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Man always seeks company. He is gregarious by nature. He always likes to be with the

other people. He mixes with different individuals and influence them with his own nature,

outlook, views and opinions and is himself influenced by their ideas and behaviour. Every man

tries for social approval. He behaves in such a way that the others may respect his individuality

and consider him as someone who counts. The man's social nature is the foundation of social

psychology. His interaction with other people and with other groups, his wish for social

approval, his attitude towards social groups, his quarrels with his neighbours, his fights with his

enemy, etc., etc., are all the subject-matter of social psychology. In fact we can say that social

psychology makes a study of man in his interaction with the society.

Social psychology is considered to be very modern. It will not be wrong to say that it is

ultra modern. It is a creature of the mid-twentieth century. But there is no doubt in it that much

earlier than that period in which social psychology took the form of a science, the political

philosophers were seeking an answer to the questions pertaining to the social nature of men.

In fact, we can say that the roots of social psychology are quite ancient while its development in

the present form is modern. Plato and Aristotle are the philosophers, who can be put, as social

theorists. Some other names of the important psychologists and philosophers, who have

contributed towards the development of social theory are these Hartley, Steinthal and Lazarus,

Tarde, Ross and Mcdougall. In the following paragraphs we will endeavour to throw some light

on the development of social psychology from the historical angle.


The development of social psychology is akin to the historical development of other

sciences. Whatever phases occur in the development of a particular science similar phases have

occurred in the development of social psychology. The first phase or the earliest phase in the

development of a science is the arm-chair phase. In this phase, the physical equipment is

absent: The thinker sits on an arm-chair and puts forward his theories regarding that particular

science. As a matter of fact, this phase is never given up in the development of social

psychology this phase is clearly marked.

After the first phase comes the second phase at which the observations are made, the

data is recorded and the theories which have been propounded at the first phase are tested.

The social psychology entered this phase even earlier than twentieth century. For example there

were tarried some early investigations with the man of genius to determine his origin and his

social function. In this connection Galtons name is prominent, who published in 1869 a book

Hereditary Genius. Besides Galton we can name Starbuch -who wrote Psychology of Religion in

1898, Lombrose who wrote Criminal Man- in 1889 and Myers, McDougall and Rivers.

In the third stage of the development of a science, laboratories are set up and research

institutes are founded. New research operations are conducted on a larger scale and are

continuous. In the field of social psychology, the earliest research programmes in social

behavior were carried on by those institutions whose primary interest was outside the social

psychology. For example, the child research institutes conducted quite a good number of

investigations in. the field of social development in childhood.


From Plato to Comte the theories concerned with the social nature of the man were based

on the theories of state. We may say that early social psychology was largely a branch of

political philosophy.

Views of Greek Thinkers

Plato and Aristotle were the first among the Western thinkers, who gave some very

interesting ideas regarding the social nature of man Plato in his book The Republic wrote that

the need of states is felt because the individual himself is not self-sufficient. He needs the help

of many other individuals. The State which emerges out with the help of different individuals is

based on the predominance of certain social sentiments. The social groups are formed because

man feels a need for them. We may put Platos views as, of the utilitarian or social contract


Aristotles views are different from Platos views. Aristotle consider that the will to mix up

or gregarious motive is something instinctive. He considers that man by nature is a political

animal. He feels that it is the basis of our inborn nature that we adhere to positive affiliations

and collective way of living.

Influence of Thinkers of Seventeenth Century

After viewing the developments of social Psychology in the ancient times we come down

to the seventeenth century in seventeenth century, we can name Male-Branche as an exponent

of social psychology. He indirectly mentioned in his writing the two tendencies of suggestibility

and imitation and about out the shared norms of thinking. Hobbes in his book Leviathan in

1651, tried to give a theory regarding the origin of the Society. Similarly John Locke in

Government made an effort to give a theory regarding the origin of society. Thomas Moore in

his book Utopia referred to the importance of the socialization of the individuals His emphasis

was on the group value of sympathy.

Development of Social Psychology in 18th & 19th Centuries

In the eighteenth and nineteenth Centur1es we can name David Hume, Bain Hegel Comte and

Mai as the exponents of social psychology Comte gave the famous Law of three stages . He

said that a science emerges gradually from the theological through the metaphysical into the

Positive stages of development. In 1839 Comte Concluded that sociology must be regarded as a

new Positive Science. Comte had put forward a very important question, How can the

individual be at once cause and consequence of society? The individual is a product of the

society yet the society is created by him. Man is not merely a biological organism but has

something more than this He is social being and moral agent who needs a special science to

explore and give interpretations to his nature. On the basis of these views, we may put Comte

as one of the founders of social Psychology.

But social psychology took the form of distinct science after Darwin's theory of evolution

has been propagated. In 1860 a journal, Folk Psychology", was started by Steinthal and

Lazarus." This Journal was devoted to the study of the psychological characteristics of different

racial groups. Tarde in 1890 in his book Laws of imitation laid much stress on the influence of

the social environment on the individual life. Le Bon in 1892 made an effort to explain crowd

behaviour. J. N. Baldwin in 1897 propagated the concepts of imitation, intervention and social

aspects of personality Charles Cooley made a study of the Primary groups like the family and

community and stressed their importance in the moral and social development of the



The Year I908 is notable. In that year E. A. ROSS gave a very convincing explanation of

the behaviour of crowd strikers and revolutionary mobs. He also paid attention to the

similarities which are found among groups in respect of religious behaviour and cultural

elements arid language patterns. In the same year McDougall gave his theory of social

behaviour. In this theory he gave an explanation of social behaviour on the basis of instincts

and emotions He considered that in social interaction, the instincts and emotions are dynamic


McDougall emphasized that one must study the impulses and emotions which sustain the

mental and bodily activity of the individual and regulate his conduct. He considered them as

the springs of human action. McDougall was of the opinion that mans mind is the product of

molding influences which are exerted upon the social environment.

After McDougall there was rapid development in the field of. Social psychology. There were

many who were in favor of McDougalls view regarding the instincts and emotions. But his

opposition also began to grow and social psychology began to take a new turn.

Social psychology has now progressed towards experimental side. Many experiments in

the field of social psychology are being conducted in U. K., U. S. A. and other advanced

countries. These experiments are being conducted in many directions. The fields, in which much

experimentation is being carried on are pertaining to the public opinion research, market

research and survey sample interviewing.


Special groups of techniques Psychodrama, Sociodrama and Sociometry are being

employed. The American Sociometric Society was founded in 1945. The research centres for

group dynamics were also founded in 1945 by Kurt Lewin.

By the middle of twentieth century experiment social psychology had gained much

ground. Lewin, Lippit and. White were the persons who introduced the conception of social

climates or group atmosphere. Following their historic experiments regarding the various types

of leaderships, which approximated authoritarian, democratic and laissez- faire, social

atmosphere in the experimental groups, the experiments in the group dynamics, group

structure, group decision and group cohesion, had begun to be conducted on a large scale.

We may say that the historical development of social psychology was based on the two

directional approaches of psychological and sociological interest. According to Newcomb:

The history of social psychology may be likened to the digging of a tunnel. Sociologists did

the first digging, starting from their own side of the mountain. Their information as to what lay

on the psychological side of the mountain was necessarily limited and was mainly applied by

way of speculation and analogy. The psychologists, who started burrowing somewhat later, had

a vague sense of direction, but no map of the terrain where they needed to emerge. These two

tunnels have been building for more than a half century now, and they are still, nowhere near

meeting. They are not even going toward each other. The two teams of engineers scarcely

bother to read each others maps, though they have free access to them."

It is to be remembered that the development of social psychology was to understand the

social behaviour. The social behaviour was studied in three stages. We will now describe these



From the historical perspective we can describe the study of social behaviour in three

stages. Each stage prompted the next stage and incorporated new knowledge in it. Today all

the three stages are actively involved in studying social behaviour.


The oldest stage of the study of social behaviour is that of social philosophy. At this stage

emphasis was laid on hypotheses and discussions because there was no attempt to obtain valid

information in a systematic manner. On the basis of authority r rationality the conclusions were

drawn. This stage is still active in the study of modern, human behaviour through the drawing

of conclusions on the basis of reasoning rather than on experimentation.

The second stage commenced since Nineteenth century. This is the stage of social

empiricism. This stage points towards the comprehensive study of human qualities and the

state of the human society. At this stage a systematic collection of data is encouraged. Thus this

stage advanced from the stage of discussion. Yet it continued to apply reasoning to social

problems. One illustration of this stage we can find in opinion poll. When we estimate that how

many individuals would vote in which direction in a given sample then we are at this stage. But

at this stage we do not try to find out why do individuals vote in a particular manner.

Social empiricism led to the third stage which we may call as the stage of Social Analysis.

This is the development of twentieth century and is very significant in the study of

contemporary social psychology.

At this stage the relationships are studied more deeply and the social principles, are

examined and established. The social analysis is directed towards causation. The data is

collected systematically and the causes are drawn from it. The main characteristic of this stage

is that it goes beyond the description stage to find out the relationships among variables. For

this experimentations are also done. For example, at this stage we do not confine ourselves to

the study of how the students behave while facing a strict teacher but also investigate why do

they behave in this particular manner. For seeking the answer to the question why we

experiment by producing an environment of strictness.

In the modern times investigations are carried on at all the three stages and also often in

one investigation all the three stages are more or less involved.


(1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s)

The Second World War (1939 to 1944) especially attracted the attention of investigators

towards social psychology. The social psychologists in the Forties made special studies of the

psychology of Prejudices, Propaganda, Rumours etc. The tyranny of the Nazis in Germany was

the main reason for developing interest in these and similar topics. The social psychologists

wanted to understand those characteristics of personality which make individuals vulnerable to

the acceptance of fascist viewpoint or similar other political views.

In the fifties the scope of investigations of social psychologists became more broad

based. Now the group behaviour became: the important subject of study. Another direction

which the investigations took was towards finding out the relationship of various personality

qualities (like achievement or need for social approval) with the social behaviour. Perhaps the

most significant contribution of this decade was the theory of Cognitive Dissonance propogated

by Festinger. Festinger emphaized that basically human beings do not like dissonance and

wherever or whenever dissonance occur they try to reduce it.

In the sixties there were more refinements in investigations in social psychology. The

researches were carried on cognitive dissonance with more sophistication but besides these,

studies in many other areas also began to be undertaken. The number of such areas is so vast

that we can not describe all of them in this brief historical survey. Still we can mention some of

those topics which were studied more deeply. These were Aggression and Violence, Attraction

and Love, Altruism and Helping, Social Exchange Imitation and Modelling, Group Decision

Making, Person Perception etc. We may emphasize herein that the area of investigation of social

psychologists became so vast that all the possible aspects of social behaviour which could be

thought of were included in its scope.

The pace of researches in the area of social psychology continued to be very rapid in the

decade of seventies In this decade there was increase in the number of researches and the

topics of -researches Better scientific approaches began to be employed in the investigations

and the results of the studies started having wider applications There was all round refinement

in the investigations now. The researches were conducted about the impact of heat, noise;

crowd, mob etc. on the social behaviour. This was one area of research of this decade.

A second important area in which much research work was done in .the seventies was

Attribution. The social Psychologists studied the process through which the motivations wishes,

desires and characteristics of the other persons are known This area is still the most significant

research area in which investigations are continuing in the nineties.

The third area in which the researches in the seventies were conducted was that of non-

verbal communication. In nineties this s also a significant field of research in which social

Psychologists are involved

The fourth area of investigations in seventies was the area of sexual behaviour. The

women studies were also began to be seriously undertaken in the seventies which continued to

gain attention in next two decades of eighties and nineties.

The emphasis in the decade, of seventies was on such investigations which have relevance

to the society and social life. Many intricate social problems began to be investigated in this


In the 80s the social psychologists were studying the social phenomena in the controlled

environment in the laboratories. But field studies were also given equal importance. In these

studies the social behaviour was investigated in the actual situation in which it occurred. For

example, in the actual school situation in which different type of teachers were serving the

impact of teacher behaviour on the discipline of the students or on the school climate was


The teacher or the worker burn out in the school or industrial situation have also been

investigated in the 80s and in the 90s. The teacher bum out refers to the tiredness,

exhaustion, boredom or a stressed existence of the teacher which impedes his normal function

of teaching. .

In the 90s the development of social psychology is taking place at a rapid pace. The

cultural influences of mental life of the individuals is one such significant area in which

researches from 50s onwards are seriously being undertaken. Leadership behaviour which was

studied in the early stages of the development of social psychology is still engaging the

attention of investigators who are now using much more sophisticated tools in such studies.

The space research has also involved the impact of loneliness on individual behaviour. The

social dimensions of life in space are being investigated.

Studies on terrorism, internal or external, have been undertake by many social

psychologists in the 80s and 90s.

In short at the threshold of twenty first century the researchers in social psychology are

taking interest in all those activities, processes and happenings which are altering the pace of

social life and are influencing the social behaviour of the individuals.


We have described the directions in which the researches in social psychology are taking

place in the nineties. Earlier in this chapter we have traced the development of social

psychology since the time of its earliest exponents. Now let us focus our attention on the

present position of social psychology.

We have already mentioned that the significance of social psychology was greatly

enhanced after the Second World War. The main reasons for this were the miseries caused by

the war and the killing of lakhs of people. The miseries of war and the plight of the orphans and

widows led the scholars towards the understanding of the causes of wars and the steps for

preventing them. They started investigating the social phenomena like Propaganda, Rumour,

Prejudice, International Relations, Mass Communication etc. Many studies were also conducted

on Aggression and Violence. The answer to the question "Is aggression hereditary was

explored by the researchers.

Some prominent social psychologists who contributed significantly in the development of

social psychology are as follows:

William White : He on the basis of his studies on children explained the process of social

interaction among them.

Theodore Newcomb : He studied the influence of Reference Group.

Asch : In 1951-52 studied the phenomenon of social conformity.

Sheriff and his associates conducted many studies on competition, cooperation etc.

Adorno and his associates investigated those personality traits which were responsible

for the acceptance of a political viewpoint without critically examining it.

Besides the above the work of Aronson, Bales, Berkowitz, Fiedler, Hovland, Milgram,

Raven, Festinger etc. also led to the growth of social psychology.

In this last decade of the twentieth century social psychology is showing tremendous

growth. Now it is being universally recognized that the society exerts very deep influence on the

human behaviour. To save the human beings from conflict or tension producing situations it is

necessary to understand the sociological tendencies of the man and the manner in which they

develop and influence the human behaviour. The psychologists are busy in developing such an


The investigations are now being conducted in the following directions

1. The influence of crowd, noise, temperature, pollution etc. on the human behaviour. The

investigations are interested in finding out the influence, of various elements in the environment

on the social behaviour pattern of the human beings.

2. Various aspects of Mass Communication such as the influence of TV programmes on

cultural development, the influence of information technology on social and individual life

patterns etc.

3. The various dimensions of sexual behaviour, sexual deviations and the -social life of

sexually deviants; relationship between crime and sexology; impotency and frigidity in social

context; attitudes towards birth control of different communities and religious groups.

4. Aggression, violence, altruism, segregation, social injustice. political corruption etc.

5. Social behaviour in space and space age.

6. Cross cultural studies.

7. In Indian situation there are many social problems about which investigations are either

being carried on or are being planned or there is simple awareness of these problems without

any concrete attempt towards- investigating them. Some of the existing problems are:

(i) Religious Fundamentalism.

(ii) Casteism and the behaviour towards socially deprived.

(iii) Cruelty towards women, status and position of women, dowry


(iv) Family disharmony, marital problems, divorce, abortion and their sociological implications.

(v) Obstacles in the development of democratic outlook.

(vi) Corruption, socio-psychological aspects of political corruption and nexus between

politician, criminal and police.

(vii) Role of bureaucracy in present social and political environment.

(viii) Population and birth control.

(ix) Problems of working women.

(x) Unemployment and its influence on social life.

(xi) National and industrial tensions.

(xii) Community life in slum and congested areas of towns.

(xiii) Problems of youth.

(xiv) Typical problems of old age and rehabilitation of the old.

(xv) Impact of violence and aggression on public life.

(xvi) Crime and criminal behaviour.



Social psychology is one of the most important branches of human knowledge. No doubt,

it is a new study but its real merit lies in its scope of tackling the multifarious problems with

which the individuals are confronted in their interaction with the society. Society, today, has

become quite complex From the simple group in which individuals were living on the basis of

some natural urges it has assumed very complex shape Today there are large number of groups

interacting with one another. There are various types of societies. There are various types of

social groupings like clubs associations and institutions. An individual can be a member of more

than one group of many societies, of many clubs and institutions or many associations. This

complexity of an individuals membership to various forms of social groupings have raised many

typical problems for the individual himself and for the social groupings of which he becomes a

member. To understand the mans conduct in his interaction with the various forms of groupings

it is essential that we study social, psychology.


