Who Made the Social Interaction Theory?


Jane Flores

Who Made the Social Interaction Theory?

The social interaction theory is a significant concept in the field of sociology and psychology. It explores how individuals develop their understanding of the world through social interactions. This theory was proposed by George Herbert Mead, an American philosopher, sociologist, and psychologist, in the early 20th century.

Mead’s Background

George Herbert Mead was born on February 27, 1863, in South Hadley, Massachusetts. He studied at Oberlin College and Harvard University, where he focused on philosophy and psychology. Mead went on to become a professor at the University of Chicago, where he developed his groundbreaking theories.

The Key Ideas

Mead’s social interaction theory revolves around several key ideas:

  • Socialization: According to Mead, socialization is a crucial process that shapes an individual’s identity and understanding of society. It occurs through interactions with others and involves learning norms, values, and roles.
  • Symbols: Mead emphasized the importance of symbols in communication. Symbols include words, gestures, signs, or objects that represent something else. Through shared symbols, individuals can understand each other’s intentions and meanings.
  • Self: Mead introduced the concept of the self as a product of social interaction.

    He argued that individuals develop a sense of self by taking on different roles within society and by considering how others perceive them.

  • Mind: The mind is another central aspect of Mead’s theory. He believed that it emerges from social interaction and language use. Through language and communication, individuals develop their ability to think symbolically and understand others.

Influence and Legacy

Mead’s social interaction theory has had a profound impact on various fields, including sociology, psychology, and education. His ideas laid the foundation for the development of symbolic interactionism, a sociological perspective that focuses on the subjective meanings individuals attach to symbols and how these meanings shape their behavior.

Erving Goffman, a prominent sociologist, further expanded on Mead’s work by exploring how individuals present themselves in social interactions. Goffman’s dramaturgical theory emphasizes the theatrical aspects of everyday life and highlights the role of impression management.


George Herbert Mead’s social interaction theory has provided valuable insights into how individuals develop their understanding of society through social interactions. His ideas continue to influence researchers and scholars in various disciplines, contributing to our understanding of human behavior and social dynamics.