For perception is the product of the external and internal factors operating at the given time—the totality of which constitutes the frame of reference of the functional relations of various items. That all the actors coming from the external field of stimulation and the factors coming from the individual influence each other in an interdependent.
The task is to go beyond the general statement that everything is related to everything else within the frame of reference and laboriously to vary this factor now, that factor later, with the ultimate aim of finding the relative weights for each and finally, expressing the relations in short-cut expressions. Newcomb addresses himself to the crucial problem of the necessity of a unified social psychology Chapter 2. First, he expresses his dissatisfaction with the present dichotomous state of social psychology. He rightly points his finger at the confusion caused by the existence of two social psychologies—one espoused by the "psychological approach," the other upheld by the "sociological approach.
It has never really faced the well-established fact of biologically and otherwise determined selectivity of the organism. It has taken human organisms as "virtually empty receptacles into which culture is simply poured. Newcomb insists on building a unified "social psychology which takes full account of the realities of psychological processes as well as the realities of social organization. On the side of psychological processes, Newcomb takes perception as the starting point, in line with the major development in social psychology of the last two decades.
From here we can profitably extend ourselves to shared "frames of reference" of the group and its standardized products, viz. The social norms, in turn, constitute the matrix on which the social attitudes of the individual are formed in the process of interaction. With such a basic approach, we can effectively move to the interaction between individuals and the social norms, group structures, the established roles within them. The distinction that Newcomb makes between more or less socially established roles and the particular individual perception of them resulting. Another valuable point stressed by Newcomb is that norms, which are products of group interaction initially, are not dead entities.
Norms develop about anything and everything which are of shared interest to two or more people who interact with each other. With the rise of new situations, new norms arise which in time become common property of the group. Newcomb further elaborates on these major points, ending his chapter with concrete proposals for crucial research areas to be investigated within such a unified scheme of social psychology. Newcomb's incisive contribution should serve as a healthy corrective to those who are still cloistered as partisans of "psychological" or "sociological" approaches.
The unified social psychological approach herein proposed, we repeat, takes full account of the realities of all the psychological factors and the realities of social organization which are initially on the side of the stimulus conditions.
Our task then is the study of the interaction process between the two sets of factors and the reciprocal effects or products of the interaction. This conception of social psychology does not neglect any factor coming from the individual—his biological endowment, his motives, his special thresholds in perception, learning, etc. Likewise, it takes full account of the realities of culture and group structures without falling into the mutilating trap of reductionism.
It can be easily demonstrated by concrete evidence that it is a mistake to state that in the interaction between internal factors and external social factors, the one or the other set is invariably the most weighty determinant of the psychological product. There arc cases of interaction in which the external social factors play the dominant role in a lawful way; and there are cases in which factors coming from the individual are the weighty factors in determining the psychological product.
A unified scheme of social psychology will be achieved, then, by the full recognition of the factors corning from the individual himself and the factors coming from his socio-cultural surroundings. Accordingly, some of the most representative topics on biological, psychological,. Each one of these topics, and the underlying basic principles, are presented by men who are in the research frontiers of their particular area. In any attempt to evaluate the various factors which may significantly influence the socio-psychological behavior of the individual, appropriate consideration must, of course, be given to the individual's biological inheritance.
David and Snyder's review of some of the major concepts of classical genetics emphasizes the essentially heuristic nature of the concept of the gene as an isolable entity; at the same time, it shatters pre-formationist views of individual development which, although long since obsolete among geneticists, are still commonly attributed to them by laymen Chapter 3. Even on levels of physiological activity, it is seen that the course of individual development cannot be described in terms of the genotype alone; interactions of environmental factors must be taken into account all along the line.
At the psycho-social level, environmental influences impinge upon and interact with the developmental processes concerned in the formation of behavioral patterns at so many points that the role of genotypic differences as determinants of socio-psychological differences becomes negligible. Consideration of the probable nature of evolutionary processes in the light of modern genetic theory leaves no vestige of scientific support for racist theories which pretend that there are genetic distinctions among ethnic groups which differentiate them in respect to temperament, mental capacity, or other characteristics of socio-psychological significance.
The dominant selective forces which appear to have been operative throughout human evolutionary history, in all geographic regions and in all societies, are those which favor the evolution of plasticity, rather than of tendencies toward stereotyped response; plasticity is reflected, for example, in extraordinary capacity for the modification of behavior through learning.
Purposeful modifiability of behavioral response is present in man so universally, and to such a unique degree, that it. Significant changes in. On the basis of the above considerations, David and Snyder conclude their definitive treatment of genetic variability and human behavior with the significant statement that ". In view of the increasing attempts to carry over the generalizations reached on the basis of the study of lower animals to the explanation of the social relations of man, the discussion of the principles underlying social organization along the phylogenetic scale is a timely one.
As a criterion of levels in animal capacity, complexity of process is far less significant than is aptitude for behavioral changes under new and variable environmental emergencies. Thus learning in some social insects is at times fairly complex, but is stereotyped and psychologically limited as compared with that in higher vertebrates. An important similarity among various levels of organized group behavior in animals is characterized by an extension of Wheeler's "trophallaxis" concept to include all types of reciprocal stimulation underlying approach responses in the social situation.
A realistic theory is thereby obtained in place of vague "gregarious instincts. In social insects, for example, a simple conditioning or habituation learning promotes a stereotyped affiliation of individual with group situation and group members, in contrast with the more extensive and plastic group affiliations introduced through advanced learning capacities in the higher mammals.
Once the basis of group unity has been clarified, conditions such as "dominance hierarchies" may be studied as factors modifying or opposing individual approach reactions to group situation and group. A concept must be obtained which is not restricted to the implications of aggression-dominance relations, but which also subsumes ascendancy and other types of priority in group organization. A close comparison of different social levels suggests the need for a sharper differentiation of intra-group communication processes, as might be represented by the terms bio-social for insects and psychosocial for higher mammals—the latter being capable of social "signal" functions and in advanced cases, of symbolic interchanges.
In Chapter 5, Harlow discusses various aspects of animal social behavior with special emphasis on learning. He gives a survey of representative studies carried out on a single great biological order—the order of primates, which includes monkeys, apes, and man among its members. The first part of the chapter is devoted to a summary of studies on primate social behavior by Maslow, Carpenter, Zuckerman, Nissen, and Harlow and Yudin.
Among these, of course, Carpenter's extensive field studies dealing with social organization and relations of howling monkeys, Rhesus monkeys, orang-utans, and gibbons are particularly noteworthy for the student of comparative social psychology. Harlow devotes the second part of his chapter to a discussion of the "role of learning in primate social behavior and personality," and suggests a number of experiments designed to rear various groups of primates whose life histories are controlled "under a variety of social environments, and test the effect of these diverse environments on personal-social traits.
The last part of the chapter deals with the promise of animal studies for the central problems of stress neurosis , language, motivation, and learning. Harlow ends the chapter with a brief introduction of his "learning set" theory presented first in some detail in the Psychological Review in Harlow is of the opinion that the study of learning and social behavior of lower animals will effectively help our understanding of human social psychology.
From a methodological point of view no one can deny this possibility, as it is feasible to experiment on lower animals with the scientifically desirable controls and precision. It seems that there is a serious drawback to extending the generalizations reached on lower animals to human social behavior. Without exception, every aspect of social behavior of the human individual is af-. The emergence of culture, as Harlow mentions in his chapter, is unique to the human species. For example, the accumulated system of language—just one aspect of culture—becomes such a vehicle in the ontogeny of human development that the acquisition of social attitudes, which constitutes perhaps the characteristic feature of human personality, is unthinkable without it.
It might be well to ponder the fact that it takes highly trained university personnel to teach an anthropoid ape to utter merely three words of a codified language system; whereas even the most primitive, illiterate human grouping, without such scholarly assistance, possesses a codified language system consisting of words and structure which is transmitted, and at times expanded, by each succeeding generation. Until these points are clarified, it might be preferable to utilize the findings from subhuman species as valuable data of comparative psychology, and not overgeneralize to highly complex human relations.
In this connection, perhaps the cautious scientific attitude may be to give due regard to the notion of levels along the phylogenetic scale in line with the discussion by Schneirla. Now let us turn to two chapters which are specifically concerned with the major aspects of the functional relationship between the experience and behavior of the individual and his culture.
In Chapter 6, Herskovits presents a sophisticated discussion of "cultural and psychological reality," based on his recent book, Man and His Works: Science of Cultural Anthropology Culture, which may be defined in short as "the man made part of the environment" is a peculiarly human phenomenon which exhibits regularities of structure and process. In this chapter we find a clear statement of the author's views of the relationship between concepts of culture, society and behavior. The concept of ''enculturation," which is one of the key concepts in the systematic view pre-.
One of the primary contributions of ethnology has been the implications of cross-cultural data in formulating generalizations concerning the human species. It was mainly through the eye-opening impact of cross-cultural data that psychologists finally realized the provincialism of their notions about so many psychological phenomena among which their ethnocentric concepts of "human nature" and various brands of instinct theories may be cited as representative examples.
Chapter 7 by Hallowell, entitled "Cultural Factors in the Structuralization of Perception," takes us down to the solid meeting ground in recent years of psychologists and the investigators in sociology and ethnology toward building a unified structure of social psychology. In recent years, perceptual reactions have become the prototype of all psychological reactions for social psychologists in singling out the effects of socio-cultural influences on the one hand and biological and strictly personal factors on the other. It is this conception of the patterning of perception by both personal and socio-cultural factors that has made a closer rapprochement between anthropologists and psychologists possible in recent years p.
Society and culture do not get into the psychological make-up of the individual as devilish or angel—like entities in their own right; nor do they flow into him through his sense organs in discrete quantities. In so many concrete situations, they come in as factors through his sense organs which participate in the patterning of his perceptions along with other factors stemming from within himself. Hallowell, in this chapter, first presents a summary statement of the rapidly accumulating facts of cultural factors in structuring perception—a topic to which he has been contributing richly for over a decade.
In addition to the statement of general facts of the contribution of cultural factors in perceiving, he gives fascinating illustrations of two specific kinds of cultural phenomena as factors in the structuring of perception—viz. The special point of symbolic factors is a much needed and timely one, inasmuch as symbolic factors have not yet been systematically brought into this emerging unified scheme. Linguistic symbols or labels come in as factors in structuring and categorizing individual experience in relation to stimulus situations.
When stimulus objects are classified in one class rather than another, under a symbol or label, they are perceived as members of one group rather. The functional significance, the value of these objects to the individual, follows these lines of categorization on the whole. If some berries, which are not harmful in themselves, are put under a tabued category in a culture, they are perceived as nonedible berries, of course, as fixated through learning.
Likewise, if some women are classified in the kinship system of a society under a sexually tabued category and other women under a sexually sanctioned category, the perceptual selectivity and thresholds are modified in relation to the two respective groups of women. In short, linguistic symbols or labels come in as categorizing factors in the structuring of perception. This in turn brings about shifts in the functional relationship of the individual to the stimuli in question. It is only under artificial and deliberately mutilated conditions that perceiving is a mere cognitive process.
The same socio-cultural factors do not produce exactly the same psychological effects on the members of the same social group. Strictly personal or idiosyncratic factors take part in the structuring of perception. Thus perceptions of the different members of the same social group in relation to the same socio-cultural stimuli are not identical; they vary within limits of a scale peculiar to the group. In Chapter 8, two psychologists, Barker and Wright, present an approach to the problem of concretely studying and defining the specific stimulus conditions in relation to which interaction takes place.
So long as social psychologists must make guesses concerning the social stimulus situations, their theorizing is of necessity highly tentative. For, as the authors state, "we do not know with precision for different cultures and different conditions of life the degree of occurrence of the factors thought to be of importance for social behavior and psychosocial development. Necessarily such ecological problems involve work on different levels of study.
If we claim to take all the factors influencing behavior and their due weights into consideration, the lines of study delineating the various social sciences must be crossed and recrossed. Barker and Wright correctly start with the non-psychological milieu, which includes the natural surroundings, the material surroundings, the economy, social structure, and social products, such as the ideology or value.
