Overview Booklet: AS AQA Spec A 'Social Psychology'

I created this booklet during my course to help me revise. If you're aiming for a grade B or so, this booklet is about your level.

I think it's the formatting, the way it looks, which makes it easy to remember. There aren't any chunks of text to wade through, it's mostly in bulletpoints and pretty boxes.

I hope it's useful. :)

The format of this booklet is .doc, so can be opened in Word 2003 onwards. :)

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AS Psychology Notes


Social Psychology: Social Influence
Trait Theory
Majority Influence
Minority Influence
Explanations of Conformity
Normative Influence:
Informational Influence:
Social Impact Theory (Latané):
Obedience to Authority
Validity of research into Obedience
The Obedience Alibi
Reasons for Obedience
Resisting Pressures to…

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Implications For Social Change

Social Psychology: Social Influence

What affects the way we behave?
The environment / Authority / Social Status / Moral Choices?

Trait Theory
Trait theory is the commonly held view that people are either `good', or `bad'. For example, if a
person is thought to be generous,…

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These reasons can be linked to Kelman's three types of conformity (1958):

Going along with the Belief changes to the Your views change to
majority view despite view of the majority. become part of a group.
Behaviour changes but Behaviour changes and Behaviour changes and

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Minority Influence

This is when a person or small group of people change the behaviour / attitudes / opinions of a
larger group of people in the absence of sanctioned authority.

Moscovici (1969)
To determine whether a minority can influence a majority of naïve participants. Moscovici
aimed to determine the…

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Use of confederates Moscovici's participants were all women.
Unambiguous task (easy/obvious) Asch's participants were all men.
Critical trials Different variations of the experiment
Private responses increased conformity. were carried out in each study.
No ordering effects.

Explanations of Conformity

Normative Influence:
Compliance is the result of normative influence. The person's…

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Milgram and his colleagues expected 4% of people to deliver the 450v shock. However 65% of
participants went to the maximum voltage. 12.5% of participants stopped at 300v `Danger: Severe

Milgram's study gave strong evidence for the argument that it is not a person's disposition,
temperament or personality that…

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through extensive debriefing and interviews a year after the study he had compensated for
this. 84% of participants were `glad to have participated' and 74% had felt that they had
learned something of personal importance.

Validity of research into Obedience
`Participants have learned not to trust scientists' (Orne &…

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Reasons for Obedience
1. Gradual Commitment ­ Having committed to a specific course of action it becomes more
and more difficult for people to change their minds.
2. Agentic Shift ­ The agentic state is the condition a person is in when he sees himself as
an agent, carrying…

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Resisting Pressures to Conform
Allen & Levine (1971)
In one variation of Asch's study the confederate dissenter had very poor vision (indicated by thick
glasses). This example is invalid social support, as supposed to valid social support. Both
conditions decreased conformity compared to the condition with no dissenter however…

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Locus of Control

A person's locus of control refers to their perception of personal control (control over their own

A person believes their behaviour is caused A person believes their behaviour is caused
primarily by their own personal decisions and primarily by fate, luck or other external…


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