Social Psychology

Social Psychology
Individuals, Interaction, and Inequality

August 2017 | 368 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

Social Psychology: Individuals, Interaction, and Inequality invites you to take a sociological approach to the study of the individual in relationship to society. This unique new text explains how social psychology provides varied, yet interrelated, explanations for individuals' experiences in groups and how the micro-level interactions of individuals have consequences for macro-level phenomena within society.


Karen A. Hegtvedt and Cathryn Johnson describe an array of processes that shape interaction given differences in status, power, or group memberships. Unlike other social psychology texts, theirs stresses the interconnections among these processes to create a story about how individuals perceive and then act in their social worlds. In addition to introducing the central theoretical approaches and important empirical studies, the authors also provide many examples that help students locate the substance of social psychology in their own experiences and social interactions. In the end, readers will gain an understanding of how their identities and perceptions shape what they do, how the structures in which they are embedded may constrain or facilitate their behaviors, and how these dynamics contribute to reinforcing or ameliorating inequalities in their social groups.


1. Introduction to the Interrelated Processes of Social Psychology
Roots, Overview, and Key Themes  
2. Methods of Developing Social Psychological Knowledge
The Logic of Scientific Inquiry  
Social Research Methodologies  
Archival Methods  
Ethical Issues  
Segue: From the Means to Collect Data to the Patterns Revealed  
3. The Individual in a Social World
How Do Individuals Socially Construct Their Worlds?  
How Does the Social Self Emerge?  
Segue: The Symbolic Interaction Approach and Identity Processes  
4. Identity Processes
How Do Individuals Socially Construct Their Identities?  
How Do Identities Affect the Choices We Make and Our Interactions with Others?  
Segue: The Symbolic Interaction Approach, Identity Processes, and Social Cognition  
5. Intra-Individual Processes: Social Cognitions
How Do Cognitions Affect Behavior?  
Segue: Social Cognition Feeds Attitude Processes  
6. Intra-Individual Processes: Attitudes
How Do Attitudes Develop?  
How Do Attitudes Change?  
Reciprocal Influences: To What Extent Are Attitudes Related to Behavior?  
Segue: Moving from Attitudes to Affect  
7. Beyond Cognition: Affect and Emotions
What Distinguishes Emotions from Other Affective States?  
Why Do People Feel What They Feel?  
What Influences Displays of People's Feelings?  
How Do Gender and Race/Ethnicity Influence Experience and Display of Emotions?  
How to Affective States Influence Social Interaction?  
Segue: Emotions, Status, Power, and Inequality  
8. Status Processes in Groups
How Are Groups Defined?  
What is Conformity and Why Do People Conform in Groups?  
Status Processes in Groups  
How Can Status Inequalitiy in Groups be Reduced?  
How Do Characteristics Acquire Status Value in the First Place?  
Segue: Status and Power  
9. Power Relations in Groups and Social Networks
Social Exchange Theory Overview  
When Will Actors Use Power in Social Exchange Relations?  
How Do Commitment and Trust Develop in Social Exchange Relations?  
What is the Role of Emotions in Social Exchange Relations?  
What is the Relationship between Status and Power?  
Segue: Power and Legitimacy  
10. Legitimacy: Shaping Behavior in Groups and Organizations
The Milgram Studies on Obedience and Legitimate Authority  
What is the Process of Legitimacy?  
How Do Individuals and Structures Become Legitimated?  
What are the Consequences of Legitimation? The Good and the Bad  
Segue: Legitimacy and Justice  
11. Justice Processes and Evaluations Within Groups
What is Justice?  
How Do People Perceive Injustice?  
How Do People Respond to Perceptions of Injustice?  
Segue: Justice and Intergroup Relations in Society  
12. Intergroup Processes
Intergroup Behavior  
Prejudice and Discrimination  
Ameliorating Negative Intergroup Behavior  
Conclusion: Intergroup Processes and Addressing Social Inequalities  

“The greatest strength of [Social Psychology] is the quality of social psychologists that are included and the organization. I think that with each chapter they bring in the 'big names' in research, and [that is] a very strong aspect of the text.”

Curt G. Sobolewski
University of Notre Dame

“I really like the attention to small group processes (status and power processes get short-changed in most social psychology texts), the emphasis on theory, and the use of concrete examples to flesh out the theories [in Social Psychology].” 

David Diekema
Seattle Pacific University

“I was especially happy to see an entire section dedicated to emotions and affect rather than including emotion at the end of another section. I likes that a greater portion of [Social Psychology] was dedicated to group processes than other available textbooks. I think that the final section of integration may be the strongest selling point for this book. Finally, the concrete examples anchoring each theory greatly appeal to me.”

Lindsey Joyce Chamberlain
The Ohio State University
Key features


  • The text explains an array of processes—involving individual identities, perceptions, attitudes, emotions, and behaviors—that shape social interaction.
  • The story never loses sight of how individual level processes contribute to our understanding of inequality related to class, race, gender disability, and other statuses within social groups.
  • Clear and resonant examples illustrate how social psychology provides a way for students to understand their own lives and ensure they "take home" what they have learned in class.



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ISBN: 9781412965040