Core Studies Area and Perspectives Notes

  • Created by: katdowd8
  • Created on: 04-01-17 19:39

Core Studies



Social Approach


Behaviour is influenced by the people around us and the society they have created (the situation).

All behaviour occurs in a social context, even when nobody else is present.


+ The approach often uses real life situations to study the social context of situations. Therefore, the social approach is often high in ecological validity, as the results relate to everyday life, and can be generalised to other situations.

+  This approach tends to look at very relevant and useful situations, and look at how a person’s behaviour can be influenced. This has helped to improve many issues.

+  It uses a wide range of methods, from field experiments to laboratory experiments to look at the effects of social situations on behaviour. Field experiments are good because they are high in ecological validity, and hence people can be studied in their natural environment without demand characteristics and social-desirability bias so the results are applicable to real life situations.


- There is a huge problem with ethics in these types of studies, as the participants usually do not know they are being studied, so they cannot give their consent. They also are not given the right to withdraw because they do not know they are being studied in the first place. In some social approach studies, the participants are subjected to psychological harm and physiological harm

- As field experiments are often used, the participant is in their own environment, but there is a lack of control in the study, so extraneous variables cannot be controlled. Therefore, the studies are not that reliable because they cannot be repeated in exactly the same way. There is no completely controlled standardised procedure.

-  Very reductionist and deterministic. It simplifies complex human behaviour by only looking at situational factors such as the environment. It ignores factors such as the physiological side of things, and also ignores cognitive factors, because someone could have a cognitive problem or physiological problem, which causes them to act differently in social situations. It is deterministic because it assumes that people will act in accordance to the situation, and change their behaviour.


Cognitive Approach


The human brain is like a computer; it receives, interprets and responds to information.

Peoples’ problems often arise due to faulty or irrational thinking, which can be traced and often remedied using cognitive therapy.


+  Tends to use laboratory experiments, which are highly controlled and objective, so the independent variable can be isolated and manipulated to measure the effect on the dependent variable, as there are no extraneous variables, which means cause and effect can be established.

+  Great application to real-life, and research has had a big influence on everyday life in the real world.

+  Very effective as a therapy, supporting the assumption that people’s problems are due to faulty or irrational thinking that can be remedied.


-  As laboratory experiments are often used,


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