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Psy 400 - Social Psychology Definition Paper

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Running Head: Social Psychology Definition Paper

Social Psychology Definition


PSY/ 400



Social Psychology


Social psychology it observes as the influence of our situations with special attention on how we view and affect one another. Social psychology perceives the way we think, influence people, and relates to others. Social psychology lies at psychology's boundary with sociology, which sociology is the study of people in groups and societies? Social psychology is all about life - your life: your beliefs, your attitudes, your relationships.

Definition of Social Psychology

Social psychology is a discipline that uses scientific method "to understand and explain how the thought, feelings and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagines or implied presence of other beings" (Allport, 1985). Social psychology is also the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. Social psychology includes a broad range of social topics, including group, social perception, leadership, non-verbal behavior, conformity, aggression and prejudice. It is important to note that social psychology is not just about looking at social influences. Social perception and social interaction are also vital to understanding social behavior. Some of the main ideas that social psychology seeks to address are: the construction of our social reality, social intuition, how social influences, personal attitudes, personality, and biology shape or behavior, and how social psychology principles can be applied in everyday life (Myers, 2008).

How social psychology differs from other disciplines

It is important to understand how social psychology differs from other disciplines. Social psychology is often confused with folk wisdom, personality psychology and sociology. Unlike folk wisdom, which relies on anecdotal observations and subjective interpretation, social psychology employs scientific methods and empirical study of social phenomena (Allport, 1985). In general, social psychology differs from personality psychology in that it focuses more on the situational influences of behavior than on individual differences between people; it differs from organizational psychology in that it does not focus specifically on behavior within organizations; and it differs from sociology in that it focuses on the behavior of individuals and small groups more than the behavior of large social systems and societies. Personality psychology focuses on individual traits, characteristics, and thoughts, social psychology is focused on situations. Social psychologists are interested in the impact that social environment and interaction has on attitudes and behaviors. Clinical psychology overlaps with social psychology in that they both depend heavily on experimental research to verify their prospective hypotheses.

The branch of general psychology usually referred to as personality psychology differs from social psychology by its emphasis on the difference between individuals rather than the affect those individuals have on each other. So to summarize, sociology overlaps with social psychology on the left because they both study social interaction, clinical psychology on the right because they both make heavy use of experimental research to validate their hypotheses, and personality psychology in the main because they both seek to understand the individual. Furthermore, sociology differs from social psychology because the former is more dependent on correlational and survey research, and social psychology differs from personality psychology in the emphasis of individual interaction over individual difference, respectively.

Finally, it is important to distinguish between social psychology and sociology. While there are many similarities between the two, sociology



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