization, especially in the acquisition of beliefs and loyalties. We have seen the apparent significance for French politics of the failure of families to serve as agencies of political communication. In the United States there is a high correlation between the political beliefs, especially the party preferences, of parents and those of their children: children acquire either partisan loyalties or the tendency not to have partisan loyalties from their parents (Hyman 1959; Greenstein 1965, chapter 4). Parents also have a powerful effect upon their children’s motivation to participate in politics.

Circumstances of political socialization. All of the principles governing the effectiveness of educational practices and, more generally, of communication and persuasion, apply to assessing the effects of the various circumstances under which political socialization takes place. A circumstance of political socialization alluded to above is the age at which learning takes place, including the sequence of learning.

That early learning is of decisive importance is suggested by many contemporary psychological theories and by traditional folklore. But the effects of the early formation of politically relevant personality structures may be attenuated or obliterated by later experience. Almond and Verba (1963) find a stronger correlation between disposition to participate in politics and feelings that one is free to participate at his work place than with feelings that earlier in life one was free to participate in the classroom or the home.

In the case of specifically political learning (in contrast to politically relevant personality development), there is evidence for the considerable importance of early experience. Political orientations learned during the initial school years or the late preschool years often have a greater impact on the individual’s adult political behavior than do orientations that are learned later in life. For example, party identification is formed early in life; ideological orientations come much later. In the United States at least, the voter’s party preference has a stronger effect on his electoral decision making than do his views about political issues. Children learn earlier about political executives than about legislative bodies. Among adult citizens there is more awareness of the former than of the latter and probably a tendency to attribute greater importance to executives such as the president, governor and mayor than to their legislative counterparts.

One aspect of this is the learning sequence

The concepts, information, and feelings that are first acquired serve as “filters” through which later perceptions must pass. Thus, the child who “knows” that he is a Democrat, without attributing any substantive meaning to his party preference, will learn to orient himself toward the utterances of Democratic politicians and to acquire issue commitments consistent with his initial loyalty. The child who first becomes aware of a political executive and later learns of the existence of a coordinate legislative body may tacitly assume that the legislature is in some way ancillary or subordinate to the executive. Apart from its sequential effects, early learning may be important in and of itself because it takes place at a plastic, formative stage of development, when critical capacities are limited. Adult orientations that have their roots in early learning and that have, therefore, been adopted without conscious consideration of alternatives, are likely to have an unquestioned character that makes them both influential for behavior and resistant to change.

The effects of political socialization

Political learning has effects on the later political behavior of the individual exposed to socializing influences and, by extension, upon the political system. Most commonly, socialization seems to have conservative consequences for existing political arrangements. We have seen, for example, that class and sex differences in political participation tend to be transmitted from generation to generation. The conservative effects of socialization are not necessarily in the direction of encouraging political stability: political socialization in both stable and unstable societies is likely to maintain existing patterns.

Nevertheless, socialization is a potential source of change. It is always possible that the link will be broken in the attempt to transmit one generation’s predispositions to the next. And since the training of the young is in part future-oriented, one generation may deliberately inculcate the next with values that differ from its own (Inkeles 1955). More generally, wherever different generations are exposed to different experiences, the seeds of change are present.

Fred I. Greenstein

[Directly related are the entriesAccess to politics; Consensus, article onthe study of consensus; Generations, article onpolitical generations; Identification, political; Loyalty; Political efficacy; Political recruitment and careers. Other relevant material may be found inPersonality, political; Political culture; Political participation; Political sociology.]


Adorno, T. W. et al. 1950 The Authoritarian Personality. American Jewish Committee, Social Studies Series, No. 3. New York: Harper.

Almond, Gabriel A.; and Verba, Sidney 1963 The Civic Culture: Political Attitudes and Democracy in Five Nations. Princeton Univ. Press.

American Academy of Political and Social Science 1965 Political Socialization: Its Role in the Political Process. Edited by Roberta Sigel. Annals, Vol. 361. Philadelphia: The Academy.

Bronfenbrenner, Urie 1962 Soviet Methods of Character Education: Some Implications for Research. American Psychologist 17:550-564.

Coleman, James S. (editor) 1965 Education and Political Development. Princeton Univ. Press.

Converse, Philip E.; and Dupeux, Georges 1962 Politicization of the Electorate in France and the United States. Public Opinion Quarterly 26:1-23.

Easton, David; and Hess, Robert D. 1962 The Child’s Political World. Midwest Journal of Political Science 6:229-246.

Greenstein, Fred I. 1965 Children and Politics. Yale Studies in Political Science, Vol. 12. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Hyman, Herbert H. 1959 Political Socialization: A Study in the Psychology of Political Behavior. Glencoe, 111.: Free Press.

Inkeles, Alex 1955 Social Change and Social Character: The Role of Parental Mediation. Journal of Social Issues 11, no. 2:12-23.

Inkeles, Alex; and Levinson, Daniel J. 1954 National Character: The Study of Modal Personality and Sociocultural Systems. Volume 2, pages 977-1020 in Gardner Lindzey (editor), Handbook of Social Psychology. Cambridge, Mass.: Addison-Wesley.

Levine, Robert A. 1960 The Internalization of Political Values in Stateless Societies. Human Organization 19:51-58.

Merriam, Charles E. 1931 The Making of Citizens: A Comparative Study of Methods of Civic Training. Univ. of Chicago Press.

Merriam, Charles E. 1934 Civic Education in the United States. Report of the Commission on the Social Studies, American Historical Association, Part 6. New York: Scribner.

Pierce, Bessie L. 1933 Citizens’ Organizations and the Civic Training of Youth. Report of the Commission on the Social Studies, American Historical Association, Part 3. New York: Scribner.

Witty, Paul A. et al. 1963 A Summary of Yearly Studies of Televiewing: 1949-1963. Elementary English 40:590-597.


Every society is faced with the task of socializing its children into the basic culture and, to varying degrees, of providing further socialization of these persons as they move into different statuses at different stages in the life cycle. In the simplest terms, one can say that through socialization the individual acquires the culture of his group or groups. This includes two main divisions of culture: the traditional positions, or statuses, in the society and the role behaviors associated with them.

The socialization that an individual receives in childhood cannot be fully adequate preparation for the tasks demanded of him in later years. As an individual matures, he moves through a sequence of statuses corresponding to different stages in the life cycle. In addition, his interpersonal environment may change because of geographic or social mobility, with consequent demands for new kinds of behavior. Even though some of the expectations of society are relatively stable through the life cycle, many others change from one position to the next.

It would seem desirable from society’s point of view to be able to socialize an individual in childhood so that he could successfully handle all of the roles he would confront in the future. Perhaps this is possible in a relatively unchanging society with little mobility, where one could have foresight about an individual’s path through the whole life cycle. But this orderly state of affairs usually cannot be achieved; it can only be approximated to varying degrees, from one society to the next. Society can do no more than lay the groundwork for the necessary learning in later life, when the child will be confronted with the as yet only dimly seen adult roles.

There are, to be sure, other reasons why childhood socialization may be ineffective in later years. One major cause is that the demands for behavior at different stages of the life cycle may conflict (Benedict 1938). There are many other causes. In any given case, the individual himself may be unable to learn the necessary skills. Again, there may be agents missing, as in the absence of a parent or key institutions or agencies. The process can also fail because subgroups with deviant values exist in every society, and they do not prepare the child for the performance of the roles expected of him by the larger society at a later date. Finally, the specific socializing agent, such as a parent, to whom socialization is entrusted by society, may be inadequate to carry out the task because he himself is not interested or because he is ignorant or emotionally disturbed.

Adult socialization

For analytic purposes, a typology of adult socialization can be constructed in such a way as to display the origins of the need for each type.

Consider first the individual who is confronted with a new role and knows virtually nothing about what he should do. In such a case society will require new socialization, two types of which can be distinguished. The first of these is socialization which is legitimate, in the sense that it is recognized as needed by society and the individual is not expected to have learned the role earlier. This is true of individuals moving through a sequence of student roles, and of job training of certain kinds. The second type can be referred to as illegitimate, in the sense that the individual should have learned the role earlier. Examples here come with greatest frequency from the marital and parental roles: deficiencies which may have been caused by inattention to the person’s socialization for this role on the part of his parents, or by a variety of other influences on the individual’s early development. Where the need for new socialization is recognized as legitimate, one usually finds formal institutional mechanisms in society to provide it. These include schools, vocational training programs, and similar devices. Where the need is not legitimate, retraining institutions do not usually exist, although the fact that they do exist in some areas, such as family counseling programs, reflects a growing recognition that the individual is not always to be blamed for ignorance of this kind of role.

The other major class of adult socialization is concerned with re socialization. Here the individual knows something about the role in question, but what he knows is wrong. For purposes of symmetry one can divide resocialization into two types along the dimension used above: the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the need for the resocialization. This time let us mention the illegitimate case first, since it is the more familiar one. Resocialization here includes rehabilitation of the criminal, handling the young delinquent through environmental manipulation, and therapeutic work with middle-class neurotics; in all three cases, resocialization is designed to make up for earlier socialization of an unsanctioned kind.

The legitimate type of resocialization—where the individual was socialized, but in the wrong way, so that the resocialization is viewed as legitimate and hence is sanctioned by society—is a less familiar instance. This is seen in the change from an ideal conception of a role to a more realistic conception, as illustrated in the relation of professional training to later professional practice (Becker et al. 1961) and, more generally, with respect to childhood myths about how adults behave, which clearly are functional in maintaining stability in the early years but need to be dispelled in later years, when the child actually takes on the role of adult.

