Whenever I meet people I always approach them from the standpoint of the most basic things we have in common. We each have a physical structure, a mind, emotions. We are all born in the same way, and we all die. All of us want happiness and do not want to suffer.
— The Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness

Social Psychology: the systematic study of the psychology of social groups. The interaction between an individual and his environment. (Collin, 216)

The branch of psychology concerned with the way individuals thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are influenced by others. (Bamford, 11/30/10) Explores how people are affected by their social environments, including how people think about and influence others. Topics as varied as conformity, obedience, persuasion, interpersonal attraction, helping behavior, prejudice, aggression, and social beliefs are studied by social psychologists (Hockenbury, 13) The many different interactions that take place among (individuals and) members of a group. These would include, for example, leader-follower relations and group decision making. How well a group of people get on together, and how well they work together. (Cardwell, 115-116) The most basic theory regarding social psychology is that when a person is alone, he or she is more relaxed and not concerned about the appearance of their behavior. By adding just one other person to the equation, behaviors begin to change and people become more aware of what is going on around them. (Kleinman, 48)


Attitude: a learned tendency to evaluate some object, person, or issue in a particular way. Such evaluations may be positive, negative, or ambivalent. (Hockenbury, 446) A positive or negative evaluation of an object of thought. People are likely to evaluate social issues, groups, institutions, consumer products and people, and form attitudes about them. (Bamford, 11/3010) Something that cannot be measured directly, and whose existence must be inferred. (Cardwell, 20) An abstraction, some sort of general state or condition existing inside ourselves or others. (Mager2, 17)

Affective Component of Attitude: emotional feelings stimulated by an object of thought. These are the feelings and emotional responses you have about social issues, groups, institutions, consumer products and people. (Bamford, 11/30/10)

Behavioral Component of Attitude: predispositions to act in certain ways toward an attitude object. These are the behaviors or behavioral expectations associated with your attitudes about social issues, groups, institutions, consumer products and people. (Bamford, 11/30/10)

Cognitive Component of Attitude: beliefs that people hold about the object of an attitude. These are the thoughts, ideas and beliefs that you have about social issues, groups, institutions, consumer products and people. (Bamford, 11/30/10)

Network: there are two extreme forms of network. One is laid out in a prescribed pattern, like the wiring diagram of a computer or the hierarchical structure on an army. Such networks are totally ordered. The other extreme form of network is one in which the links are formed at random, like the crisscrossing streaks of paint in a piece of art created by Jackson Pollock. (Fisher, 109) Brain networks span multiple spatial scales, from the microscale of individual cells and synapses to the macroscale of (cognition) systems and embodied organisms. (Sporns, 2) Camillo Golgi helped coin the term ‘nerve network’ and the general concept of a brain that thinks through the collective work of vast distributed neuronal circuits. (Nicolelis, 47)  Also, a communications, data exchange, and resource-sharing system created by linking two or more computers and establishing standards, or protocols, os that they can work together. (Baltzan, 336)

Metcalfe’s Law: an equation proposed by one of the early pioneers of the network, Robert Metcalfe. The inherent value of any network actually increases as the square of the number of people who connect to it. (Gore, 80) Also referred to as ‘network effect.’

Organizational Network: communication links among an organization’s members, such as the nature, frequency, and ways information is exchanged. For example, you have weekly face-to-face status meetings with your boss or receive daily reminder e-mails from an assistant. (McCornack, 406)

Social Network: a chain of interconnected or intercommunicating people. (Oxford) Establishing relationships with individuals who have similar social or professional interests for the purposes of expanding knowledge and professional/social interaction. (NCIt) An online form of networking that takes place through user interaction. (Schawbel, 220) Verb - 'social networking.'

Social Networking Analysis: a process of mapping a group’s contacts (whether personal or professional) to identify who knows whom and who works with whom. (Baltzan, 339)

Virtual Network: group of coworkers linked solely through e-mail, social-networking sites, or the Internet. (McCornack, 407)

Social: of, or pertaining to society, or its organization as a natural or ordinary condition of human life. (Oxford)

Social Brain: neural circuitry that operates as we interact. (Goleman, 9)

Social Categorization: the mental process of categorizing people into groups (or ‘social categories’) on the basis of their shared characteristics. (Hockenbury, 440)

Social Stratification: levels of social class ranking based on income, occupation, wealth, and power in society. (Johnson, 168) 

Socioeconomic Status: the economic condition of individuals based on their own or their family’s income, occupation, and educational attainment. (Johnson, 168)

Social Comparison: the process of comparing oneself to others. (Floyd, G6) Comparing ourselves with others in order to form judgements pof our own talents, abilities, qualities, etc. (Wood, 336)

Social Exchange Theory: the theory that people apply economic principles to evaluate their relationships in terms of costs and benefits, and that people are satisfied only in relationships in which the benefits outweigh the costs. (Wood, 334) Predicts that people seek to form and maintain relationships in which the benefits outweigh the costs. (Floyd, G6) The idea that you will be drawn to those you see as offering substantial benefits with few associated costs. For example, Meredith thinks Leonard is perfect for her because he is much more attentive and affectionate than her previous boyfriends and seems so easy to please. (McCornack, 332)

Social Influence: the effects of ‘situational factors’ and other people on an individual’s behavior. (Hockenbury, 458)

Social Isolation: few social connections. A potential health risk. (Hockenbury, 493)

Social Norms: a way of thinking or behaving that is considered appropriate and proper within a particular society, and that most members of that society adhere to. Compliance with the social norms of a society may lead to acceptance by societal members, noncompliance to rejection. (Cardwell, 236) Rules or expectations for appropriate behavior, in a particular social situation. (Hockenbury, 460)

Social Penetration Theory: (Irwin) Altman and (Dalmas) Taylor’s model that you reveal information about yourself in layers. (McCornack, 61) A theory that predicts that as relationships develop, communication increases in breadth and depth. (Floyd, G6)Social Schema: organized cluster of ideas about categories of people. (Bamford, 11/30/10)