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The Social Animal

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  3,146 ratings  ·  151 reviews
A landmark text that maintains its relevance and unique approach edition after edition, The Social Animal offers a brief, compelling introduction to modern social psychology. Through vivid narrative, lively presentations of important research, and intriguing examples, Elliot Aronson probes the patterns and motives of human behavior, covering such diverse topics as terroris ...more
Paperback, 431 pages
Published July 13th 2007 by Worth Publishers (first published 1972)
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Average rating 4.27  · 
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 ·  3,146 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Dec 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is one of the best and most illuminating books I have ever read.

This book is what every self-help book dreams of being; instead of anecdotes or feel-good advice, there's 400 pages of meticulously referenced (sadly just endnotes, not sidenotes or footnotes) peer-reviewed articles. Aronson's life work is, as he concludes the book, understanding "how we think, how we behave, what makes us aggressive, and what makes us loving." So many books peck around the edges of that topic; this book, now i
May 舞
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can’t believe it! I’ve finally finished The Social Animal!
Took me quite a while but it was worth every minute. I learned about conformity, persuasion, social cognition, self-justification, aggression, prejudice, love, and social psychology as a science. The book includes many scientific experiments that I found very interesting and insightful.
I highly recommend it to anyone interested in how society affects us and shapes our thoughts and actions.
Amir Tesla
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
Amazing book, full of lessons and wisdom which literally makes you a more Cute and effective person in life.
Zach Zhao
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For every subject, there is a Bible textbook. This has to be the one for Social Psychology.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was in college, I first got interested in social psychology because it dealt with some of the most exciting aspects of being human: love, hate, prejudice, aggression, altruism, social influence, conformity, and the like. At that time, I didn’t care a great deal about how this impressive body of knowledge came into existence. I simply wanted to know what was known. It wasn’t until I entered graduate school that it suddenly dawned on me that I could be more than a consumer of this knowledge ...more
Mar 08, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author states that he purposely left this book brief so that it could serve as an introduction to social psychology. As valid a goal as that might be, Elliot Aronson's approach leaves the reader with a book that only provides examples and defines barely any terms or theories. Aronson must have known that his book may be used as primary text for a social psychology class (as it was in mine), which makes the inadequacies of this book inexcusable.

The author bolds key terms but a review of the d
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Social Psychology is a really captivating topic, and as a primer this book was great. The author sure seems to know what he is writing about, giving examples and case studies from findings. But along with that his writing is captivating and drew me to read more and become more curious on the matter he was writing. I am keen on knowing more about the subject and applications of it.

Strongly recommend this book, can't think of a reason how it cannot impact anybody and everybody. We all are social
Mohammed Al Hajji
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A great reference for avid social psychology readers. It goes through all main concepts in the field in a simple yet enriching content.
Jurij Fedorov
Well, I really wanted to like it. I love psychology and I love social psychology. This seemed like a book written by a knowledgeable person on the topic... but in the end this is too much pseudoscience for my liking. I read everything I can about psychology and even I thought this was boring. So, I really don't know who will enjoy this book. So it really baffles me that so many people give it high ratings. Who the hell reads this book? If you actually know a bit about psychology you will discove ...more
Belal Al Droubi
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
i could talk so much about this book and it would still be difficult to express how valuable i found it to be
this is a textbook on the beautiful science of Social Psychology, although a TEXTBOOK, it is the farthest thing from being boring or low-yield.
you truly are lucky if this is your assigned book in a Social Psych class.

it discusses all the main areas of social psychology from conformity to prejudice to social cognition and self-justification (which i found to be the most mind-blowing chapte
Sadhbh Warren
Jan 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a bit dated now, but this is the book that pretty much taught me everything I wanted to know about people and social psychology when I signed up to do my BA. The discussion of Bystander Syndrome absolutely blew my mind at the time. Well worth a read.
Ravikiran Gunale
Nice book about social psychology and behaviours. How good/bad stereotypes are created. It explains lot about how we develop good/bad attitude towards certain groups. Why people conform to a ideology . In what situation people are most/least influenced. Basically its a toolbox to understand individual and group interactions. Almost every statement made by author is scientifically validated by experiments.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great refresher on a social psychology class I took in 2013 (time flies). Definitely accessible to the layperson.
Nguyen Vy
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an awesome book about social influences that helps explain why people behave the way they do in different situations. The fundamental philosophy of The Social Animal is that human behaviors, belief, and attitude do not reflect dispositional qualities in individuals because it is the variables in the situations that produce behaviors, belief, and attitude. This is a very generous view in regard of human nature. It implies that we have the capacity to change people for the better if we und ...more
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in psychology
I had to read this book for my Social Psychology class and it was (quite possibly) the only "text" book I ever actually read. It was a fascinating merging of psychology in a social context. The subject is immediately applicable to real life.
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Overall one of the best introductions out there for learning about social psychology. While this book is essentially a textbook, I would not let that discourage anyone from taking the time to read this. In terms of a starting place and general overview on basic concepts, this book is hard to beat. “The Social Animal” covers a lot of concepts the are relevant and things we all come across in our lives, divided into chapters dedicated to: Social cognition, self justification, conformity, influence ...more
Dmitry Mikhaylov
This is a textbook on social psychology which studies emotions, attitudes, prejudices, aggression, love, violence, and many other interesting aspects of our life.

