Edexcel Social Approach

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Social Psychology
Assumptions
Social psychology is built upon the idea that our behaviour is influenced by other people. Social psychologists
research the effect of our culture on our behaviour, what happens when we join groups, why people help others,
prejudice, and discrimination.
SOCIAL APPROACH interaction with others, and how this can change our behaviour.
KEY TERMINOLOGY
Agentic state a mental condition proposed by Milgrim, in which he suggested independence and, autonomy
and most importantly, coincidence, are suppressed as the individual acts as an agent for someone else.
Autonomous state a mental condition proposed by Milgrim, in which the person is acting and thinking as an
autonomous, independent individual, and in which individual conscience is fully active.
Moral strain the consequence of going against your own conscience and doing something you know to be
wrong.
Ingroup a group that you believe yourself to be a member of.
Outgroup a group that has something in common with one of your ingroups, but which you are not a member
of.
Social categorisation the act of grouping people according to some category.
Social identification the act of personally accepting that you belong to a particular group by accepting their
norms.
Social comparison the act of comparing social groups with each other.
METHODOLOGY
ETHICS set by the British Psychological Society
Informed consent participants must agree to take part and having their data used, knowing as much as
possible about the study (they consent and it is informed consent)
Deceit There must be no deceit participants must be fully informed. Where deceit is necessary because
otherwise the study would not work (i.e. Milgram), there must be a full debrief.
Right to withdraw Participants must be given the right to withdraw at any time, both during the study and
afterwards, when they can withdraw their data.
Debrief Participants must be fully informed after the study of what it was about and what their findings were.
This is particularly important if there is deceit and therefore a lack of informed consent.
Competence The researcher must be competent to carry out the study. They must be sufficiently qualified
and/ or overseen by someone else. They must adhere to ethical guidelines and understand not only what they
are doing, but also the consequences, which they must be equipped to deal with.
Define the following

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Hypotheses carefully defined statement of what the study is aiming to find. The IV and the DV are both clearly
stated, saying exactly what is being done and what is being measured. The social approach talks about the
alternative hypotheses, which is the overall term for the statement.
Null hypotheses a prediction used in research that states no effect (other than that which might happen by
chance) will be found.…read more

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Allows respondents to Often are not answered in full as
interpret the questions as they take longer and it is more
they wish, so produces difficult to think of the answer than
when ticking in a forced choice
more valid `real' data than
box
when constrained by the
questions
Closed questions Generate standard replies Forces a choice of answer( even
that can be counted for `unsure') so may not give the
ease of comparability and answer respondents would prefer,
so they are not valid
analysis…read more

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Random Sampling Low bias because everyone Cannon be certain that the
has an equal chance of sample is representative of
being chosen all groups/types etc.
Sample can be checked Difficult to access all the
mathematically for bias population so that random
sampling can take place
Stratified Sampling means generating categories that fit the aim(s) of the study, such as age, gender,
occupation, or whether someone drives or not.…read more

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Strengths Weaknesses
Volunteer/Selfselected Sampling Ethically good because Only certain types of
people volunteer, so are people may volunteer, so
willing to be involved there is bias
More likely to cooperate, May take a long time to
which means there may be get enough volunteers
less social desirability and
such biases
Content Obedience
Obedience to authority:
An outcome of social influence where an individual acts according to the orders of some authority figure
It is assumed that without such an order the person would not have…read more

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Each participant was tested separately. If the participant
protested and stopped, the experimenter said things like `you must go on'. These instructions were called
`verbal prods'. After the fourth prod, if the participant still refused to go on, the experiment was stopped.
After a time the accomplice was silent he could have been injured or maybe dead.…read more

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Aim of variations Milgram wanted to investigate reasons for the high level of obedience in a systematic way, so
he changed one variable at a time to see what the effect was.…read more

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The `applicant' took a test consisting of 32 multichoice questions read out to him the applicant in a
different room listening via a speaker.
The participant thought that the applicant was doing a real test for a real job.
The participant had to give 15 negative remarks during the test a TV screen told him/her when to make
the remarks and what to say.…read more

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The controls and careful planning mean There are differences between Milgram
that the study is replicable and can be and Dutch studies, not only the planned
tested for reliability and cause and differences (e.g. the studies are in
effect conclusions are more easily made. different cultures and 20 years apart).
The participants were inflicting psychological harm on the interviewees as opposed to physical as in
Milgram's.…read more

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The findings of the variations on Milgram's Social power theory is an alternative
study back up the theory, because the less explanation. In Milgram's studies the
they were agents (for example, when the experimenter had reward power, legitimate
experimenter was not in the room), the less power and expert power, so could have been
they obeyed obeyed because of being powerful
The theory helps to explain real life The theory is more of a description than an
situations such as the Holocaust where explanation.…read more

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