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Evolution of Social Psychology Question


Social psychology is considered by some to have begun in 1895 with the work of Norman Triplett (1897), who examined the impact of fellow cyclists on the performance of an individual cyclist. Triplett observed that the mere presence of other cyclists improved an individual’s performance. Since Triplett’s pioneering work, social psychologists continue to examine the powerful impact of situationism—that is, the importance of examining people’s surroundings when trying to understand individual behavior. According to one of social psychology’s founders, Gordon Allport (1954), “[S]ocial psychology is the scientific attempt to explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of other human beings.” According to Fiske (2014), there are five core motives for our behavior, which are the product of human interaction with our respective context: belonging, understanding, controlling, enhancing the self, and trusting.


For this Discussion, review this week’s media The History of Social Psychology and select three key points in the evolution of social psychology that you feel are paramount to the field. You must include one element of Lewins’ influence on situationism. Consider how situationism influenced the other key points you selected and how situationism might influence your current or future work setting.


With these thoughts in mind:


a brief description of the three key points in the evolution of social psychology you selected. Include one element of Lewin’s influence on situationism. Then explain one way situationism influenced the key points you selected. Finally, explain one way situationism might influence your current or future work setting.


Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and the current literature.


Required Resources




  • Course Text: Fiske, S. T. (2014). Social beings: Core motives in social psychology. (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    • Chapter 1, “Introduction: Adaptive Motives for Social Situations Via Cultures and Brains”


  • Course Text: Fiske, S. T., Gilbert, D. T., & Lindzey, G. (Eds.). (2010). The handbook of social psychology (Vol.1, 5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

    • Chapter 1, “History of Social Psychology: Insights, Challenges, and Contributions to Theory and Application"

    • Article: Farr, R. M. (1991). The long past and the short history of social psychology. European Journal of Social Psychology, 21(5), 371–380.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

    • Article: Reis, H. T. (2008). Reinvigorating the concept of situation in social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(4), 311–329.
      Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

    • Website: About the Situationist. (n.d). Retrieved November 30, 2011, from http://thesituationist.wordpress.com/about/

    • Website: Social Psychology Network. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2011, from http://www.socialpsychology.org/

    • Website: The Inquisitive Mind. (n.d.). Retrieved November 30, 2011, from http://www.inmind-magazine.org/


      Allport, G. W. (1954). The historical background of modern social psychology. In G. Lindzey (Ed.), Handbook of social psychology (Vol. 1, 99, 3–56). Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.


      Triplett, N. (1897). The dynoamogenic factors in peacemaking and competition. American Journal of Psychology, 9, 507–533.




Evolution of Social Psychology Sample Paper

Sociology and psychology both acquired a modern way of handling disciplinary and professional form in the nineteenth century. This was experienced first in the united states. With the first argument being that the study of relations among people should not belong to sociology rather than psychology or vice versa. However, in the during the interwar years, there were different ways which human approaches began to differ in the two disciplines. The more significant part was taken by the psychologist who acted as if individuals did not have asocial dimension. For instance, in emotional expression, memory or perception, this was able to be seen.This meant they could understand social psychology as the study of core activities in superior social settings (Fiske 2010).

Social psychology being a scientific skill, it explains how feelings, thoughts, and an individual’s behavior are controlledby the presence or actions or imaginations of another human being. There are five fundamentalmotives, controlling, belonging, enhancing the selftrusting, and understanding which influences the behavior andare human interaction products. Different psychologists have come up with theories trying to explain what social psychology entails (Fiske 2010). Starting with Floyd H. Allport, he wrote and explained that social psychology describes the individual consciousness inrelation to social relations and objects.

We also see SirGeorge Herbert who stated that talking about human experiences is notpossible independent of it having a social content. He also argued that imitation presupposes knowledge of an individual and others which after emerges during a social process (Fiske et al. 2010). One thing that made him very known is the idea he brought up of overcoming the theory of dualism and practice.Lastly, he became knownfor the continuous use of the phrase ‘the conversation of gestures’ which meant the communication line in thesocial process. Among other philosophers included, Irving Goffman,WalterLippmann who was also a journalist, Elton Mayo KurtLewin, who introduce the situationism theory and WilfredBion. Thiswas the contributors to how social psychology began(Reis, 2008).

Situationism is a theory that best describes the human behavior with the things that surround them rather than their qualities. Lewin used this theory while trying to study some human behavior. He even came up with a formula, B=f(P, E) which was termed as heuristic where B denoted behavior, P for person and E mean environment (Fiske et al. 2010). First, it was used to determine the branches of psychology, animal, child,and psychopathology. This theory influenced amajorpart of the research field theory and leadership while reflecting situationism in his theory.

Secondly, we look at Leon Festinger, who dealt with the cognitive dissonance theory.This theory dealt with a person’smental recalibration on how they observed their surroundingand  what they can afford or not. An aspect of Lewin’stheory could affect here in a way that one could weigh their environment and what they want and decided on what to have and what to decline (Fiske et al. 2010).

Lastly, we have the ShelleyTaylor text which reflects on the burgeon filed of social cognitionresearch which includes the works of schemas, person’s memory, consciousness, attention, social identity and social inference. All this are connected to the foundation of joining a person’s response to the environment they are in. Again, there is a connection to Lewin’s theory (Reis, 2008).

As we can see, situationism relates to entirely any situation or context. For professional studies, which might influence a person directly or indirectly, and change the behavior,and people interact with others. Other situations which can be influenced by this theory include the professional experience, changing the way one views their colleges and friends while at work or even when socializing.




Fiske, S. T. (2010). Social beings: Core motives in social psychology (2nd Ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Fiske, S. T., Gilbert, D. T., & Lindzey, G. (Eds.). (2010). The handbook of social psychology (Vol. 1, 5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Reis, H. T. (2008). Reinvigorating the concept of situation in social psychology. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 12(4), 311-329. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1088868308321721


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