Kimball Young says. Social Psychology is the study of persons in their interactions with one

another and with reference to the effects of this interplay upon the individuals thoughts,

feelings, emotions and habits. According to this definition social psychology deals with the

individuals interrelations with one another and it also studies the effects of individual

interactions with one another upon their own thoughts, feelings, emotions and habits. Thus we

can say that this definition seeks the roots of social psychology, mainly in Sociology and

Psychology. It must however, be remembered that in the development of this psychology,

history, political science, economics and philosophy have contributed much. These branches of

knowledge have also thrown much light on the interactions of men with one another.

Krech and Crutchfield in their book Social Psychology define Social Psychology as The

science of behaviour of the individual in society. According to this definition social psychology

is put as a science. It is considered as a science of behaviour of the individual in society. Krech

and Crutchfield consider that social psychology is the only science of society which is concerned

with Every aspect of the individuals behavior in society. Thus, in this definition whole

individual in his total behaviour with the society is the subject-matter of the study.

F. H. Allport in his book, Social Psychology defines it as Social Psychology is the study

of behaviour of individuals in their relations to other individuals and in social situation. In the

definition Allport has dealt with the study of behaviour of the individual in two-fold ways. He has

emphasised the relationship of individual with one another and also the individuals behaviour in

social situation. This definition deals not only with the behaviour of the individuals but with their

attitudes also. We can quote another definition by Klineberg who says that, Social Psychology

is the scientific study of behaviour of the individuals as related to other individuals. In this

definition scientific study of individuals behaviour in interaction with other individuals is


Another definition of Social Psychology is, Social Psychology is the study of the way in

which individuals are affected by social situation. (Stephen Worchel and Ted Cooper)

Fisher in 1982 defined Social Psychology, As the scientific study of how the behaviour of

an individual is influenced by and in turn influences the others in the social environment."

Sherif and Sherif consider that, Social Psychology is the scientific study of the experience

and behaviour of individual in relation to social stimulus situations."

Myers has defined Social Psychology as The scientific study of how people think about,

influence and relate to one another.

Feldman says that; Social Psychology is the discipline that examines how a persons

thoughts, feelings and actions are affected by others.

In all the above definitions, the study of the interaction of the individual with society has

been emphasised. Thus, all the above definitions point out that social psychology should be

defined as a science which is to study the psychology of the individual man, when he is

confronted with a social situation. Individual behaviour, when he will interact with the other

individuals will always be dependent on his own nature. But the social surroundings, social

setting and social situations will also be responsible to a great extent for his behaviour. Thus, to

understand what type of behaviour the individual will depict in social situations, the study of

individual psychology and sociology is essential. Hence any definition of social must include

both the psychological and sociological aspects of the individuals behavior. Thus, it can be said

that Social Psychology is scientific study of the behaviour of an individual when he comes in

contact with the other individuals or interacts with any social group or groups or is confronted

with some social situation in which he participates consciously or unconsciously.


Social Psychology in its nature is scientific. This is because it employs scientific techniques

in enhancing its knowledge. As in sciences it makes systematic observations and through direct

experimentations it studies social problems. It is true that in the study of this subject it does

not use the similar type of tools as are used in scientific subjects like physics or chemistry. But

the general techniques used in the study of Social Psychology are similar to those used in other


(* Detailed description of the scientific nature of Social Psychology given later.)


As explained above social psychology is a scientific study of an individual's experiences and

behaviour which occur in relationship with social stimulus situations. It describes the

relationship of the individual with the social environment. When we define social psychology as

the- study of the behaviour of an individual in relation to the behavior of other individual then

we are paying attention to the process of social interaction. The second person or other

individuals provide social stimulus. Hence the concept of social interaction depends on the

mutual influence of one person on another person or persons.


In a group there develop interpersonal relationships among the members of the group.

Every individual influences the others behaviour and thinking. For example in a family a

husband influences his wife and his wife influences him. The child influences parents and is

himself being influenced by them. Thus in a social group the people exert mutual influences

and this process is known as the process of social interaction. .

Young defines social interaction as follows:

Broadly defined interaction refers to the fact that the response gesture words, or gross

bodily movements of one individual is the stimulus of another, who in turn, responds to the


We may explain it in a simple manner as follows:


R1 (S2) R2 (S2)

whereas S1 is the stimulus of first individual

R1 is the response of the first individual

S2 is the stimulus of the second individual

R2 is the response of the second individual which becomes the stimulus to the first


Thus R1 represents the stimulus S2 & R2 to stimulus S1.

We can further clarify the implications of the above definition by an example. Let us take

the example of a social interaction between a child and his mother. The child is hungry. The

hunger is the stimulus (S1) of the first person. The child asks the mother, Mother give me

food. This is the response of the first person (R1). The mother replies, Food is not ready.

This is her response (R2). The stimulus for mothers response was R1. In the above schematic

diagram it is shown as R1(S2). The child after getting the mothers response that food is not

ready asks, Why is food not ready. This is shown as R2 (S1). This is in response to mother.

Thus mothers response becomes the stimulus to the child.

A simple definition of Social Interaction is given by Dawson & Gettys -


Social Interaction is a process whereby man interperietrates the minds of each other.

According to this definition the social interaction is a mental process which establish

mental relationships among different persons. In social interactions the members of a group

influence each other.


Three types of social interactions can be described -

(1) Person to Person

(2) Person to Group

(3) Group to Group

(1) Person to Person - In this type of interaction only a few persons are involved. When the

relationships are established between a person and one or two other persons it is person to

person interaction. A mother's relationship with her son or a husband's relationship with his wife

are the examples of person to person interaction. We may say that in person to person social

interaction inter personal relationship is established. Such interactions are very common in our

everyday life.

2. Person to Group - When an individual comes in contact with a group and interacts with it

the person to group type of social interaction takes place. These type of interactions occur when

the individual gets stimulus from the group and he responds to it. An individual establishes

relationships with his family, neighbourhood, community, caste and religion. These relationships

form the foundation of his personality. The family, neighbourhood and community etc. are

mostly responsible for the development of his personality.

3. Group to Group- In group to group interactions Kuppuswami says. Individual identifies

himself with a group and reacts to another group as a whole.

The examples of this type of interactions are those that occur between the residents of

two villages or the relationships between different caste groups in the same village or the

relationships between the resident of two nations. The social psychology studies all the three

types of interactions but it must be remembered that the individual is the unit of analysis in

social interaction.


In 1924 Floyd Allport defined Social Psychology "as the scientific study of the experience

and behaviour of individuals in relation to other individual, group and culture."

In this definition the three levels of social interactions are described 1aking the individual

as the central figure.

(i) Person with other persons. .

(ii) Person, with collectivity which is like a, group.

(iii) Person with the consequences of the behaviour of other individuals (with culture).

(1) Person with other PersonsThe broad field of human behaviour is the social

interaction of one person with another person. The social interactions take place in the presence

Of more than one person.. The individuals perceive each other, are mutually attracted and

influence each other.

This level of behaviour is visible in the case of Interpersonal, perception friendship, social

power social reinforcement etc.

(ii) Person with CollectivityThe second important level of human social behaviour is the

relationship of the individual with collectivity or group. The individual establishes his own states

in the group and plays a definite role. His behaviour may be influenced by

the group He may interact with those groups whose member he is as well a with those groups

whose membership he does not hold.

(iii) Person with CultureThe third important level of human behaviour is the mutual

exchange of ideas between one individual and many of the products of behaviour of the groups.

These products appear in the form of culture of the society. In one respect the culture may be

considered as a residue of human behaviour. In culture there are included such material objects

as arms, instruments, arte-facts etc. which are known as material culture and also such

abstract objects as traditions, customs, laws, values etc. which are known as non-material


If we consider these three levels of human behaviour in a unified form then we can say

that there is hardly any situation which can be described as unsocial.


The definitions of social psychology clearly, show that it is a science which has quite a

wide scope. It deals with the individuals and also deals with the society. The problems with

which individual is confronted when he comes in contact with the other individuals or with the

social situations form the subject-matter of social psychology. Below we are dealing with the

problems of social psychology.

1 Study of Socialisation

The child as soon as he comes to this world finds himself in a social situation He is born to

a woman and is fathered by a man both of whom- take care of him as soon as he sees the light

of the first day. As he begins to grow, the, other individuals come in his contact and the process

of his socialisation extends from his parents to others: How this socialisation takes place is one

of the most important problems of social psychology.

It may however, be remembered that the child at birth is not like a clean slate. He is born

with certain native endowments: He comes to this world with some abilities, capacities,

aptitudes, urges and impulses. These native endowments play an important role in the process

of his socialization. This means that the child is governed to quite an appreciable extent by his

own individual endowment in his behaviour with the other individuals. Thus, to understand the

process of his socialization the understanding of his nature is a1so essential. Hence, second

problem of Social Psychology is with respect to the individuals nature and process of

socialization. Under these two main problems; there are many subsidiary problems which we

may now consider.

2. Study of Innate Tendencies


The social psychologist has to make a study of the endowment with which a child is born

into this world. He will also have to make a study of the problems relating to the modification of

the individuals inborn traits under the effect of environment. He will have to tackle the problem

of individuals becoming easily suggestible. The imitation sympathy, emotion etc. affect

differently the different individuals and how do they do so are the other problems which will

need his attention.

3. Study of Social Interaction

In whatever way the individual acts, his behaviour is bound to affect the other individuals.

The child is affected by the behaviour of his parents and other family members and they also in

turn are affected by his behaviour. How this interaction of one individual with the other takes

place and what forces govern it, are the other problems of social psychology. The individual will

behave differently with the different individuals and with different social groups. Why are

different behavioural responses shown by different individuals in similar social settings are also

the problems of social psychology.

4. Study of Group Behaviour

There are various types of social groups. Each social group entails different types of

behavioural responses from individuals. To a great extent, the individuals behaviour will be

different in different social groups. For example, you will behave differently when you are in a

crowd from that when you are in the company of your family members. Thus, the problems

dealing with the various types of groups are also important for a social psychologist.

5. Study of Social Heritage

As the individual inherits certain abilities and capacities. certain impulses and emotions

and certain physical and mental characteristics. so also the group or the society inherits certain

customs and traditions certain ideals and practices and certain institutions and moral norms.

The social inheritance is very important for the integration in society. The society is made

stable as its social inheritance becomes richer. The social inheritance affects the individuals who

are the members of that particular society. Individuals behaviours in social situations are very

greatly governed by the social heritage of the society. The individuals are bound by the moral

laws of the society. They are motivated for action for up keeping the traditions of the society.

Their behaviour in society is very much governed by its social customs. Hence, a social

psychologist has also to study the various aspects of social heritage. He has to deal with the

problems concerning the formation of the traditions, customs, social norms social ideals and

moral conduct etc. The study of these aspects of the social heritage will help him in tackling the

problems relating to the individuals behaviours in the society. The study of social heredity,

therefore, comes within the scope of social psychology.

6. Study of Influence of Culture on Personality

The social situations affect the personality of the individuals. As a matter of fact the

personality of an individual develops in keeping with the social surroundings around him. The

social groups affect the personality of the individual in one way or the other. Through the

interaction of the individual with society, his personality begins to grow in a definite direction.

How the personality grows in different social surrounding is one of the very important problems

of social psychology. .Thus, the study of personality as moulded by social cultural factors in the

individuals environment come under the scope of social psychology.

7 Study of Social Change

The society is never static. It is dynamic. It is always changing. The social changes are

brought about by the individuals, and when are introduced in any society they affect the

personalities of all the members of the society. For example, in Indian society the untouchables

were looked down upon. But through the efforts of great reformers like Mahatma Gandhi, the

untouchables were given a better social status. A social change was brought about in the Hindu

society and this change began to influence a number of members of this society. The

untouchables began to command self-respect and the Hindus began to consider them as human

beings who were to be given a status equal to all others. However, it must be remembered that

the process of such type of social change is not very smooth. At each stage of the change there

occur conflicts and it requires great courage on the part of those who initiate the social reforms

in the socirty. How does the social changes take place ? What type of conflicts in the members

of the society these changes initiate? How the personalities of the individuals comprising the

society are being affected by the social changes or social reforms ? These are some other

problems which need a careful study by a social psychologist. Hence, we may also include the

study of social change and the effect of cultural pattern, on the personalities of the members of

a society within the scope of social psychology.

8. Experimental Study of Behaviour Problems in Social Situations

The social psychology in not only theoretical. Its greater use lies in its application to the

practical problems concerning the behaviour of the individuals in the social situations. The

problems concerning the leading of the best possible life in the society by its members are the

typical problems of social psychology. We want to have better society and better individual. We

want that the people may live in harmony with each other. We want that the people may lead a

healthy moral life. How these things can be achieved, depends upon the study of the theoretical

and practical aspects of social psychology. A social psychologist will have to study the basis of

different attitudes of different individuals towards the same ideals or principles or things He will

have to make a scientific study of group differences, prejudices and attitude.

9. Study of Social Tension

The task of the social psychologist is to help in reducing the tensions among the people of

the different countries arid different races. He will have to understand the psychology of war

and peace For this purpose. Besides this he will have to find out how the public opinion is

formed, what role propaganda plays in its formation and how the opinions govern the social life

of the people. Hence, in the scope of social psychology we can include the study of attitudes,

prejudices, public opinions, propaganda and psychology of war and peace.

In brief, we may put the following problems under the scope of social psychology:

1. The problems of socialisation.


2. The problems concerning the social heritage as it influences the behaviour of individuals in

social situations.

3. The problems concerning the social interaction which influence the individuals behaviour

in social situations.

4. The problems relating to the group behaviour.

5. The problems related to social heritage.

. The problems relating to the impact of culture upon personality.

7. The problems relating to the social change.

. The problems relating to putting of .the theoretical knowledge of social psychology into practical

use so that better social living may be organised.

9. The problems related to social tensions.


Taking into consideration the above mentioned problem of social psychology we may

consider the following topics under the scope of social psychology.

1 Socialisation of the ChildThe study of the process of socialisation is an important topic

of social psychology.

2 Social MotivationWhat do we mean by social motivation? What are its influences on

individual behaviour? These are some of the problems which are included in the scope of social

psychology? 3. Attitudes and their MeasurementIn the study of social psychology the

attitudestheir definition socia1-attitudes the development and measurement of attitudes are


4 Social Interaction To understand social behaviour it s essential to understand the

nature of social interactions It is because

of its importance that social interactions fall under the scope of social psychology.

5 Social PerceptionOur perceptions are influenced by the perceptions of others. How

and why we are influenced by the other's perceptions? To understand these and similar

problems the study of social perceptions is made Along with social perception we also study

person perception.

6 Social LearningThe learning of an individual is very greatly influenced by social

environment Some of the learning takes place on the basis of individuals capabilities and much

of it takes place because of the association of the individual with the society.

7. Culture and PersonalityEvery society has its own culture. It influences the members

of the society. The study of these influences provide us much information about the

developmental process of the


8 Language and CommunicationIn the scope of social psychology the topic of language

and communication is also included. We are in contact with others through language. The

language helps us in communication of our thoughts. But communication can also be non-

verbal. Our facial expressions, eye contacts, movements of hands and feet convey many of our

messages to the others. Hence the problems of language and communication need careful and

deep study.

9. Group Structure, Group Morale, Group Decision and LeadershipThe understanding

of the formation of groups and the influence of groups on individual behaviour is essential for

finding the solutions of social problems. Hence the topics like group structure etc. come under

the scope of social psychology.

10. Public Opinion, Propaganda & RumourThe formation of public opinion, the influence

of propaganda on individual and social behaviour and the psychological aspects of rumour are

all very important topics of social psychology.

11. Social ChangeIn every society there is social change do we mean by social change?

When does it take place? What are the factors and dimensions of social change? Why do some

societies strongly resist any reforms or progressive outlook ? These are unique problems on

which social psychologist conduct many of their investigations.

12. Prejudices, Stereotypes and Social Tensions


In every society there are some disruptive elements. These create social tension. Some

such elements are prejudices and stereotypes. The study of these elements or factors lead us

towards an understanding of disruptions in the society and the social tensions.

13 Altruism, Aggressiveness, Cooperation and CompetitionAltruism means helping an

individual without any hope for reciprocity. Aggressiveness refers to that behavior which harms

or injures the others. Cooperation is working together by two or more individuals. In

competitive behaviour the individuals try to push ahead of others. These four are social

behaviours which have their own specificity and are adopted in special situations. The social

psychologist want to understand the various aspects of such behaviours so that they can know

the importance of these in social behaviour.