Studies of socialization

Most work in the study of personality development has told us little about how an individual develops his reciprocal, socially regulated interactions with other human beings or how he comes to understand role prescriptions and to distinguish between the important statuses in his society. There are historical reasons for this. Most work on socialization has come from the field of child development. But the emphasis from the beginning, in the child welfare stations established after 1920, has been more on maturation than socialization, more on development than learning; most of the output has consisted of studies of mental and physical development, and only to a much lesser extent of studies of the social and emotional aspects of development. The stimulus to much of the current work on socialization came from a different source: the work of Freud and related theories of personality. The effect of early life experiences on the development of personality traits that were believed to be fundamental and enduring characteristics of the individual was the initial focus of study. It was later, around 1930, that concepts emerging from cultural anthropology, especially cultural relativity and the plasticity of human nature, extended the scope of studies of personality and led to a convergence of the interests mentioned above. The traditional work on child development, combined with concepts stemming from clinical theories of personality and enhanced by cross-cultural perspectives, resulted in some notable studies of socialization by Sears and his colleagues (1957), Whiting (1963), Levy (1943), and others. This work, for all of its contributions to our knowledge, still did not deal with role learning as the content of socialization. It is probably for this reason that it did not lead to a consideration of personality change in later life.

Analyses of the socialization of children in the family are numerous. Variations in child-care practices have been catalogued and analyzed by hundreds of investigators. Reviews in this area include those by Hoffman and Lippitt (1960), Clausen and Williams (1963), Bronfenbrenner (1958), Brim (1957), and several chapters in Hoffman and Hoffman (1964). The attempts to find important basic dimensions for the classification of such socialization practices have shown fairly consistently for more than a generation that practices can be efficiently described by two fundamental dimensions: positive affectivity as opposed to negative affectivity, and dominance as contrasted with permissiveness. One can note that analyses of socialization of children are less concerned now with actual training methods, such as education regarding cleanliness or home duties, than with the qualities of the interpersonal relationships. The supposition is that characteristics of relationships—for example, the two dimensions described above —are more important for socialization effectiveness than are the specific educational techniques.

Traditional work within school systems on the socialization process has involved studies of the teaching process. A recent comprehensive report is by Ryans (1960). The great number of such studies makes it impossible even to comment on them here. Over the past several years Lippitt and his colleagues (Lippitt & Van Egmond 1962) have reconceptualized the study of classroom socialization and have opened up new and promising areas of research that parallel areas of study in the family and other nonschool socialization settings.

Compared with the amount of information available about earlier age periods, we have little knowledge about the older age groups. There is a paucity of research on the techniques of socialization for the marital and parental roles. The few analyses of techniques used in occupations include the work of Howard S. Becker and his colleagues (Becker et al. 1961). The work on formal education of adults that has been most valuable has been in family-life education. Most of the studies of family-life education are highly valuable analyses of how one deals with adult socialization, and the observations made in these studies regarding methods used and the causes of change in adult personality are applicable to other adult socialization processes. These studies show the need to use group interaction as the ’context for learning and group interchange as the most effective method. This follows from the facts that the adult is not a tabula rasa and that the educational problem is one of change, of erasing what exists and substituting something new. A detailed analysis of these adult education methods has been made specifically for parent education (Brim 1959).

One can say, in general, that the value of our knowledge of socialization techniques lies in what it shows to be undesirable—in the information it gives us about procedures that produce resistance, repression, resentment, escape, withdrawal, and habitual behavioral conformity. But we still are far from knowing which methods are more effective than others in achieving the goals of socialization. We may know more about techniques of instruction in the educational field than in other socialization contexts; but here, since the main requirement of the student is that he acquire information rather than that he learn attitudes and motives, the problem may be simpler. In regard to the family, we seem only now to be learning some of the ways in which socialization procedures bring about a greater internalization of parental values. At the adult level the number of good evaluation studies are few in number and come mostly from the field of family-life education and mental health counseling (see Brim 1959). Our understanding of the differential effectiveness of techniques is still cloudy; effectiveness seems to depend on the nature of the content being transmitted, the characteristics of the persons being socialized, the persons’ relationship to the socializing agent, and similar factors.

Studies would make a valuable contribution if they related techniques and their consequences to more general theories of socialization and of personality, and thus led to a general understanding of socialization, rather than remaining just narrow studies of the “effectiveness” of educational techniques.

Limits of later-life socialization

The limits of socialization in later life are set, on the one hand, by the biological capacities of an individual and, on the other hand, by the burden of earlier learning. The effectiveness of later-life socialization is a consequence of the interaction of these two limits, with the added limit of the types of socialization methods available to society. These methods depend, in turn, primarily on the knowledge available about human behavior and, to a lesser extent, on technological developments.

Biological limits

By and large, a society’s demands upon adults are tailored to the capacities of the average man; individuals who, for biological reasons, fall substantially below this average are usually debarred from natural progression through the life cycle and, hence, do not often become liable to later-life socialization. There are, however, two ways in which biological restrictions lead to inabilities and thus to limitations on later-life socialization. The first of these occurs primarily in an open-class society with a high level of achievement motivation. Upward mobility into ever more demanding roles may lead an individual to positions whose demands he is unable to meet because of limited intelligence or strength, or other biological attributes. The second occurs when war and other disasters destroy society’s protection of the individual from the direct impact of nature, and the culture is no longer fitted to the average man. Thus individuals who are biologically adequate for the roles they will meet in the course of their normal life cycles may suddenly find themselves unable to live under the new and primitive conditions.

Limits of earlier learning

There are several reasons why the effects of early experience place important limits on later socialization. In the first place, attitudes learned in childhood are especially durable because they are continually being taught and just as continually reinforced (Brim 1960). Second, there is good reason to believe that during early socialization the bulk of the unconscious material of the personality is accumulated. The continuity of the individual personality (and probably its characteristic modes of defense as well) is therefore maintained by the inertia, so to speak, of unconscious forces relatively inaccessible to change by later socialization. Finally, it has been suggested (Caldwell 1962) that the human life cycle, like that of subhuman species, may contain critical periods at which human beings must learn certain things if they are to develop further. Failure to learn these things during the appropriate period may make it impossible for subsequent learning to take place.

Whatever the usefulness of these or other theories, both biological and learning limitations on later-life socialization certainly exist, although their exact nature is not yet understood. Nevertheless, the powerful arguments for the potent effects of early life experiences should not deter the study of large and important changes that may take place in later life. The fact is that actual evidence on the effects of early life experience has, up to now, been mostly of a case history nature, coming from clinical practice. Too little attention has been given to the study of those important changes which may occur after childhood as a result of socialization experiences. A few important studies have begun to appear (Hathaway & Monachesi 1961; Kagan & Moss 1962; Reichard et al. 1962; Neugarten et al. 1964); it is to be hoped that many more will follow.

Relationship to the socializing agent

The fact that childhood socialization is usually so much more effective than adult socialization can be explained partly in terms of the different types of relationships that typically obtain between the individual and the socializing agent or agency at different stages in the life cycle. The relationship between child and parent is a highly affective one; by contrast, the adult socialization context is likely to be far less charged with emotion—in Parsons’ phrase (1951, pp. 59-61), it is characterized by “affective neutrality.” Moreover, the parent socializing the child is likely to make a far more open and continual use of power, so that the child can hardly avoid realizing that it is the weaker party in the situation. Agents of adult socialization, on the other hand, typically appeal more to the reason and self-interest of the person being socialized, and use power only as a last resort.

There is at least one major consequence of this difference for the results of socialization: adult socialization limits itself, on the whole, to a concern with behavior rather than with motivation and values. In fact, it is less able to teach basic values and probably requires a relationship paralleling that of childhood to bring about equivalent basic value changes. This may indeed occur—an example is adult religious conversion, in which the submissive relationship and high affective interchange with the religious figure underlie the radical shift in the adult’s value system (Frank 1961). Another example is the extreme one of prisoner-of-war camps. Work on “brainwashing” and the breakdown of resistance to enemy values shows the context to be one in which the captors use their extreme power in a deliberate manipulation of the whole range of affect, from rejection and hate, on the one hand, to support and positive sympathy on the other, thus bringing the prisoner into a position similar to that of a child with his parent. [SeeBrainwashing; Internment and custody.]

It follows that if society is to undertake basic resocialization of adults in respect to motives and values, it has to institutionalize in some form the high power and affectivity relationship characteristic of childhood learning.

Changes in socialization content

The substantive content of socialization differs, of course, in important ways at different stages of the life cycle and in different major social institutions. Since both the needs for and the limits to socialization vary by life-cycle stages, it is probable that the types of content vary accordingly. I propose that we distinguish five major types of change in socialization content, as follows.

Perhaps the most important change is the shift in content from a concern with values and motives to a concern with overt behavior. Society assumes that the adult knows the values to be pursued in different roles, that he wants to pursue them with the socially appropriate means, and that all that might remain to be done is to teach him what to do. Thus society is willing to spend much less time in retraining adult motivation and values than in training children; it is understood that teaching basic values and motivations is a necessary task of the institutions serving children, especially the family, and they are organized to carry out this task.

Why should this difference exist? Probably it stems directly from the limitations on later-life learning that make it impractical to attempt a thorough resocialization. It may be that the costs are too high and that it simply is not efficient, from society’s point of view, to spend too much time on teaching an old dog new tricks. Perhaps only in the case where the need for a certain kind of manpower is very great and the question of efficiency becomes secondary to the need for personnel can an intensive and costly resocialization effort be made for adults.

