Social Psychology (9 Theories, facts &Books)

In this brief guide, Social psychology will be discussed in detail along with the historical background and research methodologies. 

Social psychology is the study of how people in the sense of society behave, think and feel.

This guide covers more about Social psychology, what it has in common with the field of sociology, historical background, and research methodologies.

What is Social psychology

Social psychology is the scientific study of how the actual, imagined or implied presence of others influences people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours.

Scientific refers to the empirical method of investigation, by this definition.

All mental factors measured in a human being are included in the terms of emotions, perceptions, and actions.

The argument that others can be interpreted or imagined implies that even when no other people are around, such as watching television or observing internalized cultural norms, we remain susceptible to social influence.

Social psychology is an empirical science that by testing hypotheses, both in the laboratory and in the field, attempts to answer a variety of questions related to human behaviour.

This kind of approach to the field focuses on the person and attempts to explain how other people influence the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of an individual. According to the Role theory, social roles are defined by the role you play within the society.

A relatively recent discipline, Social psychology has had a significant impact not only on the scholarly realms of psychology, sociology, and social sciences in general but also on public understanding and perceptions of human social behaviour.

Significant progress has been made in understanding human behaviour by observing how people behave under extreme social conditions or lack thereof. Social psychology, through experiments have been able to find confirmation bias in people.

Human beings are inherently social beings and, thus, social interaction is crucial to each person’s mental as well as physical health, as proposed by the Social Exchange Theory.

By investigating the factors affecting social life and how social interactions affect the mental health and psychological development of an individual, a greater understanding emerges of how humanity as a whole can live in harmony.

Social psychology explains the affects of society on an individual. Whereas, sociocultural psychology, another branch of psychology explains the cultural and social factors influencing an individual’s behavior, emotions and feelings.

Social psychology is a field of psychology that studies individuals ‘ mental, affective, and behavioural mechanisms as shaped and affected by group membership and relationships, as well as other factors that influence social life, such as social status, position, and social class.

Social psychology explores the impact of social contact on the formation of behaviours, perceptions, group dynamics, prejudices, conformity, social cognition and control, self-concept, cognitive dissonance, and human relationships. motivation, emotional awareness, and interests.

Many social psychologists are sociologists.

Social psychology also explains the idea of Ingratiation and how people are affected by it.

Their work focuses more on the group’s behaviour and thus examines phenomena such as micro-level interactions and social exchanges, group dynamics, and macro-level crowd psychology.

Sociologists are interested in the person, but mainly in social structures and processes involving social roles, socialization, race, and class.

They prefer to use experimental methods that are both qualitative and quantitative.

A number of demographic, economic, and cultural patterns are of interest to sociologists in this field.

Social inequality, social identity, group dynamics, socialization, social change, and symbolic interactionism are some of their major research domains.

Social psychology combines psychology’s curiosity, with a focus on the individual, with sociology, with a focus on social structures.

Social psychologists are trained with the subject of psychology as well.

Their work appears to be strongly quantitative and is often based on studies in the round lab experiments.

Psychologically focused studies emphasize the immediate social situation and the complex relationship between individuals and the environment.

Themes such as behaviours, social cognition, cognitive dissonance, social influence, and social behaviour are of concern to psychologists studying social psychology.

The Journal of Experimental Social psychology and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology are two influential journals for the publication of research in this area.

A questionnaire is used to measure an individuals personal values, the PVQ. It helps to see how much a person believes in from what he learns by the society’s value systems.

A term used in psychology to describe the manipulative behavior of people is Triangulation. It shows the link between society and psychology (how one manipulates the other for their own purpose, using social factors to target one’s physique).

History of social psychology

The discipline of social psychology began at the dawn of the 20th century in the United States.

The first published study in this field was an experiment on the theory of social facilitation by Norman Triplett (1898).

Several Gestalt psychologists, particularly Kurt Lewin, escaped from the National Socialist German Workers’ Party Germany to the United States during the 1930s.

Both played an important role in shaping the discipline as something different from the clinical and psychoanalytic schools that dominated during that period, and social psychology has always retained the legacy of their cognition and perception.

The most widely researched subjects in this period were attitudes and a number of small group phenomena.

Social psychologists researched deception and manipulation against the U.S. military during World War II.

Scientists became involved in a variety of social problems after the war, including issues of gender and racial prejudice.

A variety of new topics such as bystander intervention, cognitive dissonance, and violence became increasingly important in the 1960s.

However, social psychology had reached a crisis in America by the 1970s.

There has been a heated discussion about the morality of experimental research, whether or not attitudes and beliefs really influenced behaviour, and how much study could be performed in a cultural context (Gergen 1973).

There was extensive collaboration between sociologists and psychologists during the years immediately after World War II (Sewell 1989).

Over recent years, though, the two sciences have become highly focused and separated, with sociologists relying much more on macro variables, such as social structure.

Nonetheless, sociological approaches to social psychology in this field remain an important complement to psychological research.

During the 1980s and 1990s, social psychology evolved in both theory and method.

Work is now governed by strict ethical standards, and more pluralism and diverse views have arisen.

Modern researchers are interested in a variety of phenomena, but perhaps the biggest areas of growth are attribution, social cognition, and self-concept.

Social psychologists have retained their specific interests, relating to health and environmental psychology, as well as the legal system’s psychology.

Social psychology is researching how human beings are influenced by social conditions.

Scholars in this area are typically either psychologists or sociologists, although all social psychologists use the individual as well as the group as their conceptual units.

The fields tend to differ, despite their similarities, in their respective aims, strategies, processes, and terminology.

They also favour separate academic and professional journals.

Social Psychology Experiments

Experimentation in its simplest form is a method of determining the presence or absence of a causal relationship between two variables by controlling one variable, called the independent variable, consistently and measuring its influence on another variable, called the dependent variable. These two variables are operationalized

Some scholars questioned the usefulness of experimentation, noting that sometimes the experiments designed by researchers do not resemble the circumstances that people encounter in their daily lives.

Nevertheless, experimentation is the only form of study that enables the presence of a causal relationship between two or more variables to be clearly identified.

When a study or research results are effected by cohorts, the effect is called Cohort Effect in psychology. Hence, researchers make sure they don’t contaminate their results in any way, to maintain validity of the results.

Social Psychology Research Methods

As a result of mental state experience and immediate social circumstances, social psychologists usually explain human behaviour.

Heuristic behaviour can be seen in Kurt Lewin’s (1951) as a function of the individual and the environment, B= f(P, E). 

Experimental methods involve changing a variable in the environment by the researcher and measuring the effect on another variable.

An example would be to enable two groups of children to play violent or nonviolent videogames and then track their corresponding level of aggression during the time of free play.

A valid experiment is examined and a random selection is used.

Following are the research methods used by social psychologists:

Co-relational methods investigate the statistical relationship between two variables that occurs naturally.

For instance, one could correlate kids watching the amount of violent television at home with the number of violent incidents in which the kids attend school.

Note that this study would not prove that child aggression is caused by violent television.

It is quite likely that more violent TV programs can be watched by abusive children.

Observational methods: These techniques of study are purely descriptive and include naturalistic observation, mechanical evaluation, observation of subjects, and review of records.

These are less common in social psychology but are sometimes used to investigate a phenomenon for the first time.

An example would be to track children unobtrusively on a playground, maybe with a video camera, and monitor the number and forms of aggressive actions shown.

Controlled Experiments: Social psychologists depend, whenever possible, on controlled experiments.

Controlled experiments allow one or more independent variables to be modified to evaluate its effect on a dependent variable.

Experiments are useful in social psychology because they are high in internal validity, which means that they are free from the influence of extraneous and/or confounding variables, and thus are more likely to indicate a causal relationship accurately.

The small samples used in controlled experiments, however, are typically low in empirical validation, or the degree to which the effects can be applied to the larger population.

Survey Method: Since screening is usually impossible for everyone, work needs to be carried out on a group of people from the wider population.

Social psychologists often use survey research when they are concerned with the outcomes of good external validation.

