Social behavior

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The social behavior includes all the behaviors of people and animals , based on responses or actions of individuals of their own kind are targeting. Social behavior thus includes both forms of harmonious coexistence and agonistic (rival) behavior .

Social behavior from the perspective of psychology


In humans, social behavior is behavior in the social structure: speaking , eye contact , negotiations and arguments as well as body language . According to Kurt Lewin , the behavior of an individual is the result of all conditions acting in a situation ( field theory ). Socially relevant behavior is a network of behavior sequences that has to prove itself in hundreds of complicated social situations. Not only is it highly complex, it also reacts with a wealth of nuances in many different situations - and it can fail because of barely visible little things. Everyone who grows up in a modern society is usually in command of this web of social chains of behavior that are necessary in order to be able to move in hundreds of situations in such a way that one can emerge successfully from them.

Social behavior must therefore be learned (not only with humans). In contact with parents and siblings, babies learn from day one to move around in social situations. The process of learning socially relevant behaviors is lengthy; it lasts for years - and actually never ends. Infants / children who are not given the opportunity to have intensive contact with caregivers later have great problems behaving appropriately in social situations (see attachment theory , hospitalism ).

Early childhood situations that show a lack of affection and social contact usually lead to socially deviant behaviors. In this respect, lively contact with parents , carers and / or siblings is the best basis for the social behavior learning project. Problematic situations for children and infants are: Rejection of contact, lack of physical contact, too little interaction as well as inappropriate consequences of interaction such as aggressiveness, neglect etc. If one imagines social behavior as a learning process, one must also assume that the child is given the opportunity to learn the appropriate behavior, accordingly, the right contact must first of all be offered.

Social psychology

In social psychology , Kurt Lewin established the relationship between behavior (V), person (P) and environment (U), which can be represented as a function:

  • V = f (P, U)

The independent variables (P and U properties) do not influence the behavior summatively, but also influence each other. Perception ( perception ) and recognition ( cognition ) here represent a form of behavior, since it is also observed as any other behavior.

Social behavior from the perspective of pedagogy

Educators ( parents , educators , teachers ) should be interested in helping children / adolescents to develop the widest possible repertoire of socially relevant behavior. The practice of such behavior is therefore very important, no matter what the teaching method may be. To a certain extent, communicating social behavior is a long-term task in the educational process, at the end of which the child / adolescent must be able to cope with as many social situations as possible or to be able to deal with them. These include B. promising conflict behavior in groups, many types of communication , resilience in difficult situations, socially appropriate reactions in various situations in everyday life, etc.

For the course of this lengthy learning process, it is of great importance that children are treated with patience and understanding. Children / adolescents must have a sense of achievement in this learning process (self-reinforcement, reinforcement by the educating person).

Social behavior from the point of view of behavioral biology

Among the branches of behavioral biology , classical comparative behavioral research , sociobiology and behavioral ecology deal with the phenomenon of social behavior . Under social behavior all the observable activities of the animals are here often summarized that the intraspecific serve understanding: So, for example, courtship , brood care ( cf.. Entry Ever Keep in mice and rats ), Stimmfühlungslaute and aggressive confrontations on the ground BOUNDARY ( cf.. Territorial behavior ) and Appeasement signals that serve to inhibit aggression .

Some researchers, however, define the term much more narrowly and limit it to the behavior of animals that live with certain conspecifics in a permanent bond, be it in pairs , in a pack , or other social associations with group ties . Membership in the group (or bond) is z. In the case of social insects, for example, this is signaled by a “smell uniform”; in the case of social primates, membership is based on personal acquaintance. In a herd or in a flock , apart from parent-young animal ties, there are no social ties.

Occasionally the term social behavior is also applied to the communication between animals of different species, for example animals that are in symbiosis .

With the help of Kaspar Hauser experiments, it was possible to prove , among other things , that essential elements of social behavior are innate (i.e. anchored in the genes) and inherited for many behaviors and different animal species . This includes, for example, the innate recognition of certain characteristics of other individuals (“ key stimuli ”).

Harry Harlow conducted experiments with young rhesus monkeys raised in complete isolation. They made it clear that primates (and so do many other vertebrates ) need social interactions in order to develop normal social behavior. The experience of continuous affection from adult individuals is almost the basis for the further course of a successful life.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kurt Lewin: Field theory in the social sciences. Selected theoretical writings. Hans Huber publishing house, Bern and Stuttgart 1963; 2nd edition: Verlag Hogrefe, Göttingen 2012, ISBN 978-3-4568-5076-4
  2. ^ K. Lewin: A Dynamic Theory of Personality: Selected Papers. McGraw-Hill, New York / London 1935, chap. III, p. 79 . See H. Maus, F. Fürstenberg (ed.): Texts from experimental social psychology. Luchterhand, Neuwied 1969.
  3. see also: Reinhard Tausch, Anne-Marie Tausch: Educational Psychology - Encounters from Person to Person, 9th edition, Verlag für Psychologie, Dr. Cheers, Göttingen, Toronto, Zurich 1979
  4. Lauren Slater: Von Menschen und Ratten, the famous experiments of psychology, Beltz Verlag, Weinheim 2005, p. 174 ff