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Chapter: Psychology: Social Psychology

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Social Relations

Helping and Altruism • Attraction • Love

SOCIAL RELATIONS

More than 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher Aristotle described humans as “social animals,” and, as we have seen, there are many facets to our social existence. We perceive others’ actions, interpret those actions, and draw conclusions about what other people are like. We are shaped by the people around us—conforming with them, obeying them, complying with their requests.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of our social existence, though, concerns our social relationships—the way we interact with and feel about others and the way that they inter-act with and feel about us. These behaviors are social by definition, necessarily involving other individuals, and include the aggressive ways that we hurt others, which we consid-ered, as well as the positive things we do to help them, which we consider below. We also need to consider a central aspect of our social existence—the fact that we sometimes find ourselves attracted to others and even—at times—in love.

 

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