The skills and knowledge of a person cannot serve empirically to lessen the miseries based on the very nature of things. As one deviates further from one state, his or her sense of pleasure reduces. Therefore, the concern on the scientific and psychological knowledge increases.
Since psychology is so broad, it has several branches, which include forensic, cognitive, human factor, clinical, abnormal, behavioral, cross-cultural, health, comparative, development, educational, personality, positive, sports and social psychology. The concern of the paper is on the latter.
Social psychological principles and data find applications in various ‘‘legal and civil rights issues, in mental health treatment, performance enhancement, self-help and ergonomics’’ (Bushway & Johnson, 2007, p. 151). In addition, social psychologists use such concepts in their detection of Internet-fraud, behavioral economics and evaluating the effects of a situation that includes an explanation of data, prediction of future events.
Psychology concerns about people’s perception, response, personality, and their relationship with others. As a career, it involves the use of knowledge and skills acquired in solving the challenges facing an individual and group. Social psychology is a branch of psychology that explains the influences of social phenomena and the interaction of people in the society (Katherine & Turner, 2010, p. 460). Decision-making is a tremendously challenging aspect of human life.
Whether it is morally right to make a decision with or without influence is subject to question. The purpose of the paper is to explain how social influences affect peoples’ attitude, feelings, thoughts, and their decision to behave in a certain manner. However, the fundamental principles and aspects of social persuasion play a significant role in influencing the actions and perceptions of an individual.
Research Evaluation of social psychology and group behavior
There are phenomena that can facilitate certain behaviors such as group influence, social loafing and facilitation, which can negative or a positive influence on an individual. Social psychologists take into account what each behavior involves and whether or not such behaviors need an intervention. A number of factors should be involved in judging the groupthink actions. Lack of self-esteem makes an individual remain independent.
Such a person can easily succumb to the behavior of the group. Groupthink occurs in social networks like High schools. Theoretically, ‘‘it is easy to believe that a group can influence a person to continue with an action, even if it is not on their moral compass’’ (Frijters, 2000, p. 288). However, if the groupthink allows the destructive behavior a person to continue, then therapeutic interventions become inevitable.
Technology is a sociological factor, which influences the formation of values and attitudes. For instance, people from low social classes watch television more than, those from higher socioeconomic status. The sociological research has shown that the ‘‘poorest and most vulnerable groups in society, such as children, the elderly, ethnic minorities, and women, are the heaviest users of television’’ (Frijters, 2000, p. 285).
However, youths with low parental concern are also more susceptible to behavioral changes. Furthermore, adults and children who spend a lot of time watching aggressive programs appear to embrace attitudes and values, which use violence to resolve disagreements.
The concepts of social psychology are majorly on scientific research, but nonscientific disciplines have also contributed significantly to the understanding of people’s behavior. Social psychologists study human behavior from ‘‘cultural, political, economic and psychological perspectives, using both qualitative and quantitative approaches’’ (Bushway & Johnson, 2007, p. 159).
In undertaking the process, they search for regular patterns of an individual, social performance and systematic elucidations of those patterns. However, the patterns may appear understandable when pointed out, though ‘‘they may not have been part of how most people consciously thought about the world’’ (Taylor, & Walker, 2010, p. 140). The patterns revealed by methodical survey significantly correct the long-held beliefs about certain aspects of human behavior.
Research on socioeconomic status (SES) has demonstrated that positive health attitudes and behaviors are more common among individuals from high socioeconomic background. The reason is that they receive the best care possible. However, politics also influences the attitudes and behaviors of a person.
In spite of employment status, higher socioeconomic status individuals are more committed to voting. A person from lower social class ‘‘feels less efficacious and is less politically active than persons of higher status’’ (Taylor & Walker, 2010, p. 148). In addition, unemployment experience among those of lower social class adversely affects their participation, attitudes, and behaviors.
A research on conformity also depicts how it can affect a person’s choice to provide a correct or a wrong answer by conforming to the majority. Whenever a group agrees on something, it is difficult for an individual to give the correct answer because what the group provides is the gospel truth.
As a result, a low self-esteemed person may become a conformist and socially accepted (Bushway & Johnson, 2007, p. 177). Otherwise, despite being the reason for becoming a conformist, it still influences one’s behavior. There has been a debating trend on pros and cons of conformity. In my view, it depends on whether a person’s principles have changed either positively or negatively.
The social penalty considered suitable for undesirable behavior varies widely between societies. The theories affect the purpose of punishment to deter one from committing or repeating the crime (Katherine & Turner, 2010, p. 458).
The methods for punishing criminals in some communities range from fines to exile and from mutilation to execution. Therefore, the success of any negative rewards in preventing crimes becomes difficult to study due to the ethical restrictions on research transferring unusual penalties to similar criminals.
