Would the world be a better place if individuals could work together in a group and be more understanding of the other? Why and how do individuals behave in social settings and the importance of social interaction for individuals? These are some of the questions that come in mind when talking about social psychology. To get a better understand the field of social psychology this paper will focus on defining social psychology, the four key characteristics of social psychology, the concept of situationism and the role it plays in social psychology, and the five core social motives and their affect on the field of social psychology.
Social psychology is defined as the ...view middle of the document...
Four Key Characteristics
The four characteristics of social psychology are broad scope, cultural mandate, scientific method and search for wisdom.
Broad scope is the fact that social psychology is broad subject and deals with a almost all aspects of the human being’s life and can change during a lifespan depending on so many different factors. It deals with all human behavior from personal relationships to the work environment, from family to friendships, private emotions to public trials (Fiske, 2010 p. 32). To illustrate the broad scope of social psychology one example given by Fiske (2010) was how individuals would be influenced by the smile of President Reagan and that automatically a feeling of happiness would overcome them every time President Reagan smiled (p. 32). This is a form of social influence. A facial expression that can change an individuals feelings and thoughts is a part of social psychology showing the board scope and nature of this field.
Cultural Mandate is a requirement for the understanding of other cultures and traditions and a necessity in a society that is so diverse and a world that has so many different cultural backgrounds. As the societies met, new cultures are introduced. According to Fiske (2010) In the modern world, social psychology is culturally mandated as an accepted form of knowledge” (p. 33). Individuals are a combination of their biological inheritance, cultural inheritance and the environment that they are exposed too and thus, social psychology provides the knowledge of understanding every aspect of the human being. Although every school of thought focuses on different viewpoints when explaining social psychology and human behavior but there is one common concept and that is that environment and culture play a role in behavior.
Scientific Method is the way social psychology is researched. Social psychology is an empirical science and researchers use systematic methods to compile data and get information about how individuals live their lives socially and test the theories based on the information and their observation. There is four major research goals in social psychology, description, casual analysis, theory building and application. The phenomena that is observed in the social world is first described then the cause and effect of the relationship is evaluated, a theory is built based on the information and observation to explain the human behavior and then the result or knowledge is applied to help understand social problems and issues.
Search for wisdom relates to the ethical goals in social psychology. Sometimes behavior can not be explained by research thus, social psychology relies on wisdom as part of its practice to explain human behavior. Social psychology is in some ways a very idealistic form of science. Wisdom is required to understand human behavior. Knowledge is an extension of wisdom. “Knowledge is an essential component of wisdom, but it is not by...