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					 THE SOCIAL
APPROACH IN
PSYCHOLOGY
        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
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
         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?
           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
         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!
    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
           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
          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”
 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
           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?
            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”
 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
   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
        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?
    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)
        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”
         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
           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?
        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
        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!
    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
    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?

				
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posted:9/6/2012
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