AS Psychology Unit 1 - Social - Key assumptions

Define social psychology showing understanding that 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.

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  • Created by: Pav
  • Created on: 22-04-11 15:02

Social psychology is the study of how social conditions affect human beings. it is the scientific study of how people think about, influence, and relate to one another in an array of situations. Social psychological topics include prejudice and discrimination, gender, culture, social influence, interpersonal relations, group behaviour, aggression, and more.

There are two social psychological key assumptions.

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Social psychology also looks at interactions between individuals, e.g., helping behaviour known as altruism, has many outcomes depending on those involved, where it is, costs, rewards etc. People help other people, they send signals to other people by the way they look and behave, and they obey certain people and not others. Helping behaviour, body language and obedience are all studied within the social approach. Agency theory which is a theory of obedience suggests that people are agents within society and behave in such a way as to benefit their society. They give up their free will and decision making and do exactly as they are told by someone in authority even if this means harming another human being. 

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The social approach assumes that people live within a culture and society and that their behaviour is affected by their experiences within a society, where they are members of certain groups, e.g., a child is a girl or boy, a sister or brother, a daughter or son, a friend, a pupil at a school. may be a member of a club.

Social identity theory suggests that by identifying oneself as being a member of a group, a person can become prejudiced against other members of another rival group. Groups are prejudiced against each other, members of a peer group copy one another and crowds can become unruly. Prejudice, peer group pressure and crowd behaviour are studied within the social approach. 

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