Social psychology definition paper


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Social psychology definition paper

  1. 1. Heading: SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINITION Social Psychology Definition Adreena Lind October 7,2013 Psychology 400 Pr. Jodi Clarke 1
  2. 2. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINTION 2 Abstract This paper will work to uncover the definition of social psychology and help to provide a deeper understanding of the science behind the field. Furthermore, this paper will illustrate various aspects of social psychology and how this field differs from other psychological fields. Additionally this paper will work to develop a comprehensive understanding of how social psychology relates to other aspects of psychology. Finally this paper will explainthe some common research methods utilizedin social psychology; methods that illuminate and explain why individuals are affected by social interactions and groups as well ashow groups affectan individual person.
  3. 3. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINTION 3 Social Psychology Definition Social Psychology is based on the scientific study of how interpersonal relationships and social groups influence an individual. Social psychology also works to explain how society is impacted by the individual. Moreover, social psychology examines how society can impact the manner in which a person can reason and rationalize life events, through experimental research (Myers, 2010). Social psychologists attempt to uncover how social interactions each person on an individual level rather than as a generalization based upon the masses. Social psychology is the embrace of humanities and explorative science; observing social behaviors and mental cognition. Also, social psychology is not some new idea either, in fact there have been social experimentations conducted since the late 1890s (Myers, 2010). Social psychology is the arena of psychology that analyzes the individual and his or her mental processes, and the correlations between the individual and society. Psychology is an applied study, which involves the scientific study of cognitive functions and behavior; social psychology is one of many sub-divisions of this field (Olsen & Hergenhahn, 2013). Psychology is based in the scientific realm for example clinical psychology is an integration of science, which explores how biological foundations can affect a situation (Olsen & Hergenhahn, 2013). Additionally, neuropsychology delves into the functionality of the brain and exactly how neurotransmissions affect mood, behavior, and cognition itself (Olsen & Hergenhahn, 2013). Whereas, both of these fields often take a broad view of data and statistical research, in Social psychology focuses on the individual. Social psychology observes social and cultural systems; human interactions that potentially influence the individual (Myers, 2010). Psychology has the objective of understanding the individual as well as the larger collective
  4. 4. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINTION 4 society. Psychology works to establish practical philosophies and research specific situations and circumstances to achieve its ultimate goal; to benefit society. Another perspective of psychology to look at which has some similarities to social psychology is the life span perspective, which addresses to how the individual as well as the dynamic nature of development and change throughout his or her lifetime (Olsen & Hergenhahn, 2013). Additionally, social psychology focuses on the development of social interaction influence people as well as the way that people interact with each other. Although, social psychology does not specifically focus on the mutability of human existence it does address the fluctuations in societal norms and the individual’s contributions and adherence to those changes (Myers, 2010). Furthermore, the life span perspective in psychology reflects the same sentiments as social psychology in that both fields permit a comprehensive understanding of nurture and nature, (biological and environmental) in regard to influences over the development, identify, and relationships (Olsen & Hergenhahn, 2013). Sociology is the study of social human interactions and behavior (Macionis, 2011). Sociology also looks at patterns to find behavioral origins, how behaviors develop society and the developments of organizations in society occur. Sociology often explores societal fluctuations and why influences change over time and how it impacts society (Macionis, 2011). Sociology has some similarities but also some major differences for example are “sociology looks at social development from a much larger scale” (Macionis, 2011). Instead of focusing on the individual and how a person can be affected by society, Sociology sees the world as it is and asks “how did we get here and why?” While social psychology sees the world and asks “how has the world affected you/how have you affected the world and why?” This is the different between
  5. 5. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINTION 5 the two fields; social psychology looks at people and their interactions while sociology looks at the system and how it affects the people. In case study work there can often involve many parts that have to be found to determine a cause for the occurrence of a specific event or phenomenon. In finding the answers to a question scientist and psychologist must have all the puzzle pieces. This is then descriptive research is needed. Descriptive research helps researchers conclude what variables are involved in production of an event (Myers, 2010). This type of study is done in the form of a poll or questionnaire, which can offer give some insight into different things a person finds favorable or unfavorable, although these can lack a basic understanding of why a person behaves the way he or she does. Research is particularly useful to aid in determining the outcome of specific events and situations that a study is based (Myers, 2010). Social psychologist conduct research in many other ways, as well, for example surveys, additional research on related identifiable studies, observations of behaviors in a natural or laboratory setting (Myers, 2010). Social psychologist conduct by these types of research methods to understand and determining how two variables are related; researchers are better able to understand how and why certain events are related. This method of research is known as correctional research, which aids in identifying if two events simultaneously change (Myers, 2010). An example of this would be pinching someone and that person saying “ouch.” There is clearly a relationship between the pain that the person has felt and the pinch; this is a positive correlation, whereas, if the action does not correlate with a reaction this is known as a negative correlation (Myers, 2010). An example of a negative correlation would be if the person, who is pinched does not say “ouch” or shows any reaction.
  6. 6. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINTION 6 In conclusion, social psychology seeks to comprehend the social contribution of interpersonal behaviors, relations, and occurrences. Social psychology requires research and experimentation to learn and effectively answer the questions that plague human society. Research in every field needs to have a strong foundation of research and development, and social psychology is science-based making research an essential aspect of this field. Social psychology provides the understanding of how every person affects the masses and how the masses affect an individual. Psychology in every form looks to grasp an understanding of human behavior, and social psychology is no different, but social psychology does take this process a little bit further in that it looks and the individual rather than just at society or the larger group.
  7. 7. SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINTION 7 References Macionis, J. J. (2011). Society: The Basics (11th ed.). Myers, D. (2010). Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill. Olson, M.H. & Hergenhahn, B.R. (2013). An Introduction to Theories of Learning (9th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson.