Dyad in Sociology: Definition & Overview

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  • 0:00 Definition of a Dyad
  • 1:16 Characteristics of a Dyad
  • 3:20 How a Dyad Differs…
  • 3:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jade Mazarin

Jade is a board certified Christian counselor with an MA in Marriage and Family Therapy, and a certification in Natural Health. She is also a freelance writer on emotional health and spirituality.

In this lesson, we will learn about the two-person group known as the dyad. We'll look into sociologist George Simmel's description of its unique features, and compare it to other group sizes.

Definition of a Dyad

It is simply part of life that we form relationships and have interactions with other people. Once we do, we are considered to be in a group with them, whether it is a very small group, like just you and another person, or a group of a few people or several people. And the interesting thing is that each one of these groups will have characteristics of their own and affect you and those in the group with you in their own ways.

Sociologist Georg Simmel found the nature of group dynamics particularly interesting - especially when the dynamics changed based on the number of people in the group. So, he studied the smallest to the largest groups and wrote about the unique traits of each of them in his essay, 'Quantitative Aspects of the Group.' In this lesson, we will be talking about the smallest group Simmel identified: the dyad, or two person group.

Most of us are familiar with what it's like to be in a dyad, even if wey've never heard the word. As long as you have had a close relationship with one other person where you have interacted with them over a long period of time, you have been a part of a dyad. And when you hear about the characteristics Simmel used to describe the dyad, I am sure they will make sense to you as you think about your own relationships.

Characteristics of a Dyad

To begin with, a dyad is considered to be a primary group. Simmel categorized groups into either primary or secondary groups; primary ones meaning those that are small and close. More specifically, Simmel laid out these descriptions of a dyad:

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