Assumptions of Social Psychology

Assumptions of Social Psychology

Assumptions of Social Psychology

Assumptions of Social Psychology

Excerpt

Theories of psychology, like all others, are designed to provide what we may call an explanatory context from which specific data may be predicted. Social psychology in particular is concerned with providing this explanatory context for forms of activity that result from the interaction among human beings. An occasion of interaction involves two or more individuals who share a set of experiences; that is, they respond in a similar manner to similar stimuli provided by one another. Since the stimuli are almost invariably of a symbolic nature, this interaction is generally referred to as communication. In American psychology the term "social behavior" is quite often used to denote any form of response two or more people make to stimulation provided by one another. In this book, because certain distinctions are made between traditional behaviorism and other theoretical positions, we shall utilize "social activity" to denote these forms of social responses and save "social behavior" as a label for that type of "social activity" described by social psychological theories deriving specifically from behaviorism. A social psychological theory may have as its fundamental unit of study either a portion of activity gleaned directly from the shared experience or the activity to which this shared experience may be reduced.

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