This non-psychological milieu provides concrete "behavior settings" and objects in relation to which behavior takes place. The existent behavior settings include not only the physical objects, but their value aspects as well. In relation to each, a definable sort of behavior is standardized as "appropriate," whereas other sorts of behavior would in this situation be "inappropriate" or "wrong.
On the basis of the study of the non-psychological milieu and the specific behavior settings and objects, a naturalistic examination of the "psychological habitat" becomes possible. At the University of Kansas, Barker and Wright and their colleagues have been conducting such field studies with the aim of developing methods for describing the psychological environment of children in their natural settings.
Excerpts from a sample "specimen record" are therein reported. This specimen record was obtained by detailed recording of one child's behavior and the settings in which it occurred from the time he awakened in the morning until he was asleep at night. The investigators are somewhat critical of this method. Its obvious disadvantage, of course, is that the presence of an adult observer may considerably alter the psychological environment. However, the method yields detailed and interesting data which have the advantage of being complete and covering successive events over a time span.
In the following three chapters Chapters 9, 10, and 11 , MacLeod, Postman, and Volkmann discuss fundamental psychological processes, viz. From the point of view of psychological analysis, these three chapters probably constitute the core of fundamental functional relationships which are applied in most of the other chapters. The concepts discussed in these three chapters are organically related to the more concrete problems of social psychology presented by Newcomb, Sargent, Hartley, and Sherif.
In Chapter 9, MacLeod presents a systematic treatment of the "place of phenomenological analysis in social psychology. At the very beginning MacLeod stresses the fact that social psychology, the principles it relies on, are part and parcel of psychology in general. Various types of "group mind" theories exemplify this approach in its initial crude form. The second main approach discussed is the instinct-oriented approach as exemplified by the systems of MacDougall and Freud. The Learning-oriented theories represent the third major approach, which maintains that the primary explanatory principles of social psychology are the "laws" of learning.
The fourth and most recent theoretical orientation is represented by the growing attempts "to find in the psychology of perception the basis for an understanding of social behavior and experience. The historical sketch of the phenomenological approach, which had its beginnings long before the appearance of Gestalt psychology, serves to broaden the perspective of the recent enthusiasts of phenomenology who proclaim it to be a new frame of reference in psychology. The rest of the chapter is devoted to the clarification of the phenomenological point of view in psychology, especially through the specific treatment of the central topics of perception, social perception, and ego as illustrative material.
There is "a growing belief that if we are to understand social behavior we must have an understanding of the processes of perception"—"the direct and immediate datum of experience in relation to a concrete world of meaningful objects. The exception MacLeod takes to the fashionable notion of projection is illuminating. It is assumed that perceiving the stimulus objects, especially when they are not well structured, in terms of our desires,. In short, "we do not project the meaning into an object any more than we project the redness or the squareness into it.
The essential point in MacLeod's chapter is, of course, his characterization of the nature of psychological phenomenology. Phenomenology "is not a school or a system, but an approach. A phenomenon is by definition an appearance. It has to use concepts and explanatory principles which are not given in immediate perception or experience. But the main emphasis in the phenomenological approach is the insistence upon starting with immediate, "naive," and as Koffka and others also maintained "unbiased" experience in relation to the objects of a concrete and meaningful world.
As such, phenomenological observation should occur prior to the adoption of explanatory principles or a systematic theory. But phenomenological analysis must be used with discipline on the part of the investigator, if it is to serve us in formulating significant problems. If we let ourselves loose in phenomenological intricacies, we are bound to fall into a "private" world of subjectivisms, exemplified by various philosophical tendencies and certain recent trends in psychotherapy which come to the verge of saying that the world is merely what I have in my perception—my private psychological world.
As MacLeod states, "beyond phenomenology there is always the lure of epistemology and metaphysics. Traditionally, social psychology worked out by socio-culturally oriented writers was artificially posed against the "individual" oriented approach. During the last two decades, serious attempts have been made to work out a unified social psychology, based on experimentally verified generalizations, which embody at the same time the inescapable facts of culture and social organization. So far, the two most note worthy attempts in America in this direction have been in terms 1 of perceptual cognitive conceptualizations and 2 of "learning theory" based primarily on recent elaborations of the conditioning process.
