Social Psychology Definition
Dr. Timothy Emerick
Each person is different. Everyone looks different, behaves differently, perceives things in different ways, and thinks differently, and each of us is influenced differently by the presence or input of others in any given situation. In the field of psychology, the area of study that focuses on our social differences and how interactions affect each person is called social psychology. Social psychology is a clearly defined discipline that differs significantly from clinical psychology, general psychology, and sociology. Research plays a significant role in social psychology, and there are several different ways in which that research is performed. The area of social psychology envelops several different areas of expertise including sociology, physiology, psychology, and evolutionary theory. However, a more clear definition is needed. David Meyers (2010) defines social psychology as “a science that studies the influences of our situations, with special attention to how we view and affect one another (p.4).” A more specific definition would be the scientific study of social thinking, attitudes of people, social influence, culture, social relations, and prejudice, among many other things. Biology offers up the principles of natural selection and adaptation as causal explanations for everything from human mating practices to index finger length, and sociology offers explanations for social structure and organization; but it is to social psychology that falls the task of explaining how people think about, affect, and interact with one another on a psychological, biological, and social level (Myers, 2008; Pinel, 2007). The examination of the main ideas of social psychology allow the main ideas and research methods of social psychology to become more focused, as well as the comparison of related fields. Social psychologists use a set of...
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