Social psychology is the scientific study of the way individuals think, feel, and behave in a social context. Social psychology often emphasizes the power of the situation in affecting people. Social psychology can be distinguished from other disciplines, including sociology, clinical psychology, personality psychology, and cognitive psychology; however, social psychology overlaps with each of these disciplines as well. Social psychology may at first appear to be common sense, but common sense often makes contradictory claims, and many of the findings in social psychology would not be predicted by common sense.
A wide range of research methods are used in psychology. These methods vary ...view middle of the document...
For example, an electrical utility may produce less power on a mild day based on the correlation between electricity demand and weather. In this example there is a causal relationship, because extreme weather causes people to use more electricity for heating or cooling; however, statistical dependence is not sufficient to demonstrate the presence of such a causal relationship (i.e., correlation does not imply causation).
2. Descriptive research
Descriptive research is used to describe characteristics of a population or phenomenon being studied. It does not answer questions about how/when/why the characteristics occurred. Rather it addresses the "what" question (What are the characteristics of the population or situation being studied?) The characteristics used to describe the situation or population are usually some kind of categorical scheme also known as descriptive categories. For example, the periodic table categorizes the elements. Scientists use knowledge about the nature of electrons, protons and neutrons to devise this categorical scheme. We now take for granted the periodic table, yet it took descriptive research to devise it. Descriptive research generally precedes explanatory research. For example, over time the periodic table’s description of the elements allowed scientists to explain chemical reaction and make sound prediction when elements were combined.
3. Experimental research
Experimental psychology refers to work done by those who apply experimental methods to the study of behaviour and the processes that underlie it. Experimental psychologists employ human participants and animal subjects to study a great many topics, including, among others sensation & perception, memory, cognition, learning, motivation, emotion; developmental processes,...