Social psychology is the study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others. And also it is a branch of psychology
Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding social behavior.
Brief History of Social Psychology
While Plato referred to the idea of the “crowd mind” and concepts such as social loafing and social facilitation were introduced in the late-1800s, it wasn’t until after World War II that research on social psychology would begin in earnest. The horrors of the Holocaust led researchers to study the effects of social influence, conformity, and obedience.
The first textbooks bearing the name social psychology appeared in 1908. One of these by psychologist William.Mc.Rougall, argued that all social behavior starts from innate tendencies or instincts. The other books was by sociologist E.A.Ross, which took up to win to become social psychology’s central concern. The people are heavily influenced by others, whether those others are physically present or not.
There is no precise definition of social psychology that describes its entire content and matter.
Kimball Young : according Kimball, “ social psychology is the study of the people in there interaction with one another and with reference to the effects of this inter-play upon the individual’s thoughts, feelings emotions and habits.
Brown: “social psychology envisages the behavior of the individual with reference to his fellow-men , or as groups.
The expanding field of Social Psychology
Today the expanding field of psychology mainly emphasizes on:
- Attitudes (the power of the situation): Social psychologists have studied attitude formation, the structure of attitudes, attitude change, the function of attitudes, and the relationship between attitudes and behavior. Because people are influenced by the situation, general attitudes are not always good predictors of specific behavior. For a variety of reasons, a person may value the environment and not recycle a can on a particular day. We are creatures of our own cultures and contexts. Thus evil situations sometimes overwhelm good intentions including people to follow, falsehood or commonly wit cruelty.
- Persuasion (the power of the person): The topic of persuasion has received a great deal of attention in recent years. Persuasion is an active method of influence that attempts to guide people toward the adoption of an attitude, idea, or behavior by rational or emotive means. Persuasion relies on “appeals” rather than strong pressure or coercion. Numerous variables have been found to influence the persuasion process, and these are normally presented in four major categories: who said what to whom and how.We are creatures of our social worlds. If a group is evil its members contribute to (or resists) its being so. Given the situation different people react differently.
- Social cognition (the importance of cognition): Social cognition is a growing area of social psychology that studies how people perceive, think about, and remember information about others. Person perception is the study of how people form impressions of others. The study of how people form beliefs about each other while interacting is known as interpersonal perception. Do we see life optimistically? Do we sense that we are in control? Do we view ourselves as superior or inferior? How we combine the world and ourselves matters.
- The application of social, psychological principles: as we see social psychologists are more and more applying their concepts and methods to current social concerns such as emotional wellbeing, health, court room decision making, prejudice reduction, environmental design/conservation and the quest for peace
The goal of social psychology is to understand cognition and behavior as they naturally occur in a social context, but the very act of observing people can influence and alter their behavior. It seeks to explain and understand social behavior. To learn more about group behavior, how we interact with others, and social influences on decision making. Social psychology is an interdisciplinary domain that bridges the gap between psychology and sociology.
Social Psychology Tutorials – SBRR Mahajana First Grade College