People are influenced by many people, things, and situations. The impact of their social interaction is influenced by the way they think, feel and behave. Understanding how people form attachments and get along within society is essential, especially since there is a growing number of individuals with ethnic or minority and cultural backgrounds. Although “norms of behavior” are promoted by all cultures, other multicultural variables such as contextual factors, racial and ethnic identity, religious/spiritual beliefs, parenting factors, student attitudes must also be consider when dealing with diverse populations. In this discussion, social and multicultural psychology will be defined, various research strategies used to assess social interaction will be identified, and similarity and distinctiveness of the two branch of psychology will be explained. Social Psychology and Primary Research Strategies
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary online, social psychology is defined as “the study of the manner in which the personality, attitudes, motivations, and behavior of the individual influence and are influenced by social groups.” In other words, social psychology is a branch of psychology that studies the interaction of individuals in various social contexts (Kong, 1996). It looks at how and why people think, feel, and do the things they do as a result of the situation they find themselves in (Kong). Social psychology and sociology are similar except sociology focuses on group factors such as race and socioeconomic class while social psychology concentrates primarily on how the individual acts in certain circumstances. Some essential research strategies (McLeod 2007) utilized by researchers to assess an individual’s social interactions include:
SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY EXAMPLE
(Lab, field or natural)
Accurate and objective measurements in a well-controlled environment (artificial setting) Researcher determines place, time, participants, circumstances and standardized procedure real life setting Stanley Milgram, a Yale University psychologist, experiment on obedience focused on the three-way conflict between obedience, authority. and personal conscience. Case Study
In-depth investigations of a single person, group, event or community Gathers qualitative data and levels of ecological validity
Sigmund Freud detailed investigations into the private lives of his patients in an attempt to both understand and help them overcome their illnesses. Interviews
Unstructured (informal) casual conversation with no set questions. Structured (formal): Fixed, predetermined set of formal questions. Questionnaire: written interview.
Collect qualitative and quantitative data.
Skinner Behavior Study modified operant conditioning by conducting experiments using animals in 1948 to reinforce or punish. Observations Covert Observations: Pretend to be an ordinary member of the group and secretly observes. Creates ethical problems or deception and consent. Overt Observations: Inform the participant(s) that he or she is being observed so they will be aware. Record behavior in natural, controlled, participatory, and non-participatory settings. Kathy Sylva and a team of researchers from Oxford and the University of London’s Institute of Education, discovered in the 80s/90s that a child’s academic, social and behavioral development is substantially enhanced by going to pre-school, particularly if they are poor. Content Analysis
Indirectly observe the presence of certain words, images or concepts within the media, politics. Content Analysis of TV shows containing violent content or study sex-role stereotyping. Pilot Study
An initial run-through of the procedures to be used in an investigation; select a few people to pretrial the study on them. Scottish Births Survey to determine provisional level of maternity care.
Multicultural Psychology and Its Similarity and Distinction from Social Psychology
Multicultural psychology is defined as “the systematic study of all aspects of human behavior as it occurs in settings where people of different cultural backgrounds encounter each other.” Sometimes the discipline is referred to as “cross-cultural psychology” (Cherry, 2008). “The goal of cross-cultural psychologists is to look at both universal behaviors and unique behaviors to identify the ways in which culture impacts our behavior, family life, education, social experiences and other areas (Cherry, K. 2008).” Multicultural psychology studies individuals within ethnic or minority settings. Multicultural Psychology is similar to, yet distinctively different from, Social Psychology.
While the social psychology focuses on the individual or group’s interrelations and interconnections from a variety of family, ethnicity, socio-economic status, gender, education and moral factors, multiculturalism analyzes the cultural experiences. Prosocial behavior integrates cognitive, social, emotional, biological, and environmental factors through a variety of socio-emotional interactions. However, multiculturalism identifies not only the differences our social identities but also allow the conversion or transference from one culture to another (Stamatouras, 2010). Multiculturalism tolerates cultural membership despite one’s birth, previous group affiliation, or physical characteristics. As Stamatouras (2010) noted in his article on multiculturalism, “a variety of cultures are allowed to co-exist”. Social psychology shows us how other people impact human behavior while multicultural psychology shows us how cultures impact it.
Every group is affected by culture, identity, and societal forces. Social psychology and multicultural psychology are the disciplines that explore the impacts on individuals and environments. The research and analysis enable us
to better understand our personal attitudes and behaviors as it relates to diversity in our homes, schools, communities and cultures.
Cherry, K. (2008).What Is Cross Cultural Psychology?.About.com Psychology. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/branchesofpsycholog1/f/cross-cultural.htm Kong, K. T.(August, 1996 ). Social Psychology on the Net. Education 113,University of California at Berkeley. Retrieved from http://csua.berkeley.edu/~kaserina/psych/definition.html McLeod, S. A. (2007). The Interview Method. Simply Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/interviews.html Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved from http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/social%20psychology Stamatouras, A. (2010). Multicultural Psychology. University of Phoenix http://www.markedbyteachers.com/university-degree/social-studies/multicultural-psychology-is-a-discipline-that-is-closely-related-to-cross-cultural-psychology-and-in-fact-is-difficult-to-make-that-distinction-weiner-freedheim-schinka-gallagher-2003-multicultural-psychology.html
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