Free How Social Reality Shapes People’s Attitudes, Personalities, And Behavior Research Paper Sample
Psychology has a number of interesting topics that are reflected in the everyday reality that take place in the lives of people and the society. There are a number of topics in this course that are very interesting, as they share the truths behind the nature of humans, and their tendency to meditate in their consciousness on what is and what is not. For this, there is the statement that “science refers to a particular form of knowledge, which could be relied on to gain a more dependable, correct, or true understanding of the world” (Nakkeeran, 2010, p.381). These are taken in Psychology, and it induces systematic principles that prove the understanding of the world is primarily based on faith, belief, and tradition. There are certain attitudes, opinions, and beliefs shared by members of a group or society, thus, creating social reality in the view that what they perceive to be true are seen by all.
Definition. Social reality constitutes the attitudes, opinions, as well as the beliefs of a certain group or society that share consistency in the culture and traditions that surround the society. It is the similarity of how a group of people think, act, and behave, and how their attitudes correspond with the ways and norms of the other members of the society. This aspect of social reality is very interesting, as it relates to the connectedness and unison reflected in the mannerisms of people within a society. It reflects the concord between members of a society, indicating that within a group of people, there exists unison and connectedness, as all members share the same environment and therefore, the same context. This aspect of social reality reflects the genuine relativeness of human nature, wherein what is present in an individual can be reflected in the overall aspect of the whole society, as if what is being featured in one will definitely be present in the entire entity. For this, there is similarity in the attitudes, opinions, and beliefs of people in the same group or society, as the members shares the same social reality, which forms unison and connectedness.
Still, there reveals a process of differentiation between human beings, in spite of sharing similar features of the social reality. This is because of the tangible role of consciousness, wherein each person has his/her consciousness, to determine what will and what will not be, based on the inner cognitive processing of the mind. People decide their beliefs, tradition, and opinions because their mind says so, as it comes up with a robust explanation of how things took place and what will become of it in the future. There is similarity in the social reality; yet, there exists a level of individuality, as each person takes his/her own course over the events taking place. This leads to a specific course of attitude or behavior, mainly because the cognitive mind has created a distinctive belief or notion that, although similar with the others in the society, would also reflect some eccentricity. This makes the topic of social reality interesting, as it reveals the mystery behind human consciousness, which drifts the mind to a state of sameness and, alongside, of distinctiveness. Essentially, we begin to assess the idea of social influence, which is compartmentalized into three different categories: compliance, identification, and internalization . Social influence relies on social reality because our behavior is dictated by social influence. We may comply or agree with others while keeping our own opinions private. We may also identify with somebody powerful, famous, or popular, thus allowing ourselves to be influenced by his or her actions, ideas, or opinions. Finally, we may internalize, accepting beliefs and showing behaviors both when we are alone or in public, because they have been publically approved. In each of these scenarios, reality is constructed by society and we allow our behavior to be dictated by society, or social influence, fundamentally allowing ourselves to be puppets to societal constraints.
Personal attitude has much to do with this construct society has bound us to. How we react to the world around us weighs heavily on how we feel, as well as the energy we create around us. According to David Myers (2012) Jung believed there were two different attitudes in each of us: the conscious and the unconscious. Both were prepared to respond to the events unfolding around us, depending on the situation. They were also described as extroversion and introversion, rational and irrational, and social and antisocial, among others. Personal attitudes allowed individuals to construct their own social reality, dictating which part of society they were involved with. For example, an antisocial introvert would have a different reality than a social extrovert. Their interactions with society would be different, therefore, their realities would be different.
Elements. There are a number of important elements in the topic, or those that are uniquely interesting and reveals the fascinating elements of the topic. Firstly, social reality is a field of natural science, wherein human consciousness appears to be the bottom line of a person’s beliefs, values, their intentions and their meaning. In social reality, there is a communal construction of reality that imposes the beliefs and traditions of the community, with an interpretation that connect the individual to the overall society. It studies the reality within the human mind, as it transposes the subjectivity of the consciousness, in a manner that stimulates the inner cognitive processing of the mind. From this, the collection of similar observations create a robust explanation to the way things come about in the physical world.
