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Social Psychology and Its Areas Essay

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Updated: Jun 11th, 2020

Such a notion as social psychology has a very broad meaning to be distinguished in a simple definition. Every individual is a social creature who influences a surrounding reality by performing his daily activity, as well as this reality has an impact on him.

Social psychology is a field of psychological science that studies facts, objective laws, behavioural patterns, communication and activity of an individual in surrounding society.

There may be distinguished in several content areas of social psychology.

One of its major areas is social cognition, which may be defined as “an application of knowledge and methods of cognitive psychology and information processing theory to the field of social psychology” (Social Psychology.2015, p.17). Social cognition is the essential thing for the understanding of social behaviour and mental processes.

Attitudes are also important areas of investigation in social psychology. Attitudes are a person’s negative or positive estimations of an object. A combination of affective, cognitive and behavioural attitude components creates a generalised vision of a subject, defines an individual’s feelings and predicts his behaviour.

One of the major concepts of social psychology is the conception of aggression. This discipline also deals with the nature of prejudices and stereotypes.

The behaviour of groups is one of the major aspects of studying in social psychology. There are different conditions that are necessary for the functioning of any social group. They are conformity, obedience and compliance. Conformity is stipulated by an informational and normative influence (Gleitman, Gross,&Reisberg, 2011). The informational influence presupposes the fact that every person wants to be right, while the normative influence states that people do not want to appear foolish. Conformity has a tendency to reduce when there is a lack of convenience in a group.

Special attention is also given to the nature of obedience in a group. It is believed that authoritative individuals are more obedient. At the same time, factors of shared responsibility are also of great importance. When a person is not responsible for his deeds, he is more inclined to obedience.

Human behaviour in groups is affected greatly by the presence of an audience, which may cause either social facilitation or social inhibition. The effect of the audience on an individual is the increase in the actor’s arousal (Gleitman et al., 2011).

There is an effect of shared responsibility in groups, which is also known as a social loafing. It supposes that an individual working in a team applies less force than working individually. The same goes for the so-called bystander effect. While acting individually, a person is more likely to come to assistance for those who need help while acting individually. At the same time, in a group, everyone tries to shift this responsibility on others.

Such human emotions as love and passion may also be explained from the point of view of social psychology. There is a hypothesis that explains the dependence between physical attractiveness and sympathy towards an attractive person. On a subconscious level, any individual supposes that one good quality means the existence of others.

In the way of conclusion, it should be mentioned that being the intermediate discipline between sociology and psychology, social psychology studies such aspects as social demands and interest, consciousness and self-comprehension, social climate, public opinion, mentality and many other things. The researches that are conducted in this field promote a better understanding of human behaviour and human nature.

Reference List

Gleitman, H., Gross, J., &Reisberg, D. (2011). Psychology. Canada: Norton and Company. Web.

Social Psychology. (2015). Web.

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