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The Comparative Psychology Of Man
by [?]

[Originally read before the Anthropological Institute, and afterwards published in Mind, for January, 1876.]

While discussing with two members of the Anthropological Institute the work to be undertaken by its psychological section, I made certain suggestions which they requested me to put in writing. When reminded, some months after, of the promise I had made to do this, I failed to recall the particular suggestions referred to; but in the endeavour to remember them, I was led to glance over the whole subject of comparative human psychology. Hence resulted the following paper.

That making a general survey is useful as a preliminary to deliberate study, either of a whole or of any part, scarcely needs showing. Vagueness of thought accompanies the wandering about in a region without known bounds or landmarks. Attention devoted to some portion of a subject in ignorance of its connexion with the rest, leads to untrue conceptions. The whole cannot be rightly conceived without some knowledge of the parts; and no part can be rightly conceived out of relation to the whole.

To map out the Comparative Psychology of Man must also conduce to the more methodic carrying on of inquiries. In this, as in other things, division of labour will facilitate progress; and that there may be division of labour, the work itself must be systematically divided.

We may conveniently separate the entire subject into three main divisions, and may arrange them in the order of increasing speciality.

The first division will treat of the degrees of mental evolution of different human types, generally considered: taking account of both the mass of mental manifestation and the complexity of mental manifestation. This division will include the relations of these characters to physical characters–the bodily mass and structure, and the cerebral mass and structure. It will also include inquiries concerning the time taken in completing mental evolution, and the time during which adult mental power lasts; as well as certain most general traits of mental action, such as the greater or less persistence of emotions and of intellectual processes. The connexion between the general mental type and the general social type should also be here dealt with.

In the second division may be conveniently placed apart, inquiries concerning the relative mental natures of the sexes in each race. Under it will come such questions as these:–What differences of mental mass and mental complexity, if any, existing between males and females, are common to all races? Do such differences vary in degree, or in kind, or in both? Are there reasons for thinking that they are liable to change by increase or decrease? What relations do they bear in each case to the habits of life, the domestic arrangements, and the social arrangements? This division should also include in its scope the sentiments of the sexes towards one another, considered as varying quantitatively and qualitatively; as well as their respective sentiments towards offspring, similarly varying.

For the third division of inquiries may be reserved the more special mental traits distinguishing different types of men. One class of such specialities results from differences of proportion among faculties possessed in common; and another class results from the presence in some races of faculties that are almost or quite absent from others. Each difference in each of these groups, when established by comparison, has to be studied in connexion with the stage of mental evolution reached, and has to be studied in connexion with the habits of life and the social development, regarding it as related to these both as cause and as consequence.

Such being the outlines of these several divisions, let us now consider in detail the subdivisions contained within each.

* * * * *

I.–Under the head of general mental evolution we may begin with the trait of–