“Social psychology is a discipline that attempts to understand and explain how the thought, feeling and behaviour of an individual are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others.” Gordon W. Allport (1968)
Baron, Byrne and Suls (1989) define social psychology as the scientific field that seeks to understand the nature and causes of individual behavior in social situations.
Scope of Social Psychology
Social psychology tries to understand the relationship between minds, groups, and behaviors in three general ways:
1) First, it tries to understand how the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other(s).
This includes social perception, social interaction, and the many kinds of social influence (like trust, power, and persuasion).
It deals with questions like: How do small group dynamics impact cognition and emotional states?
How do social groups control or contribute to behaviour, emotion, or attitudes of the individual members?
How does the group impact the individual?
How does the individual operate within the social group?
It tries to understand the influence that individual perceptions and behaviours have upon the behaviour of groups. How does persuasion work to change group behaviour, emotion or attitudes?
2) Second, it tries to understand the influence of individual perceptions and behaviours have upon the behaviour of groups. This includes looking at things like group productivity in the workplace and group decision making.
It looks at questions like: What are the reasons behind conformity, diversity, and deviance?
3) Third, and finally, social psychology tries to understand groups themselves as behavioural entities and the relationships and influences that one group has upon another group.
It enquires questions like: What makes some groups hostile to one another, and others neutral or civil?
Do groups behave in a different way than an individual outside the group?
Note– All the syllabus come under social psychology is the scope of social psychology.
Basically we need to just see the content page of any book and that is the scope of social psychology.
- IGNOU notes
- Baron, R. A. and Byrne, D. (1997). Social Psychology, 8th edition. Boston,
MA: Allyn and Bacon.
- Myers, D. G. (2010) Social Psychology (10th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.