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The two disciplines, however, have become increasingly specialized and isolated from each other in recent years, with sociologists focusing on "macro variables" (e.g., social structure) to a much greater extent than psychologists.

Nevertheless, sociological approaches to psychology remain an important counterpart to psychological research in this area.

In order to do so, they believed that the scientific method, an empirically based scientific measure, could be applied to human behavior.

During the 1930s, many Gestalt psychologists, most notably Kurt Lewin, fled to the United States from Nazi Germany.

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There was heated debate over the ethics of laboratory experimentation, whether or not attitudes really predicted behavior, and how much science could be done in a cultural context. Pluralistic and multicultural perspectives have emerged. Modern researchers are interested in many phenomena, but attribution, social cognition, and the self-concept are perhaps the greatest areas of growth in recent years.

In addition to the split between psychology and sociology, there has been a somewhat less pronounced difference in emphasis between American social psychologists and European social psychologists.

As a generalization, American researchers traditionally have focused more on the individual, whereas Europeans have paid more attention to group level phenomena (see group dynamics).

Social psychologists have studied attitude formation, the structure of attitudes, attitude change, the function of attitudes, and the relationship between attitudes and behavior.

Because people are influenced by the situation, general attitudes are not always good predictors of specific behavior.

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