What Does a Social Psychologist Do?

In social situations, a social psychologist studies the relationships between thoughts, behaviors, and actions. A social psychologist with advanced training in psychology can work in a variety of settings, including academia, organizations, and market and media research. Most social psychologists’ jobs entail studying how people react in various social situations and applying that knowledge to their field of practice.

In most areas, a social psychologist must complete several years of training before deciding on a career path. Many psychologists have both a master’s and a doctorate in psychology, in addition to an undergraduate degree. Successfully passing licensing examinations is often a requirement for doctors who want to work directly with patients. Licensees in social psychology may be required to complete continuing education and re-certification tests every few years. It is possible that psychologists who do not plan to work with patients will not need to be certified.

A social psychologist can work as an educator or researcher in academia. Many psychologists seek jobs at universities because they often include access to laboratory facilities and personnel, as well as the opportunity to teach future psychologists. Many social psychologists can continue to conduct productive research in superior facilities while still earning a living teaching. Many professional psychologists enjoy the opportunity to share their knowledge and experience with up-and-coming colleagues, in addition to the potential for research.

Many social psychologists work in the tumultuous world of business culture. An organization may hire a psychologist to assist in the development of social and mental health programs for employees, such as counseling services. A company or corporation might also hire a social psychologist to assess current corporate culture and recommend changes that would improve employee morale, loyalty, and adherence to company policies. Psychologists in this field may be hired on a project basis or as full-time employees.

Media and marketing are two other private-sector fields where many social psychologists work. Psychologists working in these fields may conduct studies on consumer behavior, purchasing trends, and the impact of various global, national, and local events on spending decisions. Media or marketing psychologists may be able to advise businesses on the general mood of the public and how marketing choices will affect a specific demographic. Social psychologists’ analysis of marketing and media data could have an impact on everything from movie production to presidential candidate funding.