My main takeaways from the book:

-cognitive dissonance causes fires in our brain which needs to be put out as soon as possible.

-talking about feelings, not about judgements can help give feedback and resolve conflicts.

-attributing people's behavior to their situation rather than their personality may reveal the real cause of the problem.
Suprim Devkota
Aug 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've always been fascinated with social psychology - Why do we do the things we do and what makes us click. That's why I enjoyed reading this book.

Although it is kinda long, it is a worthwhile investment. This book is grounded on firm and scientific tests and results but it's still interesting to read. Learning what drives us as humans allows us to make better choices, resist temptations and possibly help to make other people's lives better. As humans, the social animal, we are constantly in a s
Tennyson C. Robin
Chapter 2: Conformity
Why do we conform? Because either we believe that our judgement is erroneous or we seek approval/acceptance of others to belong to the group. Evolutionarily speaking, social exclusion could have a devastating result on an individual: receiving no protection, little opportunity to reproduce, hence the ingrained need to conform.

Factors affecting conformity include unanimity, commitment, accountability, the person and the culture, and the group exerting pressure.
Mar 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Insightful and thought-provoking, covering a broad range of fascinating human behavior topics.
Mousa Aldaas
Oct 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
such great book... while you're reading it you will notice that the writer explains every possibility you might think of..... it is like he knows how you're thinking....
Ingrid Miller
Mar 14, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I would have given it zero if I could; this book is the most frustrating, boring, and infuriating thing I think I have ever read.

I have this book as a social psychology textbook this year and I thought it might be ok at first, because the anecdotal style makes it easy and even pleasant to read.

You know what it makes it really hard to do? Find ANY goddamn information. The subheadings make no sense, nothing is organized in a logical way, and everything is hidden in paragraphs upon paragraphs of h
Yousra Bushehri
I picked up this book while doing some initial research on psychology in order to write a well versed personal statement and statement of purpose for my PhD applications. And this book is an amazing introduction to the world of psychology. But it is JUST an introduction. The amazing thing about it is that it helps you and leads you to more sources regarding the topics and experiments described in this book. So it kind of works like a portal into more information. I will definitely read this agai ...more
Lotfi Alsouki
Jul 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Plug this book in your brain(As in PC like plugging) and you will not hate anyone ,you will not be angry with anyone or anything ,sound inhuman but this what the book implies !! every action ,every thought and every word has a plausible reason behind them ,once we know it we see things in a different lens .
I have never read a glossary in a book before (who does!) ,here i did it !! Great book from first page to the last one.
Excellent. It's an encyclopedia for modern psychology. Covering a very wide range of experiences. I really really enjoy it. When I finished the book, I felt like I don't need to read anything anymore about Social Psychology!
I was also amazed by the scientific approach to do experiments in social psychology.
This book covers so much, and it's a huge wake up to the human nature and how we are inclined to do good and awful things. I love the emphasis on eliminating prejudice. There is also a great chapter, 'Liking, loving, and interpersonal sensitivity', that is applicable to anyone in a relationship. I guess this is my inspiration to study sociology and psychology in university :)
Dec 02, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone thinking/questioning their world
Recommended to Meaghan by: My Instructor
I read the 10th Edition last year at school and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Its a LOT of information, but its well worth the read to see past the surface of the world we live in to get to the real reason we are the way we are, and how the media, society, and life in general molds us.
Meleah Allard
Jun 13, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Since I am a Christian and this book was clearly written from a secular perspective, I disagreed with a good deal of it. However, I still learned and found some of it really helpful. So it is worth the effort but will need to read with a discerning eye if you are a person of Christian faith.
May 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anthropologist
An entertaining peek into the age old social aspects of human beings. I also love Aronson's language. He makes scientific non-fiction just as amusing and easy to read as Judy Blume.
Jun 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Human/social psychology is so complicated that staying brutally honest to ourselves is utmost important and difficult
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Elliot Aronson (Born January 1932) is listed among the 100 most eminent psychologist of the 20th Century, best known for his Jigsaw Classroom experiments, cognitive dissonance research, and bestselling Social Psychology textbooks. He is the only person in the 120-year history of the American Psychological Association to have won all three of its major awards: For distinguished writing (1973), for ...more

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“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally
and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human.
Society is something in nature that precedes the individual. Anyone who
either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need
to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.
Politics, c. 328 BC”
“Aronson's first law:

People who do crazy things are not necessarily crazy.”
More quotes…