Sample Exam Questions for "History in Social Psychology"

Last updated:
23 Oct 2005


  1. What have been the major historical phases in social psychology?
  2. Who do you consider to be three key figures in the history and development of social psychology and what were their major contributions?
  3. What are the major meta-theories in social psychology? (see Vaughan & Hogg, 2005, pp. 12-14)
  4. What was the ‘crisis of confidence’ that occurred in social psychology in the 1970’s and how has the field responded?
  5. During social psychology’s ‘crisis’, what were the major criticisms being made of the discipline?

Multiple choice

The idea of a social group having a mind:
a. was an old explanatory notion dealing with the origins of behavioural uniformity in groups that fell into disfavour in the twentieth century
b. derived from the nineteenth century work of the folk psychologists
c. was thought to be a form of super-mentality which could enfold a group of people
d. all of the above

LeBon (late 1800s) thought that crowds would sometimes behave badly because people were being controlled by:
a. a ruthless leader
b. proto-fascists
c. a group mind
d. the proletariat

Inspired by the early behaviourist John Watson, Floyd Allport argued that social psychology would only flourish if:
a. new methods were adopted by social psychologists
b. individual level analyses were emphasised
c. the discipline became less reductionist
d. the discipline became an experimental science

A nineteenth century experiment undertaken by Triplett was the forerunner to later work dealing with:
a. the group mind
b. social identity theory
c. social facilitation
d. gender stereotyping

Kurt Lewin, often considered the ‘father’ of experimental social psychology:
a. discovered the Id
b. formulated the influential theory of cognitive dissonance
c. founded a research centre for group dynamics
d. observed that cyclists who were paced or in a race rode faster than when they rode alone

Which of the following was NOT the basis of an early and famous experiment in social psychology?
a. cognitive dissonance ( by Festinger and Carlsmith)
b. social identity (by Tajfel)
c. norm formation (by Sherif)
d. group pressure (by Asch)

Cognition is emphasised in modern social psychology in
a. discourse analysis
b. psychodynamic theory
c. attribution theory
d. both b and c

Modern European social psychology has been shaped to a large extent by:
a. Solomon Asch and Muzafer Sherif
b. Serge Moscovici and Henri Tajfel
c. Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler
d. Kurt Lewin and Gustav LeBon

In Australia and New Zealand, social psychology had its origins in:
a. British social psychology
b. German social psychology
c. European social psychology
d. American social psychology

Since the 1970s social psychology has been most influenced by:

a. research derived from cognitive psychology
b. new work dealing with the psychodynamic nature of behaviour
c. comparisons across cultures
d. studies of gender differences
e. research on the ‘group mind’

Many of the classic studies in social psychology (e.g., on obedience, conformity, prejudice etc.) arose in response to:

a. the rise of behaviourism in psychology.
b. the ‘crisis’ in social psychology.
c. the events of World War II.
d. the growing influence of cognitive psychology.
e. the development of European social psychology.