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Source: Sport and Exercise Psychology: A Critical Introduction — Aidan Moran

In everyday life, we tend to see any collection of people as a group. However, social psychologists use this term more precisely. In particular, they define a group as two or more people who interact with, and exert mutual influences on, each other (Aronson, Wilson and Akert, 2002). It is this sense of mutual interaction or inter-dependence for a common purpose which distinguishes the members of a group from a mere aggregation of individuals.


I don't think that "sense" mean "meaning". I think that it doesn't fit the context.
Does "sense" mean "idea" or does it mean "feeling"?

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    Sense --> meaning. See Cambridge Dictionary one of the possible meanings of a word or phrase. Mar 6, 2023 at 22:17
  • @WeatherVane It seems to me that the "sense" means "concept", not "meaning". What do you think about that? Mar 6, 2023 at 23:05
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    Two or more people interacting isn't a concept, although they might formulate a concept in their interaction. Mar 6, 2023 at 23:06
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    Again the group might have perception, but IMO it isn't the meaning of 'sense' here. The group has a common purpose, not just a random chat. Mar 6, 2023 at 23:12
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    The quotation mentions a group of people in a productive discussion. That group is neither a concept or a perception (although it might have such). Is is an example of a group which has a higher purpose than conversational chat. Mar 6, 2023 at 23:22

1 Answer 1

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I disagree with comments claiming that sense in the cited text means meaning. If that were the case, it would be completely unnecessary to include the words this sense of at all...

1: It1 is mutual interaction or inter-dependence for a common purpose which distinguishes the members of a group from a mere aggregation of individuals.

...which can be simplified and rephrased to...

2: Mutual interaction distinguishes the members of a group from a mere aggregation of individuals.

I find that perfectly valid as it stands, but we can explicitly try out both possible interpretations of sense as...

2a: A [shared] feeling of mutual interaction distinguishes the members of a group from a mere aggregation of individuals.

...and...

2b: The meaning [of] "mutual interaction" distinguishes the members of a group from a mere aggregation of individuals.

Where I think 2b is nonsense.


1 This is the "existential it" as in It's raining. It doesn't refer to a specific thing, any more than there in There's nothing more to say refers to a specific place.

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