Social psychology definition paper
By Stephanie Rabetsky
Social psychology is a science that studies the influences of our situations, with special attention to how we view and affect one another. Social psychology uses the scientific method to, “understand and explain behavior, the thought process, and the feelings of individuals are individuals are influenced by the actual imagined or implied presence of other human beings” (about.com/socialpychology 1985). What social psychology covers is group behaviors, leadership skills, verbalization and non-verbal behavior, conformity, aggression, and prejudice. Social psychology is still a young science. The first social psychology experiments were reported barely more than a century ago (1898), and the first social psychology texts did not appear until just before and after 1900 (Smith, 2005). In fact it was not until the 1930s that social psychology would assume its current form. It was not until World War 2 when it began to emerge as the vibrant field it is today. The horrors of the Holocaust led researchers to study the effects of social influence, conformity, and obedience. You have to wonder if Hitlers followers knew what they were doing was wrong and continued to follow along with the plans to kill off in total an estimated eleven million people. Social psychology is often confused with sociology; however they are not the same. Sociologists are just interested in social behaviors, which are similar to the research done in social psychology, but they look at social behaviors in a much broader perspective. Sociologists look at human behavior linked to culture and environment, but psychologists are more focused on situations variables and their affect on social behavior. Another similar discipline is folk psychology which is defined as, “the study of the mind and behavior of different peoples through analysis of the human factors involved in their cultural and technological development”...
References: Myers, D. (2010), Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw Hill.
about.com. (2013). Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/a/socialresearch.htm
about.com. (2013). Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/f/socialpsych.htm
http://www.nps.gov. (2012). Retrieved from http://www.nps.gov/wwii/historyculture/the-holocaust.htm
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