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About fundamental social psychology

  1. Jun 2, 2013 #1
    I have always interested in psychology and never properly studied psychology in my life. But over the years I have learned about many things by learning about famous psychology experiments. However I cannot seem to get sufficient enough information to ‘understand’ human’s fundamental social behaviors or social interactions.

    I am having trouble finding information about how people socially interact at public spaces such as schools and work. It is quite clear that people with same interest or personality will hang out with each other but I cannot find any facts about this.

    In detail is there any study done to understand fundamental building blocks of human social psychology to understand their social behaviors in public spaces: how they make decisions, why they choose to lie, why they kiss asses, why they hang around with people they always do, why some people just don't care about things, why some people in power do not act or care, why some people only care about publicity... why why why...

    Where should I start to understand this broad question? Or should I break it down?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 3, 2013 #2
    Break it down. If your school or uni has courses on Sociology I would recommend them to you. It truly gives you lots of models for you to digest people's behavior.

    Yes, there are lots and lots of theories and sociological models that explain: social behavior based on the individual, the individual based on social influences, or both of them interlaced. Now to point one, I don't dare to do so. I better recommend to study as much theories as possible and then work with them as the situation demands. If one doesn't work to explain something then use the other and so on.

    Now to go from the brain all the way into the outside is hard because the brain responses that dictate social behavior are based on external influences which come from society (which are more people with more brains interacting with yours). Its more like society molds you, but at the same time you mold society. Sociology is what I recommend to understand their behavior.
  4. Jun 6, 2013 #3
    These are questions that I have asked as a psychologist and working in applied cultural psychology using the Cognitive Behavioural Model. As far as the questions that you raise about ordinary individuals, I find that the Assertive Triangle that deals with passive aggressivity and its opposite, outcome based Assertivity, is the easiest way to understand the answers to your questions in everyday life. That information needs to come from corporate, profit driven psychology rather than popular, relationship psychology that is sales driven.

    As for those in power who do not seem to act or care, we are generally talking about organisations with figureheads rather than individuals. They are dealing with extremely complex situation in which democratic popularity and theory often conflict as do short term, individual 'caring' and the long term objective good. There is often a conflict between freedom and dependency.

    This is a fascinating document that relates to the subject of what is really going on behind the headlines in some modern political thinking....
  5. Jun 11, 2013 #4

    I'm not an expert in this field, but a while ago, I became interest in similar questions and, like you, I didn't know how or where to start. While I was searching, I stumbled upon a textbook about social physiology (by David Myers), and I found it to be good and enjoyable to read. The language was easy to follow and the topics were about basic concepts that got me to appreciate the big picture of social psychology (I especially liked that the author throw in some evolutionary psychology to explain the roots of some behaviors).

    My suggestion is not to buy that particular book. Rather, try to look into an elementary textbook that will introduce you to the major themes of this field (and one that you will enjoy reading). Social psychology is fascinating and there's a lot to learn, but I recommend that you grasp the basics first.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2013
  6. Dec 10, 2013 #5

    Psychology as a whole, is indeed interesting. As I read your post, and veered into your questions, I understand that you yourself, already know a bit of the answers to them. Funny thing is, we can never be certain if these answers are absolute. While there are general patterns of behavior that studying can predict, there are still a lot of factors to consider. It's cliche, but each person is different, and so it goes with the reason of why they do things.

    Also, such answers to your questions are best experienced first hand. You can do more readings, even research if you want. :)
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