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By that time, though, the discipline had already developed a significant foundation.Following the 18th century, those in the emerging field of social psychology were concerned with developing concrete explanations for different aspects of human nature.In recent times, research on attitudes has examined the distinction between traditional, self-reported attitude measures and "implicit" or unconscious attitudes.For example, experiments using the Implicit Association Test have found that people often demonstrate implicit bias against other races, even when their explicit responses reveal equal mindedness.Social psychologists examine factors that cause behaviors to unfold in a given way in the presence of others.They study conditions under which certain behavior, actions, and feelings occur.Nevertheless, sociological approaches to psychology remain an important counterpart to psychological research in this area.In addition to the split between psychology and sociology, there has been a somewhat less pronounced difference in emphasis between American social psychologists and European social psychologists.
The terms thoughts, feelings, and behavior refer to psychological variables that can be measured in humans.
One study found that explicit attitudes correlate with verbal behavior in interracial interactions, whereas implicit attitudes correlate with nonverbal behavior.
One hypothesis on how attitudes are formed, first advanced by Abraham Tesser in 1983, is that strong likes and dislikes are ingrained in our genetic make-up.
They attempted to discover concrete cause and effect relationships that explained the social interactions in the world around them.
In order to do so, they believed that the scientific method, an empirically based scientific measure, could be applied to human behavior.
There was heated debate over the ethics of laboratory experimentation, whether or not attitudes really predicted behavior, and how much science could be done in a cultural context. Pluralistic and multicultural perspectives have emerged. Modern researchers are interested in many phenomena, but attribution, social cognition, and the self-concept are perhaps the greatest areas of growth in recent years.