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The Critical Schools of Social Psychology

explanatory Essay
1407 words
1407 words
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The critical schools of social psychology came about in response to a growing dissatisfaction with the scientific paradigm that had become entrenched in psychology in the first half of the twentieth century. Social psychology developed two separate strands, the Psychological Social Psychology strand, in America, and the Sociological Social Psychology schools in Europe. While the American school developed into an experimental, empiricist discipline that relied on the scientific method, the European traditions became more qualitative, with one example being the phenomenological school that believed it was more important to look at experience rather than explanation.

Cognitive social psychology emerged in the mid-twentieth century as a critique of the dominant behaviourist movement and quickly became the main force behind the American school of Psychological Social Psychology. (Hollway, 2007). With its roots in mainstream psychology, cognitive social psychology has a primarily quantitative methodology, relying heavily on statistical methods in controlled conditions, and adheres to the hypothetico-deductive paradigm found in other sciences. The main focus of this form of social psychology is on how the individual behaves in controlled situations and this is examined through experiments and social psychometric data gathering.

In the laboratory it is possible to observe people’s behaviour in a carefully controlled environment. This makes it possible for the cognitive social psychologist to “disentangle cause and effect” by isolating the various parts of a theory that can be measured and designing the experiment to ensure that only those are measured (Jetten, 2007). The experimental method is part of the empirical tradition of ...

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...psychology may be possible.

Spears, R. (2007) as cited in Hollway, W. (2007) 'Methods and Knowledge in Social Psychology', in Wendy, H., Lucey, H. and Phoenix, A. (ed.) Social Psychology Matters, Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Hollway, W. (2007) 'Methods and Knowledge in Social Psychology', in Wendy, H., Lucey, H. and Phoenix, A. (ed.) Social Psychology Matters, Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Hollway, W. (2007) 'Social Psychology: Past and Present', in Hollway, W., Lucey, H. and Phoenix, A. (ed.) Social Psychology Matters, Milton Keynes: The Open University.

Jetten, J. (2007) in DVD 1: Contemporary Methods and Perspectives (DD307), The Open University.

Haslam, A. (2007) in DVD 1: Contemporary Methods and Perspectives (DD307), The Open University.

Finlay, L. (2007) in DVD 1: Contemporary Methods and Perspectives (DD307), The Open University.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the critical schools of social psychology came about in response to a growing dissatisfaction with the scientific paradigm that had become entrenched in psychology.
  • Explains that cognitive social psychology emerged in the mid-twentieth century as a critique of the dominant behaviourist movement and quickly became the main force behind the american school of psychological social psychology.
  • Explains how the cognitive social psychologist can disentangle cause and effect by isolating the various parts of a theory that can be measured and designing the experiment to ensure that only those are measured.
  • Explains that a cognitive social psychologist will identify variables that may affect the issue and then design an experiment that allows the variables to be manipulated. stanley milgram's (1965) investigation into the nature of obedience.
  • Explains that the power relationship between experimenter and subject raises ethical questions, especially as most experiments involve some sort of deception to make sure the subject's knowledge does not affect the outcome.
  • Explains that experimental psychology relies on statistical methods to generalise findings from the sample tested and apply them to society as a whole.
  • Explains that cognitive social psychology uses traditional methods, but some ideas from critical traditions have been incorporated. daisy brookes examined athlete performance in a number of conditions in their own training sessions.
  • Explains that the phenomenological perspective is a critical social psychology that concentrates on the actions and feelings of the individual. it is qualitative and examines descriptions of individuals’ internal experience without examining the deeper meanings behind that experience.
  • Explains that phenomenological social society is a descriptive examination of the life world.
  • Explains that phenomenological psychology treats every person's experience as unique and tries not to generalise in the way that traditional, experimental psychology does.
  • Explains that the concept of epoché is central to phenomenology, where the researcher suspends preconceptions and knowledge when approaching the material for the first time.
  • Explains that the emphasis on the scientific method in traditional psychology manifests itself in cognitive social psychology with its highly quantitative, experimental methodology that deals with small, reductive problems as a way of explaining process in the human mind.
  • Explains that non-traditional psychological schools have moved further away from the scientific paradigm even eschewing it completely. in the case of phenomenology the idea that there is an explanation to be searched for is disregarded.
  • Opines that a more rounded view of human psychology may be possible with both traditions co-existing.
  • Cites spears, r, hollway, w, lucey, and phoenix, a. social psychology matters, milton keynes: the open university.
  • Cites hollway, w., lucey, h. and phoenix, a. (eds) social psychology matters, milton keynes: the open university.
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