Medical & Social Psychology

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About Medical & Social Psychology

In simple language, medical & social psychology refers to the study of mind and mental processes, generally termed as social interactions that define our actions and behaviors towards others.

Social psychology can be defined as a hybrid discipline, a mix of sociology and psychology. (Social psychologists examine, for example, how people's perceptions, belief systems, and behaviors are determined by their positions in social space.

In other words, Social psychology refers to the scientific study of how people's thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others.

Social psychologists deal with the factors that lead us to behave in a given way in the presence of others, and look at the conditions under which certain behavior/actions and feelings occur. Social psychology is to do with the way these feelings, thoughts, beliefs, intentions and goals are constructed and how such psychological factors, in turn, influence our interactions with others.

  • Topics covered in social psychology include: - the self-concept, social cognition, attribution theory, social influence, group processes, prejudice and discrimination, interpersonal processes, aggression, attitudes and stereotypes.
  • Anthropology is the study of human culture: -  Anthropologists study the beliefs and traditions of society. Their focus is on society as a whole, whereas social psychologists want to study the way society affects the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals.
  • Think about it like this: Anthropologists might study certain religious traditions, such as the way different Christian churches celebrate Easter. But social psychologists are interested in the individual people's interaction with society, so they might study how religious people behave differently from non-religious people in certain situations.
  • Sociology has a lot in common with social psychology: - Sociologists, like anthropologists, study society as a whole. But instead of looking at the beliefs and traditions of society, their focus is on organizations and how those organizations impact the individuals within them. Like social psychologists, sociologists are interested in the intersection of society and the individual. But sociologists are more focused on society, and social psychologists are more focused on the individual.

For example, imagine that you want to study why so many marriages end in divorce. If you are a sociologist, you will compile all sorts of data on the number of divorces from year to year. You might then compare that information to things going on in society. For example, you might notice that as the percentage of households where the wife works goes up, so do divorce rates. You might also observe differences in divorce rates across class, race, or religious lines.

Social psychology has close ties with the other social sciences, especially sociology and psychology. It also has very strong ties to the field of social philosophy.

  • Sociology is the study of group behavior and human societies, with emphasis on the structures of societies and the processes of social influence. Includes all organizational behavior.
  • Psychology is the study of the underlying psychological processes that make all behaviors and experiences possible. Some examples of the things it seeks to explain are: the attribution of mental states to others, the notion of a unitary 'self', sight and perception, personality and identity, warfare and violence, love, being hungry, waking up, etc.
  • Philosophy of the social sciences is the study of theoretical questions about the experience and behavior of persons and the justifications involved with how they are studied in the social sciences. It involves questions related to the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, social epistemology, and many other fields.


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