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Social psychology

Social psychology investigates how other people's presence, behaviour, and perceptions affect our thoughts, feelings, actions and behaviours. It examines how social dynamics and interactions affect how people behave and think in diverse social circumstances; how social and cultural influences affect an individual, and how individuals interact, influence, and relate to one another.

Some of the key concepts, issues and debates within social psychology include:

How individuals process, store, and use information about themselves and others. It examines topics, which include social perception, preconceptions, attitudes, and attribution, all of which have an impact on how people interpret and understand social events.

You can watch this 12-minute video about social psychology for more information:


What is Social Psychology? An Introduction

View What is Social Psychology? An Introduction video transcript

Methodologies and applications

Experiments are frequently used in social psychology to study social behaviour in a controlled environment. The goal of social psychologists is to identify general principles and patterns of human behaviour within social situations through experimentation, observation, and statistical analysis.

Social psychology research has a wide range of applications in numerous industries. For instance, understanding how people are influenced by social circumstances might inform advertising and marketing initiatives. Social psychology contributes to the development of effective classrooms and group activities in the field of education. It also contributes to resolving disputes, fostering relationships between groups, and understanding societal problems involving race, gender, and culture (Hewstone & Stroebe, 2020).

Suggested Wider Reading

If you would like to learn more about social psychology, you can read the following text that is available through your online reading list: