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Intuitive Scientists in the Social Environment - Essay Example

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From the discussion in this essay, it may be concluded that people act as intuitive scientists in the social environment. The tools in their arsenal include nonverbal communications, all shaped and contextualized by the way in which the various individuals in the group interact with each other…
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Intuitive Scientists in the Social Environment
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Download file to see previous pages Sociologists have been exploring the various tools we have at our disposal to interpret the world around us, whether it is as simple-seeming as a small farmstead in 1250 AD or as complicated as the ultra-globalized world of high-speed internet and instant messaging in the present day. Studying this issue, social scientists have suggested that people act as ‘intuitive scientists’ when in a social environment (Heider & Simmel, 1944). The tools in their arsenal include attributions and various forms of nonverbal communications, all shaped and contextualized by the way in which the various individuals in the group interact with each other.
Many of the clues we use to help us interpret the world around us are based on our understandings of motion and relational movement. This is what Kelley (1967) referred to as attributions. Attributions are basically the human need to offer an explanation for events. External attributions explain the reasons for things based on external factors, such as gravity caused the soda can to fall from my hand onto my foot. Internal attributions explain motivations as individual internal reactions, such as dropping the soda can in order to injure the foot so that I don’t have to march today in the hot sun. We understand the world based upon our understandings of these motivations, whether it is the kinetic energy of the door opening when the man pushes on it or the motivation of the man’s desire to get into a dry room. These understandings are somewhat skewed based upon our perceptual plane. For example, our ability to accurately interpret our position within a particular social environment can be shaped by self-serving bias. Self-serving bias is the tendency for people to claim their successes and ignore or downplay their failures, often with the effect that they become less able to adapt to different situations and social dynamics.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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