Encyclopedia of the History of Psychological Theories

2012 Edition
| Editors: Robert W. Rieber

Social Psychology

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0463-8_299

Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others (Allport 1998). By this definition, scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation. The terms thoughts, feelings, and behaviors include all of the psychological variables that are measurable in a human being. The statement that others may be imagined or implied suggests that we are prone to social influence even when no other people are present, such as when watching television, or following internalized cultural norms.

Social psychology is an empirical science that attempts to answer a variety of questions about human behavior by testing hypotheses, both in the laboratory and in the field. Such approach to the field focuses on the individual, and attempts to explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by other people.

A relatively recent field, social psychologyhas nonetheless...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Social Science DepartmentBorough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA