Social Content

Ella Middlemiss
Mind Map by Ella Middlemiss, updated more than 1 year ago
Ella Middlemiss
Created by Ella Middlemiss over 3 years ago


Includes definition, obedience, agency theory, social impact theory, prejudice, social identity theory, realistic conflict theory, individual differences for obedience and prejudice

Resource summary

Social Content
1 Definition
1.1 Social psychology is the scientific investigation of how the thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individuals are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others - Floyd Allport 1935
1.2 Social factors influence how we think feel and behave
1.2.1 Humans are by nature social animals with a basic need to 'belong' to groups Humans have a social self/identity
2 Obedience
2.1 To act in response to a direct order from a figure with perceived authority
2.1.1 Milgram investigated destructive obedience where orders are obeyed even though the individual understands the negative consequences E.g. Holocaust, Massacre in Rwanda, Ethnic cleansing in former Yugoslavia, Concentration camps in North Korea
3 Agency Theory (Milgram)
3.1 According to Milgram, at any one time a person is in one of two psychological states
3.1.1 Autonomous state, individuals make decisions based on their own ideas, beliefs and experiences Agentic Shift: giving up responsibility and following orders without considering the consequences or whether the request is appropriate 2 things in place for person to enter agentic state person giving orders is perceived as being qualified and legitimate People in uniforms are often perceived to be legitimate authorities, as are people that claim to have a particular status May also assume they're authorised, simply because they give out orders person being ordered is able to believe the authority will accept responsibility
3.1.2 Agentic state, individuals give up their own responsibility, deferring to those of higher status Acting agentically may also be learnt from parents and in school. Children learn that in some situations, they have no power and at the same time no responsibility for their actions
3.2 Evolutionary past
3.2.1 Early humans had a better chance of survival if they lived in groups with leaders, who may order the group to stand and fight threatening situations, therefore acting agentically Hierarchal system passed on genetically
3.3 Moral Strain
3.3.1 When people are asked to do something by an authority figure that goes against their moral code, they'll show moral strain, but will still carry out the action Milgram thought that people do this because they no longer feel morally responsible for their behaviour - the authority figure is responsible To deal with strain, people use defense mechanisms such as denial E.g. Nazis after WWII was over
3.4 Evaluation
3.4.1 Strengths Theory explains a wide range of social behaviours, from how we are at school to why peaceful people can go to war Application, high ecological validity A lot of Milgram's ppts showed stress throughout the experiment E.g. on hearing victim's cries putting their head in their hands, swearing, smoking etc Evidence of moral strain Blass (1996) showed ppts an edited film of Milgram's study and questioned them on who was responsible. Ppts attributed blame to Milgram They're in agentic state, blame deferred to higher authority
3.4.2 Weaknesses Ignores individual differences in obedience and ignores the ability of leaders to command obedience Reductionist Other studies show obedience is more to do with the leader than the subordinate Reductionist
4 Social Impact Theory
4.1 Basis
4.1.1 The more people present, the more influence they'll have on each individual. Additionally, the more important the people are to the individual, the more influence they will have on him or her The rate of increase in impact grows less as each new individual is added
4.1.2 Each individual can influence others; but the more people are present, the less influence any one individual will have. We are more likely to listen attentively to a speaker if we are in a small group than if we were in a large group
4.2 Social impact refers to changes that occur in a person due to the presence or actions of others
4.2.1 Strength: A message is stronger if repeated by a lot of people in agreement
4.2.2 Status & Knowledge: The message will be strengthened if the person doing the convincing is an expert in the field
4.2.3 Immediacy: Message has more impact if it comes from friends rather than strangers
4.3 Group Polarisation
4.3.1 E.g. Nazi party coming into power
4.3.2 When the group has more extreme attitudes and beliefs than the individuals in the group Leads to extremism
4.3.3 Useful as it means we can predict the behaviour of members of society Predictions can be made about behaviour at a group level and a system could provide rules for group behaviour rather than just individual behaviour
4.4 Evaluation
4.4.1 Strengths Theory has useful predictive power in terms of how individuals in a group will obey each other Implies good validity and therefore can be used in real life It recognises the strength that groups have and their power of persuasion People can use it to put implications in and prevent future events similar to the rise of the Nazi party. Not in the case of Donald Trump Implies theory is valid and supports the stages of the theory
4.4.2 Weaknesses A lot of the theory is reduced to a mathematical formula predicting how groups will behave, people are unique and don't respond in the same way Ignores individual differences Too reductionist Limits usefulness of theory Theory is very general, looking at social influence rather than obedience in particular or issues around group behaviour, such as social loafing Theory is too narrow to apply to every situation in real life Milgram's results showed that when the ppt had peer support, there was less obedience Contradicts SIT Features of the individual aren't taken into account such as why some are more easily persuaded than others Ignores individual differences