14. International Tensions and Industrial Conflicts Modern social psychologists are

conducting investigations for finding the cause of social tensions. They are concerned with the

problems of war and peace terrorism at national and international levels and the industrial

disputes and disharmony in labour-management relationships. All these are being studied so

that there may be refinement in social life patterns.

15. Applications of Social Psychology in Education Business, Military, National Affairs

etc.The knowledge of social psychology is now being widely used in various activities. Its

application in Education, Business etc. have benefitted both itself and those branches of

knowledge or the social activities which make use of its knowledge. Hence now under the scope

of social psychology are included its application in various fields.


Social psychology is an important study. It is important because of the following reasons :

1. Social Psychology touches one of the most fundamental aspect of human living. We know

that man seeks the company of others. He has a desire to live a life of ease in association with

other individuals. Social psychology tells him the ways which may help him to lead a useful and

healthy life in the society.

2. The better integrated a society is the less chances of conflicts will be there. The social

psychology points out the ways for the integration in society. It makes a study of different types

of groups. It emphasises that those groups have a better chance of survival which have a better

organisation. Thus, for the stability in the society and for avoiding conflicts among the various

members of the society, the study of social psychology is important.

3. There are certain individuals in the society who indulge in anti-social behaviour. Social

psychology makes a study of such individuals and enlists the reasons for their anti-social

behaviour. This knowledge helps us in dealing effectively with anti-social elements in the

society. Thus, to rid the society of anti-social elements, the study of social psychology is


4. The social psychology also makes a study of the individuals innate endowments. It also

studies the effect of culture on the personalities of the individuals. Both of these knowledge

help us in organising better social situation in which the personality of all the members of the

society will grow in right directions.

5. The importance of social psychology in the present times is very great. To avoid war and

to obtain peace, we have to understand the basis of racial prejudices, the group differences, the

national malaise and the economic and political conditions prevalent in various societies. We get

the knowledge of these things by studying social psychology.

6. Today, the society has become very much industrialized. With the rapid industralization,

the complexion of the society has also changed. The easy going life of a farmer is changed to

the fast moving life of an industrial worker. The result of the change is that old social value

social norms and social ideals have been dispensed with and in their place new values, new

norms and new ideals have been put forward. The social psychology makes a study of social

change and makes us understand the differences between values, norms and ideals in the past

and present. This knowledge helps us in our adjustment in a better manner to the changing

social situations.

7. In today's India, social psychology has a very important role to play. This country is at

such a juncture that the old values are changing and the new ones are slowly and gradually

taking their place. This process of change is however, not smooth. The country was very

backward in the pre-independence days. Today, there is an all round progress. But the progress

in industrialization and in technological and scientific developments is much more rapid than:

the progress in, sociological sphere. The result of this is that on our social life such demands are

being made for which we are no prepared. This lead to the emergence of conflicts. For example.

the old customs of marriage in the Hindu society have no place today in the era of rapid

industrialization. The dowry is outdated. The marriage festivities now cannot last for many days

as the people are busy and cannot afford to take long leave from their work. But still some

people especially of older generation, who want to stick to the old customs, find the themselves

misfit in the modern times. The study of social psychology informs us about this disparity

between the pace of social and industrial progress and thus equips us in a better manner for

proper social growth of our people.

8. Besides social developments, the political development can also take place on proper lines

by making a study of social psychology. In our country the form of Government is democratic.

But the people do not understand the significance of their votes. They often choose their

representatives not on the basis of their qualities of head and heart but on the basis of some

other considerations like caste community, religion and personals prejudices. The study of social

psychology informs us how the public opinions are formed, what are the qualities a leader how

propaganda plays an important role in elections and how can the electorate be educated.

9. The social psychology can also help in the removal of international tensions. The

international tensions are often the result of religious, social, political or economic differences

among the people of various nationalities. Students of social psychology can probe into

the differences which exist or may exist between the people of different nations. They can

understand the causes of such differences and can help in the solution of the problems,

connected with the international tensions. The people can be taught to tolerate others. They

can be made to see the merits in respecting the national sentiments of the people of the other


10. The knowledge of social psychology is also helpful in the industrial situations. The social

psychology can tell us how better relations can be promoted between the labourers and

millowners. The millowners can be made to realise the view-point of labourers and also the

labourers can be encouraged to produce more. The social psychology also throws light on the

formation of labour unions and indicates the directions in which these Unions can have better

relationships with the millowners. Besides this, the knowledge of the propaganda techniques

help the salesmen in selling their wares.

11. Social psychology is also important, because it studies the mental processes as they

manifest themselves in social situations. Thus this psychology studies the many mental

processes studied in concrete form. The general psychology studies sensation, perception,

motivation etc. in an abstract manner. The social psychology studies these processes in

concrete form.

12. Many of our abnormalities have social background. For example, it is on account of social

taboo that the individuals are forced to suppress many of their desires, feelings and wishes

These suppressed desires etc. develop in them certain mal -adjustments of personality. Social

psychology throws light on the social conduct, social norms and tries to explain the causes of

certain abnormal behaviour of-individuals. Hence, its study is important from this point of view


In the end, we may say that this subject is to be very carefully studied in our country. We

can never attain true democratic living un1ess and until we understand the socialisation

processes, which predominate in different types of communities in our country. We will have to

make a study of the mental conditions prevalent in various types of societies of our country and

then only we will be able to attain an integration between the different communities which go to

make out nation.


There are some people who are opposed to the study of social psychology. They say that social

psychology studies the social behaviour only. It is a sort of descriptive study. This study can

only tell us as to how the individuals behave in society, but it cannot equip us to predict the

future social behaviour of any individual in a particular social setting. This means that this

psychology is not at all helpful in pointing out that under such circumstances the individuals will

behave in such a manner. It is just possible that the individuals may behave entirely in a

reverse manner from what has been observed previously in particular social situations. Thus,

this psychology will not be a help in the formation of a better society and will not promote the

better understanding among the different people.

The above objections though they look to be quite forceful are not correct. Social psychology

has today gained much importance as an experimental science. It studies the social behaviour

in man different situations. Such knowledge will always be helpful in understanding human

nature and human behaviour in society. This may not help perfectly in predicting social

behaviour of individuals in a given situation. But it will definitely point out those directions in

which we can expect the individuals to behave. The study of social psychology will throw light

on prejudices and this knowledge will help us in attaining better relations in society.


Social psychology is a science in the sense that it makes the general assumptions and

adopts the same methods as other empirical sciences make and adopt." Every science has its

major goal as understanding. Social psychology also rays emphasis on understanding. It is true

that when there will be proper understanding then an effective control can be applied Also when

there will be an accuracy in prediction there will be an effective check on understanding. Thus

the three main ideals before a scientist are understanding, prediction and control. In the study

of social psychology all these three ideals are applicable. Here to explain what we mean by the

above statement will give one example from an empirical science and one from social


Let us take an example from the empirical science namely physics A physicist through

experiments know that when electric current is passed through a narrow wire it is heated up

due to resistance. This understanding of the heating effect of the current on the basis of many

experiments enables him to predict that on any future occasion the electric current will, pass

through a thin wire, it will be heated up. His understanding of the situation, in which the wire

will be heated up to the red-hot position or white-hot position enable him to control the

conditions in which the wire can be heated up to a particular limit. Thus, the understanding of

the heating effect of the current, the control of condition, in which the wire will be heated up to

the white-hot position, and -his ability to predict the limit to which the wire will be heated up in

the particular circumstances has led him to invent the electric bulb. This process of invention

we clearly put in the category of-science.

Now, taking an example from social psychology, we can say that this subject also makes

an effort to adopt the above-mentioned processes of a typical scientific study in order to make

the discoveries regarding the behaviour of the individual in society. A social psychologist

observes that on the roadside a crowd has been formed. He tries to understand why, the crowd

has been formed and how the individuals behave in it. His understanding will help him in the

prediction of the formation of the crowds on the future occasions and this understanding will

also help him to have a control over the conditions which go to form a crowd. Hence, the social

psychologist discovers the behaviour of the individuals in a crowd by adopting, the method of

scientific invention.

However, it must be remembered that unless and until there is a proper understanding,

the control and prediction are not possible. Everyone of u must have seen an electric bulb, but

unless we understand clearly how the wire is heated up, we can never be able to predict that in

what conditions the heating up of the wire at future occasions will, take place nor will we be

able to control the conditions so that the wire may be heated up to the white hot position to

give the light. Similarly, when a politician, who does not understand the masses at all, tries to

control the situations of mass behaviour and makes an effort to predict the behaviour of the

public he will fail in his efforts. He may control and predict correctly at one or the other time but

without understanding his knowledge of social psychology will be just like that of a labourer

who works in an electric bulb factory. The main reason for the failure of the politician will be

that his scientific understanding of behaviour will- be very nearer. Hence, we have no,

inhibitions in saying that the study of social psychology can only be successful, in those cases

where it applies the scientific methods in making its discoveries.

Though social psychology is a science yet it is different from the natural sciences.

According to the opinion of Seligman: "that from the very beginning the sciences are divided in

those which deals with the phenomena of physical nature and those sciences which deal with

the phenomena of mind. This means that the natural sciences are concerned with the physical

nature and the mental or cultural sciences deal with the mental aspects of the man. Thus, the

internal processes of the man which are controlled and initiated by the mind come under the

head of mental sciences. The mental sciences can also be divided into two. The first type of

sciences are those which the study of man in isolation from his companions and the e of

sciences are those, which study man in- his relationship with a group or a society. The second

type of sciences are known as social sciences. Seligman defines social sciences as those

mental or cultural sciences which deal with the activities of individuals as a member of a group.

Among all the social sciences only social psychology is such a science which deals primarily with

the whole individual. Social sciences like Economics Political Science, Sociology etc., make a

study, of the structure and function of social organisations. They also study the institutional

behaviour which is displayed by the people when they are within the confines and forms of

specific institutions Krech and Crutchfield say that Social Psychology on the other hand, is

concerned with every aspect of the individuals behaviour in society.

Today, there is no denying of the fact that social psychology is a science because now it is

based on experimental findings. Today, a social psychologist does not form his opinion on mere

assumptions. He does not believe in anything unless it is tested on the anvil of a number of

investigations. For example, to explain why a leader can would crowd in any way he likes, a

social Psychologist will not his merely on one of his observations. He will study the phenomena

in a number of similar situations. Then he will form hypothesis. He will further test this

hypothesis by analysing it on the bases of the data which will be collected by social survey,

When he the hypothesis to be true in the light of the, data collected he the hypothesis as

proper, This method by which the subject-matter of the social Psychology is collected is the

same as is employed a natural scientist to discover and invent.


We can understand the problems of social psychology in a much better manner if we

understand its relationship with the other social sciences.

Social Psychology and General Psychology

The social psychology is quite intimately related with the general psychology. General

psychology makes a study of the individual behaviour. It studies the individual without making

any reference to the social environment. On the other hand, social psychology studies the social

behaviour of the individual. But it is perfectly clear that individual behaviour in the society

cannot be studied unless and -- thorough study of the individuals behaviour in general is made

and so also general behaviour has no meaning unless and until it is study in social context.

Thus, we can say the psychology is not very much different from the general psychology.

We can very easily establish the dependence of one psychology upon the other by taking

into consideration the following points

. The social psychology has its main purpose the establishment of universal laws of the social

behaviour of the individual. This can be achieved only if we can make a study of the individuals

general behaviour in social situation. We must know how from birth to death the individuals

processes of socialisation progress. We have to find out how he gets sense-stimuli from his

social environment, ho perceives environment and how he reacts to it. The process sensation,

perception, motivation are to be clearly understood understanding the above things. These

processes naturally form of subject-matter of the general psychology. Thus without the

knowledge of general psychology, the knowledge of social psychology cannot be attained.

. Secondly, the identity between general psychology and social psychology is on account of the

fact that both must make a study of the behaviour of an individual as a social being. We cannot

make study of the behaviour of an individual without taking into consider the social setting in

which he is placed. When we study how the is getting perceptions, using intelligence learning

an- activity exploring a new situation, we are actually studying the individuals the situations in

which he is or will be or has been influenced b social surroundings. Thus the study of behaviour

of the man in isolation is not possible. Whether we are studying his behaviour in the light social

psychology or in the light of general psychology, we are study him as a social being. Thus, the

two psychologies look to be more less identical.

. We have defined social psychology as the scientific study the individual's behaviour in the social

situation or the social field our study of general psychology, we do not refer to the social

situation at all. But if we will look deeply into the meaning of the social field, we will find that

for all practical purposes the individual will always be confronted with the social situation or he

will always be in some social arena. For all practical purposes there is no distinction between

social and non-social fields. Whatever is the situation it is in some way social. For example,

even when you are alone and doing something you are aware of the fact that there are others

around you. Even when you have no relations or friends and you are perfectly alone in the

world the satisfaction of your bare needs of subsistence influence the others and also you

socially. Thus, to think of a situation which is entirely devoid of all the social elements may be

theoretically possible but is not prctica1ly feasible. This clearly shows that the fields of social

and general psychology overlap each other.


. Social Psychology and Sociology

Social psychology has also very intimate relationship with sociology. Sociology makes a study

of the group. This subject makes a scientific study of social organisation and group behaviour as

distinct from the behaviour of the individuals in the group. It studies how the groups are

organized and what are their structures. Thus, it is more or less concerned with the study of the

group in its various aspects. The social psychology also makes study of the groups with respect

to the behaviour of the individuals in them. Thus, both the sciences study the group but from

different angles. However, it can be said with full confidence that social psychology cannot be

studied properly unless until it fries to understand the organisation and structure of the group

etc. that is, unless it seeks the aid of sociology. On the other hand, the formation of groups,

their developments, the discipline it imposes on its members and demands for compliance it

makes can be understood unless the behaviour of the individuals in group is studied that is the

help of social psychology is sought. We may clarify the point which we have just now made

regarding the dependence of both the sciences on each other by referring to the following


. A sociologist studies how the societies are formed, what type of structure these societies have,

how these societies form larger wholes or larger societies or smaller units or smaller societies.

For example, the sociologist will make a study of the urban or rural society of their composition:

and the patterns of behaviour of the members of the society. The social psychologist also

studies the human nature and behaviour in these type of societies. Thus, there is not a very

great difference between these sciences. It is clear that a social psychologist will not be able to

understand the human nature and behaviour unless he studies the structure, organisation and

culture of societies.

. When any social science after studying the problems of societies proceeds further then it

becomes sociology. In sociology, all those aspects of individuals behaviour are studied which

create problems for the group. In social psychology, the individual behaviour is studied as it is

depicted in group. Thus, we may clearly see that there is a clear overlapping between the

subject-matter of psychology and sociology. This overlapping is sometimes so much in quantity

that we consider social psychology and sociology as two aspects of one science. But here we

must note that both the sciences overlap to a certain limit only. Beyond that limit both the

sciences begin to differ from each other. The sociology studies the individual to the limit that it

helps in the understanding of the society. In the field of social psychology, we study, all the

aspects of behaviour of the individual in society. We are not much concerned in the study of

social psychology with a direct understanding of the nature, structure, functions, objectives etc.

bf various social groups. Thus, more or less the viewpoint of sociology is social, while that of

social psychology is individualistic.

The sociology is also related to social psychology in another way. The sociology after making a

study of social groups tries to understand the different type of social behviours of- different

individuals in same, or different groups. But this then becomes the problem of social

psychology. The internal reasons of the individual behaviour in society are studied by social


. Social Psychology and Cultural Anthropology

The social psychology is also quite closely related with anthropology. According to Wissler, the

psychology studies the behaviour of the individual while cultural anthropology studies group

behaviour. According to this view it may be said that tultural anthropology is not concerned with

the individuals. But sometimes, it so happens that cultural anthropology has also to make a

study of individuals and then this study becomes a part of general psychology. Many studies

which have been conducted for the investigations in different pattern of cultures have also

contributed to the development of social psychology. In this connection, we may mention the

studies conducted by Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, etc. In these studies man primitive

cultures were thoroughly studied. The details of the folk ways, moral notions, customs, family

relationship, ways of educating young children, religious beliefs, ideals, values etc. were

thoroughly enquired into. On the basis of these investigations, it has been established that the

human motives, leaving only a few like hunger thirst, sex, protection etc. are different in

different cultures. Thus, from anthropological studies our attention is directed towards many of

those problems which the social psychology has to face.

