Theories in Social Psychology

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Cognitive theory approach emphasizes that a person’s behavior depends on the way he or she perceives the social situation or the importance of the social environment as perceived by an individual. A core idea in cognitive perspective is that people tend to spontaneously group and categorize objects which focus on current perceptions rather than on past learning. Cognitive theory is a learning theory of psychology that attempts to explain human behavior by understanding the thought processes. The assumption is that humans are logical beings that make the choices that make the most sense to them. Information processing is a commonly used description of the mental process, comparing the human mind to a computer.

Decision making theories assume that individuals evaluate the costs and benefits of various actions and pick the best alternatives in a fairly logical, reasonable way, and then they choose the alternative that gives them the greatest reward. Decision theory in economics, psychology, philosophy, mathematics, and statistics is concerned with identifying the values, uncertainties and other issues relevant in a given decision, its rationality, and the resulting optimal decision.

Interdependence theories shift the focus of analysis from behavior of one individual to the behavior of two or more individuals who interact with each other. When people interact they influence each other. Interdependence theory is part of a larger scale of social exchange theories. This theory comes from the idea that closeness is the key to all relationships; that people communicate to become closer to one another. This theory states that there are rewards and costs to any relationship and that people try to maximize the rewards while minimizing the costs.

Sociocultural theory is an emerging theory in psychology that looks at the important contributions that society makes to individual development. This theory stresses the interaction between developing people and the...
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