Social Psychology ConceptUnderstanding social psychology can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. First, we can better understand how the group affects our choices and actions. In addition, it also allows us to gain a greater appreciation for how our social perception affects our interactions with others.
There are some fundamental aspects of social behavior that play a big role in our actions and how we perceive ourselves.
- Goal-oriented social behavior
Our interactions serve a purpose or meet needs. Some common purposes or needs include the need for social bonding, a desire to understand oneself and others, the desire to gain or maintain status or protection, and the need to attract friends. The way people behave is often encouraged by the desire to meet these needs. People are looking for romantic friends and couples, trying to gain social status, and trying to understand the motivation that guides the behavior of others.
- Interactions between individuals and situations help determine the outcome
To fully understand why people do the things they do, it's important to look at individual characteristics, situations and context, and the interaction between these two variables. In many cases, people behave very differently depending on the situation.
For example, someone who is usually quiet and quiet may become more open when placed in some kind of leadership role. Another example is how people sometimes behave differently in groups than if they did it themselves. Environmental and situational variables play an important role and have a strong influence on our behavior.
- People spend a lot of time considering the social situation
Our social interactions help shape our self-concept and perception. One method of forming self-concept is through a judging process that is reflected where we are imagining how others see us. Another method is through the process of social comparison where we consider how we compare with others in our peer group.
Sometimes we are involved in social upward comparisons where we judge ourselves against people who are better than us in some way. In other cases, we may engage in a social downward comparison where we contrast our own abilities with others who are less capable.
- Analyze and explain the behavior of those around us
One common phenomenon is confirmation of hope, where we tend to ignore unexpected attributes and look for evidence that confirms our pre-existing beliefs about others. This helps simplify our worldview, but it also damages our perception and can contribute to stereotypes. For example, if you expect people to behave in a certain way, you may be looking for examples that confirm your beliefs while at the same time ignoring evidence that contradicts your existing opinions.
- We often believe that a person's behavior is a good indicator of their personality
Another influence on our perception of others can be explained by the correspondent inference theory. This happens when we conclude that the actions and behaviors of others correspond to their intentions and personalities. For example, if we see a woman helping parents across the street, we may assume that she is a kind person.
While behavior can be informative in some cases, especially when the action of the person is intentional, it can also be misleading. If we have limited interactions with a person, the behavior that we see may not be typical or caused by a particular situation rather than by a characteristic disposition of that person. In the previous example, the woman may have only helped parents because she had been hired to do so rather than because of her kindness.