Home > Free Essays > Psychology > Psychological Principles > Social Psychology Principles in American Movies
Cite this

Social Psychology Principles in American Movies Essay

The analysis of human behavior is very crucial and compelling. It is paramount that we understand the reasons behind human beings’ behavior and the reaction towards different things, in particular, their fellow humans. This has been the pursuit of social psychology; a branch of science concerned with how people relate to one another. This paper specifically looks at the four main principles of social psychology as extracted from the four provided videos. We build our social reality persuaded by our social intuitions, community influences, our attitudes, and our genetic temperaments.

The clip, 1984 the movie part 1, accentuates the principle of self-cognition. This is mainly related to how people create impressions of others, and how they remember them. The clip highlights a speech by an army general who is addressing the nation, and he is inciting the people to stand up and fight. We then see a man pick a book and start to open pages to read. He soon commences peeling pages, starting with the cover. As he does this, he uncovers some hidden truths in the book, and the actual reason for the wars and perpetual inequality in society (Orwell, 1984).

This is what the principle of self-cognition stands for and explains. The clip relates to a specific theory of self-cognition referred to as the spiral of silence theory, which states that an individual might differ with a group but since they are in the minority, they do not air their opinions. Being self-cognizant, we are different, and we react to things contrary to others because we are informed on varying levels, and therefore we make different attributions and perceptions for the same actions. The reader advances this particular theory since he is aware the crowd is being misled, and he does not speak.

The clip also shows the process of self-actualization in contrasting light. It exposes the gaps in the things we think we know, and how this discrepancy is related to our bias and obsession with things. The crowd being addressed is psyched to go to war for their country but in reality, they are being deceived. The leader is only using them to advance his agenda. The crowd is easily persuaded to go to war because they believe what their leader is telling them is consistent with what they advocate for. There is consistency with what they hear and what they believe in internally, and this inspires action. On the other hand, the reader is alone but he is more informed than the multitude at the rally because he is in a better position to clearly understand everything well.

The second theory is emphasized by the clip, The twelve angry men. It is a clip showing twelve men on a table, deliberating about a case and its ruling. One man vehemently opposes the stand of the other eleven, who maintains an open mind about the innocence of the accused. He insists that the man is guilty and cannot be blameless. This is until the others start standing up to him one by one, and he is forced to sit down and withdraw his views. This clip highlights the principle of attitudes in social psychology (Rose, 1957).

Prejudice and stereotyping are the specific beliefs we have formed over time about people. They are not easily changed as people choose to perceive things based on their expectations. This principle explores the human weakness in judgment by stating that we overlook objectivity for our views when we consider our stereotypes. This is seen from the clip as the angry man disregards the points raised by his colleagues because he already has set his mind about the accused. According to him, the suspects cannot be trusted, as his people are naturally born violent. This is the hindsight bias in social psychology as explained by Kruglanski & Higgins (2007, p. 10).

The second speaker in the clip brings some balance in the room, by contradicting the conclusions of the angry man. His statement targets to put to an end the prejudice which otherwise clouds our view of facts and truth. Our attitudes are formed as an invention of other things, including our selective view of the truth and prejudice. Absolute prejudgment of anything obstructs the independence of our decisions. The video clip, high five escalators, shows people on the subway‘s elevator. It shows how to correctly experiment with social psychology. The principle extracted from this clip is that of persuasion. The principle defines the influence that the external environment has on our decisions, by convincing us although indirectly, to adopt a certain behavior, idea, or to accept an attitude. This clip furthers the conditioning of the human brain (Adams, 2009).

The fourth concept of social psychology is its practicality and its application in everyday life. Analyzing the clip, the devil wears Prada, we can draw various purposes of social influence in everyday life (Finerman, 2006). This is regarding what is called social persuasion as described by Hayes (1993) in his book, Principles Of Social Psychology, which describes the impact we face from the people we interact with. Miranda is treated like a goddess by her employees in the office, and no one dares stand in her way. This captures what social persuasion is termed as obedience.

Our relations with people are driven by how one views himself first concerning the level of self-confidence and self-image. Self-image is the accurate picture people have of themselves, while self-esteem is the evaluative part of the self-concept, and contains the social conclusions people have internalized (Hayes, 1993). Our internal evaluation and that of others clash, and we at times let others change us. This is known as compliance to social influence. This, we can pick it out from the clip where Andy makes an appearance.

At the start, she has no sense of fashion and when her boss questions her style, she gradually changes, and towards the end, she is seen dressed in more fashionable clothes and looking elegant. This is an action initiated by Miranda’s appeal and suggestions. This is the classic case of compliance. There is a sharp contrast between Miranda’s attitude and that of her assistant, and Andy is seen to be nervous and self-doubting. Miranda however is arrogant, hostile, and rude to her employees despite her confidence. Andy is affected by her boss’s attitude and seems to sink into self-loathing even more. The clip illustrates the dynamics of roles in society and relations while addressing the hierarchy of people.

People should learn how to control their actions and words in the presence of others. By so doing, they become better people and encourage others. A key application of the study from the clip is that of forming better relationships and that of positive change brought about by other people’s persuasion. This is best seen during the day to day application of this principle in counseling, psychiatry in hospitals, asylums, and various studies that deal with the brain and human interactions. Actions are driven by motives and are prompted by both internal and outward alignments. Social psychology is consequently vital, very practical in eliminating negative deeds, advancing positive attitudes, and explaining human behavior in society.


Adams, M. (Executive Producer). (2009). High Five Escalator. New York: Improve Everywhere Entertainment.

Finerman, W. (Executive Producer). (2006).The Devil Wears Prada. California: 20th Century Fox.

Hayes, N. (1993). Principles Of Social Psychology. London: Psychology Press.

Kruglanski, A. W., & Higgins, E. T. (2007). Social Psychology. New York: Guilford Press.

Orwell, G. (Executive Producer). (1984). 1984 the movie part 1. Web.

Rose, R. (Executive Producer). (1957). 12 Angry Men. California: United Artists.

This essay on Social Psychology Principles in American Movies was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar
Writer online avatar

301 certified writers online

Cite This paper

Select a referencing style:


IvyPanda. (2020, October 1). Social Psychology Principles in American Movies. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-psychology-principles-in-american-movies/

Work Cited

"Social Psychology Principles in American Movies." IvyPanda, 1 Oct. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/social-psychology-principles-in-american-movies/.

1. IvyPanda. "Social Psychology Principles in American Movies." October 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-psychology-principles-in-american-movies/.


IvyPanda. "Social Psychology Principles in American Movies." October 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-psychology-principles-in-american-movies/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Social Psychology Principles in American Movies." October 1, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/social-psychology-principles-in-american-movies/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Social Psychology Principles in American Movies'. 1 October.

More related papers