Concepts of Social Psychology
The perception of an individual on his or her self in relation to the rest of the world plays a vital role in the persons’ behaviors, beliefs, and choices. Consequently, other peoples’ opinion influence one’s behavior and personality. Such external forces can affect an individual’s perceptions, feeling, and thoughts leading to competition, frustrations, and many factors of aggression (Bushway & Johnson, 2007, p. 154).
The correspondent influence theory explains an individual perception of one’s self, other people, and the world especially when a person infers that the behavior of others corresponds to their actions and personalities.
Although, the behavior of a person can be informative, it can also be misleading particularly when the persons’ overriding dispositional characteristics do not cause them. Moreover, people tend to analyze and explain the behavior of others (Taylor & Walker, 2010, p. 143). Therefore, our world is simplified and our perceptions skewed by expectation conformation leading to stereotyping. The interaction between the individual and the situation determines the outcome. As a result, people behave differently in various situations.
People express feelings and thoughts differently in their minds due to emotional reactions. Philosophically, if feelings occupy part of the brain, then a person has less capacity for thoughts. For instance, emotional extremes such as crime makes a person barely think at all but do not render him or her unintelligent.
Otherwise, emotions are like a switch, which goes on and off for everyone. According to Selymes (2011), ‘‘the more we like something, the more it is going to cause feelings and thoughts’’ (p. 100). Since thought is a period of increased attention, it corresponds to feelings so that if a person’s feeling is faulty then his or her thinking is also defective.
Positive and negative impacts of social factors on attitudes and behaviors
Social influence arises when other people affect an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. The influence takes forms such as ‘‘conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, family and persuasion’’ (Taylor & Walker, 2010, p. 152).
In the family set up, the relationship between parents and children shapes the behavior and attitudes of the young ones. For instance, parents can powerfully affect their adolescent children’s sexual behavior mainly when the teens equip themselves with the correct and relevant information about the development changes they expect to experience.
The marital status and the parental supervision influence the teens’ decision to engage in sexual activity. According to Katherine and Turner (2010), ‘‘…adolescence’ whose parents report a stricter monitoring of their behavior during preadolescent is less likely to be sexually active’’ (p.470). In addition, single parent and family stability also influence the behavior and attitude of the children.
People are social beings who survive in the company of others. As a result, they categorize themselves into various social groupings such as villages, cities, and countries, in which their behaviors changes due to interactions. Notwithstanding, they merge socialization with planned changes in social behavior over a time.
Since the ‘‘patterns of human society differ from place to place and era to era and across cultures, the social world becomes particularly complex and dynamic’’ (Taylor, & Walker, 2010, p. 141). Therefore, people acquire complex behavior and attitudes.
Even though every individual has the capacity to control his or her attitude, friendship can easily reverse the way one lives. Therefore, an individual can chose behavior based on the attitude and the behavior of a friend. People often accept behavior when they are in mutual relationship (Frijters, 2000, p. 298). For instance, individuals in an intimate relationship influence one another’s actions and thoughts.
They only tend to acquire accommodative behavioral aspects and attitudes towards one another. Moreover, the state of dissonance makes a person’s action and perception to change to accommodate the friend’s opinion. Consequently, such conflict involving attitude and behavior explicates why ‘‘a person who continues to behave against his or her moral realizes that the morals becomes weaker’’ (Katherine & Turner, 2010, p. 463). As such, his or her attitude towards that particular conduct is no longer strappingly opposed to it.
Socioeconomic status is an uncommonly powerful means of creating the cultural environment of nurturing a person. Ethnically bound experiences provide the mirror for judging behavior, principles, and manifestations. The class into which one is born affects his or her behavior and attitude towards the speech, diet, fashions, and interests. How a person will perceive the social world also changes (Taylor & Walker, 2010, p. 150).
Moreover, class influences the anxieties and opportunities an individual will experience and therefore, determines how he or she will live future. Such influences may affect the education, profession, marriage, and living standard of the person. Otherwise, with impacts of social factors many people live extremely different lives from the standards for their class.
The simplicity with which a person can transform his or her social class varies significantly with time and place. Today, a great number of people are escaping from poverty through economic and educational opportunities while others are being impoverished due to the impacts of social factors. Socioeconomic status affects one’s behavior on sexuality and partner selection.
For instance, men’s socioeconomic status and their ‘‘readiness to invest affection and resources in relationships may offset the effects of their physical charisma in women’s genuine selection of partners’’ (Selymes, 2011, p. 98). However, women prefer sexual intercourse that occurs in a relationship, which involve love and marital potential.
Cultural and Gender Influences
Every culture has a different network of guidelines and connotations. The diversities include ‘‘the methods of trade and administration, social responsibilities, religions, traditions in clothing and foods and arts, behavior and attitudes and beliefs and values on their activities’’ (Katherine & Turner, 2010, p. 482). Cultural traditions and beliefs give the inadequacies on behaviors.
