SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY DEFINITION PAPER
Social Psychology Definition Paper
March 25, 2012
For this paper, the definition of social psychology will be assessed, as well as how social psychology is researched. Also discussed will be how social psychology is different from other disciplines, such as sociology, anthropology, and general psychology.
What is Social Psychology?
Social psychology is the scientific study of social thinking, social influence, and social relations (Meyer, 2010). . Social influence is the effect that words, actions, or the presence of other people, have on our thoughts, feelings, attitude, or behavior. In other words, social psychology is the way in which individual thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people, whether they are real people, or imagined in ones thoughts.
At the heart of social psychology is a phenomenon of social influence. Every single ...view middle of the document...
Also, there has been a recent outbreak in numerous schools across America in bullying. When school children bully others through force, or threats to get their lunch money, or homework, from the smaller children, this is also considered to be a direct attempt at social influence.
Direct attempts at social influence form a major part of social psychology. Still, there are influences that people carry with them everywhere they go, every second of the day. These influences may not be physically around us all the time, but continue to influence. For example, in a sense, we carry our parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends around with us as we attempt to make decisions that would make them proud of us, therefore still influencing us even when they are not physically present. This also explains how culture and family background are social influences as well (Meyer, 2010).
How Social Psychology Differs from other Disciplines
Other disciplines, like anthropology and sociology, are also interested in how people are influenced by their social environment. Social psychology is different, because it is concerned not so much with social situations, but rather with how people are influenced by their interpretation of their social environment. In social psychology it is more important to understand how individuals or groups perceive, comprehend, and interpret the social world than it is to understand the objective properties of the social world itself. Because everyone perceives things differently, from social to cultural differences, this makes the role of research complicated for the social psychologists. Even psychologists themselves have to keep in check their personal opinions and beliefs in order to accurately, and honestly conduct research (Meyer, 2012).
The Role of Research in Social Psychology
There are different scientific methods that social psychologists use to conduct research, and the way they choose is dependent upon what the topic is about. The methods used are, observational method, correlational method, and the experimental method.