The Pros And Cons Of Social Psychology

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Social psychology centres on a subject or person who has universal characteristics which can be studied independently of the social context. Social psychology is a broad amalgamation of sub disciplines with various differing ideas of best practice. Generally, Laboratory based psychology (i.e. the experimental method) focuses more on the individual as if they have universal characteristics than some other forms of social psychology. As we move into a society that increasingly favours the notion of the “individual over the social”, psychology appears to be shifting in the opposite direction with much of contemporary psychology becoming increasingly interested in context and its impact on behaviour. There are certainly issues with removing the…show more content…
(Burkitt, 2017 cited in Taylor, 2017) The idea of the monad is relevant when considering psychology from the standpoint of the current political climate, which favours neoliberalism. Neoliberalism is a policy model where individuals are deemed to act autonomously and competitively (specifically in a capitalist free-market context)- in short, as a Monad. (Taylor, 2017) This idea enables psychologists to study a subject without social context. If the individual behaves in a way that is uninfluenced, psychology doesn’t need to consider any social reasons for behaviour. Experimental psychology typically favours the idea that the individual acts as a self- contained unit. To use a study as an illustration, Milgram’s famous experiment regarding authority uses the experimental method. (Milgram, 1963 cited in Gibson, 2015) – participants were asked to press a buzzer of increasing voltage, and, the experimenter would respond to questions using a list of predetermined prompts to reduce their influence on participant behaviour. This was deemed enough to assume that the participant acted in complete autonomy, and results were therefore, for the most part,…show more content…
Holzkamp was concerned particularly with experimental methods and believed that they didn’t account for ‘psychology from the standpoint of the subject’ and developed “critical psychology”- a method which aims to dissect and question previously taken- for- granted ideas in psychology that assume the individual acts outside of the context. Other research methods look to combat the experimental approach, and align with Holzkamp’s view that context is important, that the experimental method is simply one way of attempting to understand the individual. For example, Dr Alex Bridger (2013) discusses that society largely has heteronormative understandings of the individual. An example then, is a person who identifies as homosexual, exploring a space. (Bridger notes this type of study is categorised as psychogeography- the environment and its impact on the individual.). Instead of studying their subsequent experiences using heteronormative assumptions (i.e. the assumption that a male might be particularly interested in where women might congregate, as a crude example), psychologists might look to explore his own experiences as a gay man, And the impact that context might have on his experience of the environment. To add to this, Taylor (2017) introduces the notion that individuals are multiphrenic.

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