What is social psychology?


Psychology is the study of the human mind and the roots of the behaviors of a particular individual, if we mix this concept with society we could determine that social psychology only studies the behavior of each participant of a community individually and their behavior as an entity. and unity.


What is social psychology?

Social psychology is recognized as the scientific and legal study of the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of individuals, the way in which they are influenced by other people in their daily lives, how they come to influence the individual or how they do not come to influence it.



It is generally defined as a branch of psychology and sociology that studies the behaviors of each individual in a society, in the same way it studies the mental functioning of the same, this being based and based on what is the social environment and everything that entails This, this science has the objective of understanding everything about the individuals of a certain ethnic group, how they think, what they feel and how they act as a result of what could be social phenomena, movements or trends.


What does social psychology study

As has been said before, this science studies everything related to the human being, based on its interaction with its environment and the people around it, the influence that society can have on it and how it copes with its day a day.


The origins of social psychology date back to 1879 , this part since the appearance of the concept and practice of the psychology of peoples, which was developed and exposed for the first time by Wilhelm Wundt , is currently one of the study specialties in the most relevant career.


This discipline began in the twentieth century in the United States , one of the first studies carried out about it was an experiment based on the period of social facilitation; Around the 1930s, many psychologists of the Gestalt current began to be interested in the subject of the psychology of peoples, among them Kurt Lewin, coupled with this behaviorist and psychoanalytic currents , which dominated at the time, became interested in this branch of psychology since in addition to being a science, it was a tool that helped them to complete and totalize the diagnoses ; progressively social psychology It grew and developed without mutating or changing its foundations, its interests from the beginning remain the same.

The Second World War was very relevant for social psychology, since it was in charge of studying the advertisements that were used at the time to encourage people to fight and the way in which the people reacted to such advertisements, after the war the entire environment was so disintegrated that social psychologists decided to evaluate and exhaustively analyze the entire process that individuals were going through, including in this generic group what at the time were gender and racial prejudices.

The attitudes and ethics of the social psychologist around the 70s were violated, discussions and forum began, since the population and several theorists were doubting the veracity of the events that were taking place in the experimental laboratories, they did not have The certainty that all that talk was real, was the behavior really modified by the environment?

It was not until the 1980s that social psychology reached its maximum expression of maturity, theoretically and practically speaking.


  • Kurt Lewin.
  • Wilhelm Wundt
  • Floyd Allport.
  • Solomon Asch.
  • Jean-Léon Beauvois.
  • Gustave Le Bon.
  • Ignacio Martín-Baró.
  • Maritza Montero.
  • Boris Parygin.
  • Stanley Milgram.
  • Serge Moscovici.
  • Enrique Pichon-Rivière.
  • Muzafer Sherif.
  • Philip Zimbardo.
  • Alfredo Moffatt.

Characteristics of social psychology

The social psychology is a branch or current philosophical more complex, because while the other currents working around a variable or two, this is responsible for knowing and evaluating variables several that could affect an individual in society and so Therefore, progressively damaging the entire community or society , the characteristics that distinguish this branch of psychology are the following:

  • Their goal has always been the same.
  • Study the behavior, thoughts and feelings of a certain population.
  • His research is always based on interaction with people and interaction with the environment in which they live.
  • It has a close relationship with social phenomena .
  • Study the social movements that are generated progressively over the years.
  • Your investigations are always justified.
  • To evaluate all of the above, social psychologists must focus and focus on learning and knowing about the culture, customs and traditions of the society or ethnic group that they are going to analyze and evaluate.


The main objective of this branch of psychology is to ensure that all the people who are in a community or society manage to live fully , achieve an optimal quality of life, free of phenomena, behaviors, thoughts and feelings that may affect them, and consequently manages to affect society.

In the same way, on the part of society, if the social psychologist observes that this could affect individuals, he will do everything possible to change that, even gradually.


Non-rational thinking

As is commonly known, the human mind works in two particular ways, it has a rational part and a non-rational part , or conscious and unconscious, the non-rational side is the one that works when doing everyday things, such as work. and various things that human beings are used to , this is what is called automatic operation. It is an undeniable nature of the human being, and although it is not taken into account, it affects relationships with other people.

