Wayne Imber spent the last 30 years as a professor at universities in Arizona, Chicago, and Massachusetts teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology. The human psyche is a subject that truly fascinates him.
On the Internet, you will find various definitions of psychology; worded differently but all basically meaning the same things: “the science of behavior and mind.” In truth, this is quite a broad and ambiguous definition, which is why the study of psychology is broken down into specific areas—to fully delve into each component that makes up human behavior and thinking, and understand each of these components more accurately and comprehensively.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines social, in the context of psychology, as: “of or relating to human society, the interaction of the individual and the group, or the welfare of human beings as members of society”.
Combining the two definitions together, we then have the most basic concept of social psychology: the science of behavior relating to human society as influenced by interactions between individuals and groups.
Social psychology is one of six major schools of thought in psychology, the other five being: biological, behavioral, cognitive, psychoanalysis, and existential-humanistic theories. And in social psychology, there are specific areas of study as well. In general, these include group behavior, social perception, leadership, conformity, aggression, prejudice, and non-verbal behavior.
From these areas of study, one can gain a better understanding of how human behavior is not merely influenced by external factors, i.e. social expectations or norms and conforming to these, but is largely determined by the individual’s perception as well. And since perception is a personal matter, the behavioral patterns of every individual greatly differ from one to another.
These components and elements as well as the level of the different patterns are what Wayne Imber find truly fascinating. Why do people behave the way they do around others? What triggers someone to become aggressive in a social setting? Why do you feel more comfortable with a certain group of people than another? These are questions that social psychology aims to answer, with the clear understanding that each answer is personal to every individual.
Wayne feels that this topic deserves a more in-depth discussion, if only to lay down the foundation of this branch of psychology. In the coming days, he will be talking more about social psychology. If the reader has any questions regarding this topic, you are encouraged to send them in so Wayne can include these in his discussions on this page.
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