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Conceptual Foundations of Social Psychology Essay

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Conceptual Foundations of Social Psychology
Kayla Ard
PSYCH 555
July 9, 2012
David King

Conceptual Foundations of Social Psychology
When a teenage boy goes to their first party and sees everyone there drinking beer out of a keg, what is the likelihood that he will also drink beer at the party? The chances are extremely high. The reason for this is that the teenage boy, just like any other human being, wants to fit in and be part of a group. The boy will drink the beer because he is influenced by the other people at the party drinking beer even if no one tells him that he should, he can see that drinking beer is what everyone else is doing so in order for him to fit in, he will also drink the beer. This is an example of social psychology. Social psychology, in simple words,   is the study of social influence and how people impact other people‚Äôs thoughts, feelings, and actions (Fiske, 2010). People often have influence on one another in many ways even when they have no intention of impacting that person. Social influence can be an unconscious act and nearly impossible to ignore. To understand social psychology completely one must understand the conceptual foundations, and how each affect the field of social psychology, which include four key characteristics, the concept and role of situationism, and the five core social motives.
Key Characteristics of Social Psychology
The reason people succumb to social influence is because everyone wants to fit in and be part of a group where they are wanted and accepted, but what makes a person want to be like everyone else? People want to fit into the norm. Norms are rules that state how an individual is supposed to act in a specific situation according to society (Baron, Branscombe, & Byrne, 2008). Take an electronic device as simple as a phone; why do so many people have the iPhone? Is it because there is no other phone out there that will do the things the iPhone can do, or is it really because it is the norm and...

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