Social psychology, a few definitions!

The social learning theory emphasizes the importance of observing and modeling the behaviors, attitudes, and emotional reactions of others. Thus it focuses on learning by observation and modeling. The theory originally evolved from behaviorism but now includes many of the ideas that cognitivists also hold; as a result it is some times called social cognitive learning.

Social learning theory talks about how both environmental and cognitive factors interact to influence human learning and behavior. It focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling (Abbott, 2007).

Social cognition is an aspect of social psychology concerned with exploring the way in which people interact with each other and their environment. When people are interacting with each other, they are constantly in the process of storing new information while recalling existing information which may be helpful to the interaction. It is important to be aware that much of social cognition takes place on a subconscious level. Social cognition is the encoding, storage, retrieval, and processing, in the brain, of information relating to conspecifics, or members of the same species. Social cognition is the study of how people process social information, especially its encoding, storage, retrieval, and application to social situations. Social cognition has its roots in social psychology which attempts « to understand and explain how the thoughts, feelings, and behavior of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others » (Allport, 1985, p. 3). It studies the individual within a social or cultural context and focuses on how people perceive and interpret information they generate themselves (intrapersonal) and from others (interpersonal) (Sternberg, 1994).

Social schema theory builds on and uses terminology from schema theory in cognitive psychology which describes how ideas, or « concepts » from the world around us are represented in the brain, and how they are categorized. According to this view, when we see or think of a concept, a mental representation or schema is « activated », bringing to mind other information which is linked to the original concept by association. This activation often happens unconsciously. As a result of activating such schemas, judgements are formed which go beyond the information actually available, since many of the associations the schema evokes extend outside the given information. This may influence thinking and social behavior regardless of whether these judgements are accurate or not.

The social environment of an individual, also called social context or milieu, is the culture that he or she was educated and/or lives in, and the people and institutions with whom the person interacts.

Social competence is the condition of possessing the social, emotional, and cognitive, intellectual skills and behaviours needed to succeed as a member of society, thus needed for successful social adaptation.

A social skill is any skill facilitating interaction and communication with others. Social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning such skills is called socialization.

Pro-social skills help people get along with others and navigate difficult social situations in positive ways and for better social interactions, self-control, and problem solving. The ability to behave in prosocial ways is also referred to as social intelligence. In the book “Social and Emotional Development” [Redleaf Press, 2008], authors Riley, San Juan, Klinkner and Ramminger describe prosocial behavior as “voluntary behavior intended to benefit another person”. “Pro-social” is the opposite of anti-social. Anti-social actions result in others feeling distant while prosocial actions are relationship skills that invite others to feel positive and seek interaction. Pro-social skill set comprises : 1) Social Interaction Skills, 2) Self Control/Anger Management Skills, 3) Problem Solving/Conflict Resolution Skills.

The term emotional intelligence refers to the child’s ability to understand others’ emotions, perceive subtle social cues, « read » complex social situations, and demonstrate insight about others’ motivations and goals.

Socialization is a process of learning norms, rules, regulations, values and attitudes of society. It is a lifelong process which starts from childhood till to the death of a person. Socialization is a vital process of learning through which the society exists. Each and every society socializes its members according to its own values. A man learns ways of attitudes, behaviors, languages, and cultures of a society through the process of socialization.

The debate of “nature” (heredity) and “nurture” (the social environment) is being made since decades. However, Without the concept of language a member cannot create relationships with others. Language is a source to create relationships and to take part into the social interaction.

Agents of socialization are the people and groups which influence our emotions, attitudes and behavior etc. Family, religion, day care, school, peer groups and workplace are the agents of socialization that prepare us to take our place in society. Socialization is a lifelong process in which an individual learns the essentials of society. The norms, mores, values, attitudes, thoughts and folkways are being transmitted from one generation to another with the help of socialization.


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