The history of Social Psychology is quite short in comparison to other fields of science. In fact, Psychology overall has only been designated as a field of study all by itself for a short period of time. Psychology was once studied as a subfield of Philosophy. Social Psychology, however, was not established as a subfield of Psychology until around the turn of the 20th Century. Though there were at least two publications of research dealing with aspects of Social Psychology toward the end of the 19th Century, the field had not yet been classified as its own distinctive field of study until textbooks were comprised from which this new approach could be taught separately. Social Psychology truly owes its explosive growth to the infamous Adolf Hitler. Social Psychology became the foundation for understanding the social problems of the world and what caused them.
A Historical Perspective of Social Psychology
In the history of Social Psychology, there are discrepancies amongst its researchers as to through whom and how the field was actually established as a discipline. Some persons believe that the foundation of Social Psychology was established by the American psychologist Norman Triplett, due to the fact that he published the first research article concerning a Social Psychology experiment. Triplett observed the effects of bicyclists racing in a group. He then designed a carefully controlled experiment which studied the presence of others on the performance of individuals in competition. His studies showed that individuals will perform to a higher degree in such a setting. At around the same time period, another researcher studied the same effects of individuals in groups. Max Ringelmann's studies showed that individuals would perform worse in groups. This study was not published until approximately 15 years after Triplett's, though the research was done before Triplett's. This study, however, was not published until 1913.
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