American Sociological Association

Social Psychology and Interaction

Social psychology examines the way groups and social structures shape individuals—their perceptions, beliefs, identities, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors—and how individuals acting together create, maintain, and change social structures.

Research includes how individuals’ locations in social structures, such as class, race, or gender, impact their behavior, perspectives, emotions, and even health. It also examines how individuals interact with one another, influence and are influenced by each other’s actions and communications, and develop social selves and identities that guide their future behavior. By coordinating behavior through interactions, individuals create group structures such as hierarchies and roles, as well as solidarity and shared identities among group members.

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