Theories in Social Psychology

Theories in Social Psychology

Theories in Social Psychology

Theories in Social Psychology

Synopsis

Theories in Social Psychology is an edited volume that identifies and discusses in-depth the important theoretical perspectives and theories that underlie the discipline of social psychology.
  • The only current book focusing specifically on the theories within social psychology
  • Brings together a range of distinguished scholars in the field of social psychology - including Bertram F. Malle, Paul R. Nail, Richard E. Petty, Thomas Mussweiler, Faye J. Crosby, Miles Hewstone, Richard J. Crisp and Mein Koslowsky
  • Critically discusses important perspectives and theories in the discipline allowing a deeper understanding of the theoretical framework
  • Allows students and academics to reflect on theories and opens up future areas of enquiry

Excerpt

Gordon Allport (1968) defined social psychology as “an attempt to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others.” As limited as definitions are, this definition of social psychology captured the dynamism, focus, and direction of the discipline. Important to an understanding of social psychological behavior is taking into consideration not only what is happening socially to the person but also what is occurring internally and cognitively to the individual which, in turn, affects social behavior. From its genesis rooted in the work of William James’s Principles of Psychology to current development of the discipline, there has always been an emphasis on the individual within the social interaction paradigm. Theorization, therefore, within the discipline has fallen within this paradigm, which is now extended to include the neurological functioning of human beings within the social psychological context.

The early works on social psychology by the psychologist William McDougall (1908) and the sociologist Edward Ross (1908) weighted social behavior on instinctual or social factors, respectively. Later, Floyd Allport (1924) emphasized a behaviorist stimulus–response paradigm for the understanding of social psychological behavior. Theories of psychology and sociology during this early period seem to have been competing to understand a realm that had neither the theorization nor the research sophistication to claim discovery status. Much of the work undertaken in social psychology has been done within the discipline of psychology, with sociological social psychology contributions being relatively sparse. Notably, the discipline of sociology has contributed tremendously to the early development of the concept and theorization of self, especially via theories of symbolic interactionism, phenomenology, and, later, ethnomethodology. On the other hand, psychological social psychology’s contributions have been crucial to the genesis and development of both the pure and applied branches of the discipline.

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