Surveys use different forms of random sampling to obtain a sample of respondents representing a population.

Usually, this type of research is descriptive or co-relational because there is no control over the experimental variables.

Nevertheless, in this type of data, new statistical methods are being used, such as structural equation modelling, to assess possible causal relationships.

It is important to evaluate the research hypothesis in the light of the results regardless of which method is used, either confirming or rejecting the original prediction.

Social psychologists use statistics and probability testing to judge their results, which defines a substantial finding as less than 5% likely to be due to chance.

Replications are necessary if the finding is to be accurate and not due to chance or some attribute of a particular test.


Social psychology’s goal is to understand the thoughts and actions when they occur naturally in a social context, but the very act of observing individuals will affect and change their behaviour.

For this reason, most studies in social psychology use manipulation to conceal or misrepresent other elements of the research.

Deception can include:

  • Cover stories that are fake
  • False participants known as confederates or stooges
  • False reviews provided to participants, etc.

Many psychologists who believe that deceit is unethical under any situation and that other testing methods, such as role-playing, should be used instead of using strategies that use deception.

Unfortunately, research has demonstrated that studies of role-playing do not produce the same results as studies of deception, and that has cast some doubt on their validity.

In contrast to manipulation, experimenters have sometimes put people in potentially uncomfortable or compromising positions, for example, experiments with Milgram’s Obedience to Authority, Zimbardo’s experiment with Stanford Prison, but this has also been questioned for ethical reasons.

In order to protect the interests and well-being of experimental subjects while at the same time finding meaningful results and observations about human behaviour, nearly all social psychology work has to go through an ethical review process.

This is carried out by an ethics committee or administrative review board at most colleges and universities.

  • The committee reviews the experimental research to ensure that there is no harm done to the researchers
  • The study’s benefits outweigh the potential risks or discomforts to the participants in the study.
  • An informed consent process is often used to ensure that volunteers are aware of what is going to happen in the experiment and understand that, at any time, they can quit the experiment
  • Typically, a debriefing is done at the end of the experiment to reveal any deceptions used and generally to ensure that the procedures do not harm the participants

Many social psychology research today entails no more damage risk than can be expected from regular psychological testing or usual day-to-day behaviours.

7 Social Psychology Theories

Social psychology is a very diverse field of psychology hence a lot of empirical evidence has been collected on social psychology.

These researches led to the development of a number of theories based on social psychology.

The following are some of the most common theories of social psychology: 

Cognitive dissonance theory: Cognitive dissonance theory is based on how the difference in an individual’s true self and ideal self can affect his feelings and behaviors.

Cognitive dissonance is defined as stress caused due to working, behaving, or feeling against the beliefs, ideas, and values of oneself.

Cognitive dissonance theory was based on cognitive consistency but now it is associated more with the self-concept theory. 

Self-perception theory: Self-perception theory, as the name implies, is a theory that accentuates that people perceive themselves in the same way that they observe others, and form opinions on the basis of their likes and dislikes.

People judge others by considering how they themselves would react to a particular situation and imposing the same reaction on the other people.

Thus, extrinsic self-perception can lead to overjustification. 

Social comparison theory: According to social comparison theory, people compare themselves with others to gain information about themselves, acknowledge their worth, and identify their rank in their social circle.

In simple words, people compare themselves with others to evaluate themselves. 

Social learning theory: According to social learning theory, an individual can learn certain behaviors by observing or imitating others, without any form of reinforcement or punishment. 

Attachment theory: Attachment theory emphasizes that the kind of attachment formed between young children and their guardians, influence the development process of those children.

Hence to ensure the sound social and emotional development of the children, it is very important to form secure attachments with them in their early years.

There are 4 attachment styles including secure, avoidant, anxious, and disorganized.

Broaden and build theory: Broaden and build theory emphasizes that positive emotions increase an individual’s awareness about self and the surroundings, and promote his exploratory thinking and actions.

Drive theory: According to drive theory, stress caused by the unfulfilled needs of individuals motivate them to engage in certain behaviours in order to reduce that stress.

