Michael Argyle (1925-2002)
Internationally renowned British social psychologist and lecturer at Oxford University (pictured right).
The Psychology of Interpersonal Behaviour
Social relationships are determined by:
1. Biological needs
Eating, drinking and physical comfort.
Help from people in positions of authority e.g. parents.
Being liked and accepted by others e.g. in groups (this need is stronger in women than men).
The need for power over others (stronger in men).
This includes eye contact and touch.
Physical and psychological damage.
This is dependent on:
- favourable recognition from others (e.g. parents)
- self-image (how you perceive yourself, particularly the need to be unique).
8. Other motivations affecting social
Needs for achievement, money, interests and values.
The rules for successful relationships are:
- for the other’s privacy and space (to do what they want).
2. Eye contact and interest in other people
3. Keep promises and
4. Be sensitive, supportive and tolerant
Respect the other person’s needs and friendships (e.g. share household chores and child care).
5. Be assertive
Defend your rights as an equal partner.
(about each other’s problems and feelings)
7. Defend the other person
Never criticize people in public or behind their back.
8. Constant kindness
Remember special occasions!
Stick together through thick and thin.
Key quotes on
relationships (from the 4th edition, 1983)
Man is a social animal: he collaborates with others to pursue his goals and satisfy his needs.
Relations with others can be the source of the deepest satisfactions and of the blackest misery.
Successful marriage is the most effective form of social support, relieving the effects of stress and leading to
better mental and physical health.
In any relationship it is not enough to agree with them all the time because that would lead to frustration and
The Psychology of Happiness
The three main causes of happiness are:
1. Social relationships
(friends, partners and marriages).
2. Satisfying work
(the work itself and relationships at work).
(what we do and the people we meet in our spare time).
Happiness also comes from:
1. Psychological well-being - from
- optimism and positive thinking.
- purpose, religious or otherwise.
But beyond a certain level of income money doesn’t have much effect on happiness.
Being obsessed with money will make you less happy, because of:
- neglect of more important values like love.
- comparisons with richer people.
- memories of richer times.
Key quotes on happiness
Happiness, along with health and mental health, is increased by the presence of certain social relationships and
depressed by losing these and by other stressful life events.
If people say they are happy, then they are happy.
The Psychology of Social Class
Social class has a big effect on
people’s behaviour and is affected by:
1. Comparison with others
People compare themselves with other classes, only if they meet them.
Attitudes between classes are a mixture of deference and
hostility and greatly influenced by people’s perception
of social justice.
2. Subjective social
This is adopting the lifestyle and self-image of another social class
3. Social mobility (movement
from working to middle classes)
This is hindered by:
- inadequate contact between different classes.
- less opportunity for the working class.
- poverty and higher crime.
So working class people
- have much worse physical and mental health.
- are less happy (with less leisure and job satisfaction and lower self-esteem).
4. Values, attitudes and education
The middle classes are more likely to:
- vote for right wing parties (although many don’t).
- value work and education.
- have more liberal attitudes to social and moral issues.
Key quotes on social class and
Happiness is affected by social class, especially at the lower end of the scale; the unemployed are particularly
There never has been a classless society.