Society has at least two major solutions to this problem of resocialization. One is anticipatory, with attention being given to the selection of candidates for an adult organization, in order to screen out those who do not have appropriate motives and values for the anticipated roles. This helps to assure that those who enter the organization will not present difficult problems to the socialization program. In this way adults probably do get sorted out, more or less, and placed in social situations where they fit best in terms of the values and motives learned in their early life socialization (Hobbs 1963). A second solution is that society may accept conforming behavior alone as evidence of satisfactory socialization and may forgo any concern with value systems. This entails risk, for if the social system undergoes stress, then the conformity, since it is superficial anyway, may break down rapidly.

The second of the changes in socialization content might be described as a change from the acquisition of new material to a synthesis of old material. As a person moves through the life cycle, he accumulates an extensive repertoire of responses, both affective and behavioral. These are organized in terms of roles and, at a more specific level, in terms of episodes within a role. These responses can be detached from the contexts in which they have been learned and used, and joined with others in new combinations suitable as social behavior responsive to the new demands of adulthood. One can say, therefore, that the content acquired in adult socialization is not so much new material as it is the aggregation and synthesis of elements from a storehouse of already learned responses, with perhaps the addition of several fragments that are newly learned when they are necessary to complete the complex social act demanded in a given situation. Socialization in the later-life stages seems to emphasize the practice of new combinations of skills already acquired, rather than teaching wholly new complexes of responses.

The third change in the content of socialization is the transformation of idealism into realism. As the individual matures, the society demands that he become more realistic and lay aside his childish idealism. The change in the content of expectations involves distinctions between statuses. Early learning encompasses the formal status structure; later learning takes into account the actual status structure, which may often be informal and unavowed. One designates as cynical a person who doubts that the actual and the formal are divergent; on the other hand, we think of a person as naive if he does not make this distinction. In socialization the young child is not taught much about the informal system; thus, in early years he may believe that the actual and the formal are nearly identical. This serves to maintain and legitimize the formal status differentiations and to protect them from change. However, as the child matures, the realistic aspects of status differentiation also must be taught if the system is to work effectively.

Closely related is learning to distinguish between ideal role prescriptions and that which is actually expected of one in a role. Here, as in the case of status differentiations, the inculcation of ideal-role prescriptions results in a desirable idealism that strengthens and perpetuates the ideals of the society. As the child matures, he learns to take his part in society in terms of the realistic expectations of others rather than in terms of conformity to ideal norms.

The fourth type of change in socialization content is to a greater concern with teaching the individual to mediate conflicting demands. As one moves through the life cycle, he is forced to develop methods of choosing between conflicting role prescriptions. The possible conflicts between the expectations of reference set members can be classified into two main types. First, there is intrarole conflict, in which the expectations for performance of two or more individuals, or of one individual with respect to different aspects of the role, are in conflict. In the first instance, a man’s wife and his employer may differ in their expectations of his performance on the job; in the second, the wife may expect her husband to be both companion and taskmaster to his son. Second, there is interrole conflict, which can also be classified into two subtypes: where the conflict is between two or more individuals with respect to two separate roles, as when the employer’s demands for job performance conflict with the wife’s demands for familial performance; and where the conflict is between the expectations of one individual for performance in two different roles, as when the wife has conflicting expectations for her husband’s behavior at home and on the job.

The need to learn how to handle such conflicts occurs to a greater extent in later life for at least two reasons. First, if the cultural norm is that children should be protected from seeing life’s conflicts, then it follows that nothing will be taught about ways of mediating them. Second, in later life there are more roles, as well as more complexity within roles, so that there is a much greater possibility of role conflict.

Thus, as one ages, he learns the ways of conflict resolution, which Ralph Linton (1945) once described so well: avoiding the situation, withdrawing acceptably from conflict, and scheduling conflicting demands in temporal sequence, so that the conflict disappears. In addition, one learns another very important method of conflict resolution, which I think has been overlooked. The fact is that in every society there are recognized prescriptions for solving certain kinds of conflicts that arise from the competing demands of reference set members. These prescriptions, which have been called “meta-prescriptions” (Brim & Wheeler 1966), govern the resolution of conflict between demands on one’s time and loyalties, and they usually, although not always, pertain to interrole rather than intrarole conflict. Examples of metaprescriptions are “Do what your employer asks of you, even if it meansthat you have little time for your children,” or “Side with your wife when she disciplines the children, even if you think she is wrong.” It seems to me that a noticeable change in the content of socialization in later-life periods is the attention given to ways of resolving conflict through such metaprescriptions.

The fifth characteristic of change in socialization content is in the dimension of generality-specificity. In the context of the current discussion, this means that what is taught in socialization may apply either to many social situations or to just a few. The dimension of generality versus specificity can be applied to both components of role prescriptions, that is, to both values and means.

As a child, the individual is trained, both deliberately and unwittingly, by socializing agents in the goals and behavior appropriate for his sex. There are male and female styles of doing many different things, and these are learned early. Society tries to motivate the child to perform the behavior and to pursue the values expected of him, and it trains him in the necessary skills. These characteristics are general, in the sense that they are required in a variety of situations he will confront in society, either as major components or as necessary coloring of other aspects of his behavior.

The case is similar for cultural differences in basic values, such as those related to achievement, to other persons, to nature and the family, and indeed to all of those general value orientations, to use Florence Kluckhohn’s phrase (1948), that help to distinguish between major cultural groups. They are acquired early (and, in contrast with sex roles, with perhaps less deliberate instruction), and they give shape and tone to the performance of many roles in society.

The individual is socialized for his socioeconomic position, or the style of life of a certain status level. In other words, he acquires general skills and values, appropriate to carrying out in a certain manner a number of specific role demands for behavior. The values and behavior characteristic of a subcultural group are usually acquired in childhood (C. Kluckhohn & Murray 1948; Miller & Swanson I960; F. Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck 1961), and, as with sex roles and basic cultural values, some part of what is learned is gained outside of any deliberate formal training program. Socialization into a new social level or style of life occurs in later life also; for example, one function of certain college organizations, such as fraternities, is to carry on this kind of socialization into a social class level higher than that of the individual’s family or origin. The existence of socializing agencies with this function can be seen as a response to the legitimate need for resocialization that results from the upward social mobility in American life. [SeeReference groups.]

Deviance and social control

Deviance can be defined as failure to conform to the expectations of other persons. Since there are always groups with different viewpoints in society, what is regarded as deviant from one person’s frame of reference might be considered conformity by another. Thus, whether an individual’s behavior or values are deviant always must be determined by reference to the viewpoint of some particular person or group.

Deviance has its cause in an individual’s ignorance, or his lack of ability, or his lack of motivation; and it may occur in behavior, or values, or both. We can recognize two major underlying causes of ignorance, inability, and lack of motivation (excluding biological limitations to effective socialization, such as low intelligence). One major cause is ineffective socialization of the individual for the performance of the roles expected of him, even though the social systems in which he lives have been relatively unchanging. The second major cause is a shift in what is expected of an individual resulting from social change and leaving the individual in a situation where his prior socialization, although quite adequate for performance with reference to the old role prescriptions, no longer serves him well.

The modes of attempted control over deviance reflect a society’s predominant theories and assumptions about the causes of deviance and are rooted in basic ideas about human nature: for example, whether man is inherently a stupid animal, whether he is possessed by demons or controlled by other supernatural forces, whether he is innately depraved and burdened with original sin, and so on.

In our own society it is deviance in motivation and values that is viewed as most serious. The concept of motivation plays an important role in our theories of why human beings act as they do, and deviance in motivation is viewed as a serious threat to the social order. Thus there is a tendency to examine instances of deviance for possible motivational components in order to appraise how serious the deviance is. In return, the deviant person, challenged as he is to account for his behavior and faced with punishments for motivational deviance, which are customarily greater than for deviance of other types, will plead ignorance or lack of ability as cause of his actions. The result is that considerable time is spent, in both the courts of law and the systems of informal social control, searching for possible motivational deviance behind the facade of ignorance or lack of ability. As an answer to the difficult problem of identifying the motivational component in deviance, we often seem to begin with the assumption that the cause is in fact motivational. Perhaps another reason for this a priori assumption is that it places the “blame” on the individual for his behavior, rather than upon society.

The burden of proof thus is placed upon the actor to show that his motives are pure. The demand that he do so is legitimate from society’s viewpoint, since it is difficult to distinguish the actual existence of ignorance or lack of ability from hypocritical claims that one did not know what the rules were or that he was unable to live up to them. However, there is a price for using this approach to the resocialization of deviant persons. The treatment of deviance would be more effective if it made use of techniques that accord with the causes of the behavior: education, where ignorance is the cause; improved training, where lack of ability is the reason; and, where motivation is the problem, a planned and deliberately executed program of manipulation of rewards and punishments that would reorient the individual to the appropriate goals and behavior. If deviance comes from ignorance or lack of ability, and yet punishment is given in the mistaken idea that motivation is the cause, then a frequent result is the individual’s rejection of the values of society that he formerly accepted.

The concern with motivation and the burden of proof for motivational purity is less in the early stages of the life span. Once again, this is true both of the informal family systems and, at least in American society, of the courts of law. Probably the reason is that time remains to train the child, and the socializing agencies remain in firm control of adequate rewards and punishments to influence the course of a child’s interests. With each advancing year, however, instances of deviant motivation are viewed with more seriousness, and the child’s responsibility for motivational conformity increases in accord with the age-graded developmental schemes that are accepted in his culture, until the full-scale responsibility of adulthood is demanded of him.

Orville G. Brim, Jr.

