The present status of social psychology


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Abstract

Discusses differences in psychology and sociology, which results in basic disagreements as to the nature of the elements or units of social psychology, the methods of measurement, the principles of explanation, and the laws eventually derived. This article presents an outline of the current movements to which the name “social psychology” might be given. The first approach discussed is the “Social Forces” School, which regards all social phenomena as manifestations of some homogeneous force or forces. The Social Mind Theories maintain that mental phenomena must be studied in their social context or organization. The Social Laws approach, considered the most characteristic of sociologists, contends (without accepting the reality of a collective mind) that it is possible to study social phenomena from the standpoint of purely social structures and changes. The Cultural Approach (social products and social structures) considers culture products not so much in relation to human behavior as themselves constituting the field of psychological and social investigation. The Innate Individual Causation (the individual as the cause of society) explores the native endowment of human individuals. Socialization Theories (society as the cause of the individual) views the individual as not so much the cause as the effect of the social order in which one lives. Lastly, the Behavior Approach is discussed, which regards the study of the individual as the data proper to social psychology. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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