When one thinks of social influence, the visual type of example that readily comes to one’s mind is a direct attempt at persuasion, which is when one person deliberately tries to change another person’s behavior or attitude. However, to social psychologists, social influence has a broader meaning,. For them, social psychology is a scientific study of the way in which people’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by the real or imagined presence of other people such as parents, friends, employers, teachers and strangers by the whole situation.
The study of direct attempts at social influence is a major part of social psychology, and it is usually discussed, as well as in book chapters, on conformity, attitudes and group processes. These influences may conflict with one another, and social psychologists are very much interested in what happens in the mind of an individual when they do. Sometimes it happens when an individual is influenced merely by the presence of other people, even if they don’t know them and don’t interact with them. The presence of other individuals may influence their feelings and thoughts as well as their overt acts and takes many forms other than deliberate attempts of persuasion.
Different types of psychologists approach this task in different ways and it shows how social psychologists do it. The main task of a psychologist is to try to understand and predict human behavior. In fact, other people don’t have to be present since individuals are governed by the imaginary approval or disapproval of their parents, friends and teachers and by how they expect others to react to them.
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