[See alsoDeviant behavior; Role; Social control; Status, social.]


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Socialization is not a process unique to childhood. According to the sociological theory known as symbolic interactionism, socialization is required for each new role an individual acquires over the life-course. Nevertheless, most of us generally understand socialization to mean the process of creating socially responsible beings out of primarily asocial beings—that is, infants and children (asocial in the sense that they are ignorant of the rules and roles of society and must acquire these over time). Socialization is considered to be more general than either enculturation or acculturation. Enculturation refers to the specific process of transmitting a particular culture from one generation to another (e.g., minority members of a society teaching their children about minority issues such as discrimination). Acculturation refers to the process of acquiring a new or different culture (e.g., as an immigrant to another country).

Several articles outline Western models of socialization. These include chapters by Gary Peterson and his colleagues (Peterson and Haan 1999; Peterson and Rollins 1987). First, what exactly do we mean by socialization? One component—probably the one most of us think of initially—is the process that "transforms a biological organism into a human being" (471). The other component is the process that "confronts adults with a new set of experiences and responsibilities" (471). Daphne Bugental and Jacqueline Goodnow (1998) defined socialization as "the continuous collaboration of 'elders' and 'novices'—of 'old hands' and 'newcomers' in the acquisition and honing of skills important for meeting the demands of group life" (389).

Ross Parke and John Buriel (1998) described socialization as "the process whereby an individual's standards, skills, motives, attitudes, and behaviors change to conform to those regarded as desirable and appropriate for his or her present and future role in any particular society" (463). Each of these definitions leaves open the possibility that adults, in addition to children, can be socialized into new roles and responsibilities. Thus, late twentieth century conceptions of socialization suggest that parents, as well as children, are socialized by others referred to as socialization agents.

There are many theories that address both the transition to parenthood and parental involvement, as well as the socialization of children (e.g., social learning, symbolic interactionism). There are, however, relatively few theoretical models that focus on the socialization of parents (e.g., Wapner 1993), despite the fact that parenthood has a powerful influence on the development of the adult, to say nothing of the child. Existing developmental models of parent socialization typically use conception or the birth of the child as the starting point in parental development. Furthermore, most approaches focus on parental-child relations in infancy, childhood, or adolescence, ignoring ongoing parent-child relations across the life-course (for an exception see Pillemer and McCartney 1991). The focus of this entry is primarily on socialization—both formal and informal—of children in different contexts, and in different countries around the world.

Unidirectional Models of Socialization

Who are these agents—or forces—of socialization? Early twentieth century models of socialization ignored the fact that parents can be socialized, too, and only looked at the effects of parents on children. This approach is known as a parent-effects model (i.e., a unidirectional or one-way effects model from parent to child). This model of socialization stems from a mechanistic paradigm (e.g., Reese and Overton 1970), in which the individual is the unit of analysis. In particular, models of this kind focus on the parent as actor, or agent, and the child as reactor. Research conducted from this perspective follows the social mold tradition, in which parents are seen as the agents that mold children's behavior. The best example of research in this tradition is Diana Baumrind's (1971) typology of parenting styles—in which parent effects (i.e., parenting styles) determine child outcomes.

Parent effects. For much of the twentieth century, Western parenting theorists and researchers have focused primarily on two essential dimensions of parenting style: support (also known as warmth or acceptance) and control (Baumrind 1971; Peterson and Haan 1999). It is hypothesized that parenting style falls anywhere along the continuum of support, from low support of children to high support of children. At the same time, parenting style can also fall anywhere along the independent or orthogonal dimension of control, from low control to high control. Thus, parenting style can be categorized as low in support and control (i.e., permissive-neglecting); low in support but high in control (i.e., authoritarian); high in support but low in control (i.e., permissive-indulgent); or high in support and high in control (i.e., authoritative).

Research in the United States, cross-sectional and longitudinal, has consistently found that a parenting style high in both support and control (i.e., authoritative parenting) is associated with children's and adolescent's higher academic achievement and social competence (e.g., Peterson and Haan 1999). A permissive parenting style (i.e., permissive-neglecting or permissive-indulgent) is associated with children who are lower in both academic achievement and social competence, and higher in aggression or impulsiveness. These children may be either neglected by parents who are unwilling or unable to meet the developmental needs of their children, or spoiled by overly indulgent parents who cater to their children's wants instead of their needs. Finally, a parenting style low in support but high in control (i.e., authoritarian) is associated with lower academic achievement and social competence in children. As an extreme example of control, the use of corporal punishment, either at home or at school, is a hotly debated topic. Although many parents and teachers around the world follow religious and traditional dictums such as "spare the rod," and "an eye for an eye," corporal punishment of children is contrary to the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989), ratified by every country in the world except Somalia and the United States. Sweden, followed to date by eight other European countries and Israel, was the first country in the world to make spanking or other corporal punishment of children illegal in 1979. According to Swedish law, "Children are to be treated with respect for their person and individuality and may not be subjected to corporal punishment or any other humiliating treatment." Nevertheless, corporal punishment remains widespread in many homes and schools (e.g., Kenya; Human Rights Watch 1999) around the world.

Child effects. Richard Bell (1968), reacting against parent-effects models, suggested that children also influence parents. Thus, a unidirectional child-effects model (i.e., from child to parent) was developed. In this model of socialization, the child is the actor and the parent is the reactor. Children's individual differences in age, gender, and personalities can evoke different behaviors and treatment from parents in addition to other socialization agents. An example of research based in this tradition is Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess's (1977) classic work in child temperament. Children can be classified as easy, slow-to-warm-up, and difficult based on nine dimensions of temperament (e.g., activity level, emotional intensity), with easy children being the most compliant to parental requests and difficult children the least. Subsequently, many researchers have focused on qualities of infants and children that evoke different responses in parents, or different parental outcomes.

Of all the factors that influence how children are treated (e.g., temperament, health status, aptitude), gender is arguably the most salient. For example, in several South Asian countries, there is a clear preference for male children due to economic and religious factors (Khan and Khanum 2000). Strong preferences exist for sons in Bangladesh, China, India, Korea, and Pakistan, although no such preferences are found in Sri Lanka or Thailand (Abeykoon 1995). Parents view sons as economic assets (e.g., old-age security) and daughters as economic liabilities (e.g., dowries). Both Confucianism and Hinduism have been cited as religions that foster preferences for male offspring (Abeykoon 1995). In the Hindu tradition, only sons can pray for the souls of dead parents. Indicators of gender preference in South Asia include abnormal sex ratios at birth (i.e., more female fetuses aborted), and higher mortality rates for female offspring (e.g., infanticide, higher rates of malnutrition, less access to health care).

Gender inequality also exists in education, with the greatest gender disparity occurring in developing countries with overall low rates of enrollment. UNESCO tracks gender parity in education, with a goal of worldwide gender parity for the year 2005. Since 1980, gender disparity in education has widened not only in Afghanistan (i.e., under the Taliban regime, although this pattern would be expected to reverse now that the Taliban are no longer in power) but also in Pakistan. The countries with the worst record for gender parity in education are found primarily in sub-Saharan Africa (e.g., Chad, Guinea, and Senegal) and in the Arab states (e.g., Yemen and Sudan). In these countries, only six to eight girls are enrolled in primary school for every ten boys enrolled in primary school. Countries with a more moderate gap in gender disparity include Angola and Mozambique in sub-Saharan Africa, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, China and Indonesia in South Asia, and Brazil and Guatemala in South and Central America, respectively.

Age is another factor that influences how children are socialized. Psychologists and anthropologists have concluded that the transition from informal parental socialization to more formal socialization (e.g., education) typically occurs during the period known as the 5-to-7 shift, which marks the end of young childhood and the beginning of middle childhood (Konner 1991). Among other things, changes in brain development (e.g., myelinization, or the coating of neurons with myelin sheaths, resulting in better motor coordination and memory) occur between the ages of two and six, paving the way for formal learning. Not surprisingly, UNICEF reports that, around the world, compulsory education begins between the ages of five (e.g., Barbados and United Kingdom) and seven (e.g., Ethiopia and Sweden).

Around fifteen years of age, adolescents are deemed ready to leave school to enter the work force as adults (i.e., compulsory education ends at age fourteen in Turkey, fifteen in Japan, sixteen in Canada). Addressing child labor, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has set the General Minimum Age for full-time labor participation at age fifteen, or not less than compulsory school age. In highly industrialized societies, which require longer periods of education and training, adolescents often attend post-secondary institutions for anywhere from two years (i.e., a two-year diploma) to four years (i.e., a four-year degree), and in some cases for several additional years (for graduate degrees, e.g., M.S., Ph.D.). Educational demands of technological societies are so high, that at least one researcher proposed an additional stage of the life cycle: Emerging adulthood (age eighteen to twenty-five)—a period distinct from both adolescence and young adulthood—which entails on-going formal socialization (Arnett 2000).

Other Models of Socialization

According to Western researchers and theorists, unidirectional models of socialization are not comprehensive enough, in that such models are too simplistic and do not explain enough of the variance in outcome variables. Instead, parent-child socialization is sometimes explained using a bidirectional-effects model. Effects go both ways in a reciprocal manner—from parent to child and from child to parent. This bidirectional, or twoway, model of socialization stems from an organismic paradigm (e.g., Reese and Overton 1970). From this perspective, child and parent interact in a dance of socialization with neither one nor the other the actor/reactor. Instead, child and parent act on each other and react to each other in a mutual, synchronous interaction. Rather than the individual as the unit of analysis, the parent-child dyad is the unit of analysis.