At present, at least, the majority of social psychologists seem to be proceeding along the perceptual cognitive approach. Postman's chapter constitutes a systematic contribution along this line of development Chapter Inasmuch as Postman makes a rather successful attempt. People develop their self-concepts by varied means, including introspection , feedback from others, self-perception , and social comparison. By comparing themselves to relevant others, people gain information about themselves, and they make inferences that are relevant to self-esteem.
Social comparisons can be either "upward" or "downward," that is, comparisons to people who are either higher in status or ability, or lower in status or ability. Self-perception is a specialized form of attribution that involves making inferences about oneself after observing one's own behavior. Psychologists have found that too many extrinsic rewards e. People's attention is directed to the reward and they lose interest in the task when the reward is no longer offered. Social influence is an overarching term given to describe the persuasive effects people have on each other. It is seen as a fundamental value in social psychology and overlaps considerably with research on attitudes and persuasion.
The three main areas of social influence include: conformity , compliance , and obedience. Social influence is also closely related to the study of group dynamics, as most principles of influence are strongest when they take place in social groups. The first major area of social influence is conformity. Conformity is defined as the tendency to act or think like other members of a group. The identity of members within a group, i. Individual variation among group members plays a key role in the dynamic of how willing people will be to conform.
The second major area of social influence research is compliance. Compliance refers to any change in behavior that is due to a request or suggestion from another person. The foot-in-the-door technique is a compliance method in which the persuader requests a small favor and then follows up with requesting a larger favor, e. A related trick is the bait and switch. The third major form of social influence is obedience ; this is a change in behavior that is the result of a direct order or command from another person.
Obedience as a form of compliance was dramatically highlighted by the Milgram study , wherein people were ready to administer shocks to a person in distress on a researcher's command. An unusual kind of social influence is the self-fulfilling prophecy. This is a prediction that, in being made, actually causes itself to become true. For example, in the stock market , if it is widely believed that a crash is imminent, investors may lose confidence, sell most of their stock, and thus actually cause the crash.
Similarly, people may expect hostility in others and actually induce this hostility by their own behavior. Psychologist have spent decades studying the power of social influence, and the way in which it manipulates people's opinions and behavior. Specifically, social influence refers to the way in which individuals change their ideas and actions to meet the demands of a social group, received authority, social role or a minority within a group wielding influence over the majority.
No matter if you are student, teacher, doctor, lawyer or entrepreneur, you will encounter some type of social influence. A group can be defined as two or more individuals that are connected to each another by social relationships. They have a number of emergent qualities that distinguish them from aggregates :. Temporary groups and aggregates share few or none of these features, and do not qualify as true social groups.
People waiting in line to get on a bus, for example, do not constitute a group. Groups are important not only because they offer social support, resources, and a feeling of belonging, but because they supplement an individual's self-concept. To a large extent, humans define themselves by the group memberships which form their social identity.
The shared social identity of individuals within a group influences intergroup behavior , the way in which groups behave towards and perceive each other. These perceptions and behaviors in turn define the social identity of individuals within the interacting groups. The tendency to define oneself by membership in a group may lead to intergroup discrimination, which involves favorable perceptions and behaviors directed towards the in-group, but negative perceptions and behaviors directed towards the out-group.
Groups often moderate and improve decision making , [ citation needed ] and are frequently relied upon for these benefits, such as in committees and juries. A number of group biases, however, can interfere with effective decision making. For example, group polarization, formerly known as the "risky shift," occurs when people polarize their views in a more extreme direction after group discussion.
More problematic is the phenomenon of groupthink. This is a collective thinking defect that is characterized by a premature consensus or an incorrect assumption of consensus, caused by members of a group failing to promote views which are not consistent with the views of other members. Groupthink occurs in a variety of situations, including isolation of a group and the presence of a highly directive leader.
Janis offered the Bay of Pigs Invasion as a historical case of groupthink. Groups also affect performance and productivity. Social facilitation, for example, is a tendency to work harder and faster in the presence of others. Social facilitation increases the dominant response ' s likelihood, which tends to improve performance on simple tasks and reduce it on complex tasks. Social loafing is common when the task is considered unimportant and individual contributions are not easy to see.