The cultural anthropology when it makes a study of different cultures clearly informs us that

human beings differ in their outlooks in different cultures. For example, the values and ideals

which one considers precious in Hindu culture and which motivate most of the actions of a

Hindu may not at all appeal to a Muslim or Christian individual. Hindus consider widow

remarriage as sin and widows are usually looked down upon while in other cultures widow

remarriages are accepted as a matter of fact and so the people of those cultures are motivated

in a different way in their relations with widows than the Hindus. All these details of motivating

forces in varying cultures e get through the study of cultural we get through the study of culture

anthropology and when we extend this understanding further to the understanding of the

individual bahviour as a whole in different cultures we easily enter from the field of cultural

anthropology to the field of social psychology.

. Biology, Physiology and Social Psychology

Biology and Physiology are also related to Social Psychology. Biology studies heredity It

also tells us how an organism develops from a tiny embryo to a full grown up individual. It

gives us the details of the beginning of life. In this way it is more of less concerned with the

individual in the process of his development but it is to be remembered that as soon as the

conception takes a child is in the making his social environment is ready made around him. 0n

the other hand, as soon the conception takes place the purely biological phenomena begins of

effect the social life of the parents. The parents begin to prepare themselves to receive the child

in the world It may also be noted that the pregnant mother is given extra care by the other

members in her xial group She all the time feels that something new is going to open to her

and this feeling definitely affects her social behaviour it is in this respect that the study of

biology is linked with the study of social psychology.

After the birth of the child two forces govern his social behaviour the heredity and the

environment. The details of with what endowments the child is born are provided by the study

of biology. On the other hand, his behaviour in the environment is studied by social psychology.

But the social behaviour in the environment is based to a great extent on the innate forces with

which the child is born.

Thus, to understand the basis, of the social behaviour of the child the study of biology is

also essential.

Just as the biology is, important in the understanding of the sod behaviour of the

individual so also is physiology. The famous physioIog Bard has come to the conclusion that

emotional activity is mediated Hypothalamus. Similar are the conclusions of many other

physiologist who have tried to search out the physiological reasons of emotions. The emotions

govern to a great extent the behaviour of the individuals in the society. Thus, social psychology

in its study will have to understand the physiology of emotions etc. Arid then only it will be in a

position understand the individual behaviour.

. Social Psychology and Abnormal Psychology

The social psychology depends to a very great extent on abnormal psychology for

understanding the abnormal or anti-social behaviour individuals. The abnormal behaviour of the

individual, many a times, is a consequence of brain injury, alcoholism, syphilis and diseases

Thus, if one individual behaves in an abnormal or anti-social manner then the real cause of his

such behaviour can be found with the help of abnormal psychology. .

The study of social psychology is also helpful in the study d abnormal psychology. Many of

the abnormalities of the behaviour mal have social origin. They may be dependent on the

culture which prevalent in the society of which the individual is a member. For example, in a

culture ridden with wealth phobia the neurotics will be found to be suffering from over ambition

towards the money. In a culture where celibacy is overemphasised the individual might be

found to be suffering from sex-phobia.

. Social Psychology and Ethics

Ethics is a normative science. It is a science which deals with the order and control of the

individual behaviour. Psychology is on the other hand, a science which studies the behaviour as

it is. The ethics forms the norms pertaining to good or bad behaviour. How these norms affect

the individual behaviour in society is the subject-matter of social psychology Thus, we can

clearly see the dependence of one on the other.

The ethical norms are formed in relation to the society. The different societies have

different codes of conduct or norms. of behaviour. The social organisation, customs and

traditions etc. of a society influence they formation of norms in that society; How these norms

are formed and how the individual behaves in the light of these norms in social situations are

the problems of social psychology. On the other hand, the prob1ems of ethics are pertaining to

the prevalence of different types of norms in different societies.

7. Social Psychology and Economics

Economics deals with earning and spending of money. This science makes a study of

productivity, trade, distribution of money etc. All e subject-matters of Economics, are

dependent on the co-operation of the people. The productivity, the trade, the home economics,

the expenditure, the currency, the inflation and the deflation are all dependent on the

individuals behaviour. When men labour hard and work in co-operation then the productivity is

higher, on the other productivity diminishes when there is discontent. If you do not pay

attention to the individuals then all the laws of economics are of no value. As a matter of fact,

laws of economics are framed with reference to the individuals living in the society. The social

psychology also deals with the individuals living in the society. Thus, each of these sciences

influence each other.

If we look deeply into the economic principles we will find that the important ones are

based on psychological principles. When will and Bentham propagated their economic policy of

individualism then its, basis was the famous psychological principle of Hedonism. Hedonism

tells us that man always makes an effort to get pleasure d he always, tries to avoid pain. This

principle is also applicable in economics. Man follows those aspects of individual economics

which him maximum pleasure and try to avoid those which give him-- Similarly, we can say

that Karl Marx has based his theory of Marxism on the psychological principle that man first of

all tries to fill its stomach and whole of his life pattern is motivated by the. satisfaction of his

economic needs.

Many of the economic problems are also the problems of social psychology. For example,

if we want to know why there are strikes in he mills, why the sales of a particular thing are low,

how the advertisement can be effective, how the labour can be satisfied, how he things can be

stopped from becoming dear, we will have to understand the group behaviour of the individuals

and the nature and he aspiration of those individuals who are responsible for creating these


In many respects the understanding of many problems of social psychology is facilitated

by studying the economic conditions of the people and the economic principles applicable in the

group. For example, it is a common law of economics that if there is employment and poverty in

any society the crimes will increase in it. Now if a social psychologist finds in a group an

increase in crime he will first of all make a study of economic conditions of the member of that

group. Most often find that the abnormal behaviour of the criminal behaviour of the individuals

is a direct result of the economic conditions Hence, we can very easily say that soon psychology

and economics are interrelated.

8. Social Psychology and Political Science

Political science is mainly concerned with the Administration and Government of different

nations. It studies the constitutions of countries. It probes into the nature of the Government. It

deals with the rights and duties of the citizens. But the constitutions are n the people the

governments are run by individuals and the right duties. are taken into consideration with

respect to the people a particular nation. This clearly shows that the study of the nature is of

great importance in understanding political, science. means that the social psychology is of

great help in understand political, principles.

Many of the problems of social psychology and political science are common. For example,

both of these sciences study how the opinions are formed how the electorate is guided by

propagate what are the traits, of leadership, how the group leaders control. Emotions and

passions of the people how the group mind is fon and why the wars are fought.

However it must be remembered that these sciences also d from one another in many

respects The political science studies those group activities which deal with, the formation of

laws organisation of Government while the social psychology studies aspect of the individual

behaviour in the society. The social psycho is much more concerned with the mental processes

and in conditions. The political science is concerned with the ext obedience of these laws of a

group or nation by the members of group or nation. The political laws may be many a times in

op - to the public opinion. In such conditions social psychology will light on the law-breaking

behaviour of the individuals. The pc science will merely refer that the laws are against public

opink will not try to answer these questions: why the people do no them ? What are the bases

on which they are opposed by the p and similar other question. These questions will .be

answered by psychology.

9. Social Psychology, Radio Technology, Press and Films

Today radio, film and press play important roles in inculcate social virtues ideals among

the people. Trough the Broad people are kept informed. They get news from whole of the world.

They get the information about the government's achievements and failure. They, hear

different points of views and are guided in the nation of their opinion. The radio, in fact, serves

the purpose of bringing people together even though there is no face to face contact it is a

powerful force of bringing cohesion and integration in the society.

As the radio is important in bringing the people together, so also are the press and the

films. Through the press, the public opinions helped to be formed. The people at the different

places read the newspapers and thus are guided by the opinions expressed in papers they have

read. Thus, they form a public opinion based the views expressed in the press.

The films depict various types of social living. In them the social of the people is shown.

The defects of society are pointedly brought the notice of the people and public opinion is

formed against them example, films depicting the evil effect of dowry help in developing hatred

in the people against dowry system. Thus the films, press and help in the formation of public

opinions and are handy tools of propaganda of any sort. They are the media of social

intercourse in society and in fact they, are related to social psychology in that they are

convenient for making the society better in controlling the individual behaviour.

10. Social Psychology, Television and other Electronic Media

The electronic revolution of late twentieth century has thrown a very serious challenge to

the stability of various societies. Particular developing societies are finding it very difficult to

adhere to any particular value system or ideology. The advent of satellite telecasting and the

cable television has brought the good or the evil of various culture of the world inside the

homes of a large number of people in all the countries of the world. As may be evident the good

points of various cultures projected on the television screens have a beneficial effect on the

emergence of a new cultural pattern based on inter-culture transmissions but the evils are also

influencing the young generation of various nations resulting in a degenerative social order of


The social psychology is concerned with the good-bad effects of across the nations. The

links between social psychology and are very close. The social psychologists are conducting

investigations on the role of television and other electronic media in shaping the life style and

culture of people in different societies.

The internet, the web site and the E-Mail etc. have brought the people of the world closer.

There is now the explosion of information. In minutes one can get such a bulk of information for

which years were being spent earlier. This glut of information is effecting the social life of the

people. The impact is clearly in two directions:

(1) People are learning much about the politics economics and; psychology of other people

and are being influences by such learning in their individual or social life.

(2) People are now glued to the television sets or computers for hours together leaving for

themselves very little time for social interactions.


Social psychology is now concerned with a scientific study of the extent, direction and

consequences of the impact of electronic media on the social development of the people.


In the development of social psychology, the psychologists have employed various

methods from time to time. Some of them are now no more used. There are some others which

have been perfected in recent times. In this chapter our aim is to throw light on all the

important methods of social psychology.


Introspection is the oldest method for the collection of the data of social psychology. This

method is now no more considered as important as it was considered in the eighteenth century.

However, this method has not been totally discarded. In certain problems, the need of this

method of this method is still felt.

Introspection is Looking Within

During introspection, one concentrates his ideals towards his own inner mental processes.

He then makes a report on his own present and past experiences.

Introspection can be profitably in many situations dealing with social behavior. For

example, if an individual shows a particular type of attitude towards the people of a particular

group or class he may be asked to introspect and give a reply to the question: why does he

show such an attitude? Similarly, we can understand the psychology of fashion if we ask those

who invent fashion and those who follow them to introspect and to make a report as to what

prompts them to do so.

Introspection is also of great help in verifying the results of observation. If one observes

that the individuals show more activity when they are in a group then when they are alone he

can ask the subjects who are more active in a group to introspect and to answer the question

that what factors motivate them to be more active.

In experimental situation, introspection has its own place. After the performance of the

experiment the experimenter asks the subject to report what mental processes he has

experienced during the experiment. The subject answers this question on the basis of

introspection. Thus, we cannot avoid introspection in the field of social psychology. The rating

scales and public opinion polls are based on introspection. In these techniques, the respondents

are asked to describe their private views.

Advantages of Introspection

Through introspection we can study those mental processes of individuals which are

peculiarly private to them and cannot be studied by any other method. For example, the

individuals hopes, wishes, attitudes etc. can be studied only through introspections.

Introspection is also of great use in supplementing the data collected by experimental

observations. It helps in the verification of the observed hypotheses made on the basis of


The introspection is of great value when one who is introspecting gives his replies

truthfully and whatever happens in his mind, reports correctly and without inhibitions.

Limitations of Introspection

Introspection also suffers from many limitations. We can put them as follows:

1. Introspection reports are quite often inaccurate, if the respondent is careless or

2. In controversial situations introspection is not very valid. In such situations and also

in complicated situations the introspectionist may not truthfully express his opinions and may

allow his subjective bias to weigh on heavily upon his judgment of the present situation.
3. From the primitives and young children who do not know language we cannot

obtain the reports of introspection.

4. Many a times the introspectionists consicious mind prompts him to distort the facts

and give a wrong report of introspection. The introspectionist himself does not understand his

unconscious wishes desires and motivations and thus gives a report which he himself feels to be

true but in fact which does not tell clearly of his actual mental conditions.


In second chapter we have explained that the nature of social psychology is scientific. It is

scientific because in its study the scientific methods are used.

Characteristics of the Scientific Method

The following are the characteristics of scientific method:

(1) The scientific method is based on determinism. It means that science assumes that

the nature is systematic and follow certain laws. The events are the result of certain causes.

They do not occur randomly without any reason.

(2) The scientific method follow empirical approach. It means that scientific method

involves the collection of data by following well defined techniques so that hypotheses are

accepted or rejected.
(3) In scientific method the operational definitions of those concepts are given which

are under study. These definitions are given in such a manner that the processes or the

techniques which are to be employed for investigation become explicit. For example, if we are

to study class discipline then we will define discipline in such a manner that the record or data

regarding class discipline can be easily obtained. We may define class discipline as Obedience

to the teacher. We can now enumerate the times the students obey the teacher and this type

of measurement will lead us to draw conclusions regarding class discipline.

(4) The scientific method is objective. It means that a number of observers or

experimenters reach to similar conclusions. The results or conclusions are not based on the

subjective opinion of any one observer.

Goals of Scientific Research

Five goals of scientific research can be identified. We are mentioning them in hierarchical

order as follows:

1. Description:- It is the first stage of scientific method at which the information

regarding facts is obtained and classified.

2. Discovery of Relationship:- At this stage the relationship between social situations

and human behavior are discovered. For example the relationship between teacher and taught

in the classroom become the subject of inquiry.


3. Explanation or Understanding:- The scientists establish principles regarding

relationships. When these principle lead to the truthfulness of hypotheses then we are able to

find out the causes of those relationships. For example, when we hypothesize that caste

disparities lead to atrocities on Harijans then we test this hypothesis by studying the caste

4. Prediction of Events:- The scientific prediction can be of two types Empirical and

Rational. Empirical predictions are based on established relationships. For example, our

experience is that most of the members of minority community vote for the Congress then we

can predict that in future elections the Congress will get the majority of minorities votes.

The rational predictions are at a higher level. In this prediction causal theory is taken as the

basis of prediction. For example, we may find that the minorities are so far voting for the

Congress because this party is more concerned with their welfare hence we may predict that

because the minorities consider Congress party as that party which is concerned with their

welfare, therefore, minorities will vote for it in any future election.

5. Control or influence over Events:- An important goal of science is control. The man

reached the moon by controlling the fuel for Rocket Engines. In social psychology also the

control over the behavior of the individual can be obtained. For example, by applying

propaganda in the controlled manner we can bring changes in the attitudes of people.


This method has been used from very beginning in the file of social psychology. It is still

considered an important method. The social psychology studies the behavior of individuals and

this can be done through observation. In this method, the behavior of the others is observed.

This can be done in many ways. We will not discuss the various ways in which observations can

be made.

) Uncontrolled observation

The observation of the behavior can be done by an observer without any control and

limitation on it. The observer observes the human beings and on the basis of his observations

frames certain hypotheses and propounds certain theories. If he is a keen observer he tries to

base his conclusions on sufficient data and these observations prove to be of very great value.

Many of the philosophers like Plato, Socrates, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, William James and

many of the literary giants like Shakespeare, Goethe, Dickens etc. were the keen observers and

hence their philosophical and literary views are of great value, in understanding human nature.

Uncontrolled observation, however, suffer from many defects.

They are:-

(a) Such observation are unsystematic. The observer observes the persons as they

come before him and many a time it so happens that the persons whom he observes are of only

one particular type. He thus bases his judgements of human nature on an insufficient data and,

so more often then not, his conclusions are wrong. For example, uncontrolled in his

observations he may come in contact with a number of people who are of mean nature. If he

now frames his conclusion that human nature is mean then this conclusion will be totally wrong.
(b) The persons observed in uncontrolled observations may not form a representative

sample of the group of which the social behavior is proposed to be studied. As explained above

they may show a limited range of social behaivour and hence the study of their group behavior

will not at all be a help in understanding the group behavior of whole of the group. In

uncontrolled observation there is always casual contact and hence there are very many chances

that an error in judgment can take place.

(c) Many of the observations are subjective in nature. If the observer possesses certain

biases then he forms his judgment of the behavior of the other people on his subjective biases.

For example, we will always interpret the behavior of our enemy as that of enmity towards us,

may it be friendly or inimical.

(d) The uncontrolled observations also suffer from the fact that there may occur many

inaccuracies of memory. The observer when he writes his report on observation may forget

many of the vital points which he has observed in the behavior of the others. Thus his report

will be incomplete and incorrect.


On account of these defects in uncontrolled observations the social psychology has now

employed systematic and controlled observations.

i) Systematic or controlled observations

In controlled observations, the observations are made systematically. An effort is also made to

have these observations on an objective basis. The systematic observations can be made in two

ways. One form of observation is known as field observation and another is called as

experimental observation. Both type of observations are of immense value. There are various

advantages in controlled observations which we can enumerate as follows;

1. Through controlled observations, problems of social psychology are presented

before us. By observing in systematic way, we come across with multifarious problems of

human behaivour, which are also the problems of social psychology.