This theory is mostly used for explaining behaviour that is related to primary needs of individuals such as those related to hunger and thirst. 

13 Social Psychology Books

  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew D. Lieberman, Mike Chamberlain, et al.
  • Social Psychology (9th Edition) by Elliot Aronson, Timothy D. Wilson, et al. | Jul 10, 2015
  • The Social Animal Eleventh Edition by Elliot Aronson
  • Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive Paperback – December 29, 2009 by Noah J. Goldstein Ph.D. (Author), Steve J. Martin  (Author), Robert Cialdini Ph.D. (Author)
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard Hardcover – February 16, 2010 by Chip Heath  (Author), Dan Heath  (Author)
  • The Art of Choosing Paperback – January 1, 1994 by Sheena Iyengar  (Author)
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us Paperback – April 5, 2011 by Daniel H. Pink  (Author)
  • Not Born Yesterday: The Science of Who We Trust and What We Believe Hardcover – January 28, 2020 by Hugo Mercier  (Author)
  • Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know Hardcover – September 10, 2019 by Malcolm Gladwell  (Author)
  • Social Psychology: Exploring the Dynamics of Human Experience 1st Edition by Robin R. Vallacher (Author)
  • Powerarchy: Understanding the psychology of Oppression for Social Transformation Hardcover – September 3, 2019 by Melanie Joy PhD (Author)
  • Instagods: How to Decode the Secret psychology of Social Media Paperback – June 26, 2019 by Sonny Arvado  (Author)
  • The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World Hardcover – June 4, 2019 by Jamil Zaki  (Author)

9 Social Psychology facts

Bystander effect: When a large number of people are present at the place of accident, there are fewer chances that anyone will step forward to help.

This is because people will think that the other person will move in to help so they do not need to step forward for help.

This is referred to as the bystander effect. 

Obeying authority: Proven by the study of Stanley and Milgram, people would cross any limits to obey their authorities. 

Conformity: People tend to go with their groups even if they know that their group is saying or doing something wrong.

This is referred to as conformity. Solomon Asch’s experiment on conformity proves this statement true. 

Attitude influences social behavior: The way an individual evaluates people, situations, things or objects, implicitly or explicitly, affects his social behavior. 

Blaming for failure: We blame outside forces for our failures while in the case of other people, we blame people for their misfortune. 

The intellectual ability makes an individual more intelligent: The intellectual ability is referred to as the ability of an individual to consider his beliefs may be wrong and listen to other people’s arguments carefully without judging that person.

It is found that this ability makes an individual more intelligent. 

People look like their names: A study found that it is true that the names of people match their faces.

The study also showed that cultural factors help in recognizing names according to the faces of people.

Such as the French people were more accurate in identifying the names of French people while Israeli people were more precise while identifying the names of Israeli people.

Older mothers make better parents: A study performed by Aarhus BSS revealed that older mothers punish and scold their children very less as compared to young mothers.

As a result of this, their children face less emotional and social issues.

There are many other reasons that prove that older mothers make better parents. 

Lack of sleep makes it difficult to read the faces of people: A study conducted through the University of Arizona revealed that sleep-deprived people find it difficult to read the faces or emotions of males.

Another interesting thing unveiled was this that even sleep-deprived people are able to recognize when someone is about to hurt them.

