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Social Approach
Social psychology is the study of how our behaviour is influenced by the presence, attitudes and
actions of others.
Social psychologists investigate such things as the effect of culture on our behaviour; what happens
when we join groups; why we help others (or why we don't); the origins or prejudice and obedience.
Agentic state ­ When we act on behalf of another. You follow the instructions of someone else
without using your own free will
Autonomous State ­ When we use our free will and take responsibility for our actions.
Moral strain ­ When we do something that goes against our principles but seems to be for the
greater good. You know that something's wrong but you still do it.
Social categorisation ­ Grouping people according to a category.
Social comparison ­ The act of comparing social groups with each other.
Social identification ­ The act of personally accepting that you belong to a particular group be
accepting their norm.
Methodology used in the social approach is the survey. There are two types: -
Types of questions and data in questionnaires: -
Open questions ­ Can be answered in any way the participant chooses. It yields qualitative
data (lots of detail).
Closed questions ­ Limits the responses that can be made. It yields quantitative data
(numerical) which can be reduced to numbers and quantities.
Strengths Weaknesses
Qualitative data Rich in detail for in-depth It's difficult to analyse. Hard to
analysis which increases the draw a proper conclusion.
validity. Difficult to compare people and
groups. Less reliable.
Quantitative data Easy to analyse. Easy to Undetailed and potentially
compare groups and draw superficial. The information is
conclusions. Reliable. Can be limited. It lacks validity as you
done on a large scale. can question how genuine the
Objective. answers are.
How to evaluate: -
Practical ­ Time/Cost/Accessibility
Ethical ­ Guidelines set by the BPS
Theoretical ­ Reliability/Validity/Subjectivity

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Types of interview
Structured ­ Pre-set order of questions.
Semi-Structured ­ There is a schedule of questions that should be answered but the
researcher has freedom to follow up on some responses.
Unstructured ­ Answers are open and the structure is flexible.
Unstructured Interview (Most commonly used)
Strengths ­ In-depth data so more valid as you get genuine answers. Flexible.
Weaknesses ­ Researcher bias and subjective because the interviewer can affect the
interviewee. Done at a small scale. Time consuming. Unreliable (hard to replicate).…read more

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Milgram (1963)
Aim ­ To see how obedient naïve participants would be when ordered to administer increasingly
intense electric shocks to an innocent victim.
Method ­ Lab Experiment
Procedure ­ 40 male volunteers were selected by an advertisement in a newspaper, and they were
paid 4 dollars to come to Yale University for the experiment. The participant was told to read out a
list of words that the learner (confederate) had to answer to.…read more

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Evaluation of Meeus and Raaijmakers
It was ecologically valid as this kind of psychological violence was more in tune with the times than
physical violence.
It lacked experimental validity as it was an unlikely scenario.
The study had population validity as the sample was representative of the Dutch population.
The study followed a standardised procedure which means each participant received the same
experience, so it can be repeated and tested for reliability.…read more

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Aim ­ To discover whether nurses would comply with an instruction which would involve them
having to infringe both hospital regulations and medical ethics.
Method ­ Field experiment.
Procedure ­ 22 nurses were tested. They received a telephone call where the nurse was asked to
give an overdose of a drug to a patient (a placebo). The medication order was given over the phone
by the doctor yet this is against hospital policy.…read more


Elin Jones

These notes were my life saviour, absolutely brilliant! 

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