Interactional models. Examples of research based in this tradition include Mary Ainsworth's (1989) work on maternal sensitivity and child attachment (i.e., close emotional tie or bond between a child and caregiver). Ainsworth first observed mothers interacting with their babies in England, then in Uganda, and finally in the United States. It was while she was working in Uganda in the 1950s that she noticed that some children seemed to be more securely attached to their mothers than other children were. She also noticed that whereas some mothers were sensitive and responsive to the needs of their children, others were not. On her return to the United States, Ainsworth began to systematically study the relationship between mother's behavior and children's style of attachment. Ainsworth and her colleagues (1978) developed the strange situation test, a series of short episodes in which babies are alternatively left and rejoined by their mothers.

Babies' style of attachment could be determined based on their reactions to the separation and reunion episodes. Babies who were upset when their mother left, but settled down when she returned, were classified as having a secure attachment. Babies who were upset on separation from their mother, and who could not seem to settle down again on her return, were classified as having an insecure-resistant attachment. Finally, babies who were not particularly upset by separation from their mother, and did not seek contact with her on her return, were classified as having an insecure-avoidant attachment. A fourth category on attachment has also been documented: insecure-disorganized attachment, in which children seem fearful of their mother and show contradictory behavior toward her (Main and Solomon 1990). Ainsworth concluded that caregivers who were sensitive and responsive had children who were securely attached, whereas insensitive and unresponsive caregivers had children who were insecurely attached.

Although most children worldwide appear to have secure attachments to their caregivers (65%), cross-cultural research indicates some interesting differences (van IJzendoorn and Kroonenberg 1988). British babies are the most likely to be securely attached (75%), with Chinese babies the least likely to be securely attached (50%). With regard to insecure-avoidant attachment, German babies are the most likely (35%) and Japanese babies the least likely (5%) to show this pattern of attachment. Insecure-resistant attachment tends to be more likely among Israeli babies (29%) and less likely among Swedish babies (4%). Cultural differences, such as an emphasis on independence in Germany, for example, may account for some of these reported differences. Nevertheless, the strange situation test may not be an appropriate or ecologically valid measure of attachment across cultures.

Multidirectional models. Theorists have argued that even bidirectional models of socialization are not complex enough. Multidirectional-effects models were developed to explain child and parent outcomes within an ecological context. These multidirectional-effects models stem from a contextual paradigm (e.g., Reese 1991), in which child and parent interact over time and within familial, societal, and historical contexts. From this perspective, factors beyond the parent-child dyad affect both individual and dyadic outcomes. In these models, the system (e.g., the family) is the usual unit of analysis. Examples of theories based in this perspective include Urie Bronfenbrenner's (1979) ecological model and family systems theory. Research conducted using this approach includes studies on the effect of the marital relationship on the parent-child dyad, the workplace on the parent's relationship with the child, or the society on both child and parent (e.g., Parke and Buriel 1998).

One of the essential ways in which children are socialized into adult roles is by means of compulsory education, followed in many cases by job training or higher education. Although education and labor participation are clearly related in a developmental sense (education first, then work), they can interfere with each other. For the most part, involvement in one (e.g., education) precludes involvement in the other (e.g., labor). Thus, children and adolescents are primarily involved in education, and young and middle-aged adults are typically involved in labor, either in or outside the home. (Although many older adults cannot afford to retire, some financially secure older adults use retirement as an opportunity to return to educational pursuits such as Elderhostel, an educational program for older adults interested in life-long learning.)

Exceptions to compulsory school attendance are found in disadvantaged families and countries. Homeless families or those living in poverty may not be able to afford to send children to school (e.g., books, uniforms, transportation) and may rely on the income of their school-aged children for the household. Thus, extreme poverty interferes with the progression of education/labor participation typically found in industrialized countries. According to the ILO, between 1 and 200 million children worldwide are estimated to be child laborers (children under the age of fifteen who work full-time), with the worst forms of child labor including child slavery (i.e., forced labor) and child prostitution. Children around the world also work as child soldiers, child domestics, and child farm workers. In addition to the danger, pain, and stress associated with child labor, working keeps these children from attending school and reaching their potential.

As previously mentioned, most cultures around the world assign some degree of responsibility to children during the 5-to-7 shift. Anthropologists have examined children's responsibilities as a function of the type of society the child inhabits (e.g., Konner 1991). Responsibility given to children takes primarily two forms: instruction and chores. Children in hunter-gatherer societies such as the !Kung are assigned neither formal instruction nor chores. Instead, they spend most of middle childhood not only tagging along and observing adults at their work, but also playing and socializing (Konner 1991). In agricultural societies, where families often rely on the labor of their children, formal task assignment is the typical pattern, sometimes in the form of an apprenticeship (e.g., Ghana, Mexico). Industrial societies, because of the demands of the labor market, typically assign formal instruction to children (i.e., compulsory education) for anywhere from five (e.g., Cuba, Vietnam) to twelve years (e.g., Belgium, Germany).


Thus, in the area of socialization, there has been a steady progression from unidirectional-effects models—first, from parent to child, and then from child to parent—to bidirectional-effects models, and finally to multidirectional-effects models. The latter are more complex, more ecologically valid (e.g., Bronfenbrenner 1979), but more difficult to test empirically (e.g., Peterson and Haan 1999). Nevertheless, it seems reasonable that models of socialization should reflect more sophisticated contextual theoretical approaches. To return to the earlier question: Who are the agents or forces of socialization? According to the best thinkers in the area of socialization, the agents or forces of socialization are legion. They include parents, children, teachers, peers, institutions, the media, and society.

Parents socialize children—but children also socialize parents. Peers, according to Judith Harris's (1995) model of peer group socialization, may socialize children even more so than parents. Likewise, parents' families and friends socialize parents. Furthermore, the media, historical events (e.g., war, famine, industrialization), socioeconomic status, family structure, culture—all of these influence both parents and their children. By leaving these important factors out of our models of socialization, we limit the complexity of our theoretical models and thus our ability to explain important outcomes. Finally, socialization occurs in many different contexts (i.e., at home, in the workplace) as well as over the life-course.

See also:Acculturation; Childhood; Global Citizenship; Migration; Rites of Passage; Symbolic Interactionism


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Social skills training

Social skills training


Social skills training (SST) is a form of behavior therapy used by teachers, therapists, and trainers to help persons who have difficulties relating to other people.



A major goal of social skills training is teaching persons who may or may not have emotional problems about the verbal as well as nonverbal behaviors involved in social interactions. There are many people who have never been taught such interpersonal skills as making "small talk" in social settings, or the importance of good eye contact during a conversation. In addition, many people have not learned to "read" the many subtle cues contained in social interactions, such as how to tell when someone wants to change the topic of conversation or shift to another activity. Social skills training helps patients to learn to interpret these and other social signals, so that they can determine how to act appropriately in the company of other people in a variety of different situations. SST proceeds on the assumption that when people improve their social skills or change selected behaviors, they will raise their self-esteem and increase the likelihood that others will respond favorably to them. Trainees learn to change their social behavior patterns by practicing selected behaviors in individual or group therapy sessions. Another goal of social skills training is improving a patient's ability to function in everyday social situations. Social skills training can help patients to work on specific issuesfor example, improving one's telephone mannersthat interfere with their jobs or daily lives.

Treatment of specific disorders

A person who lacks certain social skills may have great difficulty building a network of supportive friends and acquaintances as he or she grows older, and may become socially isolated. Moreover, one of the consequences of loneliness is an increased risk of developing emotional problems or mental disorders. Social skills training has been shown to be effective in treating patients with a broad range of emotional problems and diagnoses. Some of the disorders treated by social skills trainers include shyness; adjustment disorders; marital and family conflicts, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , social phobia , alcohol dependence; depression; bipolar disorder ; schizophrenia ; developmental disabilities; avoidant personality disorder ; paranoid personality disorder ; obsessive-compulsive disorder ; and schizotypal personality disorder .

A specific example of the ways in which social skills training can be helpful includes its application to alcohol dependence. In treating patients with alcohol dependence, a therapist who is using social skills training focuses on teaching the patients ways to avoid drinking when they go to parties where alcohol is served, or when they find themselves in other situations in which others may pressure them to drink.

Another example is the application of social skills training to social phobia or shyness. People who suffer from social phobia or shyness are not ignorant of social cues, but they tend to avoid specific situations in which their limitations might cause them embarrassment. Social skills training can help these patients to improve their communication and social skills so that they will be able to mingle with others or go to job interviews with greater ease and self-confidence. Some studies indicate that the social skills training given to patients with shyness and social phobia can be applied to those with avoidant personality disorder, but more research is needed to differentiate among the particular types of social skills that benefit specific groups of patients, rather than treating social skills as a single entity. When trainers apply social skills training to the treatment of other personality disorders , they focus on the specific skills required to handle the issues that emerge with each disorder. For example, in the treatment of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCD), social skills trainers focus on helping patients with OCD to deal with heavy responsibilities and stress .

People with disabilities in any age group can benefit from social skills training. Several studies demonstrate that children with developmental disabilities can acquire positive social skills with training. Extensive research on the effects of social skills training on children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder shows that SST programs are effective in reducing these children's experiences of school failure or rejection as well as the aggressiveness and isolation that often develop in them because they have problems relating to others.

SST can be adapted to the treatment of depression with a focus on assertiveness training . Depressed patients often benefit from learning to set limits to others, to obtain satisfaction for their own needs, and to feel more self-confident in social interactions. Research suggests that patients who are depressed because they tend to withdraw from others can benefit from social skills training by learning to increase positive social interactions with others instead of pulling back.