For instance, if a person’s culture prefers a bride who shows her bloody bed sheet on the morning following her wedding night, then she would probably not engage in a sexual act before marriage. A woman would tend to do everything possible just to preserve her hymen by ensuring that blood appears in her bed sheet. It is therefore, the responsibility of every individual in such communities to conduct themselves as per the traditions and norms but not as their conviction.
The concept of super natural being also differs from one culture to the other. Secular societies thus influence the behavior of the people towards the perception of ‘‘legal, political, professional, medical and family institutions’’ (Taylor & Walker, 2010, p. 154). The interpretation of God is diverse to the extent that a person can easily change his or her behavior even without notable mechanism to such actions.
The principles of psychological reliability apply to supernatural beings as to material characteristics. For instance, what a person perceives as religion because of its association with religious foundations is not holy but follows the cultural influence. In cultural analysis, the Christian attributes to the concept of God has influence the behavior and attitude of many people in the society.
While one cannot alter the things, which befalls him or her, we can often wish the attitude to have on circumstances. As Selymes (2011) puts it, ‘‘our attitudes will ultimately direct us down the path of life, for better or for worse’’ (p. 102). Cultural beliefs on health related matters influence one’s behavior.
For instance, those with pleasant attitudes live longer and have better quality of life than those with negative behavior towards life. Moreover, having a negative attitude makes people feel vulnerable and irritated when they are sick. Conversely, positive attitude reduces mental Health and Stress.
Gender provides regulations that limit the daily behavior. Philosophically, no one has ever requested or even sent a letter to the parents to be born as either a girl or a boy. Gender remains biologically determined. The attitude of men towards women often changes the manner in which the latter behave in a society.
For instance, if it were not a right for a man to cook, then he would not bother learning how to cook but rather date women who can cook for him (Katherine & Turner, 2010, p. 480). In addition, males often want to spend with young girls and even brand them as ‘‘weak and stupid’’ if they refuse to give in to their filthy behaviors. Such issues simply make people think about how they will live their lives every day thereby changing their attitude.
People freely join groups based on some shared interests besides the cultural settings into which a person is born. Such attachment influences ‘‘how people think of themselves and how others think of them’’ (Selymes, 2011, p. 91). The groups enforce anticipations and rules, which make the behavior of members more conventional even modeling such behaviors. Therefore, they reinforce virtuous behavior by praises and prizes punishing unacceptable ones by rejection, fines, and threats.
Otherwise, attitudes toward other groups are likely to involve stereotyping and social prejudices (Katherine & Turner, 2010, p. 478). Moreover, the informal interaction of a child with peers, relatives and the entertainment influences his or her expected attitude and conduct. Culturally stimulated behavioral patterns such as body language, funniness, and speech patterns become so intensely imbedded in the human mind that a person operates without being entirely conscious of them.
Restatement of the thesis and a conclusion
Social psychology presents the evaluation of personality based on the individual’s adjustments to social influences and the psychological effects of behavioral changes as well as research and literature studies on the social effects on group behavior. The paper has analyzed the ways in which a person changes his or her feelings, thoughts, attitudes, and cultural beliefs due to social factors.
Each culture has rules for devising ‘‘morals, perceptions and attitude on notions such as family, reputations, fidelity, integrity, pleasure, love and what is just or morally wrong’’ (Bushway & Johnson, 2007, p. 170). The essay has also shown how persuasion can significantly influence behavior, the ways of motivating and punishing behavior, effects of socioeconomic status on attitudes and life satisfaction and the Social Psychological perspectives on prejudice and erroneous beliefs of the society.
In my view, technological inventions have maximized the manners in which values influence behavior. Such inventions have minimized the expenses for travelling and communications and has also categorically enhanced ethics, ambitions and priorities in exposing the behaviors of the young and the old, professionals and politicians and their approaches towards gender and sex, justice and violence and the less fortunate in the society.
Furthermore, good behavior in one culture may be unacceptable in another. For instance, aggressive behavior is appropriate in a highly competitive society while it is morally wrong in some cultures. Although there is a wide range of cultural customs in the world, almost all the cultures consider some kinds of behavior such as violence, rape, and theft unacceptable.
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Katherine, J., & Turner, J. (2010). Interactionism in Personality and Social Psychology: An Integrated Approach to Understanding the Mind and Behavior. European Journal of Personality, 24(5), 458-482.
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Taylor, M., & Walker, T. (2010). The Influence of Cultural Identification, Religiosity, and Self-esteem on Alcohol use among African American, Hispanic, and white Adolescents. Western Journal of Black Studies, 35(2), 139-156.