Running Head: Social Psychology 1
Dr. Katrina Hilton
Running Head: Social Psychology 2 There are many important components of social psychology, and they all fit together. For psychology students, social psychology is probably one of the most important areas in their field of study, because it is the study of human thoughts, feelings, and behavior as they relate to and are influenced by others (Feenstra, 2011). We learn social psychology so that we can better understand people and why they act the way they do. This is very important, especially in the counseling and social work fields. One of the focuses of social psychology is on discovering who we are.
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Behavior is an action or reaction that occurs in response to an event or internal stimuli (i.e., thought). Behaviors usually reflect established beliefs and attitudes. For example, someone who believes strongly in abstinence before marriage may be a virgin until their wedding night. Under other circumstances, though, that person might have premarital sex after being influenced that their masculinity or femininity is dependent on sexual activity. In a perfect world, all positive attitudes would result in well-adjusted behaviors. Sometimes, positive attitudes can result in harmful behaviors, though. Someone might stay in an abusive marriage because they do not believe in divorce. Behavior can be influenced by attitude, monetary factors, social influences, and convenience. Studies have shown that, in some cases, pointing out inconsistencies between attitudes and behavior can redirect the behavior. There are several treatment approaches that focus on changing attitudes in order to change behavior. Cognitive therapy and cognitive-behavior therapy are two of those approaches. Cognitive therapy tries to change irrational ways of thinking and cognitive-behavior therapy tries to correct the inappropriate behavior (Attitude and Behavior, psychology.jrank.org).
Prejudice involves a negative attitude toward individuals based on their membership in a particular group. People can be