Social psychologists study group-related collective phenomena such as the behavior of crowds. An important concept in this area is deindividuation , a reduced state of self-awareness that can be caused by feelings of anonymity.
2. Influence: Science and Practice
Deindividuation is associated with uninhibited and sometimes dangerous behavior. It is common in crowds and mobs, but it can also be caused by a disguise, a uniform, alcohol, dark environments, or online anonymity. A major area in the study of people's relations to each other is interpersonal attraction.
This refers to all forces that lead people to like each other, establish relationships, and in some cases fall in love. Several general principles of attraction have been discovered by social psychologists, but many still continue to experiment and do research to find out more. One of the most important factors in interpersonal attraction is how similar two particular people are. The more similar two people are in general attitudes, backgrounds, environments, worldviews, and other traits, the more probable an attraction is possible. Physical attractiveness is an important element of romantic relationships, particularly in the early stages characterized by high levels of passion.
Later on, similarity and other compatibility factors become more important, and the type of love people experience shifts from passionate to companionate. Robert Sternberg has suggested that there are actually three components of love: intimacy, passion, and commitment. According to social exchange theory , relationships are based on rational choice and cost-benefit analysis.
Muzafer Sherif: "Introduction" to Social Psychology at the Crossroads
If one partner's costs begin to outweigh their benefits, that person may leave the relationship, especially if there are good alternatives available. This theory is similar to the minimax principle proposed by mathematicians and economists despite the fact that human relationships are not zero-sum games.
With time, long term relationships tend to become communal rather than simply based on exchange. Social psychology is an empirical science that attempts to answer questions about human behavior by testing hypotheses, both in the laboratory and in the field. Careful attention to sampling, research design, and statistical analysis is important; results are published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology , Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
Social psychology studies also appear in general science journals such as Psychological Science and Science. Experimental methods involve the researcher altering a variable in the environment and measuring the effect on another variable. An example would be allowing two groups of children to play violent or nonviolent videogames, and then observing their subsequent level of aggression during free-play period. A valid experiment is controlled and uses random assignment. Correlational methods examine the statistical association between two naturally occurring variables.
For example, one could correlate the amount of violent television children watch at home with the number of violent incidents the children participate in at school. Note that this study would not prove that violent TV causes aggression in children: it is quite possible that aggressive children choose to watch more violent TV. Observational methods are purely descriptive and include naturalistic observation , "contrived" observation, participant observation, and archival analysis. These are less common in social psychology but are sometimes used when first investigating a phenomenon.
Principles of Social Psychology
An example would be to unobtrusively observe children on a playground with a videocamera, perhaps and record the number and types of aggressive actions displayed. Whenever possible, social psychologists rely on controlled experimentation. Controlled experiments require the manipulation of one or more independent variables in order to examine the effect on a dependent variable. Experiments are useful in social psychology because they are high in internal validity , meaning that they are free from the influence of confounding or extraneous variables, and so are more likely to accurately indicate a causal relationship.
However, the small samples used in controlled experiments are typically low in external validity , or the degree to which the results can be generalized to the larger population. There is usually a trade-off between experimental control internal validity and being able to generalize to the population external validity. Because it is usually impossible to test everyone, research tends to be conducted on a sample of persons from the wider population.
Social psychologists frequently use survey research when they are interested in results that are high in external validity. Surveys use various forms of random sampling to obtain a sample of respondents that are representative of a population. This type of research is usually descriptive or correlational because there is no experimental control over variables. Some psychologists have raised concerns about social psychological research for relying too heavily on studies conducted on university undergraduates in academic settings,   or participants from crowdsourcing labor markets such as Amazon Mechanical Turk.
Regardless of which method has been chosen to be used, the results are of high importance. Results need to be used to evaluate the hypothesis of the research that is done. These results should either confirm or reject the original hypothesis that was predicted. There are two different types of testing social psychologists use in order to test their results.
False positive conclusions, often resulting from the pressure to publish or the author's own confirmation bias , are a hazard in the field. The Asch conformity experiments demonstrated the power of conformity in small groups with a line length estimation task that was designed to be extremely easy.
