Social approach

Social psychology can be studied in a number of ways but the most likely methods are through lab experiments and field studies.


Social approach


  • Real life situations are usually attempted. Either viz field studies or mundane realism.
  • Useful in explaining situational effects and offers solutions to problems in the real world. e.g. Reicher and Haslam demonstrate how the breakdown of groups can lead to Tyranny.


  • Ethics is a huge issue - as you have to put people in real life emergencies to see their true reactions.
  • Another issue is that of generalisability. We are not able to the test the whole population
  • samples are usually very small due to high costs and control.


Assumption: Social psychology attempts to explain our behaviour through an understanding of social processes. E.g. We adopt other people's characteristics and morals in an attempt to fit in. Moreover, our behaviour is influenced by our situation and the actual/implied/imagined presence of another individual.


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