The smallest of all possible groups

Is ‘a pair’ big enough to be called ‘a group’? The tricky subject of dyads has recently been causing considerable professorial debate in the journal ‘Small Group Research’. (Note: the word ‘dyad ‘ is derived from the Greek ‘dýo’, meaning ‘two’.)
It began back in April 2010, when Richard Lee Moreland, Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Pittsburgh, posed the question – ‘Are Dyads Really Groups? Maybe not, explains the professor –

“I argue that dyads are not really groups because (a) dyads are more ephemeral than groups, forming and dissolving more quickly; (b) people feel stronger (and often different) emotions in dyads than in groups; (c) dyads are simpler than groups—some group phenomena cannot occur in dyads, and those that do may operate differently there; and (d) research on dyads is carried out almost independently (by different people, applying different theories and methods, and publishing their work in different outlets) from research on groups.”

But Kipling D. Williams, Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University also published his paper ‘Dyads Can Be Groups (and Often Are)’ in the very same journal.

“In most instances dyads are groups of two and operate under the same principles and theories that explain group processes for groups of three and larger.”

Thus, the academic discussion on the question ‘Is two a group?’ is, for the time being, likely to continue.






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