Author: Wendy Treynor, Ph.D.
Publisher: Euphoria Press
ISBN: 978-0-9823028-7-3

Click Here To Purchase Towards a General Theory of Social Psychology: Understanding Human Cruelty, Human Misery, and, Perhaps, a Remedy

As the title states, this is a book theorizing about the socialization process. It encompasses what causes conflict (resulting in guilt, shame, humiliation, and other emotions) and what may be a solution to the conflict. The promo to this book suggests that it is a scientific text and also a self-help resource. I have to say, though, it is primarily a scientific text including a section that provides “formal proof” in the form of scientific formulas.

I happen to enjoy reading about psychology and found this book interesting, although, being your ‘average Jane,’ I don’t think psychology is an absolute science since there are too many variables within human beings. In addition to this, the title may be a little misleading. Treynor delves deeply into what the field of social psychology believes the causes of conflict are, and offers suggestions to eliminate conflict, but the book seems to include human cruelty and misery minimally and as an inclusion to the topic rather than the focus. While I was able to read this book in a few hours, I did need to concentrate to absorb what Treynor was explaining.

What the book explains is that we are all affected by conflict within our lives. This conflict can come from two different sources:

1. The internal source, which Treynor refers to as our reference group. This would include groups such as religious groups and/or your innate moral believes.

2. The external source, which Treynor refers to as our everyday group. This group would include, school, work, friends, family, etc.

According to Treynor conflict erupts when you are at odds with one of these groups, or when you have, or think you have, caused an infraction within one of the groups, or if the ethics of both groups conflict leaving you in the middle. Depending on the circumstances, it will create emotions of shame, guilt, humiliation, and/or depression. This will create feelings of alienation (the loss of acceptance), thus conflict and its resulting emotions.

Treynor explains how these conflicts, specifically guilt, can cause morally sound individuals to do immoral and even inhumane acts as a means of resolving these conflicts. She also offers suggestions as to how we can remove ourselves from the group causing the conflict before melding into its ideology and actions. But, it all seems a bit over simplified and overly generalized.

The intended audience for this book is social psychologists, students, and others within the psychology field. It is also intended for those who are interested in this field (that’s me) and also self-help enthusiasts (that’s me also).

About the author: Dr. Wendy Treynor is a University of Michigan-trained scientist of human emotion, thought, and behavior (Social Psychology, Ph.D., 2004), 33-year-old cancer survivor, inspirational speaker, founder and director of Healing Consulting in the Los Angeles area, and author of The Gift of Cancer: Hard Wisdom to Enrich Your Life. She has also won a number of honors and awards including Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers (2005).

 Click Here To Purchase Towards a General Theory of Social Psychology: Understanding Human Cruelty, Human Misery, and, Perhaps, a Remedy