Anticipatory Socialization Definition And Related Examples

anticipatory socialization definition

One of the prominent sociologists, Robert K. Merton, had coined the term Anticipatory Socialization. It is generated from the study of the United States military in the year 1949.

The study observed that there were privates who verb display their attitude and behaviors for those officials who are more likely to get promoted than those who didn’t.

 The anticipatory Socialization definition says that it is the process people who are not part of a group learns to adopt values and standard of that group. The basic purpose is to enter into that group, or they aspire to join the group. These adopted behaviors help them to imbibe in the group completely. 

When you shift into another’s role or attitude, rehearsing the most common terms used are rehearsing, training, grooming, and play-acting are the most common terms used. There are some situations where some people are prohibited from the particular group which they wanted to join. So in that process, they adopt anticipatory socialization for the group that is more respective to them. 

Shocking Examples Of Anticipatory Socialization Definition 

A group of people sitting at a table

There are various instances that you won’t believe comes under the anticipatory socialization definition. Here we are going to discuss a few of them in detail:

  • You must have seen economically poor teenagers wishes to become a drug dealer rather than a professional. Why is this so? This situation occurs due to a lack of motivation and constant criticism from their parents. Here these teenagers are just making adjustments to the opportunities that are coming in their way.
  • Another positive example is a law student who is preparing himself to behave like a lawyer. 
  • People preparing for their retirement is also one example of anticipatory socialization. 
  • The boys are Mormons preparing to become missionaries. 
  • One of the most shocking examples you will hear today is anticipatory socialization also prevails in pregnant women. Today people choose to reveal the sex of the child before birth. When a mother got to know the gender of her baby, the way she interacts with the child also changes. This is due to the result of societal myths about a particular gender. 
  • One more example regarding this is an internship where people learn the norms and imbibe themselves according to their workplace.


A group of people sitting at a table

Social interaction is the main character of anticipatory socialization definition. It can open the doors for you to enter a particular group. It helps you to prepare for all the norms and values of a particular group and makes it easy for you to take place in that group. If you are already in the professional field, you should be flexible enough to interact with a different set of people socially. It is also crucial for the adults who wish to join the new group. You can use anticipatory socialization as a means of entering into the desired group.          

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