One should watch carefully and correlate it with the findings of earlier studies. Then it'll be possible to reach in new conclusions. For reaching the next stage the same exercise is to be repeated. In short, both reading and observation are inevitable in understanding mind. Discussions and meetings with experts in this field too will be of very great help as its common to all other studies.
I've tried to explain much of my ideas on mind in the work "Mind, Self and Society". It may be helpful to get a basic idea about the role of mind in human life. In my view, an individual starts his understanding of the society of which he's a part, through "play" and "game". As far as a child is concerned everything it sees and experiences in the world from the time of birth onwards is new and afresh. When we think of a child's stages of development, first and foremost is nothing but "play". In a way, in almost all "plays" the child is trying is to imitate the "adults" in the society. For example, when it plays "Cops and Robbers" the child takes the role of both policeman and robber alternatively. Through this it understands the role of both cops and robbers in society. This in turn helps it to understand basically that man will have to play different roles in life. The child also understands the reason for different persons doing different jobs. "Game" helps child entirely in a different way. "Game" is more related with "the generalized other" concept. "The generalized other" concept tells of the character formation of a child when it remains part of a group. The group explained here may be anything like a football team, family, class or a meeting hall. These are actually social settings from where the child both knowingly and unknowingly feels that it's expected to behave in a particular way by others in the society. The child learns what others expect from it. While playing a game all players have to perform following the rules strictly. No point in explaining the importance of rules of a game to grown ups. But for a child, it's new information and an important step for joining the society. Later it finds that like the rules of games in the court, there are socially accepted ways in behaving in different situations.
Here, I should say something of the "I" and "me" concepts. The "I" stands for one's own very personal views and concepts. It creates one's individuality. Thus it's important. At the same time "me" is related to "the generalized other" concept. "Me" is actually the understanding of "the generalized other" concept.
Now, let me come to my views on the relationship between an individual's mind and social contacts. It's to be noted that an individual is the product of society. And the development of one's self depends on his social contacts. So for remaining as the member of society, what an individual should do is get involved deeply in different positions in it. Through this exercise one would catch the perspective of other persons and it'll make the individual self-conscious. In short, my concept is that individual mind can exist only with the happy co-existence and sharing of other minds. It should be noted that this concept remains to be the backbone of the theory of symbolic interaction. Of course, so many other thinkers had made enough value additions and further findings on this concept. Still this is a topic which is being studied and being revised accordingly, but only in tune with the basic concept.