Social Approach and Studies

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  • Social Approach
    • Behaviour is caused by the situation an individual is in rather than characteristics of an individual e.g. genes and personality.
      • E.g. The presence of an authority figure can override our individual conscience. It assumes that our behaviour is not always the result of our own free will.
    • Strengths
      • Preferred Research Method=Field experiments- often used to study social behaviours in naturalistic settings. It has high ecological validity and can explain real behaviours.
      • Useful- as it explains how other people have an effect on our behaviour. Also as research can help explain how situational factors affect behaviour.
    • Studies
      • Reicher and Haslam
        • The study focuses on the influence of social interaction and the effect of group identity and group inequalities on behaviour. Conflict, abuse and tyranny result from individuals' active identification and engagement with the groups.
      • Milgram
        • Other people and the surrounding environment are major influences on an individual's behaviour, thought processes and emotions. The study found that the setting of Yale, and the presence of a legitimate authority figure, resulted in high levels of obedience.
      • Piliavin
        • Other people and the surrounding environment are major influences on an individual's behaviour, thought processes and emotions. The study found that the more people are the more likely they are to help. Also the race and the condition of the victim influenced helping behaviour.
    • Weakness
      • Validity over time- social, cultural or technological changes have taken place since the study was carried out, so that we cannot generalise the findings of social research to the present day.
      • Ethical issues- research can be unethical, meaning that the public would be less likely to take part in the future.

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