Socio-psychological knowledge originated at the dawn of civilization, when the first forms of collective life appeared. Already in early religious movements, priests used crowd control techniques, infecting large groups of people with mass mood. Subsequently, ideas about social behavior formed the basis of philosophy. But social psychology took shape as an independent science only at the beginning of the 20th century.
The life of people in one way or another happens in a team. This requires regulation of the behavior of individuals and groups, the ability to communicate effectively and get along with other members of society. Various rituals, ceremonies and prohibitions were passed from generation to generation, with the help of which society maintained social balance. Knowledge about the patterns of interaction between the individual and the group gradually took shape in social philosophy.
In the second half of the 19th century, several social disciplines emerged from philosophical knowledge, which had different subjects of study. This is how anthropology, ethnology, sociology, social philosophy and psychology appeared. These disciplines arose and developed in the general mainstream of humanitarian knowledge, absorbing the latest data gleaned from the natural sciences.
Along with other areas in psychology, a separate discipline was formed, the focus of which was the behavior of the individual in the composition of large and small groups. In 1908, three textbooks on this topic were published in the United States almost simultaneously. It is believed that it was in them that the combination "social psychology" first appeared.
In 1924, F. Allport's large program work "Social Psychology" was published, which, according to historians of science, testified to the complete formation of a new psychological discipline. This work differed from previous textbooks in more modern ideas, close to the provisions that formed the basis of current social psychology.
Since the inception of social psychology, it has clearly distinguished two branches - sociological and psychological. These two biases were characterized by different approaches to understanding the nature of socio-psychological phenomena. In the seventies of the last century, a cross-cultural bias was added to these two areas, the supporters of which put the problem of the interaction of cultures at the center of research.
In Soviet science, social psychology was banned for a long time. It was considered a bourgeois science, which could not have a place in the system of official Marxist ideology. However, under the influence of socio-political changes in the Soviet state, there was a shift in attitudes towards Western cultural and scientific values. In 1966, social psychology began to be taught at the Faculty of Psychology of Leningrad State University.