"Social psychology is especially interested in the effect which the social group has in the determination of the experience and conduct of the individual member."
-George H. Mead

Do you enjoy spending socialising with your friends or family? Most would answer yes since we're all social beings. Even extremely introverted people like talking with close companions every once in a while.

But, do you sometimes question your social interactions or the ones of your friends? That's because social behaviour is so intriguing. We all want to know why we say and do certain things with one group of people and the other no.

Psychologists have been studying social behaviour for years to answer the questions we might have about social interactions. 

Therefore, without further delay, in today's article, we shall examine what social psychology is, what are the best social psychology books to learn more on the subject, and which UK-based further education centres offer short and long-term courses in social psychology.

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What is Social Psychology?

social psychology
Social psychology analyses the relationships and dealings people have with one another. (Source: Unsplash)

Individuals studying psychology recognise that there are many distinct subdisciplines and topics that they will encounter. For example, one of the most common types of psychology is social psychology. But, what exactly is social psychology? In the most basic of terms, social psychology is described as a scientific study that focuses on social interactions, their origins, and their effects on a person.

Essentially, social psychology attempts to understand human behaviour when persons are connecting and associating with people.

Social psychology encompasses various social phenomena such as group behaviour, social perception, aggression, prejudice, conformity, nonverbal behaviour, and leadership. The focus of social psychologists is based on situations that are encountered regularly and that humans may not be aware of.

For example, have you ever wondered why you act one way with a particular group of people and completely different with another set of individuals? Well, social psychology explains all of that and much more!

Is Psychology a Social Science?

Psychology is a fundamental academic discipline that is taught in secondary school and beyond. Psychology explores aspects of human behaviour and the nuances of the brain. But, is psychology a social science? It depends on who you talk to. There are many experts who strongly believe that psychology is a social science, on the other hand, there are others who strongly disagree.

For instance, those who agree that psychology and its subdisciplines should be qualified as a social science have made this decision because psychology deals with the human mind and behaviour, bridging the gap between social science and natural science. Also, certain aspects of psychology draw on social science methods and practices.

Nonetheless, individuals who strongly disagree with the fact that psychology is a social science say so because psychology is not a social science and belongs to the realm of biological sciences.

Therefore, it completely depends on who you talk to about whether psychology is a social science or not. However, most professionals in the domain of psychology classify all topics of psychology as a social science.

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What are the Best Social Psychology Books?

Even in the digital age, reading books remains the best method to garner an understanding of academic disciplines. Therefore, if you're reviewing the fundamentals of social psychology at a university level or for pleasure, there are certain books that are considered "must-reads." The following list considers three of the best social psychology books published:

  • The Social Animal: beautifully composed by the brilliant Elliot Aronson, The Social Animal is a timeless non-fiction book that expertly describes social psychology aspects such as the patterns and motives of human behaviour that influence life's biggest topics such as conformity, obedience, politics, race relations, advertising, war, and terrorism. The overwhelming majority of individuals who read The Social Animal are extremely satisfied.
  • The Tipping Point: written by acclaimed writer Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point demystifies the sociological changes that occur in everyday life. Gladwell analyses three rules in his book: the power of context, the stickiness factor, and the law of the few. Also, this book touches on deep topics such as teen suicide, smoking, and how rumours are spread amongst social groups.
  • Influence: Science and Practice: a must-read that explores some of the most fundamental characteristics of social psychology, Influence by Robert B. Cialdini is one of the best books about psychology ever written. Cialdini dives into the reasons why humans say yes and what influences them to do so.

It's worth highlighting that the previously mentioned options are only three of the many social psychology books that are worth your time. If you have the time and interest, take a peek at the following options:

  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell,
  • Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell,
  • Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely,
  • The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt,
  • The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz.

Every single one of the previously mentioned books can be found and purchased on Amazon. Reading more about social psychology isn't solely reserved for university students since it can be done leisurely by curious individuals while sipping cocktails on the beach or on rainy days inside.

Where to Learn Social Psychology in the UK?

social interactions
Social psychology is an important subject of psychology since we all want to have peaceful relations with others. (Source: Unsplash)

Are you convinced? Do you want to study social psychology as your university major? If so, you'll be happy to find out that there are multiple further education centres in the UK that offer short and long-term social psychology courses and degree programs. Let's take a look at two universities that offer social psychology undergraduate degrees.

Leeds Beckett University

As one of the nation's most distinguished universities, Leeds Beckett draws in thousands of students per year. There are many BSc and MSc degree programs in psychology and the following is one of them:

  • Social Psychology BA (Hons): a three-year undergraduate program that is divided into different modules such as interdisciplinary psychology, consciousness studies, parapsychology, and radical psychology, this social psychology degree is a brilliant option for students who want to learn about the impacts of social and psychological influences.

Check out the Leeds Beckett University website to learn more about this course in further detail.

University of York

The University of York has high ratings from past students who have studied for a BSc or MSc degree. As for social psychology, the following is the best BSc course program from the University of York touching on that subject:

  • Sociology with Social Psychology BA (Hons): students enrolled in this course learn how the individual and the social environment influence each other. Lasting a total of three years, the course is divided into intriguing modules such as the sociology of crime and deviance, cultivating a sociological imagination, and contemporary research in social psychology.

It's worth mentioning that although the two previously listed universities have specified social psychology degrees, most further education centres in the United Kingdom that offer psychology programs have classes in sociology and social psychology.

After graduation, social psychology degree holders may find employment as researchers, professors, human resource managers, political strategists, and business managers.

Why Take Social Psychology Courses With a Tutor?

talking about our issues
Therapists help us understand the problems we've had with others and how we can fix them. (Source: Unsplash)

Psychology is an engaging subject to study at a further education level; however, it's not always the easiest. Why's that? Depending on the subdiscipline of psychology, there are many theories and tons of case studies that need to be carefully reviewed.

To understand the topics of social psychology, it's highly recommended to seek the assistance of an experienced private educator. Why's that? For the following reasons:

  • Private psychology tutors offer their students personalised attention that isn't shared with other students.
  • Since many psychology tutors have years of experience, they provide their students with excellent revision tips and tricks.
  • During private, one-on-one lessons, the subject matter and information are entirely tailormade to the needs and learning goals of the student.

But, where can persons find social psychology tutors that instruct in-person or virtual classes nearby? Superprof. A leading expert in private tutoring and e-learning, Superprof has got your back. There are thousands of qualified academic instructors across the UK on the Superprof site that teach hundreds of subjects.

Learning or strengthening your social psychology skills using the Superprof site is a brilliant idea. How's that? Take a look at the list below to see why:

  • Superprof has a fantastic variety of tutors,
  • You can learn either in-person or online, 
  • There's a fantastic tutor/student support staff, 
  • Psychology tutors are available at an affordable price. 

Hiring a social psychology Superprof is greatly suggested for university students and curious learners.

In conclusion, social psychology is the study of how we act in social situations and how different people affect our social behaviour. If you want to research social psychology or work as a social psychologist, we sincerely hope that this article has given you the answers you've needed!

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Brentyn

Avid movie-goer, reader, skier and language learner. Passionate about life, food and travelling.