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The Social Approach
Key Assumptions
The approach is about aspects of human behaviour that involve the individual's relationships to other
people, groups and society, including cultural influences on behaviour.

As a social species we are always influenced by and in turn influence those around us. This happens at
all levels.…

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Milgram's Study of Obedience
The aim of Milgram's study was to test the level of obedience when a naïve participant was
instructed to administer an act of physical harm that conflicted with their personal consciousness

Milgram advertised in the paper for volunteers
There is a rigged draw…

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Meeus & Raaijmaker
The aim was to test obedience where harm would be done but in a more up to date way, "violence typical of
our times". It was carried out in the Netherlands and Dutch culture is more liberal. The type of harm was in a

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Milgram's Agency Theory
Autonomous State
The autonomous state is where you act under your own free will and are fully aware of your
behaviour and the consequence of your actions. For example you do something because you feel it is
right and you want to do it not because…

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Prejudice & Discrimination
Social Identity Theory
3 Stages

Social Categorisation
The act of placing ourselves into a group (in group ­ out group)

Social Identification
Where the in-group absorb the culture, start behaving how that group should, start dressing like
them and sharing the same attitudes etc.

Social Comparison

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Studies in Detail
Hofling et al ­ Nurse Physician
The aim of Hofling's study was to test the nurse ­ physician relationship to see if they would administer a
banned drug to a patient when instructed to by a superior.

There were 3 hospitals involved.
There was…

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Studies in Detail
Sherif et al ­ Robbers Cave Study
The aim of the study was to see if it was possible to instil prejudice between two very similar groups
by putting them into competition with each other.

22 boys at a summer camp.
Split into 2 groups…

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Key Issue
Obedience in Conflict ­ My Lai Massacre
Describing the Issue
US Army forces murdered over 350 unarmed Vietnamese civilians, mostly women and children.
Tortured and mutilated.

This caused outrage around the world. The soldiers said that they were just obeying orders.

Agency theory states we are agents…

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Research Methodology
Surveys: Interviews/Questionnaires
Survey is an umbrella term for a number of different research designs. Including questionnaires and
interviews, they usually gather self report data.

There are 3 types of interviews, structured, unstructured and semi-structured.

Structured ­ set of questions, y/n = quantitative

Unstructured ­ free flowing, open questions…


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