The GEPS understands that social psychology is an empirical science that uses diverse methods to develop systematic study of human social behavior as a way to answer basic questions about human nature. GEPS adopts a classical definition to define the field, according to which social psychology is the scientific study of how thoughts, feelings and behaviors are influenced by the presence – real or imagined – of other individuals.
Social psychology is a sub-field of psychology that, based on a broad perspective of human behavior, seeking to make sense of the interactions between people in social contexts, (e.g. the interactions between friends, love relationships and interpersonal relationships) that occur in work, at school, on the street, and any other place.
Are there a long list of research topics in social psychology such as group processes, interpersonal attraction, prosocial behavior (why people help each other), prejudice, stereotyping, aggression, among others. Social psychology began to develop in the first half of the twentieth century, but became a consolidated field of study only since the 1950s and 1960s, with the scientific study of the thoughts, feelings and other phenomena.
In the 1970s and 1980s, was of great importance to social psychology the study of basic cognitive processes, which formed a broad and sophisticated field of study: Social Cognition. This is the scientific area that studies how people think about other people and their social world.
From the year 1990, another important development occurred in social psychology: the approach of the discipline with biology and evolutionary psychology, which seeks to apply the basic ideas of evolution extending it to the understanding of human social behavior. It was also during this period that social psychologists have been studying the brain in an attempt to identify the relationships between its functioning and social interactions among individuals.
The social psychology is not the only field which studies social behavior. However, the area is different from disciplines such as sociology and anthropology, for example, by the systematic use of experimental methods, the emphasis on the power of the situation over the social behavior, the study of socio-cognitive processes, as well as the focus on the individual in his social circumstance (and not in large groups or societies).