2. Through observation, hypotheses can be suggested. After systematically observing

the behavior the social psychologist can draw valid hypotheses.

3. The hypotheses suggested are valid or not or are sufficient or not can also be

tested by observation. Any number of hypotheses which have been found can be tested with

regard to its validity when an observation of its application in social situation is made.
4. The traits of different cultural groups can only be understood if they are

systematically observed by the trained social psychologists. The social psychologists will

observe the behavior pattern of different cultural groups and will try to test the truth of the rival

hypotheses which may be propounded by the members of different groups.

5. It is also through observation that the bio-physical basis of human conduct can be

studied. How the endowments affect the behavior of an individual in social setting can only be

known through observation.

6. There are certain general tendencies like imitation, suggestion and sympathy which

play a vital role in social organization. What role they play and how they affect the social

behavior of individuals can also be studied through the observation of the behavior of the

individuals in various social situations.

7. Through observation we can throw light on the question how social environment

influence the personality of the individuals? By this method, we can also understand the

manner in which the child develops the idea of his own self, the way in which he learns the

language which he speaks and the way in which he is made familiar with the ideals and virtues

of his social group. Thus, we see that systematic observation is one of the most important

methods of social psychology.

Having explained what we mean by observation method let us now concentrate on one very

specific definition of observation method. We will also explain the various terms used in defining

the observational methods.

Definition of Observational Methods

According to Weick An observational method is defined as the selection, provocation,

recording and encoding of that set of behaviours and settings concerning organisms in situ

which is consistent with empirical aims.

The explanation of the terms used in the above definition is as follows:

i. Selection:- The observers choose their alternatives before observation, along with

observation or after observation.

ii. Provocation: The observers can bring small changes in the natural situations which

increase the clarity but do not spoil the situation.

ii. Recording:- Elaborate recording of events is made which can be analysed at any

later date.
v. Encoding:- The records are simplified by applying rating techniques by the

calculations of frequencies and by similar other measures.

v. That Set:- This emphasizes that most of the observational investigations apply

more than one behavioural measures and these multiple measures are often applied in many

vi. Behaviours and Setting:- The care with which the behaviours and situations are

chosen help the observer in reducing demands on his decisions.

ii. Organisms:- Human beings and animals.
ii. In Situ:- This difference is kept in mind that the observational techniques especially

observe the individuals in those situation in which they spend most of their time or in those

situations with which they are at least acquainted.

x. Empirical Aims:- This phrase is chosen to keep up this difference that the test of

hypotheses of observational investigations can be directed towards the formulating or

describing of the hypotheses.


When should Observational Studies be made

Observational studies have been found to be very useful in some specific investigations.

Gallert found it very useful in the study of children. Since the children cannot express

themselves very clearly their study can be made by observing their behavior.

In such situations as follows valuable data can be obtained through observation.

) The subject is completely involved in the activity. In such a situation it is extremely

difficult for the individual to give the report of his work or activity.
i) The subject does not know what is happening.

Heyns and Lippit say that observational technique should be used when:

) The subjects are inadequate sources of data. By this it is meant that the desirable

data cannot be obtained from one subject such as the rate of interaction. In interaction there

are more than one subject and it is necessary to obtain data from all those who are involved in

i) The event is transistory and the subjects are unable to pay attention to it.
ii) The subjects distort their report. Many a times subjects do so in order to show

themselves as better individuals.

v) The subjects have language difficulties in describing their activities.
v) The subjects are not prepared to share the information with the investigator.
vi) The data or the past events if it has to be collected in the present.
vii) The variables may be of such nature that it may be dangerous to produce them in

the laboratory situation.

According to Riley the best method to evaluate the social tendencies is that of questionnaire still

the observational techniques are needed to assess in what way these social tendencies are

really active.

ii) Participant Observational Method

In this method the observer becomes a member of that group which is being observed. For

example, if an observer is to study a Santhal tribe, he would go to a Santhal village and start

living with the tribe. He would mingle with them so closely that he becomes one with them.

After obtaining such close associations he would now make observations of their customs,

traditions, motivations, attitudes etc. This process of observation is termed as participatory


observation. The advantage in this method is that nothing could be kept hidden from the

investigator. The subjects cannot keep any thing as secret from him or distort any fact.

The defect in this method is that when observer becomes a member of the group he is

influenced by the beliefs or faiths of that group and because of this does not remain objective in

his observations. For becoming a full member of the observed group he has to accept the

deficiencies or shortcomings of that group. One example will clarify as to what do we mean by


Under the supervision of the author one investigation was conducted on the drinking

habits of students in the hostels of Punjab University, Chandigarh. In this study the investigator

lived as a hosteller in one of the hostels of Punjab University and he associated closely with

those students who were taking alcoholic drinks. Whenever they sat in group in which drinks

were being served he was usually present as a member of that group. He had to imitate the

behavior of the alcoholics otherwise the drinkers would have kept their habit secret from him.

In fact the observer was earlier trained for simulating the behavior of a drunk. It was because

of such a training that he could make objective observations. If such training was not given to

him then two types of defects were to appear. Firstly, the observer might have become an

alcoholic himself and secondly, if he, was intoxicated then his observation would have been

made in the state of intoxication and hence could have become biased and subjective.

Hence the success of participant observation depends to a very great extent on the proper

training of the investigator.

v) Non participant Observation

The social psychologists also make use of non participant observations. In non participant

observation the observer studies the social behavior remaining aloof from the group which is

being observed. He investigates in the natural setting but does not take part in the group

activity. He observes the events as an outsider the non-participant observation is structured. By

this we mean that the observer preplans the scheme of his observation and makes observations

according to the plan. He predecides the manner in which he is to make observations, which

are the behaviours he is to observe, when is he going to observe and who are the members of

the group who are to be observed?

The advantage in the non-participatory observation is that it is systematic and structured

and hence yields reliable data. Because of preplanning the observed can make pinpointed

observations of those acts which he considers important for his investigation.

Another advantage of this type of observation is that the observer can keep himself aloof

from the beliefs, values, traditions etc. of the group and makes observations without being

influenced by them. Hence is observations are more scientific.

One main defect in this method is that the observer being external to the group makes

the group people conscious of his presence and they in order to impress or influence him adopt

artificial postures and socially desirable behavior instead of their natural behavior. To overcome

this defect one way mirrors are now used for observations. Through one way mirrors the

observer can watch the participants in the group but the participants to not see the observer

and are unaware of the fact that they are being watched.

We have seen that both participant and non participant observation have advantages and

disadvantages. The social psychologists use both of them. In which situation which type of

observation be used depends on the nature of social behavior which is being studied. The

objectives of investigation, the conditions under which the investigation is conducted, the

situational variables etc. are the determining factors for the type of the observation being

chosen for investigation. But it may be repeated that for the participant observations the

observer must be very well trained.

For non participant observations one way mirrors are useful. But for this two rooms or

two portions of one room are required. In one there is observer while in the other there are

participants. Both rooms or portions are separated by only one way mirror. Since the

participants are to be observed only in the arranged room setting the observations are made in

artificially created situations rather than in natural setting.

What Type of Behaviours can be Observed


We may mention three types of behavior which can be observed:-

(a) Non verbal behavior

(b) Extra linguistic behavior
(c) Linguistic behavior
(a) Non verbal Behaviour:- In this type of behavior fall the facial expressions

exchange of glances, bodily movements and spatial behavior etc.

a. Facial expression:- By observing facial expressions we may learn about the

individuals emotions, feelings etc. Many a times the face also reveals to us if the individual is

speaking truth or is a liar.

b. Exchange of Glances:- When people interact there are eye contracts between

them. These eye-contacts reveal to us many of their thought processes or ideas or opinions

about each other.

c. Bodily movements: When people feel emotions their bodily movements are

affected. When we are angry we clench our fists or shout or move various argans of our body in

a threatening or aggressive posture. On the other hands when we are happy we laugh or shout

or jump in ectasy. Hence by observing bodily movements we can know much about the

behavior of the individuals.

d. Spatial behavior:- The spatial behavior of the people is shown in their efforts to

keep distance among themselves. They may sit very near to one another or keep sufficient

distance. They forward to come closer to the other or recline away from them. All these bodily

movements give us an insight into the social behaivour of the individuals.

(b) Extra Linguistic Behaviour:- The same word spoken in different tones or

frequencies convey different thoughts or ideas. For example, when we say idiot, it may convey

different ideas depending on the way we speak it. To a friend many a times we lovingly say

idiot. Our tones are affectionate and we wish to convey our deep concern to him. When

someone bumps into us and we loudly say idiot it conveys our resentment or this word

becomes an abuse. When someone fails to understand what we are saying we call him idiot in

an annoying tone it may show our contempt. So the words themselves do not convey the

message so much as the way in which they are spoken. In observing behaviours we have to

keep this aspect of extra linguism in mind.


(c) Linguistics Behaviour:- Talks, discussions, explanation, descriptions all come

under linguistic behavior. The observation of linguistic behavior helps us to codify the social


Field observations

When observations are made under normal and natural conditions, they are known as

filed observations. There are multifarious types of problems which are investigated through the

field observations. The following types of problems can be studied through field observations.

1. Problems relating to the uniformity of human behavior throughout the world.

2. Problem concerning the childs social development.
3. Effect of social environment on personality.
4. Patterns of collective behavior.
5. Problems relating to the organization of labour.
6. Problems relating to the formulation of public opinion.
7. Problems relating to the leadership.
8. Problems relating to the attitude of the people towards different religions, castes,

nations etc., and similar other allied problems.

For field observations, the social psychologist uses various techniques. These techniques we will

discuss later in this chapter.

The field observations differ from ordinary observations in only this aspect that in these

there is need to contact those people who are being investigated so that information may be

gathered from them. They are made aware of the investigation and are also involved in it. One

example of field investigation is being given here.

In 1854 Homans conducted a study in which he examined the process of mutual

interaction of women employed in Billing Division of a firm. These women were working as Bill

Clerks. For many days he made normal observations. He just watched as to which woman was

talking to which and who was initiating the talks. After this he interviewed these women and

collected data regarding their attitudes. This technique falls under field investigations. Homans

found the confirmation of this hypothesis that those women who are more popular also have

more social interactions with others. The popularity was measured by asking each women the

names of other women whom they liked or disliked. This technique is known sociometry


(vi) Experimental Observations

In experimental observations, the experimenter makes observations under controlled

conditions. The experimenter controls certain conditions and keeps one or a few conditions or

factors as variable. The conditions or variables which are kept constant are know as constant

variables. In the light of their constancy the effect of the changeable variables on the social

situations is studied. The result of the experiment tells us that under what conditions a

particular type of social behavior is depicted. In this way, the study of behavior is done under

controlled conditions.

The experimental method in psychology is of recent origin. But Till now, hundreds of

experimental studies in the filed of social psychology have been made. The famous

experimental studies which can be mentioned here are those of Sir F. Bartlett, F.H. Allport

Sheriff etc. In India, Gardiner Murphy was invited by the India Government to initiate many

studies in various part of our country under the social tension scheme. Here we will refer to

some of the studies in order to clearly explain as to how the experimental method has been

applied in the field of social psychology.


In the year 1879 the first psychological laboratory was established. William Wundt was the

person who first of all established the laboratory. The first experimental problem in social

psychology was formulated as follows:-

What change in an individuals normal solitary performance occurs when other people are

present? Triplett gave the first laboratory answer to this question. Triplett set up an experiment

with children who were in age range ten to twelve. He gave them the task of winding the fish

reels. He first asked the children to do it alone and then together. He alternated the situations

between winding the reels all alone and together that is when the children were in the company

of each other. When the children were together and each one was winding his own reel, Triplett

found that twenty of the forty children who were asked to wind the reel excelled their own

solitary record, ten did less work and ten were unaffected. From this experiment he concluded

that normally the children produce greater output of energy and achievement when they are in

group situation. However, this experiment of Triplex suffered from many defects. In drawing his

conclusions he did not take into consideration the emotional competitiveness and also he did

not take into consideration the emotional competitiveness and also he did not give any credence

to simple dynamogenic effect resulting from the sight and sound of co-workers.

Another important study was conducted by Mayer in 1930, who studied both the quantity

and quality of school children home work and class work with respect to memorization,

composition arithmetic and other tasks. His result also favoured the group work over solitary


In F. Bertlett experiment, Indian and British students were asked to reproduce a story

narrated to them a little earlier. His conclusions were that the cultural background of the

individual determines his perception and affects his recall. The Indian students reproduced the

story describing all the elements of supernaturalism in it. The English students did not give any

consideration to the supernaturalism in it.

We may also refer to Moedes work. Moede conducted research on co-acting gropus. His

experimental programme encouraged F. H. Alport to undertake work in this area.

F. H. Allport in his investigation after World War First found that the mere presence of co-

workers in ordinary circumstances seems to increase the quantity of output.

Russian psychology also employed the experimental method soon after the Bolshevik

Revolution. It turned its attention to problems of collective individuals behavior. Its conclusion

was that collective thinking is not less efficient than private thinking. Often it is superior in

terms of the accuracy of judgments.


In America, Lewin, Lippit and White introduced the conception of social climate or group

atmosphere and with their researches a broader horizon for experimental social psychology was


Some Important Concepts Related to Experimental Method

Above we have described some experiments done in the field of social psychology. In all

these experiments some concepts have been projected. Before performing any experiment it is

essential that we become familiar with these concepts.

Festiner and Katz describe the essentials of an experiment. They say The essence of an

experiment may be described as observing the effect on a dependent variable of the

manipulation of an independent variable.

We will now explain the concept of variable etc.


Whenever we conduct an experiment after changing some conditions we study the effect

of these changes on some other conditions. For example, in Tripletts experiment the children

were given to complete a task when they were alone and afterwards the conditions were

changed and they were asked to complete the task with other children and infront of them.

These changing conditions are known as variables. In the above mentioned experiment the

variables are aloofness and the presence of others and the effect which is produced by

working alone or in the presence of others is also changeable and so it is also called as variable.

But the nature of both variables is different because of this we call one as independent variable

and the other as dependent variable.

Independent Variable

We all that variable as independent by manipulating of which the social behavior is

affected. The investigator when investigates any task or event manipulates or brings changes

in the independent variable. In Bartletts study the cultural background of the people is an

independent variable.

Dependent Variable

This is influenced by the changes or manipulation of independent variable. In any

experiment we bring predetermined changes in the independent variable and observe its effect

on the dependent variable. In an experiment in social psychology in which we study the

influence of any element then we take that element the effect of which were are investigating

as independent variable and those changes which are produced in social behavior are known as

dependent variables.

Intervening Variables

We may describe another variable also which is known as intervening variable. This

variable influences the experimental conditions. In one experiment there may be many

intervening variables. If these are not controlled then they adversely affect the results. While

pointing out the defects in Tripletts experiment we have described such intervening variables.

We have indicated that Triplett did not consider the factors of competitiveness and the

possibility of participants being influenced by observing or hearing others. They were

intervening variables and for valid results it was necessary to control them.

Now we will describe another concept which forms the basis of experiments. This concept

is that of hypothesis.


Johoda and others have said Experiment is a method of testing hypothesis.

When we experiment there is some problem before us. We also have a probable solution

of it. The hypothesis is this probable solution.

In setting a hypothesis all the available earlier views regarding the solution of that

problem are studied. For it the books, journals, experts etc. are consulted. The results of earlier

experiments on same or similar problems are also taken into consideration. Such a study leads

to the formulation of a tentative hypothesis. This then forms the basis of the experiment. It

leads to the selection of the tools and the setting up of the independent and dependent


The investigator then proceeds to test the hypothesis. If the results of his experiment

confirm the tentative hypothesis then he reports that the hypothesis is accepted. If the results

are contrary to the tentative hypothesis then this hypothesis is rejected leaving the field open

for developing other hypothesis and for further experimentation and testing of that hypothesis.

Steps in Experimental Method

The following are the various steps of the experimental method

1. Selection of the Problem:- First of all the problem for experimentation is selected.
2. Formation of Hypothesis:- The hypothesis are set upon the basis of earlier studies

or by obtaining the views of experts or some previous findings.

3. Choice of Subjects:- Those individuals are chosen on which the experiment is to be

conducted. If the experiment is to be conducted on some group then the group is chosen after

employing some special techniques. Most of the studies are conducted on a sample taken from

the group. The sample is chosen either through Lottery method or by employing some

statistical techniques.
4. Determination of Variables and Experimental Design:- we have described three

types of variable Independent, dependent and intervening. At this step the selection of

independent and dependent variables is made. These variables are selected in accordance with

the hypothesis or hypotheses. It is also determined at this step as to which will be intervening

variables and how will they be controlled?

