Introduction To Social Psychology
As humans, there are things we do when we are alone or in private that we can never do in public or where anyone else would see us. This is because the presence of other people matters in how we live our life. It is a common thing for you to know that other people do have an impressive influence on the way you act and the choices you make. Consider how you normally behave in a situation if you were all alone versus if there were other people around. The decisions you make and the behaviors you exhibit might depend on not only how many people were present but exactly the kind of people that are around. For example, the way you will behave when you are with your close friends will definitely be different with how you will act in a place with unfamiliar people around you. With your friends you can talk the way you like and make some casual remarks but when you find yourself in a place such as banking hall, you try as much as possible to comport yourself, talk less and pretend that all is fine.
Social psychology is a branch of psychology concerned with how social phenomena influence us and how people interact with others. The way we perceive ourselves in relation to the rest of the world plays an important role in our choices, behaviors, and beliefs. On the other hand, the opinions of others also impact our behavior and the way we view ourselves. Similarly when we are alone we are often influenced by what other people might think of us or would like us to do or would like us not to do. Consider that moment when you choose to put on a particular shoe to match your dressing or the moment some ladies will spend about half an hour making up, this situations are not merely because one wants to look good but it is mostly influenced by what other people will comment about their looks when they meet them later. Thus even when one is alone he may be affected by the psychological presence of others.
The field of social psychology is concerned with how the behavior and presence of other people in the society influence how we think, feel and behave and how our own thoughts, emotion, attitudes and actions affect other people. It explores how people think about themselves and others, in a moment we become friends, we help and care for each other but in a little while we become so unfriendly and aggressive.
The field of social psychology examines how people influence one another, and it looks at the power of the situation. Social psychologists assert that an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are very much influenced by social situations. Essentially, people will change their behavior to align with the social situation at hand. Whenever you find yourself in a new environment or situation and you are not sure how to behave, you will observe other people’s behavior and take your cues from them. The fundamental principle of social psychology is that, although we may not always be aware of it, our cognitions, emotions, and behaviors are substantially influenced by the social situation, or the people with whom we are interacting with. Social psychologists deal with issues that can have a significant impact on individual health and well-being, from understanding why people fail to help each other to analyzing why somebody will put on bomb vest to kill others in the name of terrorism.
Social psychology is defined as disciplines that apply scientific methods in understanding and explaining how the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of other people. In other words, Social psychology, just like the general psychology relies on scientific method. They develop hypotheses in explaining human behavior and test these hypotheses empirically through experiments and observation.
Social psychology is interested on the role of the actual, imagined or implied presence of other persons play in how we think, feel and act in the social environment. Actual presence of other people refers to physical presence of other people, whether they are close by or far away but you can see or hear them or actually interacting with them. How the real presence of people affects how you think, feel or behave is what social psychologists termed actual presence of others, such as when you need help but can’t say it because of the presence of unfamiliar people or that moment you don’t care to make up because you are in the midst of close friends.
Imagined presence of others is when a person’s imagination of the presence of people influence how the person behaves, for instance, some people cannot urinate along the road because they imagine that people must be watching even when no one is around.
Social behaviors can be implied such as when we carry our parental prescription about appropriate behavior with us as we interact with other people, there are social norms that have emerged through socialization that determines behavior even in the absence of other people. For instance, whether people are around or not, you will pray before you eat. In essence, social psychology is all about understanding how each person’s behavior is influenced by the social environment in which that behavior takes place.
The field of social psychology does not just study how the social environment influences us. They also look at how social perception and social interaction help us to understand social behavior. That is, the way we see other people and the way we think other people see us can play a powerful role in a wide variety of actions and decisions. Imaging how you sometimes act in the class with your mates than you might if you were in the church. In the class you might be loud and casual but in the church you tend to be calm and gentle.