"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:
- Why do people volunteer more in the US than in Norway?
- When people ask each other for help, who do they ask?
- When people receive help from others, how does it make them feel?
- Are people who have suffered trauma more likely to help others?
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),