Personal characteristics

Human beings are complex and diverse beings , each individual has a way of reacting to the different stimuli that are presented daily, which causes the formation of the subject’s personality and the formation of their character, no person is the same as another, and not all of them have the same opinions, which is why many times in social spheres, conflicts or unpleasant discussions can be created.

The influence of other people

This is the principle that evaluates the way in which people interact with each other and how some influence each other in a way that changes their way of thinking, acting or feeling.

What is social psychology for?

The social psychology studies the behavior, thoughts and feelings of individuals of a society in common, which is responsible for establishing patterns of behavior that are held in an ethnic group, just evaluates way and analyzes how the culture, traditions and customs of society affect each individual separately . In addition to this, it is in charge of studying the relationships and interactions between people, since this is a way of discriminating the dynamics of the social group.


  • Identity theory : This theory addresses that identity is typical of each human being and through this we identify other people, it works as a type of reflection and counter reflection, by knowing how to identify others , we identify ourselves , and so vice versa. Identity is a cornerstone of a society. Blumer affirmed that the human being moves or lives according to three assumptions, in the first place it is related to the things that it identifies and with itself, the second assumption speaks of the meanings that these things have are exposed in the social interaction and the third assumption is a hypothesisthat supposes that the social interaction could change or modify in some way the meaning that the subject had previously, therefore, changing the interpretation of the things of the same. On the contrary, for Mead the person or individuals do not learn from society progressively , but rather they are a society themselves, the adoption of behavior patterns are their decisions and it is possible that this is necessary for their full development.
  • Theory of the bond: Riviere Pichón was the first to define the term bond as a social procedure, for this author the bond is the way in which a subject is able to relate to another, thus achieving to establish or base a structure that depending on The link will be the case, when it refers to this link, it focuses on focusing it so that it is only a social interaction, that in this there are no emotions, the link that occurs with the third party will vary depending on the psychic instance with which it is associate the same.
  • The theory of the three ds: When we speak of three d we refer to 3 words that begin with that letter, which are depositor, depositary and deposited , every relationship, whether interpersonal or not that you want to carry out, needs a transfer of information of energy, so it is said that to achieve a relationship the subjects must deposit a part of themselves in the other , in this way the communication in interaction with others becomes a constant flow of donations or deposits, subject A, It grants subject B and subject C, among all of them various things are deposited that progressively forge a bond.


The method that is most used in social psychology is the scientific method , since psychologists are in charge through observation of society to experiment to achieve the improvement of society from the empirical point of view.

Social psychology books

  • Psychology of the masses and analysis of the self, Sigmund Freud.
  • Manual of social psychology, James Vander.
  • Individual differences.
  • The social animal, Elliot Aronson.
  • Social psychology: Some keys to understanding human behavior, Anastasio Ovejero.
  • Foundations of social psychology.
  • Why do we lie … especially to ourselves, Dan Ariely.
  • Applying social psychology.
  • Social psychology, José Morales.
  • Applied social psychology, Ana Victoria Arias.

How it differs from sociology

The most relevant difference found between these two sciences is that sociology is in charge of studying the phenomena and social eventualities that occur in a certain group , contrary to social psychology, it is in charge of directly evaluating each subject of said society, its thoughts , its behaviors and its feelings, including the reason for all these. While sociology is responsible for analyzing a social phenomenon, social psychology focuses on evaluating how this phenomenon affects each individual that is part of that society.


Bobo doll experiment, Bandura

In this experiment, the child was put in a room with a television, showing in this how a subject hit and violently attacked a silly doll , after this a man disguised as a silly doll and the child after watching the television began to beat him, which is a concise test of the influence that the artifact can have on a child, proving that children are driven by vicarious learning , which is learning by observation.

Stanford Prison Experiment

This is one of the studies of social psychology that has caused the most controversy and controversy worldwide, for which, it is one of the most famous, this consisted of a role play, in which some university students could play the role of Inmates and guards of an artificial prison, after this it was shown that depending on the events or circumstances, people act and after spending a long time under the pressure of an unpleasant situation they begin to act irrationally.


Social psychology is too relevant, since it is multifunctional and works hand in hand with two of the most important sciences, psychology and sociology, for which it implies a great advance in the evolution of each individual and the way in which this is related.

Leave a Comment