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Assumes behaviour is not always result of free will
Situation we're in will have a strong influence on our behaviour
Situational rather than individual explanations of social behaviour are
often more accurate as context and culture has a strong influence on
our behaviour.…read more

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Strengths Weaknesses
· Provides information to explain how others (e.g. · Studying social behaviour under lab conditions can be
authority figure, people in the same group) have an problematic since subjects or PPs may not behave in a
effect on our behaviour. E.g. Milgram- relationship typical way (lacks ecological validity). E.g.
with experimenter over-rode personal conscience of Milgram- lab conditions may have affected subject
teacher. E.g. R&H- showed way groups are reactivity to giving shocks
organised affects behaviour. According to social · Use of field experiments make it hard to control
identity theory, members of subordinate groups extraneous variables E.g. Piliavin- may lack validity
behave individually when group boundaries= as there were confounding variables that might
permeable and collectively= impermeable. have influenced the results.
· Provides useful information to explain how social · Raise ethical concerns to try and stop behaviour
cognition influences our behaviour (How we think a being affected by subject reactivity, deception is often
social situation affects how we behave) e.g. Piliavin- used. E.g. Milgram
drunk victim received less help than ill victim · Studies can lose validity over time due to social and
because of the costs-benefits analysis made by cultural changes resulting in the findings going out of
potential helpers who seemed to have decided that date e.g. Piliavin found a high helping rate for the
the costs of helping the drunk victim were higher victim however if repeated today, people may be
than the ill one. more or less helpful than 40 years ago.
· Often uses field experiments to study social behaviour- · Difficult to measure social behaviour. E.g. Milgram-
enables researchers to study how people behave in difficult to find an ecologically valid measure of
naturalistic settings. E.g. Piliavin- staged an obedience, this reduces the usefulness of the study.
emergency in a real-life setting (higher ecological
validity).…read more

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Similarities Differences
Milgram…read more

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Similarities Differences
Milgram…read more

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Similarities Differences
Piliavin…read more


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