Social psychology is scientific discipline that seeks to understand and explain how individuals’ thoughts and feelings influence the way they imagine and relate to each other. Hence, the discipline scientifically scrutinizes psychological aspects that are measurable and observable in human beings (Brown, 2006). It is certain that social psychology deals with basic aspects of social life such as behavioral patterns, perception, leadership and prejudice.
Moreover, the discipline addresses other social issues like conformity, aggression and nonverbal traits that influence our social interaction. Needless to say, these aspects are vital for social psychologists in understanding social behavior. Psychologists assert that the discipline relies heavily on perception and social interactions to understand behavior (Brown, 2006).
Meanwhile, social psychology is an old discipline that was introduced early 18th century. Significant studies have been conducted to research on this branch of psychology prior to holocaust that was experienced after WW II. Researchers gained interest to study the effects of social influence and how it affects individual feeling thought and behavior.
It is worth noting that social psychology differsfrom other disciplines like sociology and personal psychology. Factually, the discipline empirically study social phenomena in social environment. Contrastingly, sociology study social institutions that influence behavior (Cherry, 2011). In addition, personality psychology focuses on personal behavior traits, thoughts and perception.
Key characteristics of social psychology as outlined in Social Beings
There are quite a number of social psychology characteristics that have been studied in human beings. Such characteristics play integral role in social platform. To start with, social psychology is broad in scope covering several aspects of how social influence affects behavior. Similarly, human beings have variety of social aspects that can be categorized and studied independently. In this case, the discipline has to be split into subtopics of study such as perception, prejudice and behavior (Brown, 2006).
Moreover, social psychology is culturally oriented and therefore tends to evolve as social-cultural aspects of human beings change. As a matter of fact, social beings have cultural values that influence their perception thoughts and feelings. With time, they evolve into new dimensions of culture. Social psychology has to be compatible in studying how new norms are likely to influence peoples’ behavior. Needless to say, culture influences peoples’ lifestyles such as dressing, diet, popular beliefs and perception (Brown, 2006).
Additionally, social psychology employs scientific methods that are integral in studying social beings. Social beings have both observable and unseen aspects that result from social influences. Such aspects are scientific. Therefore, they should be studied empirically. Psychologists need to obtain knowledgeable conclusions from their research.
It is against this backdrop that they have to apply science in formulating theories and follow relevant procedures (Brown, 2006). Moreover, they need to test their hypothesis and adhere to scientific standards and techniques as well. Therefore, social psychology scientifically study and explain social issues that deliberate on issues affecting human beings.
Finally, this discipline seeks wisdom in order to understand social phenomena. Social being make constant effort to advance their wisdom hence improves their conditions. In the process, social problems may arise. For instance, as people think as a group, change of perception, altitude and behavior might offend other beings.
Hence, social psychologists must seek wisdom and knowledge to solve practical problems related to social phenomena. It is pertinent to note that quest for wisdom offers science a platform for psychologists to apply theoretical knowledge while studying individual lives.
The concept of situationism and the role that it plays in social psychology
Situationism is a model of understanding human thoughts, perceptions, feelings and behavior. Psychologically, it is an approach toward individual personality that states that, peoples’ behaviors are influenced by external factors that are situational. Psychologists hold a common perception that individual behavior is to a large extent, influenced by situational context. Remarkably, social situations dramatically influence people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior.
For as much as social behavior is derived from interaction with other people, it has a common goal. In this case, individuals seek social ties, belongingness and trust. To emphasize on this, individual situations determines the outcomes on how their social behavior. However, psychologists are still researching on whether situationism discredits individual ethical virtues (Cherry, 2011).
Philosophers warn that the application of situationism in social psychology might be weighty and pervasive. In this regard, people might tend to use situations to strengthen or support certain unethical behaviors. Critics suggest that, people are likely to key their immoral behavior with situations.
However, situationism has a significant role that it plays in social psychology. Actually, psychologists apply it to solve conflicts related to situations. Moreover, situationists of social psychology are able to predict, influence and understand peoples’ behavior. Through situationism, psychologists are able to explain why people behave in a certain way in various time spans (Cherry, 2011).
Situationists in social psychology also comprehend that individual situations shape their character traits, perception, altitude and opinions (Cherry, 2011). However, there is a colossal controversy over whether individual behavior is influenced by character or situations.
Meanwhile, psychologists insist that, situations are quite powerful in influencing people behavior than character (Cherry, 2011). On studying situations of human beings psychologists are able to understand how people form certain stereotypes like racism, tribalism and sexism. Moreover, they are able to explain how certain individuals appear different from others in the social phenomena (Cherry, 2011). Furthermore, they are capable of addressing social problems affecting people.
Identify the five core social motives and explain how they affect the field of social psychology
Factually, belongingness is one of the social motives in human beings. Individuals link up with other people in the society to gain comfort and trust. This motive influence how people behave, feel or perceive things and most likely when they act as a group. In line with this, understanding is a motive that people develop to overcome feelings of shame and doubt (Fiske, 2010). In social psychology, this motive affects the social relationships of human beings in the society.
Moreover, human beings have a motive of controlling the environment around them. They emerge competitive and dominance hence social psychologists tend to understand such phenomenon. Additionally, self enhancement is a social motive that makes people feel worthy in the social institutions. Psychologists assert that, human beings seek self esteem in order to feel good. Finally, individuals need trust from their close colleagues in order to enhance their personal identity.
In summing up, it is vital to note that social motives influence individuals’ performance in life. Indeed, psychologists apply theses motives in delivering judgment as well as predicting and influencing behavior. Changing patterns of social motives have also been found to affect perspectives of psychologists. As a result, they apply different dimensions to evaluate such motives alongside their outcomes. Besides, their applications in social institutions affect how psychologists interpret behavior.
Brown, C. (2006). Sociology Psychology. New Delhi: SAGE Publication, Inc.
Cherry, K. (2011). Introduction to Social Psychology: Basic Concepts in Social Psychology. Web.
Fiske, S. (2010). Social beings: core motives in social psychology. Danvers: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.