It is essential to decide at this stage as to what shall be the design of the experiment. By design

we mean to develop or plan for the experiment in such a manner that the hypotheses framed

by us can be tested or the problems raised in the experiment can be solved.

5. Description of Procedure and Instructions:- At this step the procedure of the

experiment is described. The description is presented by the experimenter who also narrates

the method by which the data will be collected. Besides these instructions are given for

observing certain essential precautions.

6. Presenting the Results:- The results are presented in the form of acceptance or

rejection of hypotheses. The extent and the nature of influence of independent variable on

dependent variables are also mentioned.


7. Discussion of Results:- At this last step the results are discussed. The reasons for

getting the present results are also argued upon.

Difficulties in Making Experimental Methods Purely Scientific

It is quite difficult to make the experiments in social psychology purely scientific. The

reasons lie in the nature of social psychology. Below we are describing the major characteristics

of scientific experiment and pointing out the efforts of social psychologists in organizing their

experiments in view of these characteristics.

1. Control of Conditions:- In Science conditions can easily be controlled. The scientists

can control pressure temperature and the objects on which experiment is to be conducted or

other conditions. But social scientist since he/she studies the human behavior and human

behavior has a large number of variables cannot control all the variables which may influence

the results. To overcome this difficulty the social scientists use devises like control of groups,

subjects own control over conditions or statistical control of variables. Still in psychological

research the problem of control of variables is always there.

2. Objectivity: The social psychologist feels the difficulty in objectively defining

intelligence, learning fatigue etc. Different psychologists define these according to their own

notions and so any universally accepted definition is difficult to obtain. Besides this the tests

which a psychologist administers are subjectively constructed or chosen. They are not

applicable in all situations nor yield universally acceptable results. To overcome these difficulties

the social psychologist formulates his own definition for the experiment or borrows a definition

given by some other psychologist and calls it as an operational definition. He also mentions in

presenting his results that these are limited to the limitations inherent in the tests or tools

3. Verifiability of Results:- An ideal experiment is one which can be replicated and its

results can be verified. In psychology replication is in most cases not possible as human being

or animal on whom experiments are conducted becomes more experienced and mature

between the period of original and replicated experiments.

The social psychologist overcomes this difficulty by controlling the time period between two

experiments or by taking a larger sample or by designing his experiments in such a manner

that the influence of independent variable on the dependent variable is clearly established. This

may be done by having two equated groups one experimental and another control. We are

describing below the various designs which a social psychologist employs in his studies so that

the problem of replication is solved to a great extent.

Control Group Method
In an experiment designed for social research usually the control group method is applied.

In this method, the experimentor divides the group into two equal divisions. One is known as

the control group and the other as an experimental group. As far as possible, these two groups

are equated in various variables, that is, equal number of individuals are taken in each group,

the educational standard of the two groups are taken as same and they are also equated with

refrence to sex etc. To equate the groups the intelligence tests, attitude tests, interest

inventories etc. are given. When both the groups are equated in all the variables then one

group is given a particular stimulation. While the other group is not given that stimulation. After

some time, the two groups are tested again and whatever are inequalities in performance in

both the groups they are observed and taken to be due to the stimulation which has been given

to the experimental group.

1. An example of experimental design in social research can be given here. To

find out the attitude towards the praise and blame inflicted upon the children, an experiment

was designed in the following manner. Twenty children of age group four to five years were

selected. On the basis of their intelligence, sex, and socio-economic status two equated groups

were formed. In each group the children were of similar intelligence. Each group had five boys

and five girls. After thus equating the groups in every possible way one group was given praise

for performing some manual task, while the other group was not given praise in performing the

similar tasks. After a few days, both the groups were tested in their dexterity to perform the

manual tasks. In many cases, it was found that the group which was given praise showed more

dexterity in performing that task. Similar experiments can be designed which can test the

effectiveness of propaganda over two groups which are equated in all possible ways. Many of

the problems of social psychology can thus be studied by following such experiential methods.
We are giving the example of another experiment. The design used is also called Parallel

Group Design.
The problem of the experiment was to study the copying behavior of the students. The

topic was to compare the influence of strict invigilation, normal invigilation and no invigilation

on the copying behavior of the students.

The design for the experiment was formulated as follows:
One senior class a school was chosen for experiment. The students of this class were

divided in three groups. In all the groups the number of the students was the same. The

selection of the students for each group was made in such a manner that there were equal

number of intelligent, average intelligent and below average intelligent students in these

groups. In every groups there were 10 students. Out of these 2 were highly intelligent, two

were of below average intelligence and six were of average intelligence. The division on the

basis of intelligence was done by administering an intelligence tests to whole of the class of 30

students. Now all these groups were separated and were given examination in these three

Group 1 Under Strict Invigilation
Group 2 Under Normal Invigilation
Group 3 No Invigilation at all.
During the examination those students who were copying there number was noted and

conclusions were drawn as to in which group there were maximum number of cheaters. The

results showed that there was no significant difference in the copying behavior of the students

in group 1 (Strict Invigilation) and Group 2 (Normal Invigilation). This led to the conclusion that

even the fear of invigilation is sufficient to minimize cheating behavior. Hence there may not be

much need for very strict invigilation.

The above example of an experiment is a very simple one. Actually during

experimentation many complexities occur. For example, in the designing of above experiment

we have not paid any attention to the social status of the students or their ages or their

knowledge level or their family circumstances. These are all intervening variables and they

needed to be controlled to obtain accurate results. Except independent variable which is to be

manipulated that is the nature of invigilation in the above experiment and the dependent

variable (the copying behavior) all other variables should have been controlled. To do so is

extremely difficult. However, the social psychologists employ various other experimental designs

to overcome this difficulty.

Other Experimental Design
According to Campbell and Stanley the three original experimental designs are:
1. Pre Test-Post Test Design.
2. Control Group Design Solomons Four Group Design
3. Post Test Only Control Group Design
1. Pre Test Post Test Design:- The control group design is known as classical

experimental design. In this all types of equivalent groups are included. Out of which in one

group the independent variable is manipulated. This group is known as experimental group. The

other group is called control group in which no change in independent variable is brought up.

Above we have given the examples of experimental group and controlled group and described

experiments on attitude towards praise and blame. The group to which praise was given was

the experimental group or the group to which no praise was given was the control group.
The two groups in the above experiment were formed by equating them on intelligence, social

status etc. Another way of forming two equivalent groups is by randomly dividing the total

number of children in two groups in which equal number of children are to be placed. For

example, if there are 20 children on which the experiment is to be conducted in each group 10

children should be included. The lottery method or random tables are to be used for randomly

dividing the children in two groups. In random method every child has equal chance of being in

one or the other group. Thus this method avoids the bias in selection.
Both the groups are given test before the experiment and after the experiment. For

example, before giving praise, the performance of experimental and control group is measured

(pre test) and after giving praise for about a week in the teaching of a subject to the

experimental group and no praise or blame to the control group the post test is conducted. The

performance of both the groups is compared. If there occur significant differences in the

performance of both the groups the hypothesis if it was that praise brings changes in the

performance is accepted. In case the hypothesis framed earlier is There will be no effect of

praise on the performance of the task. Then we may say that hypothesis is rejected.
There are various statistical methods to establish the significance of difference. These may

be looked in any good book of statistics.

We can describe the pre test post test design symbolically as follows
Eb X Ea
Cb Ca
E is experimental group
C is control group
X is change in independent variable
b is the state before the experiment
a is the state after the experiment
If all the intervening variables are controlled then any difference between E a & Ca is due to X.
The other two designs described above are the modified versiosn of the pre test post test

2. Solomon four group design adds two more groups which have not been tested earlier and so

an experimenter can keep in control the various influences on the tests.

3. In the post test only control group design no pretest is required. In this design the groups

are randomly formed and it is believed that both the experimental and control groups are

Usually the control over experimental variable is not in the hands of the investigator in the

field of social psychology. A good example is that of effect of marriage on mental health. In this

example marriage is independent variable and mental health is dependent variable. In this

experiment no control can be exercised over marriage. We cannot say that marry this person

or that person. Because of this the experimenter will have to conduct his study on those

married persons who are available. Hence he will have to put statistical controls instead of

experimental controls.
Advantages of Experimental Methods
The advantages of experimental methods are many. We may refer to them as follows:-
1. It is objective in nature. In this the personal bias of the investigator is not a

2. Through experimentation we can keep the many variables constant and can study

the operation of only one variable at one time. There is no other method in which we can do

3. In making a study of social psychology through experimental methods we can apply

the statistical techniques in analyzing and interpreting the data.

Limits of Experimental Methods

Experimental methods also suffer from many limitations. These limitations may be

summarized as follows:-
1. The experiments are conducted in artificial situations and hence may not give

truthfully, the ideas about genuine social behavior and may not lead us to valid conclusions.
2. There are certain types of situations which cannot be brought about in the

laboratory. If we wish to study why the wars are fought or strikes take place, we can not create

artificial situations in the laboratory pertaining to these situations.

3. In experimental situations, there may be some subjects who show overzealousness

and may give wrong replies just to please the experimenter. There may be others who might

resent the experimentation with themselves and may not co-operate.

4. The statistical methods which are applied in interpreting results of experiments are

sometimes objected to. Some people think that sociological processes cannot be expressed in

numerical scores.
5. Sometimes, the group situations may be such as that the individual members give

their opinion in conventional manner. For example, if in an attitude test the attitude of an

individual towards homo-sexuality is asked, he will more often give a reply which will be socially

approved or conventional.
6. There are certain other limitations regarding the subjects reactions to extraneous

factors. For example, if they are questioned by a speaker who is well dressed or have good

appearance then their responses will be different in this situation from those situations in which

he is not properly dressed.

7. There are some persons who are affected by some extraneous, social factors when

an experiment is conducted with them, particularly in connection with propaganda material or

some similar material. They are affected by the smiles, frowns, yawns and the whispers of other

8. It is very difficult to equate groups in every possible way. In one or the other

respects the groups are never equated and this definitely affects the results of the experiments.
Though the above are limitations of experimentation yet we cannot neglect

experimentation in collecting the data of social psychology. If the groups are properly equated

and experimenter is a keen observer who does not allow subjective bias to enter into his

judgment then these limitations of experimental methods can be greatly reduced. In social

experiment; it is of great importance that the variables are properly controlled. A careful

experimenter can do so by using proper tools and techniques in equating the groups. In such a

case the experimentation will be of great value to the development of social Psychology.
Characteristics of a Good Observation of any Type
In a good observation, the following four characteristics should be properly attended to:-
(1) Objectivity:- The observation should be done with complete objectivity. The

observer should not allow his biases to colour his judgment. For example, if a South Indian is

observing the behavior of a Punjabi, he should not let provincial bias have an upper hand in

judging the behavour of the North Indian Punjabi.

(2) Precision:- In making a scientific observation precision should also be given due

consideration. The observer should notice those factors which are valid to his observations in

connection with the problems in hand. He should neglect those factors which have no

significance to the problem which is being observed. The observer should not allow his

imagination to colour his judgment.

(3) Systematic:- The observation should be systematic, it should not be done

haphazardly. It should be neither incidental nor dependent on chance factors.

(4) Verification:- Every observation needs to be verified. Only after verification we can

judge whether our observation at a particular occasion was correct or wrong. For verification,

we may observe the behavior under similar situation next time or we can observe the same

persons behavior in some other situations and can verify if there occurs a change in his

4. Development Method
This method is merely a modification of observation method. In this method, the

development of social behavior among children from birth to maturity is studied. The children

are systematically observed when they are playing studying, quarrelling or showing some other

sort of social behavior and then the conclusions are drawn as to what type of social behaviours

are shown by children at different ages.

The development method can also take the help of tests and laboratory methods to

collect the reliable data pertaining to the stages ofdevelopment of the children. In this

connection, we can name Bridges who constructed a scale to measure the social and emotional

development of nursery school children. His conclusions show that at this age, the children

show their social development first in imitating other childrens actions, words, laughter etc.

Later on, these children gradually begin to follow the mores of nursery schools. They begin to

learn to take turns, to give up a toy, to help others, do defend their rights and so on.
5. Case History Method
This method is quite profitably used in social psychology. In this method, the significant

influences which operate on an individual, are studied. In case history all the data pertaining to

an individual are obtained. The data is obtained from the individuals, relatives, friends,

neighbors, teachers, employers and others who know them. The case history enquires about

the prenatal and post natal conditions of the individuals. It enquires the details of the

individuals health at the time of his birth. It also enquires about the rate of the development

and growth of the individual at the various stage of his development. In fact, whatever records

of the individuals infancy, childhood, adolescence, maturity etc. can be obtained. Thus, by

having complete knowledge of the individual, his behavior in a particular situation is judged.
The case history should be obtained by highly trained persons. Only trained persons will

be in a position gather the data about the individual in an objective and disinterested manner.
The case histories are of very great help in the diagnosis of the cases which suffer from

social abnormalities. The causes of the abnormal behavior of the individuals can be assessed if

all the details of their development, and their relations with the other people are enquired in a

comprehensive manner. By knowing the causes, the proper remedies can be applied to treat the

socially abnormal persons.

Limitations of this Method
This method suffers from the following limitations:-
1. This method is sometimes criticized because people think that often the information

obtained by this method is not reliable. It is said that often investigators do not collect the

information in an objective manner. They may commit mistakes in collecting data in some vital

situations or may collect such information which is either superficial or untenable.

2. The case study method cannot be applied in each and every social situation. Its

most frequent use is in dealing with the abnormal social behavior.

3. If the person who is collecting the case history is not properly trained then the case

history will not be collected in the scientific manner, the person writing the case history might

write the things haphazardly or in an unsystematic manner. Such a case history will not throw

any valuable light on the individual behavior.


4. To collect the data by case history method is not easy. The investigator, before he

can collect the correct information, will have to question many persons who are in contact with

the individual. In contacting the various people, he might antagonize anyone of them and in

that case the information which he obtains through that particular person will be wrong.
5. The individual himself might forget some of the vital details of his experiences in

the past and hence may not mention them to the investigatory. Thus the investigator will

possess only fragmentary information about the individual.

6. Survey Method
Social psychologist use survey method in quite a good number of investigations. This method is

used by selecting a small sample from a large population. Through this method any social

behaviors or the attitudes, opinions or beliefs of individuals can be investigated. The data for

these investigations is collected through the techniques like interview or Questionnaire etc.
In the words of Kerlinger
Survey research is that branch of social scientific investigation that studies large and

small population (or universe) by selecting and studying samples chosen from the populations

to discover the relative incidence, distribution and interrelations of sociological and

psychological variables.
We will explain the above definition as follows:
) Kerlinger, first of all emphasizes that survey research is the branch of social

scientific investigation. From this it is evident that we can consider survey in the category of

scientific method. But it must be remembered that it may come in the category of scientific

method. But it must be remembered that it may come in the category of scientific methods

when it satisfies those conditions which we have mentioned ealier as the characteristics of

scientific method.
i) Big or small population means all those persons, groups or institutions on whom

investigations are being conducted.

For example, if we have to find out the interests in music of college students then all college

students will form the population of the study. Since it will be a very big population we may

limit the student population to only colleges located in Chandigarh or Agra or any other town.
ii) Because it is difficult to include all the population in investigation we choose a small

sample from it. Sample is a small portion of population which represents it. Supposing that we

can study the interest of only 500 students. Now we may take any 500 students. But this

selection will be defective because these five hundred may be only those who are of lower

intelligence or come from poor or rich homes or may have some other baises. Hence any 500

students will not represent the population. Hence we use other techniques for the selection of

sample. One of these we have described above as the technique of random sampling. The

sample is chosen by this technique by draw of lots or by consulting random number tables

which are available in statistical books etc. Other techniques of selection of samples are

intricate statistical techniques.

v) After the sample is selected the survey is made. Those 500 students who form the

sample are asked either by following interview technique or questionnaire technique. (These we

are describing later in the chapter) or similar other technique or modification of these

techniques about their interest in music, reasons for their liking or disliking music etc. In

Kerlingers definition aspects are described as relative incidence, distribution andinterrelation of

sociological and psychological variables IN our example the variables are liking or disliking. On

the basis of the replies of the respondents were draw the results and formulate our conclusions.
The survey method is used in social psychology for studying different types of problems.

Most often it is used in the following situations.

