An individual cannot survive without the social relationships in the world. Social need is one of the basic needs of individual to live the life. In this paper the major area of concern are the study of social psychology and its major areas of influence in order to evaluate the effect of the study on generating various propositions about the social behaviors and to study the cause and effects of social influences and social issues in figuring human personality, attitudes and behaviors. The paper focuses on the concept of social psychology and its differential features from other related disciplines like sociology and personality psychology in order to widen the concept and broaden the views about the social psychological. Then the discussion about major areas of psychology will be made in order to analyze the major perspectives covered by the social psychology. In this way the importance of social psychology can be analyzed in determining different social phenomena.
Introduction of Social Psychology
Social Psychology is the discipline of psychology, includes the scientific method to explain the influence of imagined, actual and implied presence of other human beings on the behavior or thoughts of individuals. It is a wide range of social topic includes social perception, group behavior, non verbal behavior, conformity, prejudice or aggression (Baron, Byrne & Branscombe, 1991). Social psychology has covered the wide aspect of social perception, social interaction and other social influences to understand the social behavior.
History of Social Psychology
The concepts like social facilitation and social loafing has been introduced in late 1800s. But the concept of social psychology has not been introduced till World War II. During wars many propaganda arises in US military. Many social issues had been raised during this period. Notable issues among them were the racial prejudice gender issues, issues related to the obedience of authority. The need for research on social issues had been raised in this regard. This discipline has been introduced in United State in 20th century. The government of US had become more interested in applying the concept of social psychology in citizens. Many researches have been conducted on this discipline in 20th century to influence the social behavior and experience. In sixties new approaches in this field has been emerged like cognitive dissonance. By 1970 many social psychology faced many crises. Many debates had heated up on issue of failure of laboratory experiments to test the behavior. In this period the need emerged for radical situations approach. Social psychology has developed at more mature level in 1980 and 1990 (Pepitone, 1981). The multicultural perspectives were emerged. More consideration in recent era has been given to the concepts of social cognition, attribution and self concept.
Areas of Social Psychology
Sociology consists of broad perspectives and the wide are of research can be conducted in this field. Some of the major areas covered by social psychology are following:
Social Cognition is one of the most interesting areas of social psychology. Social cognition is concerned with the application, processing and storage of social information. This approach is closely concerned with the concept of schemas, which is a general idea about the world. These are the mental shortcuts about constantly interpreting about very thing around us. It plays important role in social behavior and thought process.
Attitudes are an important research area of concern in social psychology. Attitudes and changes in attitudes will be study in it. The three core components of attitudes are important in it. It includes cognitive components, behavioral components and affective component (Gardner, 1985).These elements define about our feelings, understandings and behavior.
Social psychology deals with the concept of aggression. It includes the study of major factors behind aggression. It also includes the study of social learning that give rise to the aggressive behavior and aggressive actions.
Another important area of social psychology is Prosocial behavior. These types of behavior is about helping and cooperating with one another, which plays an important role in social psychology (Amabile, 1983) The researchers are mostly interested in this area to determine the major reasons which motivates to help others and what are the reasons for refusing to help in some others phenomena.
Prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination are the important types of behavior exist in social groups. Social psychology is keen to study in this area to analyze the cause and effects of these attitudes.
The way we perceived our self and social identities is another important part of concerned in social psychology. It includes people perception about themselves, effect of their self-perception on society and social interaction, social awareness, self-expression and the concept of self esteem are some area of concern.
Group behavior study is an important aspect of social psychology. It contributes in the research of social psychology in significant manner. Social psychologist are keen interested in determining the group dynamics, decision making of the group, group conflicts, cooperation, and their group influences in order to determine the social behavior (Weick, 1979). Leadership plays an important role in this area.
Interpersonal relationship is another major area of study in social psychology in order to determine the social behaviors. It basically focuses on the effect of relationships on individual personalities and it contributes widely in shaping the attitudes, thoughts and feelings of people.
Social Psychology and Other Disciplines
Social psychology is one of an important discipline of psychology but it is some tome confused with the concept of sociology and personality psychology. There is difference exist in social psychology and other related disciplines like sociology or personality psychology. Social psychology is majorly relied on scientific methods. It includes empirical study of different social phenomena. The other disciplines like personality psychology focused on individual characteristics and traits, while social psychology focused on the situations and the impact of social environment in social behaviors, attitude and group interaction of individuals.
It is also some tome confusing the difference of social psychology and sociology. The difference exists in the both disciplines. There is difference in sociology and social psychology. Sociology is concerned with the tendency of social behaviors in very broad manner where as the psychologist are concerned with the situational variables that influence the social behavior. Both dimensions although looking at the similar topic but both looks from different perspectives.
The major areas of social psychology make it easy to understand study and control the major parts of study in order to make it possible to influence the social behaviors. Social psychology is an important discipline of psychology. It has major influence in understanding group behaviors and to influence the major social perspectives like socio culture perspectives or social learning. This field of psychology helps to determine the community behavior that will have major influence in social dealings and growth perspectives in individual life.