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The Key Studies Within Social Psychology

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This essay aims to explore and describe some of the key studies within Social Psychology and show why social psychology is still important within the science of psychology today. Social psychology was once described by Allport (as cited in Lindzey & Aronson, 1985, p.5) as, “the scientific study of how people’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours are influenced by the actual, imagined or implied presence of others”. One of the first psychologists to study social psychology was Kurt Lewin. Lewin is considered the “father of social psychology” by many as he took a stand against the dominant behaviourist approach during the 1920’s through his belief that interaction between the individual and their environment is key to affecting behaviour, rather than environment alone. His revolutionary ideas matured into the study of group dynamics, which is widely used by many organisations today (Collin, 2012).
Within social psychology there are areas of behaviour which psychologists have been particularly interested in. These areas include conformity, obedience and social facilitation to name a few. Two key studies within the areas of obedience and conformity were carried out by Milgram and Asch (Billingham, Ladbrook, Standring & Teahan, 2008).
Milgram investigated how far people would be prepared to go when obeying an authority figure. Forty men aged from 20 to 50 volunteered to take part. When the participant arrived they were greeted by the experimenter who was wearing a lab coat. The
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