73 Social psychology Quotes

  1. “If you put good apples into a bad situation, you’ll get bad apples.” Philip G. Zimbardo
  2. “The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.” Philip Zimbardo
  3. “Human behavior is incredibly pliable, plastic.” Philip Zimbardo
  4. “Time perspective is one of the most powerful influences on all of human behavior. We’re trying to show how people become biased to being exclusively past-, present- or future-oriented.” Philip Zimbardo
  5. “Each individual possesses a conscience which to a greater or lesser degree serves to restrain the unimpeded flow of impulses destructive to others. But when he merges his person into an organizational structure, a new creature replaces autonomous man, unhindered by the limitations of individual morality, freed of humane inhibition, mindful only of the sanctions of authority.” Stanley Milgram
  6. “One can’t live mindfully without being enmeshed in psychological processes that are around us.” Philip Zimbardo
  7. “Psychology has left humanity with the saddest of all creation myths and the means to mask their pain through drugs and normalized exploitation of others. Perhaps we could try again.” Heather Marsh, The Creation of Me, Them and Us
  8. “Psychologists and philosophers created a world where anxiety, fear and struggle are the norm, where happiness and peace are impossible to attain or available only to the most adept after long torment, and where existence is, above all, futile.” Heather Marsh, The Creation of Me, Them and Us
  9. “When enough people possess the same belief, that belief automatically turns into an irrefutable truth in the eyes of the people, even if that belief happens to be the most atrocious lie of all times.” Abhijit Naskar, Every Generation Needs Caretakers: The Gospel of Patriotism
  10. “Guilt is an acknowledgment of debt for unbalanced transactions.” Heather Marsh, The Creation of Me, Them and Us
  11. “The acceptance of guilt and debt is the mark of a negative image and the wait for atonement is the mark of a reflector.” Heather Marsh, The Creation of Me, Them and Us
  12. “It’s a shallow society and adjusting to it leads to a characterless life.” Abhijit Naskar, Aşkanjali: The Sufi Sermon
  13. “To awake or not to awake – that is the question.” Abhijit Naskar, Mad About Humans: World Maker’s Almanac
  14. “Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member.” George H. Mead
  15. “Social psychology has, as a rule, dealt with various phases of social experience from the psychological standpoint of individual experience.” George H. Mead
  16. “Any psychology of sign systems will be part of social psychology – that is to say, will be exclusively social; it will involve the same psychology as is applicable in the case of languages.” Ferdinand de Saussure
  17. “Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change.” Harriet Lerner
  18. “The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.” Philip Zimbardo
  19. “There is nothing so practical as a good theory.”
  20. “If you want truly to understand something, try to change it.” From “Problems of Theoretical psychology””
  21. “Experience alone does not create knowledge.”
  22. “The chief methodological approach would be that of developing actual group experiments of change, to be carried on in the laboratory or in the field.” From The Practical Theorist: The Life and Work of Kurt Lewin
  23. “Social action, just like physical action, is steered by perception.”  From Resolving Social Conflicts, 1948
  24. “The American cultural ideal of the self-made man, of everyone standing on his own feet, is as tragic a picture as the initiative-destroying dependence on a benevolent despot. We all need each other. This type of interdependence is the greatest challenge to the maturity of individual and group functioning.”  From The Practical Theorist: The Life and Work of Kurt Lewin
  25. “A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last achievement. In this way, he steadily raises his level of aspiration.”  From Resolving Social Conflicts, 1948
  26. “Learning is more effective when it is an active rather than a passive process.”  From Field Theory in Social Science, 1951
  27. “Intentional action is not the prototype of will-action. It occurs in all forms of transition, from controlled action to uncontrolled, drive-like, field-action. …Accordingly, the majority of controlled (will) actions are not preceded by an act of intending. Intentional actions are relatively rare. They are prepared actions, where the act of intending, which is as a rule controlled, prepares an uncontrolled field-action.”  From The Complete Social Scientist: A Kurt Lewin Reader
  28. “Fortunately I experienced Max Wertheimer’s teaching in Berlin and collaborated for over a decade with Wolfgang Köhler. I need not emphasize my debts to these outstanding personalities. The fundamental ideas of Gestalt theory are the foundation of all our investigations in the field of the will, of affection, and of the personality.”  From A Dynamic Theory of Personality, 1935
  29. “Any psychology of sign systems will be part of social psychology – that is to say, will be exclusively social; it will involve the same psychology as is applicable in the case of languages”. Ferdinand de Saussure
