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Social Psychology


The scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people; How people think, feel, and behave in social situations.

Theories and Concepts:
Social Influence
Social Environments
Using Power to Influence Others
Central Vs. Peripheral Route to Persuasion
Fundamental Attribution Error
Self-Serving Bias
Group Think
Bystander Effect
Diffusion of Responsiblity
Social Cognition – Our View of Self and Others


The effect that words, actions, or mere presence of other people have on our thoughts, feelings, attitudes, or behavior.


Social Psychology

Social Psychology is the study of the combination of the elements of chemistry and biology.


A change in a person’s behavior or beliefs in response to the intentional or unintentional influence of others. The study of the effect of situational factors and other people on an individual’s behavior.

The reference to imagined or implied others suggests that we are prone to social influence even when no other people are present, such as when watching television, or following internalized cultural norms.  Social Psychology is the study of influence, persuasion, attitudes, and conformity.  Social Psychology attempts to explain human behavior and the relationship between the interaction of the person, environment, and social situation(i, ii).

Solomon Asch is best known for laboratory studies on conformity showing that under certain circumstances, a large percentage of people will conform to a majority position even when the position is clearly incorrect. He also published seminal studies on the primacy effect and halo effect, and helped inspire Stanley Milgram’s research on obedience to authority (iii)

Stanley Milgram is famous for a set of studies suggesting that most people will obey an experimenter’s order to administer potentially deadly levels of electric shock to a protesting stranger. He also invented several research techniques unrelated to obedience, such as the lost-letter technique, cyranoid technique, and small-world (“six degrees of separation”) technique (iii).

Phillip Zimbardo is famous for the Stanford Prison experiment and is the author of The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil (iii).


(i) Aronson, E.,(2012) The Social Animal,(11th ed). New York: Worth Publishers
(ii) Myers, D.,(2015) Exploring Social Psychology,(7 th ed). McGraw Hill.
(iii)Social Psychology Network, http://www.socialpsychology.org/



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