) Census Survey:- In this type of survey the opinion of whole of the population is

investigated about some well chosen problem. For example, if we want to know which

programme on television liked by most of the viewer sin Delhi. We will survey whole of that

population of Delhi which views the television programmes and obtain its opinion about various

programmes and then on the basis of liking by most of the people of a particular programmes

we will draw our conclusions. In census survey the total population is investigated. The results

are drawn on the basis of social status, economic status, political leaning etc. On which basis

the results are to be determined and reported depend on the framing of hypotheses and the

objectives of the investigation.

i) Sample Survey:- We have already described how samples are drawn. Since to

study the total population is extremely difficult a representative sample drawn from it is

Steps in Survey: The following are the steps which are used in a survey type


) Selection of the Problem:- Definition of the problem and determination of the

objectives of the study.

i) Selection of the Sample:- The procedure has already been described.
ii) Selection of the techniques of investigation:- We may choose one or a number of

techniques for the collection of data like interview, questionnaire etc.

v) Collection of data:- Through the application of the selected technique data is

v) Analysis of Data:- The obtained data is analysed. We may use simple mathematics

of addition or subtraction or intricate statistical technique for analysis of the data.

vi) Preparing the Report:- The last step is the preparation of report. In this the details

of survey and also the results and conclusion of the investigation are given.
Merits and Demerits of Survey Method
The merits of survey method are:-
) It is used in investigation of some such problems of social psychology like

propaganda, rumour, public opinion etc. which cannot be scientifically studied by any other

i) Extensive studies can be made through survey method. The survey can be

conducted on the total population as well as on a representative sample.

ii) The investigator can choose his sample on the basis of the objectives of

investigation and the hypotheses framed for it. He can directly contact the person in the

v) It is convenient and economical.
Demerits of Survey are:-
) Surveys are dependent on the opinion of the people and whatever they say forms

the basis of the results. Hence even if these views are taken at an extensive scale they remain

superficial. The internal feelings of the individuals are nto investigated. For example, if from a

sample of middle aged people it is asked that who would like to view sexual or blue films? Most

of the persons, because of the fear of social sanctions may deny their liking for such film while

they may be viewing them in the privacy of their homes or clubs.

i) Survey is better applicable only in the case of ordinary and practical problems. The

problems which require a deeper probe cannot be investigated by this method.

ii) The limitations of the techniques like interviews etc. used in data collection become

the limitations of the survey research.

v) The attitude and belief system of the investigator affect the collection, analysis and

interpretation of the data.

7. Interview Method

In social research, interview method is now gaining much importance. According to E.E.

Maccoby and Nathan Maccoby, an interview refers to a a face-to-face verbal interchanges, in

which one person, the interviewer attempts to elicit informations or expression or opinions or

beliefs from another person or persons.

The interview in social psychological research can be employed in a variety of research

designs. It, however, itself does not constitute a complete research method. In many a research

designs even when the technique is considered as desirable it is not essential that this only

should be used and besides it no other method is to be used in that research design. The

interview in a research design may be employed during the early stages of a study to help

identify the relevant dimensions, to suggest hypotheses, and to reveal the natural frames of

reference existing in the minds of respondent. The interview can also be used in the research

process as the main instrument of data collection. The interview can also be used to clarify

those findings which emerge from the use of other techniques.

The interview, can no doubt, be used in many research designs but it is a tool which

should be used with utmost care. To interview is an art. The interviewer has to be quite a

capable person if he is to obtain correct information from the persons interviewed.

We can give a simple description of interview by pointing out that in an interview there is

one person who is known as interviewer who usually asks questions from the other person or

persons who are called interviewee in a face to face contact situation. The interviewee gives the

answers to the question put to him. It may be noted that it is not always the interviewer who

asks questions at times the interviewee may also put some questions to the interviewer. To

highlight this point we have in the above given explanation of the interview used the word

usually. But it is definite that the interviewer initiates the questioning and is always active in

putting the questions.

Thomas and Znaneicki have made use of interview technique in their study of The Polish

Peasant. Adorno and his associates have also used refined interview technique in their study of

The Authoritarian Personality. There are numerous other social psychologists who have used

this method quite effectively.

Types of Interview
The main types of interview are as follows:-

) Structured Interview:- In this type of interview predetermined series of questions

and standardized techniques of recording are used. The standardization in needed for asking

the same or similar questions from all the interviewees and there shall be no ambiguity in

understanding the questions by the interviewees. In structured interviewee most of the

questions are closed type. Closed type of questions are those the answers of which are limited

to definite pre-designated alternatives. These alternatives may be in the form of Yes or No

or a series of answers out of which the interviewee selects any one or more than one answers

which he feels are the most appropriate.

In structured interview open ended questions may also be used. These questions do not have

pre-designated alternatives. The interviewee is normally free to answer them in his own words.

But the questions and their sequence are pre-determined in structured interview.
i) Unstructured Interview:- In this type there is much more flexibility in the

questioning by the interviewer. The questions are not structured. They are usually open ended.

Hence the interviewer is not sure as to what answers he would receive from the interviewees.

The interviewer can also alter the manner of putting questions or the language of the questions

in accordance with the situation or the state of mind of the interviewee.

In this type of interview there is difficulty of analyzing the answers. Since the answers may very

quite widely it becomes difficult to arrive at definite conclusions. The advantage, however, is

that the interviewee can express himself freely without being constrained by the pre-designated

Some main sub-types of unstructured interview are:-
(a) Focused interview:- The main function of this type of interview is that the

interviewees attention is directed towards some selected experiment about which the

interviewers wants to obtain information. The interviewer puts questions which can focus the

attention towards that experience about which he is keen to obtain information. For example, in

a psychiatric interview the focus of attention is the problems of the patient. In an interview for

a job the focus of attention is towards the candidates capability.

(b) Clinical Interview:- The psychiatrist or counselor employs this type of interview to

understand the deeper feelings, motivations etc. of the client or patient so that the causes of

his problem can be probed into. These interviews also try to probe into the unconscious of the

interviewee. The focused interviews usually remain confined to the conscious life of the

Steps in Interview Technique
There steps can be described - (i) Initiating the interview, (ii) Conducting the interview

and (iii) Closing the interview.

) Initiating the interview:- The interview is initiated by assuring the interviewee that

his answers will only be used for understanding his problem or for research purposes or for

some public good. After this initial assurance the interviewer tries to develop rapport between

himself and the interviewee by his behavior and talk. In the beginning of the interview the

interviewer asks such questions which may create self confidence in the interviewee. The

success of an interview very much depends on these initial steps.

i) Conducting the Interview:- At this step the interviewer ask questions related to that

problem which he is investigating.

ii) Closing the interview:- When the interviewer gets all the data which he required

then the interview should be closed. The period of interview should not be very long. Whenever

the interviewee starts feeling fatigue or shows boredom the interview should be closed. At the

time of closing the interview is to be continued at some later date or time then that should also

be discussed with the interviewee.

v) Advantages of Interview Method

(i) Compared to questionnaire there is possibility of getting more reliable answers through

interview technique.

(ii) The interview method can be used with illiterate subjects as well as with those who do not

like to give any reply in writing or are over-worked or lazy.

(iii) There is possibility of getting replies from more people.

(iv) The interviewer can note the mental condition of the interviewees while interviewing.

(v) The interviewer can observe the facial expressions, bodily movements etc. of the

interviewee and can note the resistance of the interviewee to answer certain questions or to be

enthusiastic in answering certain questions.


(vi) The interviewer can make sure that the answers are obtained from all those persons who

are vital for the investigation. In the case of questionnaire it is possible that no replies are

received from those persons who matter most while a lot of replies are received from not so

important persons.

(vii) At the time ff interview the interviewer can alter or modify his questions which is not

possible in the case of questionnaire.

Limitations of Interview Method

(i) This method is expensive, times consuming and requires more efforts as compared to

other methods.

(ii) The success of this method depends on the training of the interviewer. The interviewer must

have the ability to put questions without making the subject conscious and to establish rapport

while interviewing.

(iii) The prejudices or beliefs of the interviewer may influence the replies of the interviewee.

(iv) The physical presence of the interviewer may make the subject agitated and lead to

artificial behaviour. He may try to twist his answers to gain the appreciation of the interviewer.

(v) Many interviewers fail to put their questions in proper language and so wrong information is


(vi) The interviewer must have the capability of modifying his questions on the spot.

Characteristics of the Interviewer

1. The interviewer should present proper appearance and adopt correct manner in putting

questions. The interviewer shall be property dressed, dignified, retain a certain amount of

reserve and make it clear that he takes the interview seriously.

2. The interviewer should put his questions in properly worded language.

3. The interviewers own attitudes should in no case effect the respondents view.

4. The interviewers expectations should not bias the opinions respondents.

5. In recording the data if the interviewer writes up from memory after the interview is over

then there is likelihood of some forgetting and distortion of facts. Hence, it is better that some

sort of device is employed which might enable the interviewer to record the interview briefly

while it is in progress.


This method is used in group investigations. It is quite popular social, psychologists.

Questionnaire is simply a collection of item. Usually the items included in the questionnaire are

of the same type. They are prepared as a means of eliciting certain kind of information from the


The questionnaire is given to a group of people at one time and its replies are obtained from

that group. The questionnaire is designed to collect data from large, diverse and widely

scattered group. It may be regarded as a type of interview which is conducted in writing.

Questionnaire ranges from a list of general questions in answer to which the subject writes

descriptive essays (open type) to a ballot paper (closed type) which consist of one or more

specific questions each followed by a set of possible answers, A few example of closed type of

questions in a questionnaire can be given as follows:-

Social status of the Substitute Teachers in the Institution

1. In relation to the other members of the faculty.

(A) On the whole the substitute teachers attitude towards the other members, of the faculty is:

(a) Friendly ( )

(b) Indifferent ( )

(c) Hostile ( )

(B) He is a member of all the staff clubs and societies:-

(a) Active ( )

(b) Inactive ( )

(c) Not at all ( )

2. In relation to the students of the Institution:

(A) On the whole, the attitude of the students towards the substitute teacher is :

(a) Good ( )

(b) Average ( )

(c) Poor ( )

The questionnaire technique suffers from many defects. Whitney considered that the

questionnaire is perhaps the worst device both because of its inherent deficiency and because

of its bad reputation. Flexner also points out its defects in the following words the

questionnaire is not a scientific instrument it is only cheap, easy and rapid method of obtaining

information or non-information one never knows which. No effort has been made to use it in the

experimental sciences. It is worth hardly more in education, law, and the other social sciences,

for words never mean precisely the same thing to different persons, and there is no possible

way of discounting poor analytic capacity or the practical joke.

Advantages of Questionnaire Method

(i) This is a simple method. For the use of the method the investigator does not need any

specialised training:

(ii) A large number of people can be contacted through questionnaire who may be living at

distant places.

(iii) It is economical an less time consuming as compared to other methods.

(iv) The respondent can reply keeping himself incognito. He can send his reply by post without

mentioning his name or address.

(v) The respondent, can take his own time in filling the questionnaire and in sending his replies.


The questionnaire can be of open or closed type. The quest questionnaire can also be classified

as structured/standardized questionnaire and unstructured/Non standardized questionnaire.


(i) Structured Questionnaire- These are concrete, definite and pre-constructed. The

questions for all the respondents are the same and are put to them in the same language in the

same sequence. The structured questionnaire is constructed for administering the same series

of questions to all the respondents. The questions may be closed or open type.

(ii) Unstructured Questionnaire: These are constructed on the spot in accordance with the

conditions prevailing or situations exiting at the time of administering the questionnaire. No

norms are pre-set for the construction of questions. In fact unstructured questions are in the

form of conversation and in it the exchange of responses goes on.

Choice of Questions

The following type of questions should be included in a questionnaire:

(i) Questions which are directly related to the problem.

(ii) Such questions should not be asked the replies of which can be easily obtained from -other

more reliable sources.

(iii) Such questions should be chosen the replies of which can be tabulated.

(iv) Such questions should not be asked which embarrass the respondents.

(v) Those factual questions should be asked about which the respondents may have knowledge.

(vi)Those questions be avoided which may produce unreliable answer such as Do you beat

your wife.

(vii)Those questions be avoided which require much mental effort.

Demerits of Questionnaire Method

(i) In can be used only with literate persons.

(ii) Very few replies are received when the questionnaire is sent by post.

(iii) No classification of any question is possible if the respondents cannot directly contact the


(iv)It is useful in the case of only those problems about which the respondents have definite


v) The investigator cannot modify the questionnaire if it is sent by post.


The rating scales are also used in the collection of the data in social psychology. The rating

scales are usually of the similar type as the questionnaire. The only difference in this method is

that in rating scales individual behaviour is rated on a scale, which has a zero point.

This scale gives the conclusion of the observation in the numerical order.

For example, in a rating scale designed to rate the students on a five-point scale, in order to

find out how much the students like the teacher the questions in the following manner can be


1. How much do you like your teacher ?

(i) Very much, (ii) Much, (iii) Sufficiently, (iv) Not at all (v)


2. How the teacher behaves with you ?

(i) Very sympathetic, (ii) Sympathetic, (iii) Sympathetic to some extent, (iv) Unsympathetic, (v)


The rating scale is thus a useful device which can be fruitfully employed in social psychology,

but it also suffers from almost all those limitations with which a questionnaire suffers. Hence,

its use up to a limited extent is considered desirable.

Types of Rating Scales

In social psychology we use many types of rating scales. These are:

(i) Graphic Rating Scale- In this type of rating scale the investigator puts (x) mark at an

appropriate place in the scale to show his liking. Usually in such a rating scale there are various

points on a straight line which present a quality from maximum to the minimum amount. For


Very Intelligent Average Less Not at all

Intelligent Intelligent Intelligent

(ii) Rank Order Scale- In this rataing scale the rater classifies the subject in various ranks.

For example, we ask 10 persons to rank these five in order of their preferences for the office of

the Prime Minister of India.

Chandra Shekhar, Atal Bihari Vajpai, Narsimha Rao, Jyoti Basu, Inder Kumar Gujral.

5 persons rate Atal Bihari as number 1, 3 rank, Rao as number 1 and 2 rank, Gujral as number

1. On this basis we can say that Vajpai is favoured by most of the respondents to be the Prime

Minister of India.

Advantages in Rating Scale

(i) It can be easily constructed.

(ii) Through it the characteristics of the individuals also can be ranked.

(iii) It facilitates the raters rating judgment.

(iv) It can also be used for self-rating.

(v) It can be used in personality assessment.

Precautions in the use of Rating Scales- The rating scale can only be useful when in its use

some precautions are taken. We are describing two commonly committed errors in the use of

rating scale.

(i) Errors due to Halo Effect- Many a times we rate a person who is good in one

characteristic as good in others also because of the halo effect. For example, a person is very

hard working. We are liable to rate him as honest as well while he may be totally corrupt.

(ii) Generosity Errors- The rater has a tendency to rate those abilities in a higher category

which he likes. For example, he may prefer competence over hard work in case he likes

competent persons. Another mistake which we often commit is that we all have a tendency to

put the characteristics or the abilities of the individuals in the category of average whether they

are good or bad.

These errors can be minimised if the raters are given adequate training.


Besides, the methods which have been discussed above, there are some other tools and

techniques which are used in the social research. We will deal with them in brief as follows.


Sociometry is a new technique which is now quite widely, used in the social research.

Sociometry is the technique of studying structure of a group and measuring the status of each

individual. This technique owes its origin to Moreno. The important first step in the development

of sociometry was the publication of Morenos book who group shall survive in 1934. In this

book there are described a series of group studies carried out in public schools and in

institutional settings by using various types of techniques for gathering data including

sociometric measures.,

Gardiner Lindzey and Edgar F. Borgatta say that in simplest terms, a sociometric measure is a

means of assessing the attraction, or attractions and repulsions, with in a given group. It

usually involves each member of the group privately specifying with whom he would like to

engage in some particular activities and further, a number of persons with whom he would not

like to participate in the activities.

The sociometric method is now quite widely used in social research. Through this technique

those who do not mix up with in other people, or are isolated, are brought into greater

prominent and greater cohesion is obtained in the group.

In sociometry statement is given which describes the dimension of those interpersonal relations

which are being investigated. The statement is called sociometric criterion. At the superficial

level, describing this dimension seems to be quite simple but in fact, the main problem in

collecting sociometric data is the statement of the sociometric criterion. Moreno says that most

meaningful sociometric data can be obtained through concrete statements rather than abstract

statements. For example, if we are to find out interpersonal attractive then we may give such a

criterion statement name the person with whom you will like to work. Do not give such

statement Now the persons whom you like very much. The second statement is abstract.

Liking may have different meaning for different individual. Hence this statement may not result

in the collection of data objective.

Moreno also says that the most appropriate criterion statement are those which are meaningful

to the respondent and which may lead to direct real results. For example, the statement the

person with whom you will like to work become more meaningful if respondent is asked given

an assurance that the distribution of work may in reality depend on his response.