Secondly, there is an interesting notion that the structure of social reality is radically invisible and weightless, meaning that these entities seemed to be natural to humankind, in a manner that people seemed to be unaware of their ontology (Searle, 1995, p.4). As Searle (1995) mentioned, the invisibility of social reality makes these entities “as natural to us as stones and water and trees” (p.4). Thus, it strips them of their functional roles, which makes the complex seemed simple; and the simple seemed complex. As Searle (1995) explained, “social reality is created by us for our purposes and seems as readily intelligible to us as those purposes themselves” (p.4). This is very interesting, as it reflects the disappearance of the functional roles, which leave people unaware of their interests, goals, and purposes. They would rather focus on the intellectual task of identifying the intrinsic features, which appears to be more difficult than meditating on the overall function or roles of the object or event.
Thirdly, it is likewise interesting to note that, social reality fits into the overall ontology of people or, to put it more clearly, that social reality fits into the existence of social facts relating to other things or beings that exist. From this, it can be concluded that there is some kind of a “special order” taking place within the universe, in which things and people are made to exist “in order”. This is reflected in the evolutionary theory of biology, as well as the Big Bang Theory, which propose that the world exists in particles that are organized as systems that emit fields of force. In this same way, living systems evolve through the natural selection, which builds the nervous system and sustains a person’s consciousness. From consciousness comes intentionality or “the capacity of the mind to represent objects and states of affairs in the world other than itself” (Searle, 1995, p.7). Through this special capacity of the mind, what is unconscious may become conscious, as the former becomes accessible to consciousness, and primarily becomes a part of conscious reality. This is very interesting, as through intentionality, what does not exist in the mind may be a part of intentional consciousness, and then becomes a state of reality by creating a new world view.
Construction of social reality. In the article of Barry Smith & John Searle (2003), it was stated how social reality is relatively composed of a two-level ontology: (1) the institutional facts of the upper level; and (2) the brute facts of the lower level (p.285). The brute facts of the lower level are those that “can exist independently of human beings and their institutions” (Smith & Searle, 2003, p.285). One example of a brute fact is the existence of nature and of the planet Earth, or the existence of the human consciousness. On the other hand, the institutional facts of the higher level are those that “depend on human institutions and above all on an associated collective intentionality” (Smith & Searle, 2003, p.285). One good example of an institutional fact is the existence of cities and countries, or the existence of technology and things produced with the use of technology. They are associated to collective intentionality, mainly because there is the imposing of rights, obligations, duties, privileges, permissions, authorizations, entitlements, responsibilities, and/or penalties. With the use of these two levels of ontology, there is the construction of social reality through collective intentionality, so that a function is being imposed collectively and intentionally.
According to John Searle (1995), there are three components in the ontology of social reality. He emphasized that objects had come into being mainly as a result of the combination of four parts or components: (1) the physical objects; (2) the cognitive acts or states of virtue; (3) the functions; and (4) the contexts of cognitive acts (Smith & Searle, 2003, p.285). Thus, in the case of money, for example: (1) the physical object is the piece of green paper with the printing of the dollar; (2) the cognitive act is counting the overall bills; (3) the function is to pay for a personal bank account; and (4) the context is the bank.
The triangle of social reality. In the article of Stine Gotved (2006), he mentioned about the triangle of social reality that Boudreau & Newman (1993) introduced, which highlights the perspectives reflected in social constructionism. This highlights the social interaction being the source of both culture and structure, which are thus, reflected in the three sides of the triangle of social reality. Each of these sides represent the three elements that are interrelated, which are: (1) social interaction; (2) culture; and (3) social structure (Gotved, 2006, p.469). At the middle of the triangle is social reality. At the base of the triangle is social interaction; and on the two sides are culture and social structure.
In the triangle of social reality, the social interaction is represented by the base of the triangle, since it is the most important element, and that without it there would be no social reality and no special interpretation attached to culture and social structure. Through social interaction, the construction of social reality is altered and/or reconstructed, and it can blur the border between technology and sociality when defining online communication. It may or may prevent, for example, widen the gap between technology and sociality by strengthening the collaboration between people in the society, or by lessening the collaboration. It all depends on the people of the society, whether they become more associated with the object or entity, or if they become more distant, such that they put an end to its use.
