By William McDougall

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The clear recognition and understanding of these instincts, more especially of the instinct of self-display, is of the first importance for the psychology of character and volition, as I hope to show in a later chapter. At present I am only concerned to prove that they have a place in the native constitution of the human mind. The instinct of self-display is manifested by many of the higher social or gregarious animals, especially, perhaps, though not only, at the time of mating. Perhaps among mammals the horse displays it most clearly.

The other impulse of repulsion seems to be excited by the contact of slimy and slippery substances with the skin, and to express itself as a shrinking of the whole body, accompanied by a throwing forward of the hands. The common shrinking from slimy creatures with a “creepy” shudder seems to be the expression of this impulse. It is difficult to assign any high biological value to it (unless we connect it with the necessity of avoiding noxious reptiles), but it is clearly displayed by some children before the end of their first year; thus in some infants furry things excite shrinking and tears at their first 48/William McDougall contact.

It is this primary emotion which may be called positive self-feeling or elation, and which might well be called pride, if that word were not required to denote the sentiment of pride. In the simple form, in which it is expressed by the self-display of animals, it does not necessarily imply self-consciousness. Many children clearly exhibit this instinct of self-display; before they can walk or talk the impulse finds its satisfaction in the admiring gaze and plaudits of the family circle as each new acquirement is practised;26 a little later it is still more clearly expressed by the frequently repeated command, “See me do this,” or “See how well I can do so-andso”; and for many a child more than half the delight of riding on a pony, or of wearing a new coat, consists in the satisfaction of this instinct, and vanishes if there be no spectators.

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