Social Approach


  • Interested in studying indiviudals in a social context, such as family, friends, institutions and wider society. It sees social behaviour as involving activity within a group or between groups.
  • Social psychologists focus on the individual and attempt to explain how other people influence thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individuals.
  • Interested in topics such as roles, conformity, obedience, group dynamics, altruism, social change, leadership stlyes and aggression etc.
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  • Created by: shanice
  • Created on: 17-12-12 11:33

Social Approach


  • Milgram - focuses on how individuals are affected by situational factors. Ps shocked a person up to 400v - potentially death. These were normal people so it would be seen as a result of the situation and the figure of authority being high.
  • Piliavin - focus on cost-reward matrix which focuses on human behaviours cognitive processes when put in different social events. These affect the way they behave - diffusion of responsibilty (more people = less responsibility).
  • Farrington - most important risk factors are poverty and poor school performance which can be related to peers. Additionally social class will influence criminality.

Strengths and Weaknesses:
Point - Practical interventions Example - Reicher and Haslam Comment - Sometimes hard to change behaviour as people have free will
Point - Good reliability Example - Piliavin Comment - Experiements can jeapordise ecological validity
Point - Takes blame away from individual Example - Milgram Comment - detereministic, nomothetic conclusions
Point - Reductionist Example - Farrington Comment - fails to look at internal behaviours

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