What are the three major areas of social psychology?


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Page last updated: 24/09/2022

What are the three major areas of social psychology?

The current blogspot will be based on the three major areas of social psychology. We will discuss each of  the three major areas of social psychology as per their significant implications.

What are the three major areas of social psychology?

Social psychology is a field of psychology that is concerned with the study of factors that influence the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of other people in the group. The three major areas of social psychology are as follows :

  • Social Thinking
  • Social Influence
  • Social Behavior 

Social thinking, social influence and social behavior tend to overlap in our routine life as all these major factors related to social psychology have an effect upon our individual and group behaviors. 

Social Thinking

The first major area of social psychology is related to the concept of social thinking that relates to “how we define ourselves and how we think about other people around us”. Social thinking is an individual’s ability to consider one’s own and other people’s thoughts, the beliefs behind the thoughts, the intentions, knowledge and assumptions that affect relations with each other in a group.

Social thinking facilitates us to interpret and respond to the information in our minds and behave accordingly in various social contexts. 

The main aim behind social thinking is to help the people to develop the skills that are necessary for them to be problem solvers, better decision makers and functional members of a larger group. 

Social thinking majorly focuses on the following areas :

  • Social problem solving
  • Cognitive flexibility
  • Emotional regulation

The social thinking facilitates individuals to :

  • Think and generate various solutions to the social problem considering oneself and the others.
  • Be more acceptable and flexible towards the social scenarios.
  • Have unbiased and non judgemental attitude towards the social issues and regulate emotional expression to manage the social conflict.
What are the three major areas of social psychology?

Social Influence

Social influence is a major area of social psychology that is concerned with a process through which an individual’s attitudes, behaviors, feelings, perceptions and thought patterns are affected by the presence of other people or the actions of other people. It is a process by which our lifestyle and social dynamics in a society are affected due to the presence of other people around us.

Social influences are based on the various ways in which the individual behavior is modified to meet the challenges, needs and demands of a social environment. Social influence can be seen in many different forms including socialization, peer pressure, leadership, marketing and sales.

General social influence occurs as a result of a specific action, stimulus, command or request but individuals usually change their behavior based on their perception of what others think.

The  broad categories of social influence are as below:

  • Compliance
  • Identification
  • Internalization
  • Conformity


Compliance in social influence is defined as when individuals keep their dissenting opinions private and seem to appear with the opinion of the larger group. 


Identification in social influence is defined as when people identify themselves with someone who is liked, respected and has fame. For example people often identify themselves with famous celebrities.


Internalizing happens when people of a larger group accept a typical belief or behavior and agree to it both publicly and privately. 


Conformity is a type of social influence that is related to a change in behavior in order to fit in a group. It is based on two major psychological human needs. The first need is the need for being right. This is also known as informational social influence. The second need is to be liked by others. This is also known as normative social influence.

In informational influence, an individual accepts information from another person to accept the information from other resources as evidence that is close to reality. Informational influence comes into play under the situations of social disagreement and uncertainties. 

The normative influence on the other side is the social influence that an individual adheres to inorder to conform to the positive expectations of a larger group. The normative influence often leads to public compliance.

Social Behavior 

Social behavior is a major element of social psychology. It results as an interaction between two organisms within the same species and surrounds all the behaviors that occur between the two organisms that results in one organism affecting the other organism.

Social behavior is based on the common notion “you receive what you give”. It is based on the qualities and characteristics of both the individuals and the environment. Thus in any scenario, social behavior would be greatly determined by the individual characteristics of the person and the specific conditions.

Social behaviors usually include mundane and defensive social behaviors. The mundane social behaviors are the behaviors that are generally performed in day to day life. Whereas the defensive social behaviors usually arise out of an individual’s impulses.

Examples of social behavior include the following :

  • Shaking hands
  • Flirting
  • Conversation
  • Religious rituals
  • Snubbing or “putting down” another person
  • Exchanging nonverbal signals (like smiles or frowns)
  • Offering reassurance or consolation
  • Sharing a meal
  • Communication


The current blogspot focused on the question “what are the three major areas of social psychology?”. We discussed and elaborated each of the three arrears of social psychology in detail and discussed their implications.

Frequently asked questions: What are the three major areas of social psychology?

What are the key areas of social psychology?

The key areas of social psychology are :

  • Social Cognition.
  • Attitudes.
  • Violence and Aggression.
  • Prosocial Behavior.
  • Prejudice and Discrimination.
  • Social Identity.
  • Group Behavior.
  • Social Influence

What are the top 3 subfields of psychology?

The 3 top fields of psychology are as follows:

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Educational Psychology
  • Behavioral Psychology

What are the 3 major subfields of community psychology?

The 3 major subfields of community psychology are as follows :

  • personal wellness and access to resources
  • social justice and freedom from oppression
  • a sense of community and connectedness


What are the 3 main levels of analysis in psychology?

The 3 main levels of analysis in psychology are :

  • Biological
  • Cognitive
  • Sociocultural