Seventy-five percent of the participants conformed at least once during the experiment. Additional manipulations to the experiment showed participant conformity decreased when at least one other individual failed to conform, but increased when the individual began conforming or withdrew from the experiment. Participants with three incorrect opponents made mistakes Muzafer Sherif 's Robbers' Cave Experiment divided boys into two competing groups to explore how much hostility and aggression would emerge. Sherif's explanation of the results became known as realistic group conflict theory, because the intergroup conflict was induced through competition over resources.
In Leon Festinger 's cognitive dissonance experiment, participants were asked to perform a boring task. They were divided into 2 groups and given two different pay scales. They could only overcome that dissonance by justifying their lies by changing their previously unfavorable attitudes about the task. One of the most notable experiments in social psychology was the Milgram experiment , which studied how far people would go to obey an authority figure. Following the events of The Holocaust in World War II, the experiment showed that most normal American citizens were capable of following orders from an authority even when they believed they were causing an innocent person to suffer.
Albert Bandura 's Bobo doll experiment demonstrated how aggression is learned by imitation. In the Stanford prison study , by Philip Zimbardo , a simulated exercise between student prisoners and guards showed how far people would follow an adopted role. In just a few days, the "guards" became brutal and cruel, and the prisoners became miserable and compliant. This was initially argued to be an important demonstration of the power of the immediate social situation and its capacity to overwhelm normal personality traits.
For example, it has been pointed out that participant self-selection may have affected the participants' behaviour,  and that the participants' personality influenced their reactions in a variety of ways, including how long they chose to remain in the study. The goal of social psychology is to understand cognition and behavior as they naturally occur in a social context, but the very act of observing people can influence and alter their behavior. For this reason, many social psychology experiments utilize deception to conceal or distort certain aspects of the study.
Deception may include false cover stories, false participants known as confederates or stooges , false feedback given to the participants, and so on. The practice of deception has been challenged by some psychologists who maintain that deception under any circumstances is unethical, and that other research strategies e. Unfortunately, research has shown that role-playing studies do not produce the same results as deception studies and this has cast doubt on their validity.
To protect the rights and well-being of research participants, and at the same time discover meaningful results and insights into human behavior, virtually all social psychology research must pass an ethical review process. At most colleges and universities, this is conducted by an ethics committee or Institutional Review Board.
This group examines the proposed research to make sure that no harm is likely to be done to the participants, and that the study's benefits outweigh any possible risks or discomforts to people taking part in the study. Furthermore, a process of informed consent is often used to make sure that volunteers know what will happen in the experiment [ clarification needed ] and understand that they are allowed to quit the experiment at any time.
A debriefing is typically done at the experiment's conclusion in order to reveal any deceptions used and generally make sure that the participants are unharmed by the procedures. Social Psychology plays a key role in a child's development.
During this time, teens are faced with many issues and decisions that can impact a teen's social development. They are faced with self esteem issues, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sex, social media and more. Social media is worldwide, so one can be influenced by something they will never encounter in real life. In , social media had become the single most important activity in adolescents and even some older adults lives. Social identity theory — was developed by Henri Tajfel and examines how categorizing people including oneself into ingroups or outgroups affects perceptions, attitudes, and behavior.
Social penetration theory — proposes that, as relationships develop, interpersonal communication moves from relatively shallow, non-intimate levels to deeper, more intimate ones. Socioemotional selectivity theory — posits that as people age and their perceived time left in life decreases, they shift from focusing on information seeking goals to focusing on emotional goals. System justification theory — proposes that people have a motivation to defend and bolster the status quo , in order to continue believing that their social, political, and economic systems are legitimate and just.
Terror management theory — suggests that human mortality causes existential dread and terror, and that much of human behavior exists as a buffer against this dread e. Triangular theory of love — by Sternberg, characterizes love in an interpersonal relationship on three different scales: intimacy, passion, and commitment. Different stages and types of love can be categorized by different combinations of these three elements. A first look at communication theory 6th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill. Categories : Psychology lists Social psychology Psychological theories.
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