Is Social Psychology simply Common Sense?

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A common refrain voiced by laypeople and scientists is that most, if not all, of behavioral science “is just common sense.” Social psychology students are particularly likely to make this claim, given that much of their prior exposure to social psychology probably has taken the form of aphorisms such as “opposites attract,” “absence makes the heart grow fonder,” or “two heads are better than one.” In a nutshell, it’s difficult to counter the “common-sense” stigma when so much of behavior seems to be explainable at an intuitive surface level. People think of social psychology as simply rephrasing what we already know because its subject matter is so personal and familiar. This is referred to “as if I knew it all along” phenomena. We informally think about our feelings, thoughts and actions. Why this informal thinking will be different from what social psychologists achieve through scientific observation? In many ways this is true. Let’s look at these examples, they confirm what many ... more
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