Social Approach

  • Created by: Kerrie27
  • Created on: 13-04-15 17:20

Social Approach

The social aproach is interested in studying individuals in a social context, such as family, friends, institutions and wider society. Social behaviour may involve activity within a group of between groups.

According to social psychologists our behaviour is influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others. 

A major influence on people's behaviour, thought processes and emotions are other people and the societyy that they have created.

An individual's behaviour is affected by situational factors.

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Social Approach Studies

Farrington - Interaction is discussed in this study as it looks at how upbringing as a child affects the eventual criminality of a child. Upbringing is the social rearing environment a child grows up in. A disrupted family is identified as being a cause for persisiten chronic offedning. Group dynamic conformity, whether children conform if they have siblings who are delinquent or parents with criminal backgrounds. Social context of family backgrounds.

Sutherland - Learning from others, how we learn from our peer groups, through interaction with others individuals can learn the values, attitudes, techniques and motives for criminal behaviour. 


Reicher and Haslam 


Waxler and Morrison - social support


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Social Approach Strengths

A strength of the social approach is the contributions it makes about understanding social behaviour. Social psychology makes useful applications because it can explain and even offer solutions to problems in the real world.

e.g Farrington, findings and Sure Start programmes.

e.g Reicher and Haslam breakdown of groups can lead to conditions under which tyranny can flourish 

e.g Milgram identifies many situational factors which can lead to obedience.

A main strength of social psychology is the attempt to use real life situations when studyig behaviour. Because social psychology is interested in human interaction this is best studied in real situations where participants have the opportunity to interact. High ecological validity.

e.g Piliavin helping behaviour on the Subway

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Social Approach Weaknesses

A problem which arises when studying social behaviour relates to ethics. It is difficult to study social behaviour without negtively affecting the participants in the study. Often ethical issues because of the nature of the experiment often being observation. - deception, debrief etc.

e.g Piliavin

e.g Milgram

Only gives one explanation of behaviour which means it is reductionist, overestimating situational factors and underestimating other factors such as individual differences, biology and free will.

e.g Milgram may have been other reasons for obedience

e.g Farrington, not all social must have been elements of the others.

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