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Definition of Social Psychology

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Social Psychology

Through the years social psychology has been studying how social influences, perceptions, and interactions affect individuals. There is no psychology of groups that is not essentially and entirely a psychology of individuals. Social psychology must not be placed in contradistinction to the psychology of the individual; it is part of the psychology of the individual, whose behavior it studies in relation to that sector of his environment comprised by his fellows (Allport, F., 1924, p. 4). The purpose of this paper is to discuss the fundaments of social psychology. The paper will analyze, discuss, and interpret the definition of social psychology, the four key characteristics of social psychology, the concept of situationism, the role that situationism plays in social psychology, the five core social motives and an explanation of how they affect social psychology.

Social Psychology

Definition of Social Psychology

Social psychology is all about people influencing other people. Social psychology is

the scientific attempt to explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals

are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other human beings. This is a classic definition of social psychology; it dates back decades to Gordon Allport (1954a, p. 5), one of the field's pioneers. This definition describes social psychology as the study of social influence: all the ways that people have an impact on one another (Fiske, 2010). Social psychology studies a variety of topics like: prejudice, discrimination, group behavior, aggression, social perception, and leadership among others. There are several elements that are important in social psychology; they are related to how other people's presence influence people life in different ways.

People influencing other people

Social influence affects trivial and important behavior. Understanding the nature of different behaviours, that is, how they are perceived and characterized is thought to have particular importance for predicting and changing behaviour (McEachan, Lawton, & Conner, 2010). It is important to address different types of behavior; people have the tendency to do what others are doing around them. Individuals are susceptible by social influence even when there is no one present. There are different degrees in which people perceive the presence of others. These degrees of perceived human presence are: the actual presence, the imagined presence, and the implied presence. Human presence directly affects human cognitive processes, feelings, and behavior.

Social Psychology

Four Keys Characteristics of Social Psychology

The field of social psychology is complex. In order to study phenomena related to the interaction of people and social issues; the field has to cover a variety of grounds like social thinking, social relations, and influence. Social psychology is broad in scope, constitutes a culturally mandated source of knowledge, follows scientific methods, and reflects an ongoing

search for wisdom (Fiske, 2010).

Broad Scope

Social psychology covers an extensive variety of topics that affect human behavior, and is very useful to other fields. The domain of social psychology is indeed broad; it provides a vantage point on major human concerns, such as conformity and deviance, altruism and aggression, loving and hating, self and groups, attitudes and action. It addresses, in some sense,

all of human behavior. It discusses everything from private emotions to public trials. Social psychological principles are eagerly borrowed by economists, political scientists, management researchers, health scientists, legal scholars, education researchers, and colleagues in all the other branches of psychology (Fiske, 2010).

Cultural Mandate

According to Fiske (2010) this is perhaps the most important one. Social psychology is: a culturally mandated translation of our understanding of human behavior from an older language into a newer one (p. 33). Social psychology offers the world a complete explanation of cultural behavior. The field involves the study and comparison of different groups in order to identify needs, study behavior and what people need. It is accepted worldwide as a reliable form of knowledge. Culture is responsible for individual or group reactions to social motivation.

Social Psychology

Scientific Methods

Social psychology involves the scientific method to look for an explanation of social influence, social perception, social interaction, and to create dependable knowledge. Social psychology goes beyond common sense to build a scientific understanding of human social behavior (Fiske, 2010).

Search for Wisdom



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