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AS and A Level: Social Psychology
618 AS and A Level Social Psychology essays
- Marked by Teachers essays 9
- Peer Reviewed essays 22
This essay considers the subject of the scientific status of Psychology pretty thoroughly with balanced debate. The conclusion perhaps reflects the fact that just as the discipline of Psychology aims…
- Essay length: 1278 words
- Submitted: 17/03/2004
- Marked by teacher: Stephanie Porras 26/12/1999
- Reviewed by: danielle-dansmell 18/03/2012
Despite the point that modern ethical guidelines are more stringent, most of this essay has taken Milgram's side in defending his actions - so this conclusion doesn't really fit. This…
- Essay length: 1629 words
- Submitted: 07/01/2011
- Marked by teacher: Jo Wilcox 06/04/2012
- Reviewed by: sydneyhopcroft 24/03/2012
The title of this essay is 'outline and describe.....' which does not include evaluation. However evaluation is included here and with some good points. Important to remember that there are…
- Essay length: 1148 words
- Submitted: 28/11/2012
- Marked by teacher: Stephanie Duckworth 18/12/1999
This essay makes a good attempt at answering the question with a balanced presentation of evidence for pro-social influence of the media. Remember to proofread…
- Essay length: 903 words
- Submitted: 29/04/2011
- Marked by teacher: Stephanie Porras 21/12/1999
Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk explores the theme of masculinity through clever characterisation, exploration of conformity and anarchy and through unusual language.4 star(s)
A particularly interesting essay that allows us to explore a psychological issue within a real life scenario. This can be developed by referring more to psychological theory/terminology and interpreting the…
- Essay length: 1991 words
- Submitted: 08/09/2003
- Marked by teacher: Stephanie Porras 27/12/1999
Explanations of conformity. Conformity is defined by David Myers (1999) as a change in behaviour or belief as a result of real or imagined group pressure.3 star(s)
The description of the various explanations in this essay starts very well, and there is some analysis through contrasting explanations.
The second half may not be considered relevant…
- Essay length: 937 words
- Submitted: 28/01/2012
- Marked by teacher: Jo Wilcox 17/02/2012
This essay outlines some key research findings into deindividuation, but shows a lack of sophistication in the understanding of the concept itself and how it can be applied to real…
- Essay length: 667 words
- Submitted: 21/04/2011
- Marked by teacher: Jo Wilcox 17/02/2012
The writer has addressed the essay title and has covered most of the major points. However, the writing style is confusing at times with simple grammatical errors. The…
- Essay length: 1049 words
- Submitted: 27/10/2005
- Marked by teacher: Linda Penn 26/12/1999
This answer consists of two questions for the OCR G543 syllabus. It has one question worth 10 mark for AO1 (knowledge and understanding) and another question carrying 15 marks for…
- Essay length: 722 words
- Submitted: 14/09/2012
- Reviewed by: sydneyhopcroft 15/09/2012
Five reasons why social psychology methodology is often contentious
- 1 Researcher bias e.g. Zimbardo (1973) was guilty of playing a dual role in his Stanford Prison Experiment – as both prison superintendent and researcher. His resulting lack of objectivity meant he did not stop the experiment quickly enough to prevent particpants from being harmed.
- 2 Participant reactivity (hawthorne effect) – Just the act of being observed can change people’s behaviour. Some even consciously act up for the researcher – as was the case with the most vindictive guard in Zimbardo’s study.
- 3 Lack of experimental realism e.g. Milgram and Hoffling’s experiments on obedience were both criticised on the grounds that participants wouldn’t believe the set up. However, both researchers disputed this on the basis of their debrief interviews with participants.
- 4 Lack of mundane realism – Separate to experimental realism, mundane realism refers to how far the set-up can be generalised to real life social situations. It was argued that Asch’s conformity study lacked mundane realism, for example.
- 5 Lack of cross-cultural validity – Social behaviour is largely culturally determined. For example, Smith and Bond (1993) carried out a meta-analysis of conformity studies based on Asch’s procedure and concluded that individualist cultures had lower levels of conformity than collectivist cultures.
Five modern ethical principles in psychology (that we should thank Milgram and Zimbardo for influencing)
- 1 Lack of informed consent – must always be obtained, but it is often the case that it would invalidate social psychological research. Some researchers debrief and offer the right to withdraw data to deal with this but there are always questions about whether it is acceptable.
- 2 Deception – should be avoided, but if necessary should involve cost benefit analysis – i.e. it is minor deception which will be addressed in a debrief, and it will not cause any harm. If there is deception, there is automatically a lack of informed consent.
- 3 Protection from harm – participants should not be exposed to any greater physical or psychological harm than they would be in day to day life.
- 4 Privacy and confidentiality – should both be respected. Observations should not take place in a private place without consent. Research should not identify participants, especially if it is of a socially sensitive nature.
- 5 Right to withdraw – should always be offered at the start of the study, either to end participation during the procedure or to withdraw data afterwards. This is particularly important in cases of deception.
Five good examples of social influence to use in essays
- 1 England riots in 2011 – Conformity, social influence & deindividuation. Conformity: people who wouldn’t normally indulge in anti-social behaviour succumbed to peer pressure. Social learning: some joined in as a result of vicarious reinforcement as they saw those ahead of them get away with their loot. Most importantly, deindividuation: as the rule of law broke down, many of those involved believed that they wouldn’t be identified and punished for their actions, and most of the looting was done under cover of darkness amongst the chaos of burning buildings.
- 2 MPs expenses scandal – Conformity and, to an extent, obedience. Conformity: plenty of MPs indulged in fiddling their expenses because others around them were doing it and it seemed ‘perfectly normal’. Obedience, (possibly!) because some of them claimed that they were encouraged to make the most of their expense claims by the Commons Fees office.
- 3 Feminism since the Suffragette movement – Successful minority influence, including social crypto-amnesia/ dissociation effect, snowball effect. The suffragettes fulfilled all the characteristics of a successful minority group. Feminism has made massive gains for women’s equality – although the fight has not yet been won in practice. Feminism has fallen out of fashion recently, yet the majority would say they believe in gender equality, showing that the idea has become dissociated from the people who originally fought for it.
- 4 The gay civil rights movement in the UK – Successful minority influence. Evidence includes the relatively recent acceptance by government and wider society of Pride celebrations, equality legislation, including civil partnerships, repeal of Section 28 and equal age of consent with heterosexuals.
- 5 The ‘Green’ movement in the UK – Successful minority influence, snowball effect, dissociation effect, conformity. No longer is there an association between concern for the environment and ‘tree-hugging’. Environmental sustainability is becoming a mainstream concern and social disapproval tends to centre on people failing to recycling, on driving large, gas-guzzling vehicles, and the environmentally unsound activities of big business. Big companies now indulge in ‘greenwash’: environmentally focused PR campaigns.
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