Social Psychology

What is Social Psychology?

Social Psychology is the scientific study of how people are influenced by others. The study focuses on how our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors manifest in this process of influence.

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Social Psychology Real Time

It is my belief that we, "are influenced by real, imagined, or inferred behavior or characteristics of other people," (Morris & Maisto, Pg 457) at birth. We go through various stages of socialization from adolescence through adulthood. The information on how to act, and develop though processes are greatly influenced by our families and cultures.

I've heard many times that negatives, like prejudice, racism, and stereotyping are learned traits. No one is born with hatred or an understanding of flaws. Every person is the same in the eyes of a child. A personal example of the effects socialization may have on an individual comes from an experience I had at a leadership camp.

I've always been a very outgoing person; always intrigued with the idea of meeting new people, learning from those people, and using what I've ;earned to be the best person for myself and others. Within the camp, there were a set of twin girls. The girls, Caucasian, never congregated with the rest of the campers. There wee a mixture of races at the facility so I just thought the girls were just shy. One day I approached them girls and asked why they never came to any functions outside of what was mandatory. One twin seemed genuinely scared that I had approached them. The other very calmly explained their parents told them to stay away from black people and anyone who associated with black people. She said that they told her that black people could not be trusted, would rob, steal and cause them physical harm if ever given the chance. She also explained that other than what they saw on the news and movies. They had never met or seen a black person face to face.

I was mortified! There was no malice behind the explanation. I had never heard anyone speak so freely in person. Never had I had the opportunity to recognize pure ignorance. They're ideals were taught by their parents (socialization) and caused them to make a decision not based on any personal experiences (stereotyping). The twins, though they did come around after i attempted to soothe their apprehension toward the group, still had obvious reservations of our presence. Unfortunately, at the time, their knowledge and understanding of the world around them (social cognition) had been severely tainted. Their teachings wouldn't allow them to see otherwise. it is these types of learned behaviors that help to create the inaccuracies in schemata built in negative first impressions.

Take a look at the video below for more insight on Social Psychology......

Prejudice & Discrimination: Crash Course Psychology #39
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References (Picture) (Video) (Comic)

Maisto, A. & Morris, C. (2014). Understand Psychology (TENTH Ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.