Social Psychology

Topics: Psychology, Social psychology, Sociology Pages: 9 (2995 words) Published: July 15, 2012
Running Head: Social Psychology1

Social Psychology
Rebecca Freeman
PSY 301
Dr. Katrina Hilton

Running Head: Social Psychology2
There are many important components of social psychology, and they all fit together. For psychology students, social psychology is probably one of the most important areas in their field of study, because it is the study of human thoughts, feelings, and behavior as they relate to and are influenced by others (Feenstra, 2011). We learn social psychology so that we can better understand people and why they act the way they do. This is very important, especially in the counseling and social work fields.

One of the focuses of social psychology is on discovering who we are. Self-concept is the collection of things you know about yourself-such as your overall cognitive understanding (learned beliefs, attitudes, and opinions) about yourself. Basically, self-concept is what we know about ourselves. The question, “Who am I” describes your self concept.

Self-schemas help us to organize the information we know about ourselves. They help us to organize our self-concept. Self-schemas also affect how we view the world (Feenstra, 2011). An individual who has a self-schema for their job would be able to provide more examples of behaviors related to their job. This leads to the self-reference effect, which is our tendency to remember things that are related to us better than things that are not related to ourselves. Whenever you are in a class, it is helpful to use the self-reference effect because you can relate to new material by applying it to your life, and this causes you to remember it better.

Our self-awareness is our ability to evaluate ourselves. It is the ability to evaluate both the qualities we believe we have and actions we believe we can do. This is what job interviewers usually focus on in job interviews. When they ask what you think your strengths and weaknesses are, they are asking for your self-awareness. Running Head: Social Psychology3

The acting self is basically how we act based on the situations we are in and the people we are around. For example, we act differently at a party than we do around our family. In our interactions with others we are interested in presenting a certain image of ourselves (Feenstra, 2011). We use techniques to make sure that other people have a favorable image of us. For example, we might try to ingratiate ourselves with someone of greater power. Ingratiation involves some form of flattery (Feenstra, 2011). We might offer to get our boss some coffee, or bring an apple to our teacher. These techniques all affect our acting self.

General self-efficacy is an individual’s beliefs about his global abilities. Social self-efficacy is an individual’s beliefs in his ability to navigate social situations (Rudy, 2012). Negative self-statements are linked to levels of social anxiety. Self-efficacy is one’s evaluation of one’s ability to perform a certain task. For example, if Andy believes he can do differential calculus, he would be described as high in self-efficacy for differential calculus (Feenstra, 2011).

How you emotionally feel or value yourself is your self-esteem (Feenstra, 2011). Rosenberg adopted a primarily emotional or affective definition as degree of liking or disliking for the self, in contrast to a more cognitive view of self-esteem as the summary of a set of evaluative judgements of the self as competent, successful, virtuous, etc. Self-esteem appears to be both a trait-individuals differ in their typical levels of self-esteem – and a state that can fluctuate in response to circumstances. The trait of self-esteem appears to have very few behavioral consequences, except likelihood of self-harm, but can strongly bias interpretation of self-relevant information. This biasing contributes to the relative immunity of high self-esteem

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References: Rudy, B., Davis, T., & Matthews, R.. (2012). The Relationship Among Self-Efficacy, Negative Self-Referent Cognitions, and Social Anxiety in Children: A Multiple Mediator Model. Behavior Therapy, 43(3), 619. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from ProQuest Psychology Journals. (Document ID: 2685697201).
self-esteem. (2006). In Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Psychology. Retrieved from
Positive Psychology. Retrieved from on July 2, 2012.
Attitude and Behavior-Changing Attitudes to Change Behavior, Changing Behavior to Influence Attitudes. Retrieved from on July 2, 2012.
Toure. Inside the Racist Mind. Time Magazine U.S. May 7, 2012. Retrieved from on July 5, 2012.
New Research Findings Unearth Unique Path to Recommendation for Word of Mouth Marketing. (6 December). Business Wire,***[insert pages]***. Retrieved July 6, 2012, from ABI/INFORM Complete. (Document ID: 1175101371).
Feenstra, J. (2011). Introduction to social psychology. Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
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