• All behaviour occurs in a social context, even when nobody else is physically present
  • A major influence on people's behaviour, thought processes and emotions are other people and society.
  • An individual's behaviour is affected by situational factors
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The Social Approach


  • Social infulences have often been shown to have a stronger effect than dispositional factors (your personality).
  • This approach can provide an explanation for a great many phenomenon, for example; It is useful for explaining prejudice and discrimination.
  • The approach often adopts scientific methods to conduct research.


  • It underestimates the factors that people bring into a social situation.
  • It only provides a superficial 'snapshot' of people's behaviour and does not take into account how this may develop over time.
  • The studies within this approach often use small or unrepresntative samples.
  • The studies are often carried out in laboratory conditions, and therefore lack ecological validity. 
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