There has been extensive research on the effective use of social skills training for the treatment of schizophrenia, in outpatient clinics as well as inpatient units. SST can be used to help patients with schizophrenia make better eye contact with other people, increase assertiveness, and improve their general conversational skills.

Social skills training in combination with other therapies

Social skills training is often used in combination with other therapies in the treatment of mental disorders. For example, in the treatment of individuals with alcohol dependence, social skills training has been used together with cognitive restructuring and coping skills training. Social skills training has also been integrated with exposure therapy, cognitive restructuring, and medication in the treatment of social phobia. Social skills training has been used within family therapy itself in the treatment of marital and family conflicts. Moreover, SST works well together with medication for the treatment of depression. For the treatment of schizophrenia, social skills training has often been combined with pharmacotherapy, family therapy, and assertive case management .


Social skills training should rest on an objective assessment of the patient's actual problems in relating to other people.

It is important for therapists who are using SST to move slowly so that the patient is not overwhelmed by trying to change too many behaviors at one time. In addition, social skill trainers should be careful not to intensify the patient's feelings of social incompetence. This caution is particularly important in treating patients with social phobia, who are already worried about others' opinions of them.

An additional precaution is related to the transfer of social skills from the therapy setting to real-life situations. This transfer is called generalization or maintenance. Generalization takes place more readily when the social skills training has a clear focus and the patient is highly motivated to reach a realistic goal. In addition, social skills trainers should be sure that the new skills being taught are suitable for the specific patients involved.


Techniques in social skills training

Therapists who use social skills training begin by breaking down complex social behaviors into smaller portions. Next, they arrange these smaller parts in order of difficulty, and gradually introduce them to the patients. For example, a therapist who is helping a patient learn to feel more comfortable at parties might make a list of specific behaviors that belong to the complex behavior called "acting appropriately at a party," such as introducing oneself to others; making conversation with several people at the party rather than just one other guest; keeping one's conversation pleasant and interesting; thanking the host or hostess before leaving; and so on. The patient would then work on one specific behavior at a time rather than trying to learn them all at once.

Such specific techniques as instruction, modeling , role-playing, shaping, feedback, and reinforcement of positive interactions may be used in SST. For example, instruction may be used to convey the differences among assertive, passive, and aggressive styles of communication. The technique of monitoring may be used to ask patients to increase their eye contact during a conversation. In role-playing exercises, group members have the opportunity to offer feedback to one another about their performances in simulated situations. For example, two members of the group may role-play a situation in which a customer is trying to return a defective purchase to a store. The others can then give feedback about the "customer's" assertiveness or the "clerk's" responses.

Content of social skills training

SST may be used to teach people specific sets of social competencies. A common focus of SST programs is communication skills. A program designed to improve people's skills in this area might include helping them with nonverbal and assertive communication and with making conversation. It might also include conversational skills that are needed in different specific situations, for example job interviews, informal parties, and dating. The skills might be divided further into such subjects as beginning, holding, and ending conversations, or expressing feelings in appropriate ways.

Another common focus of SST programs involves improving a patient's ability to perceive and act on social cues. Many people have problems communicating with others because they fail to notice or do not understand other people's cues, whether verbal or nonverbal. For example, some children become unpopular with their peers because they force their way into small play groups, when a child who has learned to read social signals would know that the children in the small group do not want someone else to join them, at least not at that moment. Learning to understand another person's spoken or unspoken messages is as important as learning conversational skills. A social skills program may include skills related to the perceptual processing of the conversation of other individuals.


Social skills training may be given as an individual or as a group treatment once or twice a week, or more often depending upon the severity of a patient's disorder and the level of his or her social skills. Generally speaking, children appear to gain more from SST in a peer group setting than in individual therapy. Social skill training groups usually consist of approximately 10 patients, a therapist, and a co-therapist.

Culture and gender issues

Social skills training programs may be modified somewhat to allow for cultural and gender differences. For example, eye contact is a frequently targeted behavior to be taught during social skills training. In some cultures, however, downcast eyes are a sign of respect rather than an indication of social anxiety or shyness. In addition, girls or women in some cultures may be considered immodest if they look at others, particularly adult males, too directly. These modifications can usually be made without changing the basic format of the SST program.

Generalization or transfer of skills

Current trends in social skills training are aimed at developing training programs that meet the demands of specific roles or situations. This need developed from studies that found that social skills acquired in one setting or situation are not easily generalized or transferred to another setting or situation. To assist patients in using their new skills in real-life situations, trainers use role-playing, teaching, modeling, and practice.


Preparation for social skills training requires tact on the therapist's part, as patients with such disorders as social phobia or paranoid personality disorder may be discouraged or upset by being told that they need help with their social skills. One possible approach is through reading. The social skills therapist may recommend some self-help books on social skills in preparation for the treatment. Second, the therapist can ease the patient's self-consciousness or embarrassment by explaining that no one has perfect social skills. An additional consideration before starting treatment is the possibility of interference from medication side effects. The therapist will usually ask the patient for a list of all medications that he or she takes regularly.

One of the most critical tasks in preparation for social skills training is the selection of suitable target behaviors. It is often more helpful for the therapist to ask the patient to identify behaviors that he or she would like to change, rather than pointing to problem areas that the therapist has identified. The treatment should consider the patient's particular needs and interests. Whereas social skills training for some patients may include learning assertiveness on the job, training for others may include learning strategies for dating. Therapists can prepare patients for homework by explaining that the homework is the practice of new skills in other settings; and that it is as relevant as the therapy session itself.


Some studies strongly suggest the need for follow-up support after an initial course of social skills training. One study showed that follow-up support doubled the rate of employment for a group of patients with schizophrenia, compared to a group that had no follow-up.

Normal results

Outcome studies indicate that social skills training has moderate short-term effects, but limited long-term effects. SST programs that include social perspective-taking may have greater long-term effects than traditional SST programs based on cognitive-behavioral models. In general, social skills training tends to generalize or transfer to similar contexts rather than to contexts that are not similar to the training. SST programs for patients with developmental disabilities should include programming for generalization, so that the patients can transfer their newly acquired skills more effectively to real-life settings. One approach to improving generalization is to situate the training exercises within the patient's work, living, or social environment.

The benefits of social skills training programs include flexibility. The treatment can take place either as individual or group therapy, and new trainers can learn the techniques of SST fairly quickly. An additional advantage of SST is that it focuses on teaching skills that can be learned rather than emphasizing the internal or biological determinants of social adequacy. Future research should explore the integration of social skills training with the needs of families from different cultural backgrounds; the relationship between social skills training and different categories of mental disorders; the transfer of skills from therapeutic contexts to daily life; and improving patients' long-term gains from SST.

See also Assertiveness training; Bibliotherapy; Cognitive problem-solving skills training; Conduct disorder; Modeling; Peer groups



Antony, Martin, M., Ph.D., and Richard P. Swinson, M.D. Phobic Disorders and Panic in Adults: A Guide to Assessment and Treatment. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2000.

Bellack, Alan S., and Michel Hersen, eds. Research and Practice in Social Skills Training. New York: Plenum Press: 1979.

Carter, Jane. "Social Skills Training." In Beyond Behavior Modification: A Cognitive-Behavioral Approach to Behavior Management in the School, edited by Joseph S. Kaplan, Jane Carter, and Nancy Cross. 3rd edition. Austin, Texas: Pro-Ed, 1998.

McKay, Matthew, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning. Messages: The Communication Skills Book. 2nd edition. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger, 1995.

Millon, Theodore, Ph.D. Personality-Guided Therapy. 3rd edition. New York: Wiley, 1999.


Bellack, Alan S., Robert W. Buchanan, James M. Gold. "The American Psychiatric Association Practice Guidelines for Schizophrenia: Scientific Base and Relevance for Behavior Therapy." Behavior Therapy 32 (2001): 283-308.

DeRubeis, Robert J., and Paul Crits-Christoph. "Empirically Supported Individual and Group Psychological Treatments for Adult Mental Disorders." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 66, no. 1 (1998): 37-52.

Griffiths, Dorothy, Maurice A. Feldman, and Susan Tough. "Programming Generalization of Social Skills in Adults With Developmental Disabilities: Effects on Generalization and Social Validity." Behavior Therapy 28(1997): 253-269.

Grizenko, Natalie, M.D., Michael Zappitelli, M.D., Jean-Phillipe Langevin, Sophie Hrychko, M.D., Amira El-Messidi, David Kaminester, M.D., Nicole Pawliuk, M.A., and Marina Ter Stepanian, B.A. "Effectiveness of a Social Skills Training Program Using Self/Other Perspective-Taking: A Nine-Month Follow-Up." American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 70, no. 4 (October 2000): 501-509.

Heinssen, Robert K., Robert P. Liberman, and Alex Kopelowicz. "Psychosocial Skills Training for Schizophrenia: Lessons From the Laboratory." Schizophrenia Bulletin 26, no. 1 (2000): 21-46.

Ison, Mirta S. "Training in Social Skills: An Alternative Technique for Handling Disruptive Child Behavior." Psychological Reports 88 (2001): 903-911.

Pfiffner, Linda, J., and Keith McBurnett. "Social Skills Training With Parent Generalization: Treatment Effects for Children With Attention Deficit Disorder." Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 65, no. 5 (1997): 749-757.

Tsang, Hector W.-H., and Veronica Pearson. "Work-Related Social Skills Training for People With Schizophrenia in Hong Kong." Schizophrenia Bulletin 27, no. 1 (2001): 139-148.


