The Roles and Functions of a Social Psychologist

May 23, 2020
A social psychologist analyzes the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of a community. They do so to establish what their faults are and to develop plans and interventions with which to improve their quality of life.

Psychology covers various fields and specialties. For instance, the social psychologist belongs in the social environment field dedicated to studying the behavior, feelings, and thoughts associated with human interaction.

In addition, social psychologists intervene to improve people’s quality of life. Thus, they generate a greater sense of well-being in the people they work with. They must perform various functions to do so, though. Continue reading this article to catch a glimpse of the roles and functions of a social psychologist. You’ll also discover their fields and learn more about their valuable contributions.

“Tough people are not born. They’re made when there’s no one there to dry their tears.”

-Anonymous-

1. Evaluation, planning, and management

Social psychologists are responsible for making an assessment of the environment they’ll intervene in. It includes the people they’ll work with. To do so:

  • They set an evaluation goal according to the group’s needs.
  • Also, they assess the group’s abilities.
  • Thirdly, they estimate prevention and awareness programs.
  • Finally, they analyze the resources they can work with and set goals based on them.

Thus, they can detect what a group or a person requires and set goals. Then, they create projects to solve the needs it found and make evaluations to assess the real changes the interventions they carried out are producing.

In addition, they have the resources and direct the activities to carry out. Thus, they can intervene at a group or individual level. They must pay attention throughout the process to reach their set goals.

A group therapy session.

2. Training

A social psychologist is also in charge of training. Therefore, they provide the community or person different resources to face the situation that affects the group through psychoeducation. In fact, they guide them to solve their needs through teaching. Thus, be it the community or the person, they learn how to manage their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors for their well-being. This is just how social psychologists improve the quality of life of the people they work with. Isn’t it wonderful?

In addition, they carry out social fabric construction programs that improve the well-being of the community. They do so through the creation of inclusive projects, having already made an evaluation and stated the goals.

3. Research

Investigating is another task of a social psychologist. This is because they get new knowledge from the analysis of individuals and communities regarding their social interaction. To do so, they study both their behavior as well as their ideas and emotions.

The research in social psychology covers various fields. For example, Martínez-Tur, Peiró, Ramos, and Tordera show their research on the contributions of social psychology to the study of the user and consumer satisfaction in this article.

Likewise, there are hundreds of studies in social psychology. In fact, some of the most explored fields are social psychology within organizations; social psychology of groups; health; learning; personality; war and trauma, etc.

4. Intervention, an essential task of a social psychologist

A social psychologist intervenes in various ways:

  • Social. They focus on group participation through self-help groups; parents’ schools; training workshops on specific skills; group and group psychotherapy, and health promotion and prevention, among others.
  • Individual. Through psychotherapy or psychoeducation so that the person can integrate into their community.
  • Family. From psychotherapy and activities such as workshops.
  • Mediation. To help people in conflict come to a satisfactory agreement.
  • Environmental. Through ecological models.

A social psychologist conducts surveys, creates structured groups, evaluates resources and needs, and uses different instruments and techniques for the benefit of the target groups during an intervention.

Two people talking.

The fields of action of a social psychologist

The social psychologist can work in the following areas:

  • The study, assessment, and analysis of the needs of a group or a community.
  • Elaboration of indexes and indicators of the aspects related to the interaction within a group.
  • Detection of risk groups within a community.
  • Campaign approach publicity.
  • Analysis of the social networks of a group or community.
  • Research on the skills, attitudes, and social perceptions of a community or group.
  • The approach of programs, projects, and fieldwork in a community or group.
  • Design of social inclusion strategies.
  • The design of psychosocial assessment tools.
  • Execution of cultural activities.
  • Group psychotherapy.
  • Facilitation of resources.

As you can see, a social psychologist can operate in various fields. Most of them require a specialty, although a bachelor’s degree in psychology is the beginning of training for social intervention. A subsequent specialty mainly helps a professional develop specific skills for it. It also provides them with deeper knowledge.

Finally, a social psychologist is an unmatched professional who intervenes in groups and communities to improve their well-being. Not only in relation to them but also to the environment they operate in. A social psychologist executes wonderful projects that create a more favorable environment for the target community through groups.

  • Eguzquiza, I. (2011) Roles y funciones del psicólogo social, pp. 1-8.
  • Martínez, Tur, V., Peiró, J.M., Ramos, J., & Tordera, N. (2000). Contribuciones de la psicología social al estudio de las satisfacción de los usuarios y consumidores. Revista de psicología social, 15 (2), 117-136.
  • Moscovici, S. (1984). El campo de la psicología social. La psicología social I. Barcelona, España: Paidós.