Social Psychology is a part of psychology, which studies human behavior in the society. Overall, this section of the science is one of the most useful parts of psychology. People have to know which variables affect their behavior and change them if they are not appropriate. In my essay I discuss three theories of social psychology such as: fundamental attribution error, cognitive dissonance and obedience to authority.
Fundamental Attribution Error
Fundamental Attribution Error is one of the social psychology theories. This error explains the inappropriate judgment of other individuals (Wortman & Loftus, 1992). People would rather describe behavior of others according to their internal force without thinking about external reasons. Usually, people do not know many factors, which can affect someone and they would like to make a conclusion based on stereotypes or other experiences before. There are might be two phases of Fundamental Attribution Error. The first one is to make quick reasoning about someone’s behavior based on his or her personality. If the person sees a mistake in judgment, he or she can go the next level of analyze. The second phase is to understand deeper and more accurate the reasons for behavior of others. Because of this time taking process people do not consider the second phase as necessity.
One of my personal experiences of Fundamental Attribution Error happened in Prague. One of my friends came late for meeting with me in early morning, and I had an opinion that this person is not punctual and lazy to dress up earlier. One week later I came late for different meeting with exactly the same friend, but I tried to explain my delay with other reasons; such as my tram was broken. After that, I asked my friend for reason, which affected her delay and she told me that she had sleepless night before. Considering Fundamental Attribution Error, I judged this friend according to her nature; I did not include any external reasons, which may affected her.
It is important to know the principle of Fundamental Attribution Error. This knowledge decreases many prejudices, stereotypes and preconceptions in the society. If people do not conclude their opinion about others superficially, they are more likely to be judged fairly in the future.
The theory of Cognitive Dissonance is the state of psychological discomfort of an individual (Wortman & Lotus, 1992). This dissonance is caused by the conflict between our beliefs, values, ideas and behavior. People would like to dispose of this emotional stress, when this controversial state of mind occurs. There are two ways to escape from this dissonance: changing of attitudes or changing of behavior. It is discovered that Cognitive Dissonance is voluntary process and deliberated behavior of an individual.
There are two alternative explanations why the Cognitive Dissonance may occur. The first one is impression-management theory (Wortman & Lotus, 1992). This...