This article was originally presented as the opening lecture of the Symposium on Fundamental Social Psychology organised by the Netherlandish Association of Social Psychological Researchers, in Utrecht, December 1985.
Proposal for a heuristic quasi-social analysis of social behaviour: The case of Harlow's ‘Nature of Love’
Article first published online: 22 FEB 2006
Copyright © 1989 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
European Journal of Social Psychology
Volume 19, Issue 5, pages 371–383, September/October 1989
How to Cite
Nuttin, J. M. (1989), Proposal for a heuristic quasi-social analysis of social behaviour: The case of Harlow's ‘Nature of Love’. Eur. J. Soc. Psychol., 19: 371–383. doi: 10.1002/ejsp.2420190505
- Issue published online: 22 FEB 2006
- Article first published online: 22 FEB 2006
- Manuscript Accepted: OCT 1989
- Manuscript Received: MAR 1989
Social psychology traditionally studies conspecific (homosocial) determinants of human behaviour. This suggests that an adequate understanding of (human) conspecific influence and interaction presupposes research on uniquely social psychological processes, effects and theories that lay beyond the reach of standard psychological concepts, procedures and theories.
A fundamental and cumulative science of behaviour (homosocial or not) might profit from a heuristic quasi-social analysis, as a research tool for a more parsimonious conceptual screening of homosocial phenomena. Whenever the phenomenon under study is experienced, at the pre-scientific level, as genuinely social, one of three quasi-social contrast filters can be superposed upon it: (1) a heteroquasisocial contrast in which the homosocial determinant is substituted by a member of another species (e.g. man-dog); (2) an object-quasisocial contrast in which the other becomes an inanimate object (e.g. woman-P. C.); (3) an auto-quasisocial contrast in which the organism interacts with or influences itself (dog chasing her own tail).
Theories and processes whose essential features are masked by any of the three quasi-social filters, should be considered as only quasi-social. They do not justify a separate homosocial science of behaviour. The proposal is illustrated by a quasi-social screening of Harlow S classic analysis of the Nature of Love.