To begin with, sociological social psychology is an area of sociology that focuses on social actions and on interrelations of personality, values, and mind with social structure and culture. Some of the major topics in this field are sociocultural change, social inequality and prejudice, leadership and intra-group behavior, social exchange, group conflict, impression formation and management, conversation structures, socialization, social constructionism, social norms and deviance, identity and roles, and emotional labor.
Sociological Social Psychology
Sociological social psychology, however, tends to focus on the relationship between the individual and larger social systems (e.g., society). Beyond this general orientation, however, sociological social psychology consists of a diverse set of perspectives and theories. Most often, sociologists distinguish between two major variants of sociological social psychology—symbolic interactionism and social structure and personality—though an emerging third variant has come to be called structural social psychology.
Sociological social psychology is understood to have emerged in 1902 with a landmark study by sociologist Charles Cooley, entitled Human Nature and the Social Order, in which he introduces the concept of the looking-glass self. Sociologist Edward Alsworth Ross would subsequently publish the first sociological textbook in social psychology, known as Social Psychology, in 1908. Following a few decades later, Jacob L. Moreno would go on to found the field’s major academic journal in 1937, entitled Sociometry—though its name would change in 1978 to Social Psychology and to its current title, Social Psychology Quarterly, the year after.
According to the Study Exam, an online platform for learning, the importance of social psychology is divided into following spheres:
- Social Psychology and Mental Health
- Social Psychology and Business
- Social Psychology and Industry
- Social Psychology and Education
- Social Psychology and Military
- Socialization and Personality Development
- Social Psychology as a source of Knowledge
- Social Status
Social Psychology and Mental Health
Mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, stress, phobia, schizophrenia, psychosis, and personality disorders are the growing problems of modern world. Most of the mental health problems can be argued to have have socio-psychological causes such as loss of job, death of loved ones, marriage adjustment issues, burden of work, weak family bonds, stressful relationships, break-ups, working in a stressful environment and unexpected social changes. Such social circumstances may lead to criminal behavior, emotional disturbance, drug abuse and long-term impacts on physical health.
Social psychology plays a significant role in addressing mental health issues. Social psychology is concerned with diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. Social psychologists are specialized in exploring the socio-psychological causes of mental illnesses and remedying them using the psychological practices. In some countries, social psychologists are licensed to treat patients with mental health issues independently. In many other countries, the social psychologists work together with psychiatrists and social workers for the treatment of mental illnesses.
Social Psychology and Business
Business is crucial to country’s economy as it provides goods, services and jobs opportunities to the citizens. Social Psychology plays a prominent role in business sector. Nowadays, business uses psychological techniques for boosting the production and sale of goods. The television advertisements for products are made on the basis of social psychological techniques of marketing.
These advertisements are made to change the attitude of people towards the product in the desired way. Attitude change is a part of subject matter of social psychology that guides how to change the attitude of others towards something positively, e.g. by presenting products in advertisement in a way to fascinate the viewers.
Surveys are conducted by the business to understand socio-psychological orientation of people towards products and services. These considerations are taken into account for making products in the future, e.g. colours, flavors, characteristics, features, cost, durability, and other considerations to attract the people. Similarly, attractive names, labels, titles and logos are used to enhance the sale of products.
Customer service is also a key contributor in the success of a business. It helps in building a good relationship with the customer. It adds to customer satisfaction. The representatives of customer services are trained to acquire good social skills to build relationships and convince customer psychologically.
Social Psychology and Education
Social psychology has an important role in the educational sector. It helps in improvement of teaching techniques, learning practices, intelligence level and cognition skills of students, motivation of students, and student-teacher relationship.
Poor performance of students is mostly due to socio-psychological issues. Restrictive environment, lack of encouragements, punishments, overburden of studies, fear of failure in exam and harsh treatment destroy the student’s creativity. Social psychology point outs the shortcomings in educational environments in schools, colleges and universities in order to make the environment conducive for learning. It devises techniques for effective learning and guides how to cope with stress related to studies such as exam stress. It guides about the methods of teaching according to psyche and mental-level of learners so that they can learn effectively.
Social status can be seen as the level of social value a person is considered to hold. Most importantly, it refers to the relative level of respect, honor, assumed competence, and deference afforded to people, groups, and organizations in a society. Status is based in widely shared beliefs about who members of a society think holds comparatively more or less social value, in other words, who they believe is better in terms of competence or moral traits.
Considering the far-reaching impact of social status in the society, psychology of social status is indeed of crucial importance, since across all societies, differences in social rank or status not only determine who leads and who follows, but also the ways and manners in which individuals resolve conflicts, allocate goods and resources, and coordinate to achieve shared group goals. No doubt, social statuses appear to be universal across human societies, affording valued benefits to those who occupy the higher rungs, such as better health, social approval, resources, influence, and freedom, and hence the role of psychology.
Sedikides, C., & Guinote, A. (2018). How status shapes social cognition: introduction to the special issue,“the status of status: vistas from social cognition”. Social Cognition, 36(1), 1-3.
Ridgeway, C. L., & Correll, S. J. (2006). Consensus and the creation of status beliefs. Social Forces, 85(1), 431-453.
Study Exam, Social Psychology
Cheng, J. T., Tracy, J. L., & Anderson, C. 2014. The Psychology of Social Status. Springer.