American Psychological Association, 750 First Street, NE, Washington, D.C. 20002-4242. (202) 336-5500. <>.

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Socialization is a concept that is studied in many different areas of social science and can be adequately explained by any number of disciplines. The general topic of socialization forms the backdrop for numerous lines of research in diverse academic areas such as anthropology, sociology, criminology, and all areas of psychology. The study of socialization differs according to academic domain. For instance, in sociology, socialization is studied in terms of groups of institutions where socialization occurs, whereas anthropology looks at socialization in the larger culture. In this entry, socialization is approached from a psychological perspective, focused on the development of characteristics related to social behavior in individuals.

The term socialization refers to the process by which people learn culture, roles, and norms in order to function within a society. The socialization of culture includes learning the language, beliefs, and social structure of the culture in which an individual lives. The socialization of roles includes providing structure and instruction as to how to act in different situations individuals are likely to encounter within their culture. Finally, socializing group norms refers to learning the expected and appropriate behavior in a society in order to productively interact with others. Each of these three elements is integral to successful participation in society.

Though socialization is essential to functioning in society, it sometimes may have negative consequences. Some socialization experiences induce conformity and discourage independent thought: An example of this occurs in certain religious cults where conformity is encouraged and dissent is viewed harshly. Another example of the negative consequences of socialization is the internalizing of various stereotypes. Regardless of whether the socialization experience encourages conformity or independent thought, the end goal is to have individuals who are able to successfully interact within a given society.

Socialization occurs throughout ones lifetime, but it is particularly important during childhood, when the childs personality is taking shape. In early childhood children are socialized to learn the fundamentals of language and culture, which will affect behavior and outcomes throughout their lives. In addition, the way children are socialized and what behaviors are learned as appropriate and acceptable affect personality development with consequences that affect their entire lives. But socialization continues throughout ones entire life as new roles are undertaken and expected behaviors in each role are learned.

In many cultures, women are the first socializing agents in their capacity as the infants primary caregiver. Primary caregivers of infants and young children have the unique task of socializing the child into the culture and society in which the child lives. These caregivers often are influential in teaching acceptable behaviors and rules as well as fundamental skills such as language development. Beyond the primary caregiver, the family as a whole has a large role in socialization. This venue is the first social structure for the child, and much social behavior is learned in this arena. As the child develops, teachers, schools, and peer groups become important socializing agents. Mass media also socializes throughout the life span, and religious influences are also important. Each of these domains is somewhat controlled by the family. Family influence on childrens neighborhoods and peer groups affects what types of socializing agents the child has access to. On a wider level, each of these domains is influenced by the government. The government exerts influence on socialization through creating experiences common to all children, such as schooling. In this domain, government has a powerful role in determining what can and cannot be learned, thus implicitly socializing the child to what things are and are not acceptable. Through the creation of laws and enforcement of acceptable behaviors, government also affects the family; for example, by enforcing laws that state that parents are not permitted to physically harm their children, the government dictates what types of behaviors children are subject to and, more generally, what types of behaviors are desirable and undesirable in society.

Research has suggested that socialization is not a unidirectional phenomenon. In reciprocal socialization parents socialize children and children in turn socialize parents. Children act as socializing agents to parents in a most basic sense as parents must be socialized to the parent roleinfants demand certain care and have fundamental needs of their parents. In addition, various outside influences act on children in ways that affect parents and change their behaviors as well. For example, schooling may affect parental behaviors by placing increasing demands on children which parents must accommodate. In addition, increasing peer influences may require parents to modify strategies and behaviors in interacting with their child. Individual characteristics of children, such as their levels of attractiveness and temperaments, may also be factors in the socialization of parents. Newly arrived immigrant families provide a clear example of reciprocal socialization. Parents in these families may learn much of the new countrys language and culture from their children as the children have more opportunities to learn (e.g., in school) and are more able to learn new expected roles. In this way, children socialize parents to new roles, and parents socialize children in basic behaviors.


Socialization occurs through a variety of mechanisms, both directly and indirectly. Direct socialization occurs through the formal teaching of behaviors and includes reinforcement of accepted behaviors. Schooling, an important source of direct influence, is very controlled: Roles are highly defined and behaviors are explicitly taught and reinforced. Direct socialization occurs throughout ones life. In professional socialization individuals are explicitly taught new behaviors and accepted patterns of social interaction. Although socialization during childhood provides the backdrop for which individuals can successfully maneuver within society, as people age, their socialization becomes more specialized as they learn how to act in specific social situations and be successful in specific arenas.

Indirect socialization, on the other hand, is more informal. This type of socialization may occur anywhere and at any time. Noting what behaviors are successful for others and then imitating these behaviors is an example of indirect socialization. By providing access to situations and restrictions from other situations, socializing agents informally affect what roles and behaviors are learned. Through this method, children are not explicitly taught about acceptable behaviors, but nonetheless are socialized to them.

The psychologist Albert Bandura proposed a theory often used to understand socialization experiences, advocating a social-learning approach in which children learn social behaviors via a variety of ways. Children learn through observational learning of others behaviors and through modeling these behaviors, as well as through reinforcement. This reinforcement can be directly given to the child, or the child may learn through vicarious reinforcement, in which another individual is observed to be rewarded or punished for behaviors; through this process the child learns which behaviors are acceptable and which are not.

In both direct and indirect methods of socialization it is important to note that socialization is a process both of learning and of being taught. Both experiences are important socializing influences. The process of learning emphasizes the active role of children, who must make sense of their social world in active ways that allow them to explore possible avenues of behavior. In addition, children have individual traits that affect socialization such as temperament, which predisposes each individual to different types of socialization and socializing agents.

Different factors have been found to affect the effectiveness of socialization. Two often studied factors are attachment to parents and parenting style. Attachment theory suggests that infants relationships with their care-givers form working models of relationships in general that in turn affect childrens understanding of the world and their interactions within social arenas. How children form these attachment relationships is an important factor in socialization in that it is through these relationships that they indirectly learn how to behave in the world interpersonally and to form expectations about other people. This process provides an important source of experience upon which children draw to learn to act within their social worlds.

Diana Baumrind (1967) studied parenting style in terms of two dimensions: demandingness and responsiveness. She initially proposed three parenting styles: authoritarian (demanding but unresponsive parenting), authoritative (demanding and responsive parenting), and permissive (not demanding but responsive). Maccoby and Martin (1983) later added a fourth category, neglectful, encompassing parenting styles that are neither demanding nor responsive. In relation to socialization, parenting styles influence the methods by which the parents socialize their child and the effectiveness of the messages parents attempt to transmit. The emotional climate that is created through parenting style affects how children receive messages and how they are interpreted.


Socialization has many effects on individual behavior and personality. First, it is integral to forming personalities in children. The very nature of socialization dictates that some beliefs and attitudes are reinforced and that there is only selective exposure to other possible attitudes. Children are thus given a set of acceptable behaviors and attitudes from which to form their personalities, creating a firm boundary of possibilities for personality formation.

Children also learn values through the process of socialization. Different sources of socialization including parents, teachers, and the media all have influences on what values the child learns are important. For example, from watching various sources of media in western cultures, most children learn that physical appearance is highly valued, and they mirror this belief in their own value systems. These influences provide the lens through which children view their social world and shape how they will continue to view the world into adulthood.

Socialization processes also affect the developing child through the learning of social and automatic biases about individuals and groups of people. As a part of socialization, children may learn what behaviors are expected and acceptable for different groups of people and may thus form stereotypes about these groups; a common set of stereotypes formed in this way are gender stereotypes. Through these socialization processes the roots of various psychological phenomena studied in social psychology, such as in-group biases, may be found.


Socialization is often studied in relation to specific roles that individuals take within society. Two primary examples of this line of research are gender socialization and racial socialization. The term gender socialization refers to the process by which children learn expectations of behavior for males and females. In children, gender socialization begins through differential treatment based on sex. Boys and girls are treated differently by important adult socializing agents according to what is considered to be acceptable gendered behaviors. Social learning theory is often applied to gender socialization as children are seen to be rewarded and punished for acceptable behaviors, and because they imitate same-sex gender models. This theory posits that children are passive recipients of these messages, but evidence suggests that children selectively and actively process the information they choose to imitate. A more active theory of gender socialization, gender schema theory, posits that children actively form cognitive sets of ideas about gender that help to organize information within their social world.

Racial and ethnic socialization refers to the transmission of messages about how different racial groups fit within society and the relationships between different racial and ethnic groups. Racial socialization is heavily emphasized within some families and in other families it is not considered an important aspect of socialization. As a part of this process, children are taught what behaviors to expect from others based on the race or ethnicity of individuals the child encounters, and they are taught various strategies with which to respond. Racial socialization is directly related to the racial identity that an individual adopts as he or she ages.


Bandura, Albert. 1969. Social-Learning Theory of Identificatory Processes. In Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research, ed. David A. Goslin, 213262. Chicago: Rand McNally.

Baumrind, Diana. 1967. Child Care Practices Anteceding Three Patterns of Preschool Behavior. Genetic Psychology Monographs 475: 4388.

Darling, Nancy, and Lawrence Steinberg. 1993. Parenting Style as Context: An Integrative Model. Psychological Bulletin 113:487496.

Goslin, David A. 1969. Introduction. In Handbook of Socialization Theory and Research, ed. David A. Goslin, 121. Chicago: Rand McNally.

Jacklin, Carol Nagy, and Chandra Reynolds. 1993. Gender and Childhood Socialization. In The Psychology of Gender, eds. Anne E. Beall and Robert J. Sternberg, 197214. New York:Guilford Press.

