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Social psychology is the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviours are influenced by the presence of others. It focuses on understanding how social factors, such as group dynamics, culture, and social norms, shape individual behaviour and attitudes.
Social psychology seeks to understand how people perceive, interpret, and respond to social stimuli, including other people, social situations, and the broader social context. It also examines how social influence operates and how individuals and groups can shape each other’s behaviour and attitudes.

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How can social cues by humans guide decision-making?

One way that social psychology understands human behaviour is by examining the social cognitive processes that individuals use to interpret and respond to social information. Social psychologists study how people form impressions of others, make judgments about their behaviour, and attribute causes to their actions. They also investigate how people use social cues and context to guide their behaviour and decision-making.
Firstly, social cues can provide information about what is considered socially acceptable or appropriate behaviour. People often use social cues to help them understand what behaviour is expected of them in different social situations. For example, if a person is in a formal setting, they may observe social cues such as people dressing in formal attire or speaking in a polite tone of voice, and adjust their own behaviour accordingly.
Secondly, social cues can influence people’s perceptions of others and their behaviour. For instance, people may use social cues to form judgments about the credibility, competence, or trustworthiness of other people. For example, a person may perceive someone who maintains eye contact and speaks confidently as more trustworthy than someone who avoids eye contact and mumbles.
Finally, social cues can affect people’s emotions and moods, which in turn can impact their decision-making. For example, if a person is in a positive social environment where others are expressing happiness and enthusiasm, they may be more likely to feel positive emotions themselves and make decisions that reflect this mood.

Key Topics in Social Psychology:

Some of the key topics in social psychology include social cognition (how people think about and process social information), social influence (how others influence our thoughts and behaviours), social identity (how people define themselves in relation to social groups), attitudes and persuasion (how attitudes are formed and changed), and group dynamics (how groups function and how individuals behave in groups).
Social cognition refers to the mental processes that people use to interpret, process, and remember information about social stimuli such as people, groups, and social situations.
One way that social psychology contributes to understanding social cognition is by studying how people form impressions and make judgments about others. Social psychologists examine the cognitive processes that people use to form these impressions, such as attention, perception, and categorization. They also investigate how these impressions can be influenced by factors such as stereotypes, expectations, and prior knowledge.
Social psychology studies how people use attribution processes to assign causes to social events, how people use heuristics and biases to simplify complex social information, and how people use mental models to understand social systems and structures.

Famous Social Psychologists:

Here are a few social psychologists who contributed greatly to this field:

  • Solomon Asch
  • Leon Festinger
  • Stanley Milgram
  • Muzafer Sherif
  • Kurt Lewin
  • Elliot Aronson
  • Robert Cialdini
  • Philip Zimbardo
  • Irving Janis
  • Henri Tajfel
  • Gordon Allport
  • John Darley
  • Bibb Latané
  • Elliot Turiel
  • Jennifer Eberhardt
  • Susan Fiske
  • Carol Dweck
  • Claude Steele
  • Richard Nisbett
  • Amos Tversky

A recent graduate in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Ashli is a published researcher and a poet. She is currently working as a technical writer at Learnfly. She is a huge admirer of British thespian, American sitcoms and crime thrillers in languages with subtitles. She loves exploring art in all forms and is equipped with learning coding and video-editing skills, in her free time.