5 Individual Differences
5.1 Obedience
5.1.1 Locus of Control Rotter (1966) introduced the concept of LOC as a type of personality Believes everyone is on a continuum between strong external LOC and strong internal LOC Internal: those who feel they're in control of what happens to them have this. They believe that what happens to them is consequence of their own behaviour, and they can succeed in difficult or stressful situations External: those who feel helpless to control events have this. They believe what happens to them is controlled by external factors, such as luck or fate, and they're relatively helpless in difficult or stressful situations Link to obedience Blass (1991): found people with internal LOC were more likely to resist obeying than those with external LOC. Ppts with internal LOC were especially resistant to obedience if they suspected they were being manipulated by the experimenter Blass (1991): reviewed many studies and found no clear link between LOC and independent bahaviour, however did find evidence that those with internal LOC are more likely to resist obeying than those with external LOC Schurz (1985): conducted a study using Austrian ppts. Were asked to give increasingly painful bursts of ultrasound to a learner Found no link between LOC and obedience between the 80% of ppts who went to maximum level However, the ppts who were classed with internal LOC tended to take more responsibility for their actions than those with external LOC
5.1.2 Effect of Gender Milgram (1963): found men & women to be equally obedient in his electric shock experiment . However, only used 40 female ppts Female ppts did report higher levels of stress and tension than male ppts Blass (1991): conducted a meta-analysis on 9 replications of Milgram's electric shock procedure found only one study that reported a significant difference between men and women Kilham and Mann (1974): Australian study with 40% obedience in men and 16% in women. The learner was female
5.1.3 Effect of Culture Milgram type studies have been conducted across different cultures to try to discover any cross-cultural differences in obedience Individualist Culture Emphasise the importance of personal freedom and independence. Children are brought up to respect authority to be self-reliant and independent. They're encouraged to be assertive and develop uniqueness as an individual This can lead to them making their own decisions more, possibly rebelling against authoritative orders and being less obedient E.g Australia: Kilham and Mann (1974) lowest obedience rate, 28% of ppts administering up to 450V Collectivist Culture Exert more emphasis on the importance of social groups. Children are brought up to be obedient, act in a certain manner and respect the traditions of group culture Obedience and conformity is viewed positively as a way of connecting with others and becoming responsible for one's own actions Individualism can cause rebellion against authority They respect authority and generally obey authoritative orders Increased likelihood of destructive obedience E.g. South Africa: Edwards et al (1969), high obedience rate of 87.5%
5.1.4 Individual Differences: personal factors that mean people will respond to situations in different ways such as gender, personality, education and culture
5.2 Prejudice
5.2.1 Socialisation Many prejudices seem to be passed along from parents to children Children look up to their parents and copy them e.g. smoking The media also posts demeaning images and stereotypes about assorted groups e.g. ethnic minorities, women, gays, disabled and the elderly Strength: Real life application Weakness: ignores individual differences, not everyone copies parents
5.2.2 Personality Adorno came up with the authoritarian personality explanation of prejudice which he believed explained the Nazi's behaviour in WWII. Authoritarian Personality: respect and obedience to authority figures, obsession with rank and status, a tendency to displace anger and resentment onto weaker others Argued it originates in early childhood. Parents that're excessively harsh and disciplinary can cause it to develop Adorno confirmed his theory through a survey called the f scale which features statements such as 'All children need strict discipline'. This concluded that people with authoritarian personality are more likely to show prejudice Strength: real life application, Nazi Germany F scale is invalid, easy to lie on Milgram disproves this
5.2.3 Culture Ethnocentrism: viewing aspects of other countries based on the values and standards of your own culture instead of judging them on society's own standard Not always malicious, just a flawed peception Ethnocentric individuals believe they're better than other individuals for reasons based solely on their heritage/culture E.g. USA often believe they're more powerful, economically sound and better than other nations. They have a tendency to dabble in global situations such as in the Middle East E.g. Nazi Germany E.g. Western views on arranged marriages Many real life examples such as Bradford Race Riots Weakness: Focused on large cultural groups and ignores open minded individuals
6 Prejudice
6.1 Pre(before), judice(judgement), to make a judgement about someone before knowing anything about them as an individual.
6.1.1 A prejudice is an extreme attitude towards a group that causes us to prejudge individuals based only on their membership of that group
