Our behavior is shaped by many influences, some external and some internal. Humans are social creatures meaning that cultural predispositions define our circumstances. Our attitudes and personalities play a significant role in shaping behavior as well, sometimes offsetting, and sometimes reinforcing social pressures. How we think influences our perceptions of the world and how we think influences our perception of others. Also how we think influences our perceptions of ourselves. Social Psychology differs from other related disciplines in that it focuses on “social” aspects of human behaviors, specifically, how ...view middle of the document...
Social Psychology Differs From Other Disciplines
Social psychology differs from other branches of psychology primarily because social psychology focuses on the individual in social situations. Social psychology is different from clinical psychology because clinical psychology is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness, abnormal behavior, and psychiatric problems (Cherry, 2011). Social psychology differs from general psychology in that general psychology is simply an overview of the entire field of psychology without regard to the various specializations within the field (Kong, 2011). One may think that social psychology and sociology are terms that are synonymous. Although related to each other, each of these fields are very different from each other. Social Psychologists focus their attention on the way that individuals react in social contexts while Sociologists focus their attention on why groups of people do certain things in a social context (Wikipedia, 2011). For example, a social psychologist might want to study why people may be more prone to racial stereotyping, while a sociologist might want to study the way that racism has affected a community.
Role of Research in Social Psychology
The role of research in social psychology attempts to answer questions about human behavior by testing hypotheses, both in the laboratory and in the field. Psychologists use a number of different scientific methods to conduct research on social psychology topics. This depends largely on the subject the researcher is exploring, the resources available, and the theory, or hypothesis being investigated. Social psychology research explains how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the presence of others.
Three research methods are used in social psychology: experimental methods, correlational methods, and observational methods. Experimental methods involve the researcher altering a variable in the environment and measuring the effect on another variable (Wikipedia, 2011). An example would be a study of two groups of adults who were asked to view violent horror movies or family comedies and observe how they respond when they are put in a room together and asked to cooperate on various tasks. Correlational methods examine the statistical association between two naturally occurring variables (Wikipedia, 2011). For example,...