Social psychology refers to the scientific study of the behavior of how people manipulate, relate as well as think about each other (Myers, 1996, p. 4). It refers to the study of the consequences of both cognitive as well as social processes regarding how particular individuals recognize, persuade as well as relate to and with each other (Smith & Mackie, 2000, p. 3). The terms feelings, thoughts and behaviors comprise of all psychological variables that are measured in an individual. The actual, imagined, or implied presence of an individual influences the thoughts, feelings as well as behaviors of other individuals this scientific study is referred to as social psychology (Macionis, 2012). This human behavior is explained to be because of the immediate social situation as well as the interaction of the mental states. Social psychology theories have a tendency of being definite and focused, rather than international and common.
Statements presented by anyone at a particular time can be anticipated or implied, thus suggesting that individuals are prone to social influence even at times when no one is around, for example, while watching television (Allport, 1985; Mills, 2007). Generally, it can be concluded that social psychologists have an attachment to laboratory-based, experimental conclusions. Pursuers of this discipline are firm believers in the need for factual explanation of behavior and contexts, instead of speculative conclusions that are highly subjective. The concern of social psychology is majored on the way these feelings, thoughts, intentions, beliefs as well as goals are built and the manner in which the said psychological factors consecutively manipulate one’s interactions. The social psychologists, therefore, major on trying to explain the causes of one's behavior in the presence of other individuals looking at the circumstances upon which the given actions as well as feelings occur. This discipline analyzes an individual’s actions in the context of the environment the acts were performed; this is based on the belief that behavior is a social construct of a person’s environment. These surroundings may include culture, people, natural environment and events in the person’s life. Collectively, the individual is shaped or forced to act in a particular manner to comply with, rebel against, or mitigate particular contextual elements and scenarios.
Positivism is defined as a scientific philosophy that takes a specific ontological, epistemological as well as methodological perception. Present-day positivists, and their critics, allocate diverse implications as well as importance to a comparatively extensive collection of performance, as well as theoretical position; this has brought about a number of confusions as to what positivism is or is not (Macionis, 2012). Having in mind the negative implications that positivism is likely to have in many modern sociological surrounds, particularly outside the United States, each segment of this bibliography comprises one or two serious pieces linked to the section’s subject. Moreover, a later part, Commentary and Critique, provide influential works that highlight the variety in the analysis of positivist sociology.
Auguste Comte, being the earliest individual to put down the positivist position for sociology, argued that social facts that were clear, as well as external to the person were agreeable to practical, scientific scrutiny. The goal of a positivist social science, therefore, would be to distinguish the intangible, public laws that undergirded these evident facts. This individual should not pay attention to causes, in particular the ultimate causes, but relatively the expected relations stuck between phenomena. Similarly, to create a body of cumulative knowledge that could direct social engineers, similar to physics or chemistry directing the electrical engineers (Ashley, 2005). Positivism has a lot of diverse modern methodological and an epistemological meaning, possibly the most significant charge leveled against positivism is that it dominates the discipline and particularly the mainly prominent journals.
Nonetheless, only some core essentials can be secluded that highlight all positivisms. First, sociology is a science, in that only those social facts peripheral and evident by scientific techniques and instruments are to be studied. It should not be assumed that the use of positivism in psychology is not subject to thorough scrutiny and high research standards simply because it is a philosophical approach. Closely related, sociological analysis should be objective, value-neutral investigation noticeable from, political, moral, religious or theoretical investigation. In addition, techniques and devices are supposed to be verifiable, reliable as well as defined; however, there exists no known distinctive set of techniques that positivists hold, as various positivists (often known as methodological positivists) subscribe to quantitative study. This overreliance on the quantitative methodology is because of the approach’s ability to provide provable results in a study, which is contrary to qualitative results. The subjectivity of qualitative approaches and the ability of the researcher’s bias to affect the arguments made is a principal constraint for its adoption by positivists.
The hypothesis is supposed to be intangible and generalizable; additionally, it should clearly explain the concepts that are linked by their relationship. Most of the positivists believe that any theory-goal should be explained in a class of phenomena; however, a few of them believe in the rule of law. Lastly, the critical goal is increasing, objective understanding of the social humanity, the properties as well as dynamics. This principal objective is accentuated by the rapid changes in social structures and behavior, which require a comprehensive understanding when making related decisions and strategies.
In a Positivist scientific research, the study majors on getting and understanding knowledge in a global perspective, this is purposeful by use of scientific techniques of analysis. It is in the making of conclusions from a general premise where a lot of reasoning takes place. The method includes a lot of surveys as well as experiments. Mathematical as well as statistical methods and procedures are frequently in use, thus the research setting at times is used to give support and as evidence at times it is as well used to disagree or agree with the hypothesis existing. It can be argued that some researchers avoid the use of the positivist approach because of their fear for numerical calculations, which are integral when this method is applied.
Critical Evaluation of Positivists in Social Psychology
Ontology refer to the philosophical study about the nature of existence, being, becoming, or reality, and the basic categories of individuals and their relations (Harvey,2006). customarily programmed as a part of the main division of philosophy identified as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions relating to what entities exist or are said to exist, as well as how such entities can be set, linked within a hierarchy, as well as subdivided according to their differences as well as similarity .
Methodology defines the orderly, hypothetical study of the techniques applied to a field of study, or the hypothetical study of the body of methods and philosophy connected by a branch of understanding. It, characteristically, encompasses impression such as paradigm, hypothetical model, phases and quantitative or qualitative procedures (Howell, 2013). The methodology does not set out to present solutions, but offers the hypothetical foundation for perceptive which technique, set of methods or so called best performs can be useful to a specific case.
Epistemology this is a Greek word that means knowledge and understanding the word as well means study of it is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature as well as its scope of understanding. The method questions as well as identifies the ways in which to obtain the same as well as the extent to which the knowledge is to be acquired. A number of the debate in this field is and focuses on the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge as well, as how it relates to connected notions, for example, truth justification as well as belief. The term "epistemology" was set up by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808–1864).
Social psychology refers to the scientific study of the behavior of how people manipulate, relate as well as think about each other. Social psychology, thus, is clearly defined by the studies of Positivists. Positivists, thus, try to explain the social psychology proudly it is only through it that the proper definition of social psychology is obtained, through its studies as well as researches.
Critical evaluation of Positivists in Social Psychology explains that for social psychology to be up to date and true positivist’s research has to take place. The research clearly defines the situation through its three dimensions of study ontological, epistemological as well as methodological.
Allport, G. W (1985). "The historical background of social psychology". In Lindzey, G; Aronson, E. The Handbook of Social Psychology. New York: McGraw Hill.
Ashley, D. (2005). Sociological theory: Classical statements (6th ed.). Boston, MA, USA: Pearson Education. pp. 94–98, 100–104.
Harvey, F. (2006). Ontology. In B. Warf (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Human Geography. (pp. 341-343). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc
Howell, K. E. (2013) Introduction to the Philosophy of Methodology. London: Sage Publications
Macionis, J. J. (2012). Sociology 14th Edition. Boston: Pearson.
Macionis, J. J. (2012). Sociology, 14th Edition. Boston: Pearson.
Mills, C. W. (2007). The sociological imagination. New York: Oxford University Press.
Myers, D. (1996). Psychology (8 ed.). New Jersey: Pearson