Social Psychology Essay

1905 words - 8 pages

Social psychology is a young science, barely a century old (Myers, 2010). Yet already its scientific explorations have shed light on love and hate, conformity and independence - social behaviors that we encounter each day (Myers, 2010). Social psychology is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another. (Myers, 2010). As we mature in life, our social world molds us as we interact in social thinking, social influences, and social relations. Social psychology had the potential to illuminate our lives, making it visible to the subtle influences that guide our thinking and acting. (Myers, 2010). Social psychology has open many avenues for psychologist of the present to understand how our everyday lives are affected by self-perception, social factor, and culture and gender influence.
Social psychology dates back as late as the 1800s. It wasn't until after World War II that research on social psychology began in earnest (Cherry, 2005). The horrors of the Holocaust led researchers to study the effects of social influence, conformity and obedience (Cherry, 2005). In 1895 Gustave Le Bon presented a systematic theory that the behavior of crowds was based on emotion rather than intellect (Ferguson, 2004). Le Bon recognized that his work revealed great dangers to society and he warned that if the masses were to gain control, human society would

Social Psychology 3
revert to barbarism (Ferguson, 2004). In this sense, Le Bon's work was an incomplete analysis of crowd dynamics, while at the same time it did open new avenues of understanding human behavior (Ferguson, 2004).
Gustave Le Bon incomplete theory of crowd dynamics helped social psychologist Muzafer Sherif with his most famous experiment known as “The Robber's Cave” (Cialdini, R, Kendrick, D., Neuberg, S., 1999). This experiment was on inter-group conflict and co-operation, which established an interdisciplinary “psychological” and “sociological” approach to the testing of a number of hypotheses about inter-group relations (Cialdini, R, Kendrick, D., Neuberg, S., 1999). Kurt Lewin pioneered the use of theory, using experimentation to test hypothesis, which left an everlasting significance on an entire discipline group dynamics and action research (Harvey, OJ., 1989). Lewin's group dynamics has been utilized in such areas as educational facilities, industrial settings, and communities (Harvey, OJ., 1989). With all the different aspects of Lewin's group dynamics, he has opened many avenues for social psychologist in the field today.
Studying the behavior of groups is one of the largest research areas in social psychology (Cherry, 2005). Group dynamics expert Marvin Shaw states that all groups have one thing in common: their members interact (Myers, David G., 2010). Through interaction in group dynamics, social orders and social norms co-exist. Social orders exist only as a product of human activity (Berger, P., Luckmann, T.,...

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