Social psychology is an interesting subfield in psychology. There are
many interesting studies, findings, ideas, concepts, theories, and topics in
What is Social Psychology?
It is important to gain an understanding of the definition of social
psychology. Social psychology involves the scientific investigation of
how we perceive and think about others, how we influence others, and
the nature of our social relationships. Three basic areas of social
psychology are social cognition, social influence, and social relationships.
Why is Social Psychology Important?
Social psychology may be important for a few reasons. First, some
research findings and theories in social psychology may help to
understand social behavior. Second, some theories and research findings
in social psychology may help to understand ourselves. Third, there may
be some important applications of social psychology. Some research
findings may have implications for solving certain problems.
Social Psychology Research Methods
What are the research methods in social psychology? One primary
research method in social psychology is the randomized experiment. A
randomized experiment without confounding variables would allow the
researcher to make conclusions about contributory causation. In a
randomized experiment, participants would be randomly assigned to the
conditions of the experiment. Random assignment would allow the
researcher to rule out personality and individual differences as a
explanation for the differences between the conditions of the
experiment. Imagine that a researcher was interested in
investigating whether humor in a fundraising letter increases donations.
The researcher could randomly assign each of the previous donors to one
of two conditions. In one condition, previous donors would receive a
fundraising letter with humor. In the other condition, previous donors
would receive a fundraising letter with the same information as in the
other condition except without the humor. The researcher could find out
whether there was a stastically significant difference between the two
conditions with respect to total amount of the donations. This is one
hypothetical example of a social psychology experiment.
Another research method in social psychology is the correlational
study. A correlational study would address associations between
variables. However, a correlational study does not allow the researcher
to make causal conclusions. This is true because one cannot rule out
alternative explanations with a correlational study. A correlational study
may be conducted when it is not possible, realistic, or ethical to conduct
a randomized experiment.
Imagine that a researcher was interested in whether the number of
pets a person has is associated with loneliness. Participants in this study
could answer questions on a questionnaire concerning loneliness and the
number of pets that they have. The researcher could find out whether
there was a statistically significant correlation between loneliness and
the number of pets. This is one hypothetical example of a correlational
Topics in Social Psychology
There are a significant number of topics in social psychology.
Below are some general articles on some important social psychology
topics (some of the topics may also be topics in organizational
psychology). More social psychology topics may be added at a later