The four Major Theoretical Perspectives of Social Psychology are sociocultural, evolutionary, social learning, and social cognitive. The sociocultural perspective views the social impact that a group has on an individual (Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2010, pg. 7). The sociocultural perspective is vastly based off the work of Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky’s learning theory suggests that the people and social interactions that take place in a child’s life helps mold or “scaffold” children to reach higher levels of development (Scherba de Valenzuela, 2002). The evolutionary perspective is the theoretical view that our social behaviors have evolved just as our physical characteristics have(Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2010, pg. 8). As we evolved our ancestors learned social behaviors that assisted in their survival and those genes were passed down through the generations (Cherry, n.d.). The social learning perspective suggests that past experiences and their outcomes, whether positive or negative, create the foundation for forming social behaviors (Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2010, pg. 10). The final perspective of social psychology, the social cognitive perspective, views our social behavior as a process. In a social setting we must first choose what events to pay attention to, interpret the meaning of the event and how to remember it. (Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini, 2010, pg. 11).
Cherry, K. (n.d.) What are the major perspectives in social psychology. About.com. Retrieved from http://psychology.about.com/od/socialpsychology/f/socpersp.htm
Kenrick, Neuberg, & Cialdini. (2010) Social psychology: Goals in interaction. 5th ed. Pearson/Allyn & Bacon.
Scherba de Valenzuela, Julia (2002) Sociocultural theory. The University of New Mexico. Retrieved from http://www.unm.edu/~devalenz/handouts/sociocult.html