Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
R. L. Garner
Social psychology is the study of the way people think about, relate to, and influence one another. Social psychologists study many facets of human interaction, including the formation of attitudes, the role of prejudice, gender and other sociobiological concepts, group dynamics, and conflict resolution. They also examine human interaction in the courtroom, the prison system, and other hierarchical environments. Many researchers have carefully scrutinized the role of eyewitness testimony and the group dynamic of jury deliberations. At a fundamental level, social psychology helps make sense of the biases and errors that we all tend to use when attempting to make sense out of another's behavior or a particular circumstance. These insights can be helpful in many situations, from hostage negotiations to performance evaluations. Social psychology encourages objective scrutiny of things we “know” to be true. Often social psychologists find that what is believed to be commonplace or accurate is actually ...