chapter  1
28 Pages

Introduction to Social Psychology

WithJohn D. DeLamater, Jessica L. Collett

This chapter describes social psychology and lists the core concerns of the field. It describes five broad theoretical perspectives common in social psychology and also describes the strengths and weaknesses of each. The broad theoretical perspectives are the impact that one individual has on another; the impact that a group has on its individual members; and the impact that individual members have on the groups to which they belong. The additional broad theoretical perspectives are the impact that one group has on another group and the impact of social context and social structure on groups and individuals. Social psychology bears a close relationship to several other fields, especially sociology and psychology. In fact, top programs offered degrees in "Social Relations" or "Social Psychology" rather than Sociology or Psychology. The theoretical perspective that guided much of the early work of sociological social psychologists—and that is still important—is symbolic interactionism.