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What is social psychology - Essay Example

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Gordon Allport (1985) defined social psychology as a discipline that employs scientific methods to explain the thought, feeling or behavior of the person that is influenced by the actual or implied presence of the other human being. Social psychology studies social perception, group behavior, nonverbal behavior, conformity, prejudice, aggression and many such behaviors of individual. If Social influences are at the center stage of social psychology then social interaction and social perceptions are also important to understand social behavior. Thus, Social psychology studies conformity and independence; attitudes and beliefs. Basic Concepts 1. The situation plays a critical role and exerts great influence on our behavior. The behaviors of people vary as per the situations. The interaction between two individuals and the situation decides the outcome. 2. People's social perception and concepts are formed through social interactions as people spend a great deal of time on social situations. In one of the method, we try to see how other people perceive us. In another method, it is through comparison process in which perception is made through comparing ourselves in reference to the peer group. 3. We continue to observe analyze the behavior of the people around us. In one of the phenomenon, our intention is to ignore unexpected attributes and strive for the evidence confirming our old beliefs about others. It helps us simplify our stereotype view. 4. Our perception about other person comes through their actions and behaviors. At times, it can be misleading as we derive our conclusions from short term interactions as it may have occurred in a specific situation and may not be representative to the person's overall behavior characteristics. Our Intuitions Our reaction to situation is attributed to our thinking as we tend to find cause for it. There may be some objective reality but we would view it through our notions and beliefs. We decide on the behavior of the person through our intuitive faculty. Moreover, how we think about ourselves also matter because that also influences our actions and emotions. We tend to decide through intuition. At times, our intuition could be perilous. We tend to judge the things and our intuition overtake objective reality. Our intuition about ourselves also tend to go astray. Our memories create faulty behavior. We are influenced by many things but we fail to accept and recognize it. We fail on our own feelings. In short, our information processing system and intuition are enormously strong but could be perilous. Social influence As social creatures, we spend a lot of time in relationship and tend to respond in our contexts. Our expressed attitudes are not a guarantee of our behavior particularly when we are under the influence of powerful social situation. That means powerful bad situations may overtake our good intentions. That is how during Nazi ruling many good and gentle people could accomplish the task that they had not thought of in their dream. During natural calamities, we see the scenes of compassion and generosity from the people, which we never have thought of. Thus, situation matters and our cultures help in defining our situations. Thus, our behaviors and attitudes are formed by social forces. (Myers, 2010) Personal Attitudes and Behavior The way external factors influence us, so are the internal forces such as our inner attitudes also influence us. Similarly, personality traits also affect our behavior. Though situation may be same yet different people react differently. Gandhi remained in prison and suffered atrocities but his behavior was different from a common man in such situations. Social Psychology leads us to many perspectives, which have a role in our learning. Social Learning Perspective That has come to us from our unique experiences in family, school, and community. According to this perspective, we learn through observing and copying the behavior of others. Social and Cultural perspective Social norms and ...Show more
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Gordon Allport (1985) defined social psychology as a discipline that employs scientific methods to explain the thought, feeling or behavior of the person that is influenced by the actual or implied presence of the other human being…
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What is social psychology
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