When it comes to the culture of the triangle, this constitutes the values, sentiments, as well as the meanings being evoked in the social reality. As Boudreau & Newman (1993) proposed, this culture constitutes “the accumulated social heritage” (p.87). With this comes the shifting patterns of interaction, as well as the common knowledge derived from sharing the same context in the past or present evolution. It is all about the traditions of the society, as well as the interpretations of these traditions. Culture is produced through social interaction, so that without the latter there would be no former. By this, culture is more or less seen as a “fluid phenomenon”, since the new trends may come to shift in only a matter of hours. It furthermore reflects the “socio-anthropological notion of unstable patterns of more or less shared meanings evolving in the course of social life” (Gotved, 2006, p.470).
Lastly, when it comes to social structure of the triangle, this constitutes the “more stable patterns of social reality” (Gotved, 2006, p.460). In the words of Boudreau & Newman (1993), these includes “discernible shapes that are produced by the ways in which members of groups, organizations, and societies relate to one another” (p.87). This social structure is the effect of social organization—how people embrace the collectivities within the social context with varying longevity. In the social structure, the shaping of reality is being defined through interrelationship of the entities that govern the society. It represents stable patterns and features, which make way for interactivity and communication between people of similar, diverse, or interconnected networks. The social structure emphasizes the stable features of the construction, from which cultural patterns tend to emerge.
Educational impact. In gathering more knowledge about social reality, there is greater understanding on the link and connectivity of individuals with that of the society, while stressing that, what is reflected in collectivity also reflects individually. There is the understanding of the genuine relativeness of human nature, and of the tangible role of consciousness in creating distinctive opinions, beliefs, and attitudes. Because social reality is invisible and weightless, things and events seemed natural to humankind, thus, stripping them of their functional roles, which should have been the main essence of consciousness. With this understanding, it seemed that the world’s natural order enables the mind to capture and represent objects and state of affairs that are witnessed within the physical world. The mind focuses on the unconsciousness to represent what is found in the world; yet, loses more of its functions but merely links the object with what is found in the context of the society. Social reality becomes no more than the sounds coming from people’s mouths, creating institutionalized facts by altering the brute facts through individualized interpretation.
Personal impact. This new knowledge on social reality will be useful in the future, as I advance in education and in my career. It will make me more successful in life, as this helped me understand how the way of life comes about, and how people tend to create their own versions of a brute fact. Thus, it is important to understand that only through social interaction will social reality be revitalized, and the functional intentions are as much important when creating a social reality. Yet, social interaction will be ineffective without culture and social structure, which represent the values and sentiments that make up a person’s opinions, beliefs, and attitudes, including the stable patterns of social reality. To gain success in life, one has to interact socially with other people, since it is by continuous interaction that people are able to shape their attitudes, beliefs, and opinions. They begin building their dispositions according to the ways of the society, thereby creating a new meaning of the event, which influences the spontaneity of interaction between people. It is by then that a new culture is born, so that through interconnectedness, they share the same culture and tradition that come to exist, until a new social reality starts to take form again.
Conclusion: Social reality can be a powerful thing. However, understanding it can be even more powerful. With the understanding of the world around me, as well as the understanding others might have of the world around them I have a better chance of sympathizing with others on a more accurate level. Moreover, I have a better chance of relating to the others on a more formidable level. Social reality itself can be fickle; it is important to understand where are our reality manifests and how it comes to be so powerful, if only to occasionally disconnect, allowing myself to unwind. Regardless of what my beliefs are, I must have an understanding of how multiple beliefs, faiths, and opinions play in the role of reality and one’s place in society if I hope to truly understand how anybody sees the world.
Boudreau, F.A., & Newman, W.M. (1993). Understanding social life. St. Paul, MN: West Publishing Company.
Gotved, S. (2006). Time and space in cyber social reality. New Media & Society, 8(3), 467-486.
Myers, D. (2012). Social Psychology 11th Edition. New York: McGraw Hill Humanities.
Nakkeeran, N. (2010). Knowledge, truth, and social reality: an introductory note on qualitative research. Indian Journal of Community Medicine, 35(3), 379-381.
Searle, J.R. (1995). The construction of social reality. New York, NY: Free Press.
Smith, B., & Searle, J. (2003). An illuminating exchange: the construction of social reality. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 62(2), 285-309.