What is social psychology- its types, history, importance & theories

What is social psychology
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Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others

How does our surroundings affect our perception? We often imitate others’ behaviors without noticing it. Ever tried to act ‘cool’ among peers? Have you ever felt nervous to speak up in a group setting? Find out how social psychology will help you understand yourself and others better.

Learning about social psychology can open up doors for your personal growth and self-improvement. It can help cultivate more effective relationships and strengthen better habits. It can also make you a better teacher and leader.

Social psychology

According to Sage, the term was coined by social psychologist Wilfred Trotter in 1898. It has been defined as “the study of how people process information about each other and about themselves” as well as “the study of the motives, emotions, thoughts, and actions of individuals in a social context.” It includes areas like prejudice and intergroup relations.

According to Kohut, psychology is the science that investigates the systematic dependence of personality on the environment. In other words, it is about the way people develop and change throughout their lives.

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. In this sense, it shares many aspects with cognitive psychology and psychopharmacology. Social psychologists typically explain human behavior as a result of the interaction of mental states and social situations. Social psychology is a discipline within the larger domain of experimental psychology and shares many methodological similarities with other social sciences such as sociology.

The goal in social psychology is to understand how people think about themselves and others in order to predict their actions in various situations. Social psychologists want to know why we behave the way we do in different circumstances so that they can learn more about what motivates us as individuals and groups. The field seeks to understand not just one’s own personal thoughts but also those thoughts of other people that influence our behavior from afar or up close.

Social psychology is well-researched in many sectors. It’s a well-respected field that examines a variety of social subjects, such as:

  • Dating, marriage and divorce.
  • prejudice and discrimination, and stereotyping.
  • Group behavior
  • Social perception
  • Leadership

History of social psychology

The history of social psychology is a long and complicated one. It all started in the late 1800s when there was an increased interest in the mental and emotional processes that control human behaviour. This was largely due to the work of European pioneers such as Wilhelm Wundt, who helped to lay the foundations for this new field.

Social psychology is a study of how people think about, react to, influence and relate to one another. It examines how people think about themselves and how they behave towards others as well as how they perceive others’ attitudes towards them.

Plato is often cited as the first thinker to explore the idea of a ‘fly mind’. Concepts such as social loafing and social facilitation were originally studied by behavioral psychologists in the late 1800s. However, it wasn’t until after World War II that sociology became more closely associated with these concepts.

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Being in a group can be powerful, and the horrors of the Holocaust showed us just how much. Social psychologists studied subjects and those who participated in evil actions to find out what could have possibly caused this. Some theories are that people just followed orders or bowed to social pressure, but there were also some other factors involved.

"In reality, the shocks were not real and the other individual was only pretending to be hurt by the electrical pulses. But 65% of those who took part in white study delivered maximum level of shock."

Types of social psychology

Social psychology is the study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. It is a social science that looks at human behavior from a social perspective. The subject matter ranges from individual interactions to large-scale society. The key focus in social psychology is on how people think about and relate to other members of their society.

The field of Social Psychology has been divided into several sub-fields:

1) Social Cognition: which is the study of how people process, store and use information about their social environment.

2) Social Influence: which is the study of how people are influenced by others in their social environment.

3) Interpersonal Relationships: This is the study of how people get along with one another.

4) Group Dynamics: This is the study of a group or organization working together or competing.

5) Social Class: This is the social stratification in society and its relations to economic power and prestige.

6) Social Structure: This includes social organization, social change, and social conflict that influence personal lives within society in terms of family life, education, work, politics, religion, leisure activities etc.

7) Socialization: the process that influences personal development in terms of personality, values, and attitudes in society through familial, educational, and other social institutions.

8) Society: refers to an area inhabited by people living more or less under one government and sharing culture, religion, etc.

9) Values: the standards of worth or rightness that people have often recognized and taught in various ways, such as by parents, educators, and religion.

10) Attitudes: believe in the worth or rightness of something

Examples of social psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, interact with, influence, and relate to one another. Social psychologists are interested in how these interactions affect our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

The following are some interesting examples of social psychology:

The Stanford Prison Experiment (1971)

The Stanford Prison Experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. For the experiment, 24 male students out of 75 were selected and assigned to be either prisoners or prison guards.

Milgram Experiment (1963)

The Milgram Experiment was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience.

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– The Asch Conformity Experiments (1955)

In 1951, Solomon Asch began a series of experiments in which he asked participants to match a number of lines on a card to one line on another card. The aim was to see how people would react when they were made to feel like they were part of a minority and thus under scrutiny.

– The Robber’s Cave Experiment (1954)

One of the most famous experiments in social psychology was conducted by Muzafer and Carolyn Sherif. In the 1950s, they conducted a study on intergroup conflict and prejudice among 22 eleven-year-old boys who were taken to Robber’s Cave State Park for a three-week summer camp.

Importance of social psychology

  1. Social psychology is a branch of psychology that deals with how people think about, interact with, influence and relate to others. It is also the study of how these interactions, especially in small groups, can lead to either positive or negative outcomes.
  2. Social psychology has been used to understand why people conform to social norms and why some people are more likely to be influenced by others than others. It has also been used in understanding how stereotypes are formed and how they can be changed.
  3. Social psychologists have made important contributions in the understanding of persuasion, attitude change and compliance techniques. They have also contributed to an understanding of group dynamics, bystander intervention and social identity theory.

Who are social psychologists?

Social psychologists are the ones who study the social aspects of human life, such as how we think about other people and how we interact with them.

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.

This field includes aspects of both psychology and sociology. Psychologists typically emphasize experiments in which a researcher can control all the variables except for one—the independent variable. Sociologists emphasize studies that rely on observation in natural settings and that attempt to understand social phenomena as they naturally occur (such as studying what people do when they interact with each other).

How do Psychologists Study Social Behavior?

Psychologists study social behavior in order to understand how people interact with each other. They use a variety of research methods to do this.

There are many ways that psychologists study social behavior, and they use a variety of research methods to do so. One such method is the “observer method,” which involves observing people’s behavior in natural settings. Another is the “experiment method,” which involves conducting experiments on people in a controlled setting.

How do you Become a Social Psychologist?

Becoming a psychologist is not an easy task. It takes years of training, and it is not a cheap process either. But if you are interested in the field, then you should know that there are many different paths to becoming a social psychologist.

The first step would be to get your degree in psychology. This can be done at the undergraduate level or at the graduate level, depending on what you want to do after you graduate from school. After that, it’s time to start looking for a residency program or internship position where you will work under the supervision of other psychologists for about two years before getting your license.