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Social Psychology Theories

Social psychology is a branch of the larger science of psychology, one that studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are influenced by the presence (either actual, implied or imagined) of others. Social Psychology TheoriesSocial psychology often seeks to understand why we behave a certain way in the presence of others, as well as the underlying constructions that produce those behaviors. As a result, numerous social psychology theories have emerged to explain various cognitive and social phenomena.

Among the many social psychology theories is attribution theory, which seeks to understand the ways in which people explain the behaviors of others. In this theory, people generally divide attributes into external or internal factors. External attributions of behavior include outside force such as the weather, while internal attributions are related to personality. Social identity theory is another part of social psychology, developed by Henri Tajfel, examining how people categorize others and themselves with groups and how such groups affect a person’s attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors.

Other social psychology theories include motivation crowding theory, which argues that extrinsic motivators, such as financial reward, actually undermine a person’s intrinsic motivators. There are, of course, numerous other social psychology theories, all of which drive to the heart of a person’s behavior within a social setting.

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