Social theory EDEXEL notes

in effect it is a dummies guide to the social approach.

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  • Created on: 11-05-12 18:58
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Key assumptions
Concerned with the effects of groups on behaviour.
Concerned with the effects of cultural norms on behaviour.
Agentic state- individuals act as agents for others ­ own conscious is not in control.
Moral strain- the consequences of going against your own conscience and doing something you know
is wrong.
In and out groups- a group of people united by common belief/ group of people excluded from not
belonging to a group.
Social categorisation ­ automatic act of putting self and others into groups.
Social Identification- the act of personally accepting that you belong to a particular group by
excepting their norms.
Social Comparison- the act of comparing social groups without groups will enhance self esteem by
seeing in groups is better than the out group.
Obedience- a form of social influence in which a person yield to explicit instructions form orders or
authority figures ( milgram).
MILGRAM (1963)
Aims- to test the idea that the Germans where somewhat different from other people, due to the
barbaric actions on the Jews, and also to see how far a volunteer "would go" if told to do something
by someone who had power.
Procedure- volunteers were of mixed gender, all students from Yale Uni.
Confederate and an accomplice- (who received the shocks)
Real shock was given at 45vs to the PP who was the teacher ­ this was rigged.
PP sat in fount of a generator going from 15vs-450vs- and was told to move up the switch board
every time a answer was incorrect, and if they didn't answer.
Linking words were used so instead of blue sky it would be blue box and so on.
Verbal cues/ prompts were used to encourage the PP to continue 1-5 on the firth they were told
they could stop but the others were like "you need to continue" etc.
Results ­ 65% obeyed up to 450vs
100% obeyed up to 300 there the learner stopped responding
14/40 showed signs of nervous laughing and smiling
14/40 stopped before 450 vs
Everyone needed all 5 verbal prompts.
Conclusions- social influences are strong and people obey orders even when it causes distress to
them and someone else.
Worthy cause to experiment as it shows both learning and obedience.
Strengths and Weaknesses.

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­ meaning it could also be replicated.
+well controlled procedure meant that the study is replicable and can be tested for reliability.
-Study was very unethical- no given consent, distress was caused and the PP's did not have the
complete right to withdraw.
- Lacks ecological validity as the study was artificial meaning it could cause bias results.
Milligrams Variations
Aim- to consider whether the environment of the experiment changes the results (in rooms) (two
teachers etc.)
Procedures and results -
1.…read more

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­ milgram 1963 and explains the issue that triggered milgram's
theory about the "Nazi" type. And helps explain unacceptable behaviour such as the holocaust.
-expresses 5 different types of power, Legitimate power, coercive, expert, reward, referent.
French and Raven (1959)
- it doesn't give a real reason for obedience
-doesn't explain what a higher authority figure is.
MEEUS AND RAAIJMAKES (1986) study into administrative obedience.…read more

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Cant completely link to milgram's study as this is done differently and in different cultures
and conducted 20 years apart so couldn't generalize results.
Ethical considerations- still caused distress to PPs and deception of what the experiment was
about. The non-verbal contract via the $13 may have kept them in the experiment even if
they did not want to be there.
Prejudice- an attitude (usually negative) towards a member of a group solely on their membership of
a group.…read more

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To see whether high levels of obedience reported in Milgram's Lab studies would be replicated in
real life settings.
22 boxes of Astrofen were places in 22 hospital wards in America.
The capsules only contained glucose (harmless sugar) Bottles stated that the maximum dose was
the researcher DR smith instructed the nurse to give the patient (confederate) MR Jones 20 mg of
Astrofen over the phone to the patient. Without written consent.…read more

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Conclusions- If people are put in groups they cause strong in and out groups.
Not generalisable because all male PP and the personality type relates to Zimbardo's study
­same principles
Not wholly replicable so it lacks reliability because there was lose controls and could make it
had to replicate.
Lack application but can relate to real life situations ie the London riots
It was not ecologically valid because they knew they were being watched but it did look like
a real prison.…read more

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Ethical considerations ­ 5 main considerations withdrawal, debriefing, deception, informed consent
and briefing- declaration on the front.
questions were made openly and closed. 20 Questions
26 pps ­ with 13 boys and 13 girls
Results were even as 3 females and 3 males- obeyed on closed questions and 10 and 10 disobeyed
on closed.
Females ­ 60% believe that the police were useful and good and 0% believed in capital punishment.…read more


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