Chapter 2

Exploring the Territory of Social Psychology

In This Chapter

arrow Discovering the social psychology disciplines

arrow Seeing social psychology in action

arrow Investigating the mind of a cowboy

When you think of a scientist, you probably think of a single person: A lone genius, working in a laboratory full of bubbling test tubes or scrawling illegibly on a blackboard. But modern science is really a team effort. Social psychologists, like all scientists, work with many other people, sharing ideas and methods and data. They also collaborate with colleagues in very different disciples, from neuroscience to sociology to evolutionary biology. So rather than solitary geniuses, perhaps you should think of social scientists more like a team of superheroes, each with their own specialty and superpower (although now I’m picturing many of my colleagues wearing Lycra jumpsuits …).

In this chapter, I introduce you to the many specialties and disciplines that make up modern social psychology. I discuss the disciplines of personality and cognitive psychology, sociology and ethnography, and the exciting new research in social neuroscience that’s invigorating the science with a new source of data. I reveal ...

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