In simple terms in the sociometric technique a sociometric questionnaire is given. In this

questionnaire the respondent is asked to give his decision regarding his liking for interaction

with whom and up to what extent. In the questionnaire, the answers to the question are

required to be given by mentioning the names of the person with whom the respondent likes to

interact. For example, the question With whom will you like to work? may further be

elaborated asking the respondent to rank the persons by names with whom he will like to work.

He may give the name of the person with whom very much likes to work at number one and at

second number name of that person who is next in his liking and so on. In this way we can

know the extent to which the respondent likes to keep relations with other persons.

According to Moreno the main requirements of sociometry are as follows:

1. The subject may be told about the limitations of the group.

2. The subject should be allowed to choose unlimited alternatives or reflections.

3. The subject may indicate that he has chosen or rejected the on the specific criterion.

4. The results of sociometric questions be applied for the reconstruction of the group.

5. The subject must be allowed to show his acceptance or rejection in his own personal

ways. The other members of the group must not know this.

6. The questions should be within the range of understanding of the group members.

The above six requirements indicate ideal conditions. However, in our investigations it is difficult

to fulfill all the requirements. Hence in every investigation some requirements are reduced or

left unnoticed.

The data which is collected through sociometric method is analysed in many ways. Either a

graph or diagram is drawn or data is converted in numerical form.

SOCIOGRAMS- The observations of sociometry presented in diagrammatic form are called

sociogram. These diagrams are of great help in presenting the information obtained

In the diagram given below the interpersonal attractions of a group of 12 person are shown.

This sociogram is not only showing mutual attractions but also is showing the manner in which

these attractions are taking place.

A person who gets maximum of choices is called a star. In the sociogram he is K. The person

who gets least choices is known as isolate B is an isolate No one likes him There are also shown

mutual attractions between K and C and S and G.

Another observation is that K and C are making their own groups. K is getting the preferences

of B. S. D. T. F. C. C is getting preferences of E and N. K and C also like one another. Hence

through sociogram we also learn about sub-group formations within the larger group.

The above sociogram is a very simple example of sociograms. There are many other methods,

more complicated to draw sociograms.

The sociometric techniques have been fruitfully used in the. investigations regarding

Leadership, Friendship, Group Formation, Social Adjustment, Minority Perjudices, Morale, Public

opinion etc. It is also being used by psychiatrists, educationists, industrialists, armed forces etc.

Advantages of Sociometric Method

(i) Group formation can be investigated. We can also find out the formation of cliques etc.

within a large group.

(ii) We can find out the mutual attractions or repulsions in a group a class or a community.

(iii) We can find out the leaders in a group.

(iv) We can get information regarding the withdrawing behaviour of the individuals which may

help in understanding their mental states:


(v) We can find out the religious, class or caste prejudices among the members of a group or a


Limitations of this Method

These can be described in two ways:

(a) The manner of employing this technique.

(b) Shortcomings inherent in very nature of sociometric technique-

(i) The sociometry is one of the techniques which studies the mutual relationships. Often to

get complete knowledge of such relationships we require more information for which we have to

make use of other techniques. Hence we may say that this technique itself is deficient.

(ii) The questionnaire used in sociometry needs careful planning and should be constructed in

accordance with appropriate criteria.

(iii) There is difficulty in analysing the data obtained through this technique quantitatively.

(iv) This technique cannot be used with large groups or communities. Its use is limited to a

group in which all the members are known to each other.


The data collected with the help of the questionnaires, rating scales, interviews or

sociometric methods are given statistical treatment. The statistical treatment helps the

investigator in analysing and interpreting the data collected. Today, without the application of

statistics, no research worth the name can be conducted. Many of the questions of social

psychology can be adequately answered by the application of the statistical methods.


The social psychologist also uses various types of tests. The tests used by the social

psychologists can be put into two categories. They are objective and subjective types of tests.

The tests which are used to measure individuals intelligence, ability, rigidity of thought and

behaviour, suggestibility etc. are the objective type of tests. These tests are used by social

psychologists in finding out the effect of heredity or environment upon the individuals social

development. Through these tests it is measured whether suggestibility or level of aspiration or

intelligence affect his behaviour in a social group.

The subjective tests are those tests which are designated as projective tests and techniques.

These tests are useful in assessing the personality of an individual. These tests not only make a

study of the conscious motivating forces, which influence the individual but also probe in the

unconscious motives which influence and affect the personality of the individual. Through these

tests, the social psychologist makes an assessment of the personality of the individual in order

to find but the real basis of the social behaviour of the individual.

There are a number of projective tests available now. Rorschach Tests of ink-blot is a

famous projective test. In this test ten ink-blots complexity are shown to the individual and he

is asked to say what he perceives in them. On the basis of his responses with the help of a

standardized key his personality is assessed.

Another important projective technique is Thematic Apperception Test or in short T. A. T. In

this test a number of pictures are shown to the testee and he is asked to build a story. There is

also Symmonds picture story test which is a variation of T.A.T. It consists of twenty pictures

and is designed for the study of the boys and girls in their adolescent period. The projective test

which is used with the children is known as C. A. T. (Children Apperception Test). There are

similar many other projective tests which have been designed to assess the personality, of the

individuals in a proper manner.


The various methods which we have discussed above, have found their uses the field of social

psychology. The most important development in the present times is regarding the

experimental method. Today, experimental studies are often conducted along two lines. Action

research and group dynamics. Through action research Lewin tried to relate action with

research. Lewin thought that by this linking of research with social action, many of the social

problems can be solved. It was Lewins faith that when a scientific study of various social

problems like prejudice, strikes in industry is made, it may lead to an understanding of the

social problems and may also help in this solution of some of the serious social problems with

which individuals are confronted. Lewin sought the co-operation of many social agencies which

were concerned with the prevention of social crimes. He tried to manipulate the process of

social change in real life conditions. He was successful in such a manipulation which led him to

propagate the method of action research. Thus through such a research the operation of social

agencies is sought to produce a social changes. The many variables involved in the process of

social change are studied. In this way a social scientist is able to locate the factors which a

responsible for creating social problems and can also apply a remained for them.


Lewin also propagated group dynamics. In this method, he endeavoured to establish a

relationship between experimental structure and theoretical analysis. Lewin considered that

groups are concrete and can be studied experimentally. He made the experimental structure of

small groups and was able to throw light on the basis of social studies on large-scale social

processes. He characterized the group dynamical whole. By dynamical whole, he meant that if

a change in the state of any sub-part of the group is brought the state of the other sub-part is

affected. This conception of the group as dynamical whole has helped him in propagating his

idea about research known as group dynamics.



Content analysis is a method which mainly indicates codification and classification of qualitative

material in such a manner that it to be quantified. We may explain this method by giving an


In 1939 Sargent conducted an investigation in which he prepared a representative list of twelve

such words which were written in the editorial of two widely circulated newspapers about same

events of persons. Without informing the source of words Sargent asked that college students

to tell whether they like or dislike them or are neutral about them. Some pairs of words were

Progressive Vs Radical Crop Control Vs Farm Dictatorship, Investigator Vs Inquisitor. He

found that every answer showed equal liking for those words which were used in one of the

newspapers. Sargent came to the conclusion that the reactions regarding words which were

used in the editorial of this paper were in the direction of newspapers economic and political

policies. The less liked words were-aggressive, dictatorship, inquisitor. In the editorial these

words were used in the context of its economic and political policies and the reactions about

them were in the same direction.

From the above example it is evident that in content analysis the various words used in any

statement, newspaper, letter etc. are taken out and then a quantitative study of them is made.

The number of times those words are used is found out. Their various interpretations or

meanings and the reasons for their being used at many times are also enquired into. This

technique is now being increasingly used in investigations.

According to Holsti Content analysis is any technique for making inferences by systematically

and objectively identifying specified characteristics of message.

When to Use Content Analysis

Content Analysis can be used in three types of problems for investigation.

(i) This method is useful when we have to adopt that technique in which the investigator has

either to conduct his study on (a) a sample- for example, to analyse those important news

which have appeared in the newspapers for elites in the last seven years or (b) such a team of

co-workers have been employed which had its own prejudices or (c) both the above situations


(ii) It is also useful in those situations in which the availability of the data is a problem and the

data which the investigator has depends on those messages which are, circulated by people.

For example, to draw conclusions from the propaganda of the enemy.

(iii) The content analysis is also often necessary when there are some theoretical elements

involved in the data and the language of the subject is very important for the problem being

investigated as for example the interviews by psychiatrist or projective tests. In these situations

the ideas which are expressed by the subject are very vital and their analysis is done on the

basis of set standards.


Cross-cultural method uses that data which the anthropologist collect regarding the customs,

traditions and characteristics of various people so as to test those hypotheses that are framed

in connection with human behaviour. Some of the hypotheses which are being tested are

framed on the basis of the principles of cultural evaluations, some are based on the principles of

cultural integration and others are based on the principles of personal relations and physical and

socia1 development.

There are two main advantages in this method-

(i) It gives confidence that the obtained results describe the general human behaviour. They

are not limited to any particular culture, and

(ii) The range of various variables increases.

To explain how cross-cultural method leads to a general description of human behaviour we are

giving one example as follows-


Sears and Wise in their study on a sample of 80 children of Kansas city found that there was a

positive relation in their age of weaning and the extent of emotional disturbances. It showed

that the later the age of weaning the greater were the emotional disturbances.

Now the problem was that Is it a general human characteristic. that the age of weaning is

related to the extent of emotional disturbances or is it a specific instant n the cultural milieu of

Kansas city. Whiting and Child conducted a cross-cultural study which was on the training and

personality of the children and they collected data, on same variables as was done by Sears

arid Wise. Their sample was from 75 societies which were spread throughout, the world. In the

case of 37 societies decisions could be arrived at n the relationship between weaning and

emotional disturbances: These results were contradictory to the results obtained by. Sears &

Wise. It was found that the weaning till, advanced age resulted in less emotional tensions and

not more. In 17 societies where the age of weaning was two years or less the average score on

a seven point- scale was 3.5 while in 20 societies where the age of weaning was more than two

years the average score was 2.8 only. The higher the scores the lower were the emotional


If we accept that the variables were validly measured and they could be compared then our

conclusion may be that in the case of Kansas city there were different psychological principles

operative from those prevalent in other societies But if we carefully scrutinize the data then a

better explanation is available which points towards the second advantage of this technique.

In the sample of Kansas city the children were in the age range of 0 to 7 years (only 5 children

out of 80 were of more than seven months of age) while in the cross-cultural study except two

children all the others were in the age range of 12 months to 6 years. Hence the results of both

the studies were not contradictory. There was difference in the age-range of both the samples

in the two studies. Thus we can say that to 7 months the effect of weaning is to increase the

emotional tensions, however, if weaning is between two higher than seven months the tensions

are less. In case the age of weaning is higher than seven months the effect on emotional

tensions is opposite it. The relationship between weaning and emotional disturbances seem to

be curvilinear and not linear. By increasing the range of study we can reach to more valid

conclusion. By increasing the range we mean that the investigation may not be limited for

seven months only. It should be extended to the children of two years or above this age. We

may, thereby, find out that the weaning within two months of after two years reduces tensions.

We can apply the cross cultural method of investigation in the study human nature and the

development of human institutions and the traditions of the societies. Mead & others use this

method very profitably in their investigations.


The Oxford, Dictionary meanings of simulate are To assume falsely the appearance or signs of

(anything), to. feign, pretend, counter-feit imitate.. In this context simulation may be defined

as the action or practice of simulating, with intent to deceive.. This definition, however, is

not very appropriate for using it as a technique of investigation in the field of social sciences

For using it as a technique simulation may be defined as the exercise of a flexible imitation of

processes and outcomes for the purpose of clarifying or explaining the underlying mechanism

involved. In itself the feat of imitation is not the important feature of simulations. The main

point here is that the successful imitation publicly reveals the essence of the object imitated. In

simulation there is the possibility of deceiving the naive observer. But this possibility of

deceiving is reduced to the minor role of a potential criterion by which to judge the

successfulness of the imitation.

Major Classes of Simulation Relevant to Social Psychology

There are many types of simulation techniques which are used in the investigations in social

psychology. These are-

(i) Computer Simulation- In this type of simulation the investigator takes up some aspect of

an individual or group process which is being represented by a set of symbolic instructions

which can he carried on a computer. In other words we can say that in computer simulation

some aspects of a process are got imitated by a computer. For example, the cognitive activity of

the people which is involved in solving a problem is being simulated by a computer. The

computer imitates the individuals and like them attempts to solve the problem on the basis of

rational principles which are being previously fed to it.

(ii) System Simulation- By a system is meant an integrated entity made up of interacting

parts which differ simply in their structure and function. For simulation purposes system refers

to entities which one can design or manipulate rather than to natural objects such as

individuals or informal groups.

To most frequent use of system simulation is in optimizing system design. It means arranging

the system in such a way that peak performance or efficiency is achieved. This technique is now

increasingly being applied in engineering, industrial and military fields.

In system simulation often the real persons are asked to simulate the human processes.

Whatever roles are involved in the system real persons are asked to simulate those human

relations which inherent in these roles.

(iii) Internation Simulation- In this type of simulation the people in a laboratory situation

are asked to simulate the people in the real world. In investigation using this technique a

number of groups of individuals were placed in a laboratory setting in which each group was

instructed to imagine that it represented the foreign policy wing of the government of some,

nation. These laboratory groups then played out simulated international situations involving

trade, treaties, alliances, threats, wars etc. In this type of experiment the various groups

simulated the foreign policy of that country about which they are instructed to imagine they

belong to. For example, if a group imagined that it represented India then it simulated the

foreign policy of India about an issue like trade, war etc. Another group might simulate the

foreign policy of Pakistan. Now by watching the behaviour of people in different groups which

simulated the foreign policies of different countries we can get much clear view of foreign

policies of various nations.

(iv) Gaming Techniques- All the three types of simulation described above lead to increased

understanding by the investigator of the objects being stimulated. The gaming techniques are

such as in which there is a possibility that those persons who are simulating may get better

appreciation of those situations which are being simulated.

Many types of games which can be played in the laboratory situation can be described such as

Business Games. War Games, Legislative Games etc. In these games the subject in the

laboratory is in given well structured situations and is asked to respond so that the best results

can be obtained on behalf of the team, organisation or individual which he is representing.

(v) Artificial Intelligence Type- At times computer programming is done in such a manner

that they can perform activities of moderate complexity by their artificial intelligence. For

example, a computer can play chess with such intelligence that it can defeat the good human

player. The computer follows such activities which we may classify as intelligent activities. But

this intelligence is artificial because the programming is done by the human beings.

Many intricate programmes are now available in which the computer intelligence play most

effective roles.

We are living in the age of electronic revolution and whatever techniques are available today

much more sophisticated, advanced and technically superior techniques are expected tomorrow.

Hence the computer simulation is bound to become more advanced and complicated in future.

The Necessary Steps in Simulation Techniques

The various steps are as follows:

(1) At the first step the problem is chosen. It has to be ascertained that the problem which is

being investigated can be investigated by this technique and this is the best technique to study


(2) Formulation of a detailed psychological model of the process involved.

It has to be ensured that something happens over time and also to decide about well

specified independent and dependent variables.


(3) It is to be determined if simulation is appropriate policy or not through which the model

can be developed and tested It means that we must find out if the new model will be based on

the results of simulation or not.

(4) Transformation of the psychological model into an organized sequence of major steps for

computer simulation.

(5) It is to be ascertained that what type of computers are available.

(6) To understand the working of the computer.

(7) To write the programme for the computer or to obtain the available software for the


(8) To ensure debugging of the computer.

(9) To revise the model so that all the errors can be removed and reliable and valid results can

be obtained.

(10) To run the model in full scale data. It may be noted that a model may work well in sample

illustrative data carried through a few representative steps however it does not at all guarantee

that it will behave properly when run full scale with a large body of data.

In the end we may say that in the modem times this technique is very widely used in

psychological4and sociological investigations. It is being used with groups of two as well as with

large groups of people as voters or consumers.

We have described quite a good number of methods and techniques which a social psychologist

can use in his investigation. The choice of the method may depend on those social situations

which he wishes to study and on his own ability.

The table below shows the types of simulation simulator and simulated.


Types of SimulationSimulator Simulated

Computer Computer
simulation An individual or group of individuals.
System simulation
(a) Computer Abstract systems such as communication net work.

(b) Groups of individual aided by computers

of Individuals Decision makers representing nations.

Gaming simulation
(i) Groups of individualsGroups of idealized individuals or their roles

(ii) Two players

Artificial Computerintelligence Idealized intelligences