A level Psychology = can you read my essay and help?

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yotsr123
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This is my essay, please have a skim read of it. My teacher says it's worth 4 marks out of 8.

Evaluate social impact theory. (8)
Latane says that the amount of impact or this case obedience can be predicted using mathematical equations. He refers to the person doing the influencing as the source, in the case of the Milgram studies this would Mr Williams the experimenter and the person being influenced is the target. A01 He also refers to the divisional effect, which explains that the more targets there are for every source, the less the impact as the impact is shared between the number of people.
A03 One strength of social impact theory is it is supported by studies such as Milgram where the strength of the experimenter as arguably a professor of Yale increased the Pps likelihood of obeying, where the strength was reduced by doing the study in a run-down building , obedience dropped from 65% to 48% and when an ordinary man gave the orders instead of Mr Williams the obedience also dropped as the theory would predict to 20%. Immediacy was also an important factor as when orders came by phone obedience/impact dropped to 22.5% and also when there were more targets in the disobedient stooges variation the divisional effect can be seen as there is less obedience despite the source being immediately present. These findings are important as they clearly show that strength, immediacy and number are important elements in predicting levels of obedience and they support the divisional effect.

A01 Latane also refers to the multiplicative effect: he uses the light bulb analogy to explain that the higher the wattage of bulb (strength), the brighter the light (more impact), the closer to the wall the bulb, the brighter the light and the more bulbs there are the more intense the light; when all these features are put to together the impact increases yet further although he uses the law of diminishing returns to suggests that simply adding more and more sources does increasingly less to alter the amount of impact.
A03 Can be seen in Milgram’s crane neck experiment where adding more people looking up at a building did not make people look up at the building any more than one or two people looking up did. This was also a field experiment. Therefore it gives strong evidence for this theory.
HOWEVER: A01 However, Latane says that the equation i=f(SIN) can be used predict the target’s behaviour where i is the impact and he says this is a function (f) of strength times immediacy times number. He says strength is dictated by the amount of social power a source has, immediacy refers to closeness to the target in terms of time and place and number refers to how many sources are present.
A03 Therefore this is a weakness of the theory. Similarly, the minister who refused at XX voltage in Milgram’s study said his ultimate authority was in god suggesting that some people may not always perceive certain sources as strong and Latane fails to recognise in this rather reductionist account that social situations are complex in that people can be targets and sources at the same time and they also may perceive each other in ways that are not predictable based upon their own individual differences or personality traits, therefore the behaviour predicted by the model is not what is actually seen in real life.
A01 Latane said that authority figures that are perceived to be legitimate, who are immediate to the target and greater in number are more likely to ensure obedience.
A03 However there is no mention of individual differences again in this statement. Therefore, culture is another difference that the theory does not take into account, therefore the theory could be seen as ethnocentric as it does NOT recognise that people from cultures seen as high on the power distance dimension (Hofstede) may be affected more by strong, immediate sources than people from cultures that are low on this dimension such as Austrians as compared with say the Chinese.
CONCLUSION In conclusion, social impact theory may be seen as a useful predictor of behaviour which could help society to recognise when destructive obedience might be more likely however it is oversimplified and reductionist and ignores important personality and cultural factors as important determinants of social impact and/or obedience.
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Noodlzzz
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1) define what is social impact in the first sentence
2) describe briefly what the Milgram study is and their findings before you say they are applicable - then link it in to 'Mr Williams' which I as assuming is a case study or something? You describe it ok in your second paragraph but it should go in the first
3) What about evidence against the theory? That's an important part of A03 too
4) what is good/bad about a filed experiment? A02 marks here


There are some good points here but you are making quite broad sweeping statements about 'strong evidence' and failing theories because of a few contradictory experiments
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yotsr123
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(Original post by Noodlzzz)
1) define what is social impact in the first sentence
2) describe briefly what the Milgram study is and their findings before you say they are applicable - then link it in to 'Mr Williams' which I as assuming is a case study or something? You describe it ok in your second paragraph but it should go in the first
3) What about evidence against the theory? That's an important part of A03 too
4) what is good/bad about a filed experiment? A02 marks here


There are some good points here but you are making quite broad sweeping statements about 'strong evidence' and failing theories because of a few contradictory experiments
thanks very much for your help. i appreciate it
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