Social approach psychology unit 1 Essay

Submitted By jksx
Words: 1718
Pages: 7

Key Features & Assumptions

Social psychology is the study of how social conditions affect human beings. It's the scientific study of how people think about, influence and relate to one another in varied situations. Social psychological topics include: prejudice, discrimination, obedience, gender, culture, aggression and more.

1. The effect of interaction between individuals

In some situations, we may give up a degree of our free will and do things that we don't necessarily want to do and act obedient. 'Agency Theory' which is a theory of obedience proposes that people are agents within society and behave in such a way as they think will benefit their society. They give up their free will and decision making and do exactly as being told to by someone in authority, even if this means harming another human being (destructive obedience, real life example: Hitler (authoritative figure) and the German soldiers in the Holocaust (agents)).

2. The effect of being within groups in society

The social approach assumes that people live within a certain culture and society and their behaviour is influenced by the experiences within a society, where they're members of certain groups. E.g: a child is a girl or a boy, a sister or a brother, a friend, a student and maybe a member of a club.

'Social Identity Theory' (SIT) suggests that identifying oneself as a member of a group, a person can become prejudiced against other members of a rival group. Groups are prejudiced against each other, members of a peer group copy one another and crowds can become unruly (football hooliganism). Prejudice, peer group pressure and crowd behaviour are studied within the social approach.

3. The effect of the social situation

Individuals act differently within different social situations. It's not just people and groups which can influence one's behaviour, but the environment and social situation itself. So, you may feel comfortable swearing around your friends in general conversation, however, when having a conversation with a teacher or your parents, you may act differently. All understanding is within a setting and can only be judged by knowing that setting. For us to have any understanding whatsoever about ourselves or others, the study of society and culture is imperative. This goes against the scientific approach of studying human behaviour.

Key Word
Agentic State
Obeying orders from an authoritative figure, knowing that you're not responsible for any outcomes/consequences of your own actions.
Autonomous State
Following orders knowing what is going to happen in result of these orders is your own doing and the consequences lie with you.
Moral Strain
What one experiences when one knows what one's doing is wrong and harmful. One copes with moral strain by denial.
In-group is a group with which we share common traits, an out group is a group with is often rival to the in-group whom we share different traits with.
Social Categorisation
The method of categorising people into different groups, these groups are known as 'stereotypes'.
Social Identification
Adopting the 'social norms' of the in-group, e.g: same clothes, style, music taste, interests.
Social Comparison
Comparing the in-group with an out-group to boost self-esteem, this creates hostility between both groups as their both fighting for the same social status.

Research Methods

There are a number of research methods used within social psychology in order to obtain data. Each research method used has it's advantages and disadvantages, and each one has a specific purpose. For example, you would use an interview as a research method to obtain qualitative data but not if you wanted to retrieve quantitative data.

Surveys are the most commonly used and these include: questionnaires and interviews. Questionnaires – survey method consisting of a series of questions which are usually written and often posted to people