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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Social Psychology Research

Social psychology is a relatively new discipline of psychology.  In social psychology, researchers study people’s behavior with social influence and social interaction.  According to Kunkel (1997), social psychologists' long-standing interest in individual differences within a population leads them to focus their experiments on the discovery and elaboration of such differences and their implications for behavioral variability.  To answer questions in social psychology, researchers conduct empirical studies based on information gathered “primarily through the use of various questionnaires and other pencil-and-paper tests” (Kunkel, 1997).  One important process is literature review through which researchers compare the research hypotheses with previous studies.  By literature review, social psychology scholars can identify gaps and flaws of the past research and define new factors and variables for the new study.  Researchers often apply statistical methods to analyze predictors, moderators, mediators, and corrections of variables.

The results of research help us understand people’s behavior and their interactions with our society, but I don’t think the results should be considered as the cause and proof of behavior.  A research may approve hypotheses, but not people’s behavior,  because the study of hypotheses only focus on selected factors and variables.  As for the cause of behavior, I don’t see how the research results could possibly become the cause of behavior.  I expect to learn more about the cause of behavior in this class. 


Kunkel, J. H. (1997). Three contributions of social psychology to the analysis of the behavior–consequence linkage. The Psychological Record, 47(2), 201-220.

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