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Critically exploring psychology
Critically exploring psychology

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1.2 Social psychology

Social psychologists are interested in the interaction between individual psychological processes and the broader contexts in which they unfold. This includes phenomena such as collective norms and values, relations between groups, conflict and cooperation, social attitudes, and political ideologies. Understanding how these broader social factors shape individual behaviours gives social psychology its character.

An aerial view of a gathering of adults all chatting amongst each other
Figure 2 Social psychology considers how people interact with others

At the centre of social psychological research is the interaction between the influence of wider social factors that shape how we understand the social world (i.e. group dynamics, situational pressures and so on), and the cognitive processes through which we perceive and organise information about the social world (i.e. emotions and motivations) that shape our reactions to others.