Social Flashcards Preview

Approaches To Psychology (Edexcel A Level) > Social > Flashcards

Flashcards in Social Deck (220)
Loading flashcards...

When was social psychology developed?

In the mid-19th century...
... as there was a desire to understand the collective or group mind.

Experimental social psychology (studying human behaviour in controlled conditions) grew in the 20th century


What are the 3 Key Ideas of social psychology?

1. Individuals influence social behaviour
2. Groups influence social behaviour
3. Social Situations influence social behaviour


What are the Key Assumptions in social psychology?

Humans are social beings, therefore behaviour is best understood within the social context


What was the aim of Milgram 1963 obedience study?

To test the hypothesis that Germans are different...

By investigating how the situational context could lead ordinary people to show obedience to authority and inflict harm on others.


What participants were involved in Milgram's 1963 obedience study?

40 adult males aged between 20 and 50 volunteer themselves through answering a newspaper advert and were paid four dollars to take part in a study of memory and learning.


Where did Milgram's original obedience study take place?

A laboratory at Yale University


What was the procedure of Milgram's original obedience study?

- Participants were told it was a test of learning and the effect on punishment on memory

- Participants were shown the equipment which was a shock generator in one room with switches going from 15 V to 450 V

- The teacher was given a sample shock of 45 V

- The teacher was instructed to start a word association task the teacher read a list of two word pairs and the learner was supposed to memorise them.

- the teacher next read the first word of the word pair again and asked the learner to choose the correct second word from a choice of four

- If the learner got the answer correct they would move onto the next word. If the answer was incorrect the teacher was instructed by the researcher to give the learner (fake) electric shocks.


What standardised responses occurred during Milgram's original experiment?

- Three out of four of the word task answers were given incorrectly

- Experiment 1: The learner banged on the wall when 300 V was applied. The learner refused to answer after 315 V.

- Experiment 2: The learner grunted at 75 V, learner said "experimenter, get me out of here" at 150 V, screamed and refused to continue at 300 V, and gave no response at 330 V.

- If the teacher hesitated, the experiment to said "please continue" or "it is absolutely essential that you continue". If the teacher said the learner clearly did not want to continue the experimenter said "whether the learner likes or not you must go on until he has learnt all of the word pairs correctly so please go on."

- if the teacher still refuse to go on the trial of the experiment was ended.


What was the results of Milgram's original study?

- Experiment 1: all teachers gave shocks up to 300 V up; and 65% continued to the full 450 V.

- Experiment 2: 62.5% of all teachers gave the full 450 V.

- These results completely contradicted the predicted results of 4% reaching the 450 V


What is the conclusion of Milgram's original obedience study?

-Ordinary people are capable of following orders to hurt others, even when this causes them distress.

-Obedience to authority is due more to situational factors than to deviant personality: Therefore Germans are not different.


Within the conclusion, what did Milgram summarise the features that lead to obedience were?

- Yale university is a prestigious institution -> it represents Authority, respect and high standards; and is unlikely to allow anything unethical to occur

- Experimenter wore a white coat which represents authority and scientific knowledge

- The study seemed to have a worthy cause, which is to learn about memory

- The experiment wasn't conducted against the learner's will, and he had given consent

- The participant had volunteered and had made a commitment

- The participant was paid and thus felt obliged

- The shocks were painful, but not dangerous


What are the strengths in the methodology of Milgram's original study?

- There were 40 American males, from a range of occupations and ages- Large sample- Generalisable to American males

- The study involved both quantitated data and qualitative observations – good scientific research (Provides both objective and in-depth data analysis)

- Procedure was highly standardised – can be replicated to produce similar results, therefore reliable

- high degree of control over IV and DV, providing a good cause and effect relationship – high internal validity


What are the weaknesses in the methodology of Milgram's original study?

- The samples did not include females all people of different cultures. Therefore it is not representative of everyone and can't be generalised to all of society.

- Volunteer sampling was used and participants may have been more compliant/obedient and character than others in American society. Therefore, the sample is not representative and findings can't be fully generalised.

- Giving someone electric shocks does not represent every day life behaviour therefore the findings lack mundane realism.

- Participants may have guessed that the shocks were not real and played along with the experiment due to demand characteristics. Therefore the findings may not have internal validity.


What are the strengths in the ethical issues of Milgram's original study?

-Milgram carried out questionnaires with people before the experiment; as no one expected to be as obedient as they were. This means they didn't plan for any psychological harm to happen.

- Participants volunteer themselves and thus gave general consent

- Milgram fully debriefed participants

- The initial report of the study kept the confidentiality of the participants

- Ethical guidelines were not as strict in the 1960s as they are today. Also Milgram had competence as a researcher.


What are the weaknesses in the ethical issues of Milgram's original study?

- Participants were placed on the great emotional stress, and even when this happened the experimenter prompted that they carried on. This breaks the guidelines of psychological harm.

- Participants did not know the experiment would be about obedience, and therefore informed consent was not gained

- There was a high level of deception in the study as participants thought it was a study of memory.

- Video and audio recording were made of participants and so confidentiality was not kept

- The verbal prompts from the experimenter reduced the participants' awareness of their right to withdraw from the experiment.


What real life example backs up the findings of Milgram's original study?

Oskar Groening discussed that he was influenced by authority to commit the acts that he did during Nazi Germany


What were the three variation studies?

Telephonic Instructions

Rundown Office Block

Ordinary Man Gives Order


What happened during the telephonic instructions study?

- Milgram west to investigate the effect of the proximity on the level of influence.

- The experimenter gave the initial instructions face-to-face, left the room and then continued to give instructions over the telephone.

- 22.5% of participants continued to the full 450


What happened during the run down office block study?

- Milgram was investigating how the institutional context would affect the obedience of participants

- Milgram conducted this experiment in the sparsely furnished room in the rundown office building in Connecticut.

-Participants were told the study was being conducted by a private company commercial industry

- 48% of participants went to the full 450 V


What happened during the ordinary man gives orders study?

- Milgram investigated the impact of power relations on obedience

- The experimenter goes through the same instructions as in the original study, but then received a fake phone call which makes him leave the room urgently. Before he leaves he instructs them to continue with the experiment

- The learner then tells the teacher he should increase the shock level by one step each time he makes a mistake. Throughout the experiment he insists that this procedure should be followed.

- 20% of participants went to the full 450 V


What Situational Factors affect Obedience and Dissent?

Momentum of Compliance
Status of the Authority
Personal Responsibility


How does the Momentum of Compliance affect Obedience?

Starting with small + trivial requests, the participant has committed themselves to the experiment. as the experiment continued, the ppts felt duty bound to continue.

Milgram: The initial shocks were small, but increased slowly in 15-volt increments. The situation created a binding relationship that escalated steadily.


How does Proximity affect Obedience?

The closer the authority figure, the higher the level of obedience.


How does the Status of Authority affect Obedience?

Obedience could only be established when the authority figure was perceived to be legitimate.


How does Personal Responsibility affect Obedience?

Participants would be more obedient when personal responsibility is removed, an places onto the shoulders of an authority figure.

In a variation study where ppts had to sign a contract that stated they were taking part at their own free will and relinquishing any legal responsibility from Yale university, obedience fell to 40%


What Individual Differences are looked at which affect Obedience and Dissent?



What Personality Factors affect Obedience and Dissent?

Locus of Control
Authoritarian Personality


How does Locus of Control affect Obedience and Dissent?

Rotter's (1966) locus of control personality theory outlines that people either have an internal or external locus of control.

Internal: Individuals believe they are responsible for their own actions, and are less influenced by others.

External: Individuals believe behaviour is largely beyond their control, but due to external factors such as fate.

People with an external locus of control are more likely to be influenced by others.


What does it mean to have an Authoritarian Personality?

These are individuals who are typically submissive to authority, but are harsh to those seen as subordinate to themselves.


What research shows that an Authoritarian Personality can affect Obedience and Dissent?

Adorno et al: Devised the F-scale (Fascism scale), a questionnaire used to detect the authoritarian personality.

Milgram + Elms: Compared the F-Scale scores for 20 obedient and defiant ppts- Obedient ppts had a higher F-scale (fascism scale), indicating an authoritarian personality type, compared to dissenters.

A 2010 study stimulating Milgram's experiment found that those with high authoritarian scores were less likely to withdraw; maybe because they were submissive to the authority of the experimenter.