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Updated by Vaishnavi Kumar on May 16, 2018
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Top 10 Books on Social Psychology

How do we define our relationships with the people, the world and ourselves? Social psychology delves into our social and cultural bias we function with. If you're interested in this area of psychology, here are 10 books to add to your reading list.

1

The Social Animal

The Social Animal

landmark text that maintains its relevance and unique approach edition after edition, The Social Animal offers a brief, compelling introduction to modern social psychology. Through vivid narrative, lively presentations of important research, and intriguing examples, Elliot Aronson probes the patterns and motives of human behavior, covering such diverse topics as terrorism, conformity, obedience, politics, race relations, advertising, war, interpersonal attraction, and the power of religious cults.

2

Games People Play

Games People Play

Games People Play: The Psychology of Human Relationships is a bestselling 1964 book by psychiatrist Eric Berne. Since its publication it has sold more than five million copies. The book describes both functional and dysfunctional social interactions. In the first half of the book, Berne introduces transactional analysis as a way of interpreting social interactions. He describes three roles or ego states, known as the Parent, the Adult, and the Child, and postulates that many negative behaviors can be traced to switching or confusion of these roles. He discusses procedures, rituals, and pastimes in social behavior, in light of this method of analysis.

3

The Lucifer Effect

The Lucifer Effect

Renowned social psychologist and creator of the Stanford Prison Experiment Philip Zimbardo explores the mechanisms that make good people do bad things, how moral people can be seduced into acting immorally, and what this says about the line separating good from evil.

The Lucifer Effect explains how—and the myriad reasons why—we are all susceptible to the lure of “the dark side.” Drawing on examples from history as well as his own trailblazing research, Zimbardo details how situational forces and group dynamics can work in concert to make monsters out of decent men and women.

4

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do

Claude M. Steele, who has been called “one of the few great social psychologists,” offers a vivid first-person account of the research that supports his groundbreaking conclusions on stereotypes and identity. He sheds new light on American social phenomena from racial and gender gaps in test scores to the belief in the superior athletic prowess of black men, and lays out a plan for mitigating these “stereotype threats” and reshaping American identities.

5

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion is a 2012 social psychology book by Jonathan Haidt, in which the author describes human morality as it relates to politics and religion.

6

The Person and The Situation

The Person and The Situation

This synthesis of the central themes of social psychology and personality theory covers the central topics of social psychology and shows how they and their messages inform the study of any topic having to do with social behaviour.

7

The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice

The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less is a 2004 book by American psychologist Barry Schwartz. In the book, Schwartz argues that eliminating consumer choices can greatly reduce anxiety for shoppers.

8

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions is a 2008 book by Dan Ariely, in which he challenges readers' assumptions about making decisions based on rational thought.

9

Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World

Situations Matter: Understanding How Context Transforms Your World

A “thought-provoking and entertaining” (The Washington Post) exploration of the invisible forces that influence your life—and how understanding them improves everything you do.

10

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time

The Confidence Game: The Psychology of the Con and Why We Fall for It Every Time

The con artist: from Bernie Madoff to Clark Rockefeller to Lance Armstrong - all elegant, outsized personalities, artists of persuasion and exploiters of trust. But how do they get away with it?