One of the aims of social psychology is to understand the factors that contribute to human behavior. There have been many variables that have been attributed to the development of personality, including culture, biology, and the social environment in which a person grows up. The biological approach to social psychology presumes that human development is aresult of the combination of genetics and physiology. Physiology explains the way that the nervous system works, as well as how the brain functions, and how changes in structure or function can transform behavior (MacLeod, 2015.) Some of the most interesting studies of the way that biology affects personality development involve studies in which behavioral similarities or differences are compared in identical twins, who are exactly genetically related and the comparisons between fraternal twins. These studies are useful because if genetics have an impact on a specific characteristic or behavior, identical twins would demonstrate more similarity for that characteristic than that specific trait in non-identical twins.
Human cultures are extremely distinct from animal cultures, as is evident in several specifically human cognitive abilities. These include verbal language since humans have the unique ability to symbolize their physical and metaphysical world to create sounds representing those symbols, to create rules connecting those symbols into meaningful words, then phrases and sentences to put them all together in sentences (Matsumoto, 2007.) The combination of biological and cultural factors have a tremendous impact on social psychology in shaping development and personality.
There have been a wide range of theoretical trends underlying the principles of social psychology over the years, but there are certain classic principles and theories that have persisted over time and will likely continue to do so. It is probable that technological advances in research methods and the data gathering techniques will allow experts in the field to consider even more specific issues that are tailored to the current world in which we live, which will likely continue to result in specializations and more complexity in the tools that are being utilized to conduct research.
In the first post, there was a discussion about the way that culture impacts behavior, and the writer discussed an example of how her family’s relatives from the Middle East have been experienced in a different way than had they been from the United States originally. There have been certain racial and ethnic groups that have been received in negative ways when they first emigrated to the US, and in such instances the way that they were treated and the hardships that they faced because of the cultural differences undoubtedly shaped their personalities. The writer also discussed the importance of including the assessment of biological factors when considering behavior. The genetic basis for human behavior cannot be ignored, although many people in the past such as Freud attributed most aspects of human behavior to psychological factors and drives rather than considering genetics.
The second post was a bit difficult to understand, but the essential point, I believe, was that over the years, there have been many conflicting theories regarding the origins of developmental psychology. Many of the earlier theorists, according to the writer, were focused on rather simplistic ways of explaining social psychology and human development, whereas in modern times, there have been many innovations regarding the research that is conducted in the field of social psychology. The result has been studying larger samples, more diverse populations, and diversity in cultures of the subjects involved in the research, and that has been a positive development towards understanding the vastness and complexity of human behavior and its sources.
- MacLeod, S. (2015). Biological Psychology. Retrieved from Simply Psychology: http://www.simplypsychology.org/biological-psychology.html
- Matsumoto, D. (2007). Culture, Context, and Behavior. Journal of Personality, 1285-1320.
- Reis, H. T. (2010). How We Got Here from There: a Brief History of Social Psychology. In R. F. Baumeister & Eli J. Finkel, Advanced Social Psychology: the State of the Science (pp. 25-60). New York: Oxford University press.