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Flashcards in Resistance To Social Influence Deck (16)
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What is resistance to social influence?

It refers to the ability of people to withstand the social pressure to conform to the majority or to obey authority.


What is social support?

The presence of people who resist pressures to conform or obey can help others to do the same.


What is locus of control?

It refers to the sense we each have about what directs events in our lives. Internals believe they are mostly responsible for what happens to them (internal locus of control). Externals believe it is mainly a matter of luck or other outside forces (external locus of control).


How can social support help to resist conformity?

Social support can help people to resist conformity - the pressure to conform can be reduced if there are other people present who are not conforming.
For example, in a variation of Asch's study, if the real participant saw another confederate disagreeing with the majority, conformity dropped sharply.

These confederates provide the participant with moral and social support, even if they are not giving the right answer. It is simply the fact that someone else is not following the majority that seems to enable a person to be 'free' to give the correct answer.



How does research evidence support the role of social support in resisting conformity?

Research, using Asch type studies, have found that conformity decreased when there was one dissenter. More importantly this occurred even if the dissenter wore thick glasses and said he had difficulty with his vision (so he was clearly in no position to judge the length of the lines given that this was a rest of visual discrimination).

This therefore supports the view that resistance isn't just motivated by whether someone else has the right answer or even skilled in a particular situation.


How can social support help to resist obedience?

The pressure to obey can be reduced if there is another person who is also seen to disobey.

Disobedient peers therefore act as role models on which the individuals can model their own behaviour.


Outline one of Milgram's variations that supports how social support can lead resisting obedience.

The participant was one of a team of 3 testing the learner. The other 2 were actually confederates, one after another they refused to continue shocking the learner and withdrew.
The rate of obedience dropped to 10%.

This shows that social support can be a factor that leads to resistance to obedience.



Research evidence supports the role of social support in resisting obedience.

Feldman and Scheibe asked college students to fill in a very personal and embarrassing questionnaire in the presence of other students. The other students were confederates of the experimenter. In one condition the confederates seemed to complete the questionnaire willingly and in the other condition the confederates refused the complete the questionnaire and asked to leave the experiment.

The results found that the real participants in the first condition, were much more likely to complete the questionnaire than those in the second condition where the participants refused.

This shows that people are likely to refuse authority requests that are unpleasant when social support is available from others (I.e. Social support from refusing to fill in the questionnaire)


What does the term locus of control refer to?

A person's perception of personal control over their own behaviour and lives.


How is locus of control measured?

It is measured along a continuum with 'high internal' locus of control at one end and 'high external' locus of control at the other, with 'low internal' and 'low external' lying in-between.


What is a strong internal locus of control?

It is associated with the belief that we can control events in our lives. People with a strong internal locus of control believe that what happens to them is largely a consequence of their own ability and effort - so they believe they can affect the outcomes of situations.


What do people with a strong external locus of control believe?

People with a strong external locus of control tend to believe that what happens to them is determined by uncontrollable external factors such as the influence of others, luck or fate - so they believe that things turn out a certain way regardless of their actions.


People who have an internal locus of control are more likely to be able to resist pressures to conform or obey, why?

If a person takes personal responsibility for their actions than they are more likely to display independent behaviour and therefore less likely to accept the influence of others. They are more likely to base their decisions on their own beliefs, rely less on the opinion of others and are more self-confident so therefore resist pressures from others to conform or obey.

People who have a high external LOC take less personal responsibility for their actions, are less likely to display independent behaviour and therefore more likely to accept the influence of others.



How does research evidence support the link between LOC and resistance to obedience?

Holland repeated Milgram's study and measured whether participants were internals or externals. He found that 37% of internals did not continue to the highest shock level (I.e. They showed some resistance) whereas only 23% of externals did not continue. In other words, internals showed greater resistance to authority.

Therefore this increases the validity of the LOC explanation and the link to explaining resistance.

However not all research supports the link between LOC and resistance. Data analysed from American obedience studies over a 40-year period showed that people have become more resistant to obedience but also more external. If resistance were linked to an internal locus of control, we would expect people to have become more internal.


How does research evidence also support the link between LOC and resistance to conformity?

Shute exposed undergraduates to peers who expressed either conservative or liberal views to drug taking. He found that undergraduates with an internal LOC conformed less to the pro-drug attitudes therefore supporting the idea that having an internal locus of control increases resistance to conformity.


How may the role of LOC be seen as limited?

Some believe that the role of LOC in resisting social influence may be exaggerated and that in reality it has very little influence over our behaviour in familiar situations as our previous experience will be more important - so people who have conformed or obeyed in the past are likely to do so again in the same situation, even if they have a high internal LOC.