  30. “Before I became a film major, I was very heavily into social science, I had done a lot of sociology, anthropology, and I was playing in what I call social psychology, which is sort of an offshoot of anthropology/sociology – looking at a culture as a living organism, why it does what it does.” George Lucas
  31. “No very sharp line can be drawn between social psychology and individual psychology.” George H. Mead
  32. “One of the embarrassing facts from social psychology is that most stereotypes are true, in the only sense that stereotypes are ever true: on average.” J. Michael Bailey
  33. “You got to have the instinct. If you do not have it, forget about basketball and go into social psychology or something. If you sometimes wonder if you’ve got it, you ain’t got it. No pussycats, please.” Bill Russell
  34. “Human behavior is incredibly pliable, plastic.” Philip Zimbardo
  35. “Being hurt personally triggered a curiosity about how such beliefs are formed.” Philip Zimbardo
  36. “Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change.” Harriet Lerner
  37. “Situational variables can exert powerful influences over human behavior, more so that we recognize or acknowledge.” Philip Zimbardo
  38. “Social psychology has, as a rule, dealt with various phases of social experience from the psychological standpoint of individual experience.” George H. Mead
  39. “The line between good and evil is permeable and almost anyone can be induced to cross it when pressured by situational forces.” Philip Zimbardo
  40. “Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member.” George H. Mead
  41. “The level of shyness has gone up dramatically in the last decade. I think shyness is an index of social pathology rather than a pathology of the individual.” Philip Zimbardo
  42. “Social psychology has found the more you reward people for doing something, the more they tend to lose interest in whatever they had to do to get the reward.” Alfie Kohn
  43. “Time perspective is one of the most powerful influences on all of human behavior. We’re trying to show how people become biased to being exclusively past-, present- or future-oriented.” Philip Zimbardo
  44. “Heroes are those who can somehow resist the power of the situation and act out of noble motives, or behave in ways that do not demean others when they easily can.” Philip Zimbardo
  45. “I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures. Why do good people sometimes act evil? Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?” Philip Zimbardo
  46. “No very sharp line can be drawn between social psychology and individual psychology.” George Herbert Mead
  47. “I look forward to the day when being called ‘another Monica Lewinsky’ refers to the hard work behind a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics, after spending the first act of one’s life deflecting the shame of a scandal that should have rested on the shoulders of a man old enough to have known better.” Julie Klausner
  48. “Social psychology has, as a rule, dealt with various phases of social experience from the psychological standpoint of individual experience.” George Herbert Mead
  49. “Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member.” George Herbert Mead
  50. “Although I do use some of my psychology training in comedy, but it’s more like pop psychology, not a course of treatment or anything. To me, it’s more like social intelligence.” Matt Walsh
  51. “Aaron Sorkin was completely unable to understand the actual psychology of Mark or of Facebook. He can’t conceive of a world where social status or getting laid or, for that matter, doing drugs, is not the most important thing.” Marc Andreessen
  52. “Social media is about sociology and psychology more than technology.” Brian Solis
  53. “Psychology cannot tell people how they ought to live their lives. It can however, provide them with the means for effecting personal and social change.”  Albert Bandura 
  54.  “We know what we are but not what we may be.” — Ophelia in Hamlet
  55. “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 things that do not work.” — Thomas Edison (1847-1931)
  56. “The brain is wider than the sky.” — Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)
  57. “Great spirits have often overcome violent opposition from mediocre minds.” — Albert Einstein (1879-1955)
  58. “We are so made, that we can only derive intense enjoyment from a contrast and only very little from a state of things.” — Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)
  59.  “I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live up to what light I have.” — Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
  60. “Don’t become a mere recorder of facts, but try to enter the mystery of their origin.” — Ivan Pavlov (1849-1936)
  61.  “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind.” — William James (1842-1910)
  62. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  — Shakespeare (Hamlet)
  63. “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” — Noam Chomsky 
  64. “Education survives when what has been learnt has been forgotten.” — B.F. Skinner (1904-1990)
  65.  “There is in every child at every stage a new miracle of vigorous unfolding.” — Erik Erikson (1902-1994)
  66. “Much learning does not teach understanding.”  — Heraclitus (544-483 B.C.)
  67. “The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.” — Stanley Milgram (1933-1984)
  68.  “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” — Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)
