Section C - 4 Mark Question (Social Approach)

4 mark question for section C of the social approach.

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Section C:
Describe how the social approach can explain a behaviour/phenomenon. (4 marks)
Describe how the social approach can explain obedience.
The social approach would explain obedience in terms of the way other conspecifics (members of
your species) affect an individual. Some individuals are obedient because they conform to the norms
of their social group, whilst others are obedient because of the presence of an authority figure or
simply as a result of imitation. The social approach would also state that obedience is as a result of
the conditions of the situation one finds themselves in. From the study of Milgram, we come to learn
that participants were obedient due to the number of reasons which include; prestigious setting, the
experiment had a worthy purpose, the victim had volunteered to take part, being paid and
participants assured that shocks are painful but not harmful. There were two key findings; 65% of
participants went all the way to 450 volts to the end of the study and 22.5% stopped at 350 volts.
Describe how the social approach can explain helping behaviour/bystander apathy.
The social approach would explain bystander apathy in terms of the way other conspecifics
(members of your species) affect an individual and the situation one finds themselves in. From the
study of Piliavin, we come to learn that people use the cost-reward model to decide whether to help
or not. People are more likely to help if the rewards of helping outweigh the costs. The study also
suggests that people have a selfish tendency to get rid of the unpleasant arousal experienced in an
emery situation and simply help or remove themselves from the scene in order to rid themselves of
this arousal. We also learn that the people are more likely to help someone of their own race and
someone who is not responsible for their condition i.e. a person who is sober over a person who is
drunk, women are less likely to help than men since there is a greater effort and danger involved for
the women in comparison to men and also it is not seen as the woman's role.
Describe how the social approach can explain anti-social behaviour/tyranny.
The social approach would explain anti-social behaviour/tyranny because groups of people may
influence individuals, for example people conform to group norms. The social identity theory states
that we behave the way we do because we are representing our social group or category to which
we belong. We will only behave according to the norms and values of our group if we identify
ourselves as a group member. The norms and values of a group can be either pro or anti-social, thus
resulting in pro or anti-social behaviour. For example, in the study of Reicher and Haslam the
prisoners only identified with their group once group boundaries were impermeable. The prisoners
had to look for other sources within the group to show them in a positive light and thus took
collective action and broke out of their cells.

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