Maccoby, Eleanor E., and John A. Martin. 1983. Socialization in the Context of the Family: Parent-Child Interaction. In Socialization, Personality, and Social Development.Vol. 4 of Handbook of Child Psychology, eds. P. H. Mussen and E. M. Hetherington, 1101. New York: Wiley.

Marshall, Sheree. 1995. Ethnic Socialization of African American Children: Implications for Parenting, Identity Development, and Academic Achievement. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 24 (4): 377397.

Parke, Ross D., and Raymond Buriel. 1998. Socialization in the Family: Ethnic and Ecological Perspectives. In Social, Emotional, and Personality Development. Vol. 3 of Handbook of Child Psychology, eds. William Damon and Nancy Eisenberg, 463552. New York: Wiley.

Melanie B. Hoy

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Interventions, Social Skills

Interventions, Social Skills


Social relationships among individuals account for much of what is studied in the social sciences. Considerable research supports the essential role of social relationships in behavioral, emotional, and academic/vocational well-being, showing that relationships with others directly impact self-esteem, daily functioning, and life success. Positive relationships foster positive well-being while problematic relationships result in poorer functioning. In keeping with these findings, the goal of social skills interventions (SSI) is to train individuals in specific skills and strategies that foster positive relationships.

One of the first theorists to propose that social relations with peers have a lasting impact on future intimate relationships as well as on personality development was Harry Stack Sullivan. In his seminal book The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry (1953), Sullivan postulated that childhood friendships, or chumships, play a causal role in childrens understanding of social rules and social roles. This belief system then determines interpersonal actions and reactions throughout adolescence and adulthood. Correspondingly, though SSI have been applied across the life span, they are most frequently practiced and studied with children during the elementary school years.

Generally, learning theory is the theoretical basis of SSI through which individuals are taught specific social skills and given opportunities to practice in a structured fashion. The assumption in SSI work is that factors within the individual are largely responsible for the quality of ones social relationships; if those factors are changed, then changes in social relationships will follow. Thus, the focus of SSI is on the individual, rather than the environment or other external contributing factors. However, conducting SSI within a group setting is considered an important ingredient for effecting change. In a group, individuals are able to learn and practice skills within a social context of same-aged peers. However, the group setting is more structured and safe than real-life peer settings, so fear of rejection and teasing is decreased and willingness to try new social behaviors is increased and supported. The social interactions within the group are also observed by group leaders who can then intervene when problems emerge and reinforce positive changes as they occur. The group leader serves as a coach, providing constructive criticism, alternative suggestions, and positive reinforcement.

Behavioral skills have traditionally been the mainstay of SSI. How to control impulses, how to cooperate with others, and how to initiate contact with others are basic behavioral skills taught through most SSI. In the 1980s social scientists began to recognize the mutual impact of thought, emotion, and behavior, and increasingly incorporated cognitive and emotional skills into SSI. Cognitive skill training focuses on helping individuals identify, challenge, and restructure maladaptive thought patterns. Negative social experiences, such as being bullied, tend to engender negative expectations for future social encounters. Testing negative assumptions and managing their influence on behavior is a core social-cognitive skill taught through SSI. Emotional skill training focuses on building self-awareness of how one feels in the moment and learning to manage those emotions. SSI help individuals recognize when emotions, such as anger or hurt, are short-circuiting social skills so they can control those emotions before acting.

SSI are appropriate for anyone who experiences social difficulties, such as isolation, rejection, or bullying. However, certain groups are at higher risk for social problems and, therefore, benefit particularly from SSI. Aggressive individuals experience high levels of conflict that are closely linked with negative relationships. Persons with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) exhibit increased activity level and impulsivity that are seen as intrusive and disruptive by peers. Individuals with developmental disorders, such as autism, or learning or physical disabilities stand out as different from peers and are more likely to display immature, awkward social behaviors that foster peer victimization and rejection. Finally, persons with emotional difficulties, such as depression or anxiety, are likely to withdraw from social interactions and experience isolation.

Research on SSI is intended to establish the effectiveness of intervention and better understand the mechanisms of change. A large literature exists evaluating the efficacy of different SSI with different populations and ages. A thorough review of interventions with school-age children was conducted by Mark Greenberg and colleagues in 2001. Overall, support for SSI for improving social competence and relationships has been found, although effect sizes tend to be moderate. SSI are most effective when: (1) cognitive and emotional skill training are included rather than behavioral skills alone; (2) training occurs over a longer period; (3) multiple components are used to bridge home, school, and clinical settings; and (4) training emphasizes both strengths and weaknesses of the individual.


Greenberg, Mark T., Celene Domitrovich, and Brian Bumbarger. 2001. The Prevention of Mental Disorders in School-Aged Children: Current State of the Field. Prevention & Treatment 4: 167.

Parker, Jeff G., Ken H. Rubin, Joe M. Price, and Melissa E. DeRosier. 1995. Peer Relationships, Child Development and Adjustment: A Developmental Psychopathology Perspective. In Developmental Psychopathology: Risk, Disorder, and Adaptation, Vol. 2, ed. Dante Cicchetti and Donald J. Cohen, 96161. New York: Wiley.

Sullivan, Harry Stack. 1953. The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry. New York: Norton.

Melissa E. DeRosier

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The process by which a person learns to conform individual behavior and responses to the norms and values of society.

Socialization is a lifelong process that begins during infancy in the complex interaction between parent and child. As parents respond to a baby's physical requirements for food and shelter, they are also beginning to teach the baby what to expect from their environment and how to communicate their needs. The action-reaction cycle of smiling, cooing, and touching is a child's earliest interaction with "society." It is believed that these early interactions during infancy play a major role

in future social adjustment. Consistent, responsive care helps lead to healthy relationships with others and normal personal development. Caretakers who neglect an infant's needs or otherwise stifle early attempts at communication can cause serious damage to the child's future social interactions.

The family is the most influential socialization force. Parents, grandparents, and siblings all transmit to infants and young children what they consider to be important values, behavior, skills, and attitudes. Household rules govern behavior, interpersonal behavior serves as a model for interactions with outside people, and socially valued qualities such as generosity and caring are learned through example within the home and in the culture. As children grow and interact more with the environment outside the family home, others begin to play important roles in the socialization process. Friends, institutions such as church and school, the media (particularly television) and co-workers all become important factors in shaping a person's attitudes and behavior.

Researchers have theorized that socialization is a complex process that involves both personal and environmental factors. For example, studies of aggressive tendencies in children have pointed out that certain children are more influenced than others when exposed to television violence or aggressive behavior by authority figures in the home. Some blind and deaf children display aggressive behavior such as stamping feet or yelling even though they have never had the opportunity to see or hear such displays of temper. Thus, it has been concluded that genetic factors must also be considered part of the socialization process.

Studies of sex-type models also point to this complex interaction between environmental and genetic factors. While many researchers believe that most of the stereotypical differences between boys and girls are invalid, some do appear significant. For example, boys tend to perform better on tests involving spatial relationships, and girls tend to score better on tests involving verbal skills. There is such an overlap among boys and girls, even on these tests, that it would be impossible to predict the scores of an individual boy or girl. It is believed, however, that perceived differences often affect the behavior of one of the most influential socialization forces of childrenteachers. Some teachers reinforce the male image of dominance and independence by responding more to boys and demanding more from them in the classroom. Girls are often rewarded for passive, less demanding behavior. Similarly, some parents respond differently to sons and daughters, encouraging stereotypical behavior and traditionally male or female hobbies and careers. Media portrayals of one-dimensional characters can also perpetuate sex role stereotypes.

Further Reading

Clark, John, ed. The Mind: Into the Inner World. New York Torstar Books, 1986.

Zimbardo, Philip G. Psychology and Life. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman, 1988.

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socialization Socialization is the process by which we learn to become members of society, both by internalizing the norms and values of society, and also by learning to perform our social roles (as worker, friend, citizen, and so forth).

There is an ongoing dispute about the relative importance of nature versus nurture (or hereditary and environment) in human development. A related debate concerns the extent to which humans are over-socialized. Are humans ruled by their social manners and role-playing skills to the extent that basic human instincts are eradicated? This debate pits the psychological perspective of Freud, which views socialization as working against our natural inclinations and drives, against the functionalist perspective that sees socialization as essential for the integration of society. Recent studies have focused on social class differences in socialization, some of which have to do with language (see B. Bernstein , Class, Codes and Control, 1971
), others of which are more concerned with differences in value orientation (see M. Kohn , Class and Conformity, 1969

Socialization is no longer regarded as the exclusive preserve of childhood, with the primary agents being the family and school. It is now recognized that socialization continues throughout the life-course. It is also recognized that socialization is not simply a one-way process, in which individuals learn how to fit into society, since people may also redefine their social roles and obligations. Any understanding of socialization must therefore take account of how the process relates to social change. In this sense, some schools of sociological theory imply an allegedly ‘over-socialized conception of man in society’, in that they overstate the extent to which values are internalized and action is normative in orientation—a charge often levelled, for example, against normative functionalism (see D. Wrong , ‘The Oversocialized Conception of Man’, American Sociological Review, 1961

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enculturation A term from American cultural anthropology that is virtually synonymous with socialization. It refers to the idea that, to be a full member of any culture or subculture, individuals have constantly to learn and use, both formally and informally, the patterns of cultural behaviour prescribed by that culture.

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"Enculturation." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. . 10 Jul. 2018 <>.

"Enculturation." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. . (July 10, 2018).

"Enculturation." International Encyclopedia of Marriage and Family. . Retrieved July 10, 2018 from

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American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.