Social psychology is the scientific study of how we feel about, think about, and behave toward the people around us and how our feelings, thoughts, and behaviors are influenced by those people. As this definition suggests, the subject matter of social psychology is very broad and can be found in just about everything that we do every day.
- 1.1: Affect, Behavior, and Cognition
- Social psychology is based on the ABCs of affect, behavior, and cognition. In order to effectively maintain and enhance our own lives through successful interaction with others, we rely on these three basic and interrelated human capacities: Affect (feelings), Behavior (interactions), and Cognition (thought). Human beings rely on the three capacities which work together to help them create successful social interactions.
- 1.2: Conducting Research in Social Psychology
- Social psychologists are not the only people interested in understanding and predicting social behavior or the only people who study it. Social behavior is also considered by religious leaders, philosophers, politicians, novelists, and others, and it is a common topic on TV shows. But the social-psychological approach to understanding social behavior goes beyond the mere observation of human actions.
- 1.3: Chapter Summary
- The science of social psychology began when scientists first started to systematically and formally measure the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of human beings. Social psychology was energized by a number of researchers who came to the United States from Germany during the Second World War. The 1950s and 1960s saw an expansion of social psychology into the field of attitudes and group processes.
- 1.4: Defining Social Psychology- History and Principles
- The field of social psychology is growing rapidly and is having an increasingly important influence on how we think about human behavior. Newspapers, websites, and other media frequently report the findings of social psychologists, and the results of social psychological research are influencing decisions in a wide variety of areas. Let’s begin with a short history of the field of social psychology and then turn to a review of the basic principles of the science of social psychology.