"So what do you study?"


"I'm in social psychology."

"That is like, so cool."

"Why, thank y..."

"...so, like, can you tell what I'm thinking right now?"

"Um, no, I'm not a..."

"...but you're analyzing me!"

"No, I'm not. Like I said, I do social psychology."

"Wow, you're, like, making me feel so self-aware right now."

The sample conversation above has happened to me a few times, so in this blog post I would like to clarify what social psychology is, and why I chose to study social psychology.

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY: the study of the relationships between people and groups.

Social psychology is distinct from clinical, cognitive, counseling and quantitative psychology (among others). We do not become therapists from studying social psychology. Also, (unfortunately), social psychologists are not psychics.

Social psychologists study a variety of things, such as social cognition, emotion, subjective well-being, personality and social behavior, culture, decision-making and health behavior, stress and coping, prosocial behaviors, and interpersonal relationships.

My research topics are mainly in the field of prosocial and volunteer behaviors. Some of the questions my collaborators and I address are:

  1. Why do people volunteer more in the US than in Norway?

  2. When people ask each other for help, who do they ask?

  3. When people receive help from others, how does it make them feel?

  4. Are people who have suffered trauma more likely to help others?

I chose to come here to the U and study social psychology because I have a deep interest in people. I think about people all the time! Now I have a way to study them :)

If you have any questions about social psychology in particular or psychology in general, please ask me. I can answer most of your questions, except "What am I thinking about right now?"

Peace from Elliott Hall (home of the psychology department),


You really allow it to be seem so easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually a thing that I believe I would never understand.

You actually allow it to be seem very easy with your presentation but I've found this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.

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This page contains a single entry by Susanne Gabrielsen published on November 4, 2010 10:43 AM.

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