‘Describe and evaluate the features which characterise the social psychology approach, its goals and underlying assumptions.’ This essay is going to examine some of the main theoretical positions of social psychology paradigms. Social psychologists are interested in the study and observation of interpersonal behaviours. This may be observed between individuals, within groups or between groups. Areas of study include Dissonance (a state of unease), attraction, attitudes, aggression and bullying, inter or intra group relationships, prejudice and discrimination, social identity and the self, social influence, pro social behaviour (altruism) and environmental psychology. Although not mentioned in the above list Socio-biology is an intrinsic part of social psychology and shall be included in this paper. As Social Psychology is a large area of study and one too big for this assignment we shall look at a selection of topics including: attitude, aggression, social identity and social biology. In summary we shall assess if Wundt’s statement in 1880 that: ‘In psychology, whatever is not strictly physiological is social psychology.’ is relevant in modern psychology. We shall now turn our attention to the first of our topics attitude. If we ask ourselves the question ‘WHY does somebody do what they do?’ a basic premise of psychology theory is to develop an understanding of the factors that influence or determine behaviour. We look at how the individual relates to the environment he inhabits. Social psychology approach to attitude was to find a correlation between attitudes and behaviour. One of the better known theorists from the 1950’s was Festinger who in 1957 proposed that people have an inner drive to hold our attitudes and beliefs in harmony which he termed consonance. “Attitude change is major way of reducing dissonance.” Gross.R. (2005:418) Festingers theory CDT cognitive dissonance theory is not just a theory on attitude change but also one of motivation. If we...
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