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Social Psychology

Social Psychology
Core Concepts and Emerging Trends

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January 2016 | 696 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Employing a lively and accessible writing style, author Daniel W. Barrett integrates up-to-date coverage of social psychology’s core theories, concepts, and research with a discussion of emerging developments in the field—including social neuroscience and the social psychology of happiness, religion, and sustainability. Engaging examples, Applying Social Psychology sections, and a wealth of pedagogical features help readers cultivate a deep understanding of the causes of social behavior.

Part I: Foundations of Social Psychology
Chapter 1: Introducing Social Psychology
The Mystery of Romantic Attraction  
Social Psychology Matters: Defining the Field  
Social Psychology and the Quest for Human Nature  
The Evolving Nature of Social Psychology: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow  
Principle Matters: Social Psychology's Guiding Principles  
Science Matters: Social Psychology is a Science  
Doing Research: An Introduction to Research Methods  
Final Thoughts: Social Psychology and Human Nature Revisited  
Chapter 2: The Social Brain
The Case of Phineas Gage  
What Is the Brain  
Origins of the Social Brain  
Anatomy of the Brain  
Chromosome, Genes, and DNA  
Doing Research: Methods of Social Neuroscience  
Social Neuroscience and the Fundamental Questions  
Final Thoughts: Evolution, Brain Plasticity, and Culture  
Part II: Thinking About the Self and Others
Chapter 3: Social Cognition
Believing is Seeing  
The Psychology of Social Thinking  
The Nature of Social Cognition  
The Dual Mind: Automatic and Controlled Processing  
Heuristics: Mental Shortcuts  
Doing Research: Reliability and Validity  
Motivated Reasoning  
Culture and Cognition  
Final Thoughts: Free Will and Rationality Revisited  
Chapter 4: What Is the Self?
The Many "Me's" of the Self  
What Is the Self: The Self as Thinker and the Thought  
Knowing Who We Are: Introspection and Self-Perception  
Doing Research: Questioning Self-Reports and Surveys  
Evaluating How We Are Doing  
Self-Presentation: Displaying Oneself  
Self-Regulation: Controlling Oneself  
Final Thoughts: The Paradox of the Self  
Chapter 5: Social Perception
"Nice to Meet You. You're Hired!" Job Interviews in Seconds  
Impression Formation  
Biases in Social Perception  
Nonverbal Communication and Emotional Expressions  
Doing Research: The Challenges of Cross-Cultural Studies  
Detecting Deception  
How Observations Can Fail Us: Four Cognitive Illusions: Control, Gambling, Shooting Streaks, and Imagined Associations  
Attributions: Determining the Causes of Behavior  
Final Thoughts: Sex Categorization and Free Will  
Part III: Interpersonal Influence
Chapter 6: Social Influence
Good People Turning Bad  
Types of Social Influence  
Six Principles of Interpersonal Influence  
The Principle of Reciprocity  
Conformity and the Social Validation Principle  
Obedience and the Authority Principle  
Doing Research: Deception and Ethics in Research  
Obedience in the 21st Century: Milgram Revisited  
Final Thoughts: The Upsides of Compliance, Obedience, and Conformity  
Chapter 7: Attitudes and Persuasion
When Prophecies Fail  
The Nature of Attitudes  
The Origins of Attitudes  
Two Routes to Persuasion  
Elements of Persuasion  
The Effects of Attitudes on Behavior  
Doing Research: Measuring Attitudes  
Cognitive Consistency and the Effects of Behavior on Attitudes  
Final Thoughts: Resisting Persuasion  
Part IV: Moral Behavior
Chapter 8: Helping
The Nature of Helping Behavior  
Why We Help  
Origins of Helping Behavior  
When Do We Help?  
Doing Research: Safeguarding Research Participants  
The Empathy-Altruism Relationship  
Person Factors Affecting Helping  
Who Gets Helped?  
Final Thoughts: A Broader View of Helping  
Chapter 9: Aggression
Mass Shootings  
The Nature of Aggression  
The Origins of Aggression  
When Do We Aggress?  
The General Aggression Model  
Doing Research: Archival Studies of Historical Aggression  
Person Factors Affecting Aggression  
The Route to Aggression: From Inputs to Outputs  
Reducing Aggression  
Final Thoughts: The Multiple Causes of Aggression  
Part V: Affiliative Behavior
Chapter 10: Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination
Anti-Immigrant Attitudes Around the Globe  
The Nature of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  
The Three Waves of Research on Racism  
The Origins of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  
Social Identity Theory  
Contextual Factors  
Doing Research: Measuring Implicit Attitudes  
Person Factors  
Specific Types of Intergroup Bias  
The Effects of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  
Overcoming Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination  
Final Thoughts: The Changing Landscape of Prejudice  
Chapter 11: Affiliation and Love
Friends with Benefits  
The Nature of Affiliation and Love  
Contextual Factors  
Who is Attractive?  
Evolutionary Perspective on Mate Selection  
What is Love?  
Doing Research: Examining Interpersonal Relationships  
Relationship Satisfaction  
Dating in the Virtual World  
Final Thoughts: Does Facebook Make You Lonely?  
Chapter 12: Group Processes
Sports-Related Riots  
The Nature of Groups  
Key Features of Groups  
Groups and Behavior  
Losing Onself in the Group: Deindividuation  
Group Decision Making  
Doing Research: Case Studies  
Minority Influence  
Final Thoughts: Crowd Wisdom and Smart Mobs  
Part VI: Emerging Topics in Social Psychology
Chapter 13: Three Emerging Trends: The Social Psychology of Happiness, Religion, and Sustainability
The Intersection of Happiness, Religion, and Sustainability  
The Social Psychology of Happiness  
The Nature of Happiness  
The Antecedents and Benefits of Happiness  
Doing Research: Generalizing to the Real World  
The Social Psychology of Religion  
The Nature of Religious Belief  
Origins and Benefits of Religious Belief  
The Social Psychology of Sustainability  
Final Thoughts: Subjective Well-Being and Sustainability  
Author Index
Subject Index