  69. “Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge.” Plato
  70. “We change other people’s behavior by changing our own.” Anonymous
  71. “You create beauty with your attitude, your behavior, your actions. It’s all up to you.” Anonymous
  72. “Do not let the behavior of others destroy your inner peace.” Dalai Lama
  73. “One thing I believe strongly in this life is that you just don’t reward bad behavior.” Dr. Phil
  74.  “People’s behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of their goals, needs, and motives.” Thomas Mann
  75. “Relationships : never Die a Natural Death. They are always Murdered by Attitude, Behaviour, Ego, Hidden Benefits or Ignorance.” Anonymous
  76.  “Some people will notice the change in your attitude towards them but won’t notice it’s their behaviour that made you change.” Anonymous
  77. “You are always responsible for how you act, no matter how you feel.” Robert Tew
  78. “We tend to judge others by their behavior, and ourselves by our intentions.” Albert F. Schlieder
  79.  “If we wish to understand why, as humans, we often act in certain predictable ways (and particularly if there is a desire or need to change these behavioral responses), we can remember our animal heritage and look for the possible releasers that seem to stimulate our fixed-action patterns.” John Brockman
  80. “We must not demonstrate any arrogance, and we must refrain from any irrational or undemocratic behavior.” Chen Shui-bian
  81. “People don’t change their behavior unless it makes a difference for them to do so.” Sharon Stone
  82. “Why do people want to talk to each other? I mean, what are the things people always want to find out about other people?” Shirley Jackson
  83. “Although the connections are not always obvious, personal change is inseparable from social and political change.” Harriet Lerner
  84. “All have some artificial badge which the world, and themselves among the first, learn to consider as a genuine characteristic.” Nathaniel Hawthorne
  85. “The character of the architectural forms and spaces which all people habitually encounter are powerful agencies in determining the nature of their thoughts, their emotions and their actions, however unconscious of this they may be.” Hugh Ferriss
  86. I would in fact tend to have more confidence in the outcome of a democratic decision if there was a minority that voted against it, than if it was unanimous … Social psychology has amply shown the strength of this bandwagon effect.”  Jurgen Habermas
  87. “A love-based psychology views social prejudice as impacting people’s well-being, and the promotion of social justice as an important psychological intervention.” David Bedrick
  88. “All the lessons of psychiatry, psychology, social work, indeed culture, have taught us over the last hundred years that it is the acceptance of differences, not the search for similarities which enables people to relate to each other in their personal or family lives.” John Ralston Saul
  89. “A sociocultural environment is not some cunningly contrived thing that only exists in social psychology labs. Don’t look now, but you’re in one right this moment.” Cordelia Fine
  90. “Recent research in social psychology has shown that happy people are not people who have more; rather, they are people who are happy with what they already have. Happy people engage in satisfaction all of the time, even if they don’t know it.” Daniel J. Levitin
  91. “On the historical scale, the damages wrought by individual violence for selfish motives are insignificant compared to the holocausts resulting from self-transcending devotion to collectively shared belief-systems. It is derived from primitive identification instead of mature social integration; it entails the partial surrender of personal responsibility and produces the quasi-hypnotic phenomena of group-psychology.” Arthur Koestler
  92.  “Any psychology of sign systems will be part of social psychology – that is to say, will be exclusively social; it will involve the same psychology as is applicable in the case of languages.”  Ferdinand De Saussure
  93. “Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member.” George Herbert Mead


Social psychology focuses on how people behave, think and feel in a social situation or in relation to his or her social situation.

Social psychology has few similarities with the field sociology but over the years, the two fields had become distinct and separated from each other.

The research methods used by social psychologists include observational methods, surveys, and controlled experiments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main areas of social psychology?

Social psychology focuses on three main areas; obedience, conformity, and compliance.

Who is the father of social psychology?

The founder of modern social psychology is Kurt Lewin.

Is social psychology more social or psychological?

psychology deals with behaviours and cognitions and sociology deals with environmental factors. Social psychology is the blend of both focusing on the impact of the social situation on an individual’s behaviours and thoughts.

What is social influence in social psychology?

The three main areas come under social influence. In easy terms, it is the change in a person’s attitude because of another person either intentional or unintentional.

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