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THE SOCIAL APPROACH IN PSYCHOLOGY
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  1. THE SOCIAL APPROACH IN PSYCHOLOGY

  2. The Social Approach • How do we interact in social situations? • How do we feel about these interactions? • Humans are social creatures • Part of our evolution? • Solitary confinement is cruellest punishment

  3. Two areas of Social Psychology • SOCIAL INTERACTION • Studying patterns of social behaviour • Power & influence • Obedience & conformity • Social roles • SOCIAL COGNITION (understanding) • How we think about social experiences, how we make sense of them • Antisocial vs prosocial behaviour • Empathy with others • Identity & anonymity

  4. CONFORMITY 1 • Yielding to peer pressure? • But peer pressure isn’t always deliberate… • “A change in a person’s behaviour or opinions as a result of real or imagined pressure from a person or a group of people” – Aronson (1976) • Why do we feel the need to conform?

  5. CONFORMITY 2 • Jennes (1932) asked people to estimate beans in a bottle • First own estimates • Then group estimates • Then own estimates again • When asked for own estimates a last time, people conformed to the group estimate

  6. CONFORMITY 3 • Asch (1951) got subjects to sit round a table looking at lines on a slide show • All but one of subjects we STOOGES who give deliberately false answers • Subjects would give same answer as stooges – even though it was blatantly wrong!

  7. TYPES OF CONFORMITY • COMPLIANCE • = going along with the crowd to make things easy (eg Asch) • INTERNALISATION • = believing group’s view is correct, mistrusting own judgement (eg Jennes) • IDENTIFICATION • Changing own beliefs to be more like everyone else’s – eg role model, heroes

  8. OBEDIENCE 1 • Similar to conformity • Giving up personal responsibility • Why are we obedient? • SELF PRESERVATION • Avoiding punishment, eg from teacher, parent or boss • LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY • We are brought up to believe we ought to be obedient in some situations

  9. OBEDIENCE 2 • Obedience is good for society… • … otherwise anarchy! • But obedience can cause problems • Eichman – Nazi war criminal responsible for organising death camps • Arrested & tried in 1961 • An ordinary bureaucrat who believed in “following orders”

  10. CORE STUDY: MILGRAM (1963) • Was there something unique about the Germans that caused Nazi atrocities? • Or would anyone have followed those orders, in that sort of situation? • Experiment getting members of public to give electric shocks to a learner • 65% seemingly killed the learner, when ordered to do so

  11. ALTRUISM 1 • When you do something for others without expecting anything in return • Animals display kin selection – helping out members of the herd or pack • Evolution explains this • But humans will help out strangers too • Why?

  12. ALTRUISM 2 • Psychologists got interested after murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964 • Stabbed to death outside apartment block • Attack lasted nearly 40 minutes • Neighbours heard her screams • No one intervened • No one called the police • “I didn’t want to get involved”

  13. ALTRUISM: THE SITUATION • Latane & Darley (1968) put students into discussion groups • In separate booths, taking through intercom • A stooge in the group fakes a heart attack • Larger the group = less likelihood anyone goes to help • DIFFUSION OF RESPONSIBILITY

  14. ALTRUISM: THE HELPER • Eagly & Crowley (1986) reviewed other studies • If you are male and situation requires heroism, you are more likely to help than females • In Western culture, males are raised to be heroic • Women more likely to help when long term caring is needed

  15. ALTRUISM: COST • Thibaut & Kelley (1959) came up with SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY • Is there a profit for us in helping? • Add up the rewards… deduct the cost • A COST-BENEFIT ANALYSIS • Selfish? • What about impulsive help?

  16. CORE STUDY: PILIAVIN (1969) • Pilivin set up an experiment an a New York subway train • Actor collapses, observers note who helps, time taken, etc • Sometimes actor is black, white, apparently drunk, apparently blind • No sign of diffusion of responsibility • Evidence of Exchange Theory (less help for the drunk, for different races)

  17. SOCIAL ROLES 1 • We adopt lots of roles • Son/daughter • Student • Lover • Employee • “Behaviours expected of a person occupying a certain position in a group”

  18. SOCIAL ROLES 2 • Some roles take away our individuality • In uniform • Masked • Hidden in a large group • DEINDIVIDUATION • Le Bon (1895) suggests crowds make people behave in primitive/dangerous ways

  19. SOCIAL ROLES 3 • Robert Watson (1973) looked at tribes all over the world • Some used face paint etc in battle • These tribes more brutal than non-decorated warriors • Why do soldiers wear uniforms?

  20. SOCIAL ROLES 4 • Deindividuation affects children too • Diener (1976) studied Halloween “trick-or-treat” • Some children wore costumes or went out in large groups • More willing to steal money or sweets left out for them than other children

  21. SOCIAL ROLES 5 • THE STANFORD PRISON EXPERIMENT • Philip Zimbardo (1973) set up a fake prison in a university basement • Students volunteered to be guards or prisoners • Supposed to last a month, cancelled after 6 days • Guards had become too brutal!

  22. CORE STUDY: REICHER & HASLAM (2006) • REPLICATION of Zimbardo’s SPE • Televised • Would “slide into tyranny occur”? • This time, prisoners rebelled, set up a commune • When commune collapsed, new guards became tyrannical • Cancelled after 8 days

  23. SITUATIONAL HYPOTHESIS • Do we do things because of our personal characteristics • Our “personalities” • Free will • Called DISPOSITIONAL explanation • Or is it the SITUATION we are in? • Everyone acts the same • Mid-20th century Psychology favoured SITUATIONAL explanations • Recent psychology shows how people turn situations to their advantage • A bit of both?