Social Approach (1)
Assumptions: The social approach assumes that the environment around us and other people are the main influences on an individual’s behaviour and emotions.
Describe how the social approach explains obedience: Behaviour can be dispositional or situational. Were the Germans in WWII 'evil' (dispositional behaviour) or were they just 'following orders' (situational). People will obey those that are perceived to be a legitimate authority - even with potentially fatal consequences. Milgram used the social approach to explain the levels of obedience in his participants by seeing how far they'd go at administering high voltage shocks.
Describe how the social approach explains helping behaviour: Previous research has shown evidence of bystander apathy and diffusion of responsibility in emergencies. Piliavin found no evidence of diffusion of responsibility. Some factors affect helping behaviour, including the type of victim (drunk/ill) and the gender of the helper.
Describe how the social approach explains tyranny: Previous research by Zimbardo found evidence of conformity to social roles. Social identity theory can explain group behaviour, and provides a situational explanation of behaviour. Tyranny results from failing groups.