6.2 3 Elements
6.2.1 The cognitive element: involves beliefs held about the group, in the form of stereotypes (common but simple views of what groups of people are like) The affective element: involves the feelings experienced in response to the group. E.g. anger, fear, hate, disgust. The behavioural element: consists of our actions toward the object of our prejudice. Behaving differently towards people based on their membership of a group is discrimination E.g. avoidance, verbal criticism, mass extermination
7 Social Identity Theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979)
7.1 Proposed the groups which people belonged to were an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity; a sense of belonging in the social world
7.1.1 In order to increase our self image, we enhance the status of the group to which we belong, we can increase our self-image by also discriminating and holding prejudice views against the out-group Therefore, we divided the world into 'them' and 'us' based through a process of social categorisation Known as in-group and out-group. SIT states that the in-group will discriminate and find negative aspects of the out-group, thus enhancing their self-image
7.2 3 Mental Processes
7.2.1 Social Categorisation: we categorise objects in order to understand & identify them. We do this to people too, to understand the social environment. If we can assign people to a category then that tells us things about those people. We couldn't function in a normal manner without these categories We also find out things about ourselves by knowing what categories we belong to. We define appropriate behaviour by reference to the norms of the group we belong to Social Identification: We adopt the identity of the group we have categorised ourselves as belonging to and begin to act like the rest of your group and conform to the norms of the group. There will be an emotional significance to your identification with a group, and self-esteem will become bound up with group membership Social Comparison: We tend to compare our group with other groups. If our self-esteem is to be maintained our group needs to compare favourably with other groups. Once 2 groups identify themselves as rivals they're forced to compete in order for the members to maintain their self-esteem. Competition and hostility between groups is thus not only a matter of competing for resources like jobs but also the result of competing.
7.3 Application: Football violence
7.4 Evaluation
7.4.1 Strengths Tajfel (1970): found that being in a group was sufficient to lead to prejudice against people not in the group Poppe & Linssen (1999): used a survey of 1143 Eastern European teenagers. Respondents asked to rate a range of European nationalities for their morality and efficiency. Generally the youth of each country judged their own nation to be both more moral and more efficient than any of their neighbours Levine et al (2005): carried out an experiment on football supporters. Fans invited to secluded part of University Campus where they witnessed a stranger fall and apparently injure themselves. In one condition, the person wore their team colours and in another, they wore another team's colours They were much more likely to help those wearing their team's colours Theory explains wide range of real-life phenomena from support for football teams to racism
7.4.2 Weaknesses Dobbs & Crano (2001): shows that under some circumstances, people show much less in-group favouritism than was suggested by Tajfel The theory ignores individual differences and could be classed as reductionist
8 Realistic Conflict Theory
8.1 RCT accounts for group conflict, negative prejudices and stereotypes as being the result of competition between groups for desired resources
8.1.1 Sherif validated his theory in the experiment 'the Robber's Cave' Sherif argued that inter-group conflict occurs when 2 groups are in competition for limited resources. Groups may be in competition for a real or perceived scarcity of resources such as political power, military protection or social status The length and severity of the conflict is based upon the perceived value and shortage of the given resource. Feelings of resentment can arise in the situation that the groups see the competition as having a zero-sums fate, in which only one group wins(obtains the needed or wanted resources first) and the other loses Positive relations can only be restored if superordinate goals (a goal that can only be achieved by working together) are in place.
8.2 Evaluation
8.2.1 Strengths Events in history show RCT in action i.e. prejudice against minority groups in times of economic conflict (e.g.Jews in Nazi Germany Dollard (1938): found that prejudice against German immigrants in a US town increased as jobs grew scarce Diab (1970): replicated Sherif's studies in Lebanon and found similar results
8.2.2 Weaknesses Tyerman & Spencer (1983): used scout groups in England to see if different 'patrols' would show prejudice towards each other when competition was introduced. The 'patrols' did not show much hostility towards each other Prejudice can exist in the absence of competition (e.g. apartheid South Africa) Similarly, competition does not automatically lead to prejudice; it depends on the nature and relationship of the groups involved
Show full summary Hide full summary


Memory Key words
Sammy :P
Biological Psychology - Stress
Gurdev Manchanda
History of Psychology
Psychology subject map
Jake Pickup
Psychology A1
Ellie Hughes
The Biological Approach to Psychology
Gabby Wood
The working memory model
Lada Zhdanova
Attachment - Psychology - Flash Cards
Megan Price
definitions of abnormality
Daisy U
Concepts of Attachment
biological approach
Daisy U