Social psychology

Topics: Psychology, Sociology, Social psychology Pages: 2 (488 words) Published: November 2, 2013
Social psychology is a discipline that uses scientific methods to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other human. Social psychology looks at a wide range of social topics, including group behavior, social perception, leadership, nonverbal behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice. While Plato referred to the idea of the "crowd mind" and concepts such as social loafing and social facilitation were introduced in the late-1800s, it wasn't until after World War II that research on social psychology began in earnest. The horrors of the Holocaust led researchers to study the effects of social influence, conformity and obedience. The U.S. government also became interested in applying social psychological concepts to influencing citizens. Social psychology is often confused with folk wisdom, personality psychology and sociology. What makes social psychology different? Unlike folk wisdom, which relies on anecdotal observations and subjective interpretation, social psychology employs scientific methods and the empirical study of social phenomena. While personality psychology focuses on individual traits, characteristics and thoughts, social psychology is focused on situations. Social psychologists are interested in the impact that the social environment and group interactions have on attitudes and behaviors. The way we perceive ourselves in relation to the rest of the world plays an important role in our choices, behaviors and beliefs. The opinions of others also impact our behavior and the way we view ourselves. Understanding social psychology can be useful for many reasons. First, we can better understand how groups impact our choices and actions. Additionally, it also allows us to gain a greater appreciation for how our social perceptions affect our interactions with other people. There are some basic aspects of social behavior that play a large role in our...
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