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Behavioral perspective

Cognitive perspective

Symbolic interaction perspective

Social structural perspective

Network perspective


Explanation for human

behavior should be based on
observable, verifiable
behaviors rather than what
people are presumably

Explanation for human behavior must include

a consideration of mental processes

People are active agents in determining

their own actions and establishing social
expectations through interactive

Peoples actions can be

understood in terms of the
different expectations society
imposes on their roles.

Focus on relational linkage and

describes social structure in
terms of the characteristics of
the patterns of ties between
actors in a social system.

A persons behavior is constructed

through a give and take during his or her
interaction with others.

Social structure = relatively

stable and enduring patterns of
social interactions and social

George Herbert Mead argued that

human conduct was far too complex to
be explained by instinct, and
emphasized nurture over nature.
Membership in a common group
produces common shared behaviors,
thoughts, and feelings. Through
interaction with others, we help create
our environment.

James and Dewey emphasized

habit, noting that individual habits
reflect collective habits, which are
the customs of a society

Social interaction = process by

which people act toward, in
response to, and mutually
influence one another

Park viewed society as

organizing, integrating, and
directing the energies of
individuals through social roles

Significant symbol = shared meaning

(Ex: hello is a greeting only because
weve agreed that it is)
Symbols allow for a consciousness of
self, and reflexivity and agency
taking the Role of the Other

Lintons Role Theory portraying

social interaction in terms of
actors who play assigned parts in
accordance with the cultural

Social relationship =
interactional linkage between
two people that is characterized
by a reflexively stable pattern of
interaction and set of

Human behavior is the result

of direct or imitative learning
according to the behavioral
principles of stimulus and
conditioned response
Roots &

Pavlovs dogs and classical

Skinners rats and operant
Social Learning Theory
Bandura and observational
learning through imitating

Human behavior depends on how people

perceive their environment
An individuals cognitive processes intervene
between external stimuli and behavioral

W.I. Thomas, preliminary to any selfdetermined act of behaviors, there is always a

stage of examination and deliberation called
the Definition of the Situation
If human beings define situations as real, then
they are real in their consequences. Conflicts
arise then people disagree over the Definition
of the Situation. (Ex: A movie outing between
two people can be a date to one person and a
platonic hangout for another)
Cognition = all the mental processes that
transform sensory input in some meaningful
fashion, and the process of interpreting input
from the environment in terms of info stored in
memory (includes attention, memory,
Cognitive structure = any type of
organization among cognitions, and how
cognitions are patterned in memory
Schemas = complex interrelated attitudes that
result from comparison and classification of
- Stored categories of abstracted generalizations
for organizing the world around us
- Social schema = an organized pattern of
cognitions about a social object of category


Humans aware of
conditioned responses can
choose to defy them. There is
more to the process of
learning than reinforcement;
humans guided more by
expectations than rewards.

Emphasis on self:
Because individuals are continually
engaging in role taking, they see
themselves from the viewpoint of others.
Individuals care most about the opinions
of significant others, people who control
important rewards or occupy key
positions in their groups (ie: teachers,
bosses, friends, family)

Cognitive theory simplifies the way people

process information, an inherently complex

Overemphasizes rational, self-conscious

thought and de-emphasizes unconscious
or emotional states.

Cognitive phenomena are not directly

observable, and must be inferred from what
people say and do.

Places too much emphasis on

cooperation and neglects the importance
of conflict.

Elder expanded the Life-Course

approach emphasizing age roles
and norms. Role = set of
normative requirements/
expectations that apply to the
activities of a specific category of
people, in a particular situation
Social role = expectations of
individuals in a specific role
Social status = a recognized
position or location within a
larger system of social positions
Difficulty explaining deviant
behavior, or any behavior that
violates the norms defining a
given role.
Does not explain how role
expectations originate or how
they change.

Social network = complex set

of relationships or web of
interconnections between
members of a social system

Social network is a set of nodes

that are tied by one or more
specific types of relations
between them.
The flow of resources varies in
quality, quantity, duration, and
multiplexity. Also vary in
symmetry, intimacy, and role
Network analysis focuses on
the characteristics of tie patterns
between actors in a social
system. Networks vary in
size/range, contents, and
Network structure =
arrangement of direct and
indirect ties which network
members tied to the focal
individual are also tied to each