Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think, influence, and relate to one another. It is a comparatively younger discipline than the other disciplines of psychology – it is surprisingly a discipline that overlaps with other sub-disciplines of psychology like personality and cognition, and various other human disciplines like anthropology, sociology and communication. In broader terms, social psychology is how individuals’ thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by other people.
The main questions of interest is social psychology are related to attitudes, person perception, interpersonal attraction, conformity etc, and are among the most personal but largely unexplained parts of ourselves. Questions of interest in social psychology can be divided into 3 different categories: these 3 categories correspond to thoughts, feelings and behavior components of definition of social psychology. The main questions/areas of interests in social psychology are given below;
1. Thinking About the Self and Others
Each question of interest can be further divided into different categories e.g. different questions can be further asked under this first question of interest;
A.Social Cognition: Researchers who are working on social cognition can ask the following question in their investigation, “How do jury decide guilt of innocence”
B.Person Perception: People working on person perception can be curious to know: “How do we know when some one is lying or telling truth”
C.Attribution: It refers to thought process that occurs when we decide what influenced another person’s behavior.
D.The Self: We ask specific questions about our selves e.g. “When does a body image promote eating disorders”
2.Evaluating People and Relationships
The following 5 questions also seem diverse but they all involve people’s feelings;
A. Attitude: Feelings lie at the core of + or – attitudes; how feelings, thoughts and behavior relate to each other.
B.Attitude Change: This question of social psychology is concerned with when and why people alter their attitude over time.
C.Prejudice: People interested in research on prejudice, etc may also be interested in investigating that how society can can reduce stereotyping and discrimination.
D. Interpersonal Attractions: These issues may question “ why do people desire to make friends with one and not the other”
E.Close Relationships: Researchers working in this area may be inquisitive that “how happy marriages end into bitter divorces”.
3.Interacting with Others
Human beings’ interaction can be deemed through following questions;
A.Social Influence: It related one person’s behavior influences on another person.
B.Helping: “How can we convince more people to help the disabled”
C.Interpersonal Power: Why ordinary citizens sometime engage in torture, ethnic cleansing, or genocide.
D.Groups: “Why cant one religious group agree with the other”
On a comparatively broader level, the society is investigated in terms of its evolutionary and cultural factors; how an individual develops and adopts to it i.e. his childhood experiences, family history etc, and the internal factors such as personality traits and attitudes.