Social Psychology : An Uphill Battle Against Behaviorism

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It has been fourteen years since Goethals’ (2003) “A Century of Social Psychology” and seven years after Ross, Lepper, and Ward’s (2010) “History of Social Psychology”. From that time, much has changed in the historical, intellectual, and social zeitgeist that has always influenced social psychology as a field—through the latter’s desire to meet the needs and trappings of its place and time. In the same way that people interact with the situation to understand behavior and construe their social reality, the discipline (not unlike a living organism of its own) has grown and been defined by the priorities and research questions most relevant to the social issues of each point in history. For instance, American social psychology has been an…show more content…
Following these themes and directions, a constructive means of evaluating what social psychology is (as a field, and as a body of theories, methods, and thought) and what it will become in the future is through its crucial role in responding to current issues impinging in our social lives and reality. It bears repeating that Kurt Lewin found that the best theories are the practical ones, where researchers take their findings and knowledge to make sense of and make a difference in the real world. It would not be too much to say that social psychology (and its emphasis on the situation where the person is embedded) is needed now more than ever, in a time of radical dispositionism, social structural transformation, and rapid changes in the ways we live. The Biology of Social Behavior Parents often tell their children to stay away from strangers, because unknown people are dangerous (and early human civilizations survived by staying away from weird outsiders). Society places a premium on attractive, intelligent, and well-off individuals as they signify good genetic material and the possibility of biologically endowed offspring. All of these concerns are in place to ensure that people get to survive and preserve their genetic line through reproduction with the best mates to ensure high genetic quality (Durrant & Ellis, 2003). Ultimately, a dangerous implication would be the justification of social norm transgressions: that

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