Student Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • A  customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience
  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives reinforce the most important material
  • Web exercises and meaningful links make it easy to mine internet resources, further explore topics, and answer critical thinking questions
  • Multimedia content includes videos that appeal to students with different learning styles
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter
Instructor Teaching Site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • An author-created test bank with 125 questions per chapter, including both multiple choice and essay questions, provides a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Editable, chapter-specific and author-created PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for the course
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring one’s course
  • An Instructor’s Manual provides chapter-by-chapter lecture notes, discussion questions, class activities and more to ease preparation for lectures and class discussions
  • A robust set of Web Exercises hones in on three key areas (Applications, Social Media and Technology, and In the News), connecting chapter coverage with current web resources and related, carefully crafted follow-up exercises to help students master key concepts.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter to encourage students to think critically
  • Multimedia content includes videos that appeal to students with different learning styles
  • A course cartridge is provided for easy LMS integration.


The book outlines social psychology goals for both students and lecturers

Dr Oluyinka Ojedokun
Pure & Applied Psychology, Adekunle Ajasin University
February 22, 2018

An in depth and comprehensive look at this subject.

Sarah Holmes
Childhood & Youth Studies, Liverpool Hope University
September 13, 2017

A range of very useful concepts relevant to social psychology are represented here. I had hoped that there may be more direct references/studies related to education, particularly special education. Although it is provides a good overview, it does not work in an interdisciplinary context.

Ms Lorraine Loveland-Armour
Department of Education, Newman University
April 3, 2017

I used the Barrett Social Psych text for the first time this past semester (Fall'16). The book is sufficiently thorough with regard to core social psych concepts and written in a clear and engaging manner. The students enjoyed it; they found the text interpretable and interesting. I (instructor) and the students appreciated the myriad of support materials that were also provided. Finally, the cost is reasonable, an important factor in an era of extraordinarily expensive textbooks.

Dr. Richard Solomon
Psychology Department
University of Rhode Island

Dr Richard Solomon
Psychology Dept, University Of Rhode Island
December 10, 2016

This is an excellent textbook that I have found really useful and accessible for students. I also use the Instructor resources extensively. This book is readable, informative and comprehensive.

Ms catherine-ann o connell
Department of Social Care, Limerick Institute of Technology
September 27, 2016

An extremely approachable text which covers a wide range of topics within the realm of social psychology, covering classic studies alongside up to date research developments. I particularly like the 'think again' sections, which challenge students to reflect on their reading.

Mrs Suzi Smale
Petroc, Petroc
September 15, 2016

This book provides a different perspective to more main stream texts by placing more of an emphasis on cognitive and biological approaches to social behaviour. It therefore would make good supplemental reading as opposed to being a core reference text.

Mrs Liz Hall
Psychology , Petroc
September 9, 2016

Well written in easy readable sections. Explains core concepts well.

Miss Julie Anderson
Health , Tyne Metropolitan College
August 30, 2016

An interesting text providing insight into the core theories and concepts. Accessible and relevant.

Ms Sarah Jane Cleak
Community Studies, Truro & Penwith College
August 26, 2016

I think it is a hugely accessible book that undergraduates will find very helpful in applying psychological theories to practice situations. Of particular value to my students is the application of social psychology to matters of health Also an invaluable glossary is included.

Mr Michael John Grant
Faculty of Health & Wellbeing, Sheffield Hallam University
August 12, 2016
Key features


  • Coverage of core theories is integrated with discussion of emerging trends and cutting-edge research, including such topics as happiness, religion, sustainability, evolutionary psychology, culture, and more.
  • An integrated discussion of research methods across chapters offers a dynamic depiction of the scientific method to enable a thorough understanding of the field.
  • A unique chapter on social neuroscience illuminates connections between brain biology and social behavior.
  • Applying Social Psychology sections highlight the relevance of social psychology in a variety of areas that include health, work, and the law.
  • Research boxes in each chapter illustrate hypotheses, methods, results, and conclusions of relevant studies to help readers see science as a process rather than a series of outcomes.
  • Pedagogy based on the science of learning include self-reflection exercises as well as Think Ahead!, Think Again!, and Think Further! questions that encourage critical thinking and broaden students’ ability to transfer their knowledge to new applications.
  • FREE SAGE edge online resources include PPT slides, a test bank, lecture outlines, a complete action plan for success, mobile-friendly eflashcards, access to SAGE journal articles, multimedia links, and more.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 4

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