According to the theory known as social behaviorism, by the sociologist Herbert Mead, the past social experiences help to form the personality of people. He believed that the personality is developed on terms of social experiences and not biologically, developing self when they interact with each other. He says that without one another and interactions between them, one cannot mature. It is as same as a child being isolated for some time from the rest of the world and he/she doesn’t mature mentally as well as physically.
The next phase is the social experience, which includes the exchange of symbols and only people can give meaning to words and symbols. When you ask a trained dog to sit it sits and then you offer them a snack. But the dog has no meaning why it sat, but it does so to get the snack. You can ask the dog to sit for many reasons but for the dog, he isn’t aware of any. Also Mead noted that it’s equally important to understand the individual intentions. It gives us the power to analyze the behaviors of individuals even before they act.
What Mead refers to as taking another individual’s role is that we assume certain behaviors of people when we are in a satiation like seeing a speeding car behind us. We assume that they are in a rush or thinking of switching lanes.
Looking-glass self is another important theory in the concept of social behaviorism. This is like mirroring what others may think of us. For example, if we think that others see us as good looking, we see us being good looking or if you think others see you as fat, you see yourself as fat.
Many people take the other persons role when they are growing. Look at children, they know very little so they mimic others, mostly people like their parents who have significance to their social development. During initial stages when they are playing playhouse they take the roles of their parents but eventually, they are replaced by other roles of their surroundings. Likewise as we grow old we see such changes in our social lives. But Mead’s theory has a lot of critics and some tend to think that Mead is focusing too much on the society in developing an individual’s personality.
Another sociologist Erik H. Erikson stated in his findings that in contrast to what Freud believes which says that an individual’s personality depends on the very first stages of life, personality changes occur all the way up to the death at different stages of life. The theory is not well accurate because people experiences changes in different orders of time. Despite all the disagreements, the general idea many sociologists agree that the greatest impact on an individual’s socialization abilities come from the parents.
During the infant stages, people cannot reply on anything or anyone other than the parents who helps them to mature. Through family they learn communication, trust, culture and beliefs. Not all development comes from the family; they can mature through experiences they gain from the environments and cultures too. The saying “village to raise a child” seems true enough since different social classes of people raise their children in different ways. The better the environment is, better the child growth is. A survey which took place in USA has compared what families of upper and lower classes want in their children.
The findings say that a lower class family expects obedience and conformity while the upper class favors creativity and better judgment (NORS, 2003). If you wonder why, the lower class jobs are highly supervised and seek for obedience among the workers and they expect the same from their children. And the upper classes jobs are mostly inspire the individuality and creativity and apparently that’s what they expect from their children to see. Apart from the family, school also has a major impact on one’s individuality. You spend the most time of your growing up life at schools and you can observe that children play with other children of the same age and boys seems more physically tuff and active while girls seems a bit behaved. Boys find abstract activates like video games interesting while girls tend to be more artistic.
The same choices happen when you go to college, while boys tend to major in physical sciences and computing while most girls major in arts or humanities. While schooling children discover peer groups, children with the same interests. They tend to mature more with them instead with the families thereafter, they can share their opinions and interests about music, fashion etc. Peer groups make children more outspoken and behave without adult supervision. The individuals get to know who they are and what their likes and dislikes are about and this is the stage where parents try to involve on their lives since the environment the children are effects their growth and behavior deeply. Mass media and television affects the personal behavior as well. It effects the creativity by lessening it and makes people more passive while in America they have the most TV sets per household and most time spent watching TV.