It aims to identify the mental image that people have of themselves. Do some people have limited social abilities, and if so, what in their past can this be attributed to? How much Of our thoughts and opinions are influenced by what others think? Is it normal to act one way in private and a totally different way when you’re in a group environment? These are just some of the questions that can be explained with social psychology.
In this paper, I will cover the way social psychology came to be its own area of study, the doctors that are considered the “founding fathers” of social psychology, and some of the basic observations that brought about the questions that laid the foundation for what social psychology is today. The roots of psychology can be dated back to Aristotle and Plato. Aristotle believed that people were naturally sociable, which made it easier to live together, stating that, “Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. While Plato felt that people were only sociable based on their own personal knowledge and what is common practice in society. One of his quotes states, “Human behavior lows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. ” Social psychology is one of many branches that grew from these roots. Webster dictionary defines social psychology as the study of the manner in which the personality, attitudes, motivations, and behavior of the individual influence and are influenced by social groups.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
In the late sass German philosophers Lazarus & Stendhal wrote the “Polycrystalline,” which focused on the idea of the collective mind, and asserted the notion that personality develops because of cultural and community influences, especially through language Mcleod, 2007). In regards to American social psychology, the years between 1895 and 1935 are referred to the “early years” of social psychology. In 1895 an American psychologist, Norman Triplett posed the question, “How does a person’s performance of a task change when other people are present? The thought occurred to him when he noticed that a person riding a bicycle pedaled faster when he rode with other bicyclists compared to as when he rode by himself. He then experimented with having children wind in a fishing reel; he predicted that the children would reel faster in the presence of other hillier compared to as when they were alone. He was right. This is one of the first known social experiments in the United States (Jihad, 2007).
As for establishing social psychology as its own branch of psychology, that credit goes to English psychologist William McDougall and American sociologist Edward Ross, who each published separate texts in 1908. McDougall considered the individual to be the principal unit of analysis in this new science, while Ross, true to the contemporary sociological social psychology perspective, highlighted groups (Jihad, 2007). In 1924, a third text was published which went a long way in carving out a distinct identity for social psychology.
This text was published by Floyd Lopper, who stated that the field of social psychology was in itself a science “which studies the behavior of the individual in so far as his behavior stimulates other individuals, or is it itself a reaction to this behavior…. L believe that only within the individual can we find the behavior mechanisms and consciousness which are fundamental in the interactions between individuals. ” Lopper emphasized how the person expends to stimuli in the social environment, with the group merely being one of many such stimuli (McLeod, 2007).
After that, the field of social psychology started gaining attention, with more doctors experimenting with more and more social factors and behaviors. The years between 1936 and 1945 are known as the “coming Of age” for social psychology. By this time social norms had been developed and much study went into looking at how individuals behave according to the rules of society. In 1939, Lenin began experimental research into leadership and work ethic (Afar, 1996). With the ND of World War II, came the “rapid expansion” era of social psychology.
To understand how a civilized society like Germany could fall under the influence of a ruthless leader like Doll Hitler, Theodore Adorn and his colleagues studied the psychological parameters of the authoritarian personality. Later, Stanley Amalgam extended this line of research in his obedience experiments, which examined the conditions that make people more likely to obey destructive authority figures. Festering experimented with whether or not people change their thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes to avoid the discomfort hat comes with dissonance (McLeod, 2007).
With the rapid expansion of social psychology, practices were developed that would later be deemed controversial and unethical. From 1970 to 1984 is regarded as the “crisis and reassessment????’ era. During this time, more rigorous ethical standards were put into place regarding how experiments on human subjects were conducted (Jihad, 2007). Today social psychologists have continued the legacy of Kurt Lenin. Lenin was a German psychologist who immigrated to the United States in 1932. Lenin developed a theory called the Lenin Field Theory that determined that behavior is the result of the individual and the environment.
This theory had a considerable impact on social psychology. Lenin is known as the father of modern social psychology because his work established scientific methods and experimentation to look at social behavior (Cherry, 2013). After his sudden death, his theories were expanded upon by his colleagues, and the next generation of social psychologists. Today, attitude is a main focus in social psychology. Attitudes practically affect every area of our life, from conformity and interpersonal attraction to social reception, and prejudice.
Social psychologists explain human behavior as a result of when a person’s mental state meets a certain situation and the resulting action. Social cognition is the way humans process, store, and apply the social information that they have learned during their lifetime. Researchers in this field are largely focused on how people see the world, what their general ideas about the world are, how things are and how they work. These mental shortcuts are what allow us to function without constantly having to interpret everything we are seeing. This lays an important role in the thought process and social behavior (Cherry, 2013).
Another important area of research in today’s society is in violence and aggression. With an epidemic of violence that kills and abuses the people of this country, there is a high demand to try and figure out what causes people to commit heinous acts against other human beings. Research in this area looks at a variety of factors that may cause aggression, including social variables, media influences, and the role social learning plays in bringing forth aggressive behaviors and actions (Cherry, 2013). Understanding this may play a role in reducing the number of violent acts committed in this country.
Other areas that social psychology cover are: proboscis behavior, which deals with why people help each other, or why people sometimes refuse to help others, as in the bystander effect; prejudice and discrimination, which studies the discrimination and stereotypes that exist in any social group, how prejudice’s develop, and why stereotypes survive despite proof to the contrary; self and social identification, which is the way we perceive ourselves and others round us, how do these perceptions affect our social interactions, and how do we come to build these perceptions; and group behavior, which studies the way people behave when they are in a group environment as opposed to being alone, the ways in which group mentality is helpful, but also the ways in which it is detrimental. They also study topics such as group dynamics, leadership, group decision-making, conflicts, cooperation, and group influence (Cherry, 2013).
Social psychology is such an fascinating branch of psychology to me because I am so interested and curious as to why people dc he things they do. I am constantly amazed at the stupid things people do and constantly shocked by the horrible things bad people do. And yes, I think at a certain point, your choices and your behavior can eventually lead you from being a good person who sometimes does bad things over that line that takes you into just being a bad seed. A lot of foul things happen to people every day, but that doesn’t mean thou can turn around and inflict that pain onto someone else. At some point, a person needs to realize that they are not their past, and that they need to get over it. You can only get over your past by owning and letting it go.
Until then it will affect your behavior and your attitude, which in-turn affects your social interaction with others. The reason that social psychology is so important is because there is always a reason that people do the things they do, whether it is a good thing or whether it is a bad thing. If we can figure out what roots laid the foundation for certain behaviors later in life, then maybe we can help people to make better choices in their lives. If a person recognizes that because of their upbringing, or maybe a aromatic experience in their life, that they are more likely to have certain emotions that come with that, then maybe they can take the extra steps to deal with the emotions that may lead them to act out In undesirable ways.