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Define resistance to social influence.

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


What 2 factors help resistance to social influence?

Social support
Locus of control (LOC)


Explain social support in terms of resistance to conformity.

- The pressure to conform can be reduced if there are other people present who are not conforming.
- As we saw in Asch's research, the other individual does not necessarily have to be giving the 'right' answer but the fact that someone else is not following the majority appears to enable a person to be free to follow their own conscience.


Explain social support in terms of resistance to obedience.

- The press to obey can be seen to be reduced if someone else is disobeying.
- In one of Milgram's variations, conformity dropped to 10% when the participant was joined by a disobedient confederate.
- The other person's disobedience acts as a 'model' for the participant to copy and act on their own conscience.


Who proposed the concept of LOC?



What is the difference between internal and external LOC?

Internal - believe that the things that happen to them are largely controlled by themselves.
External - tendency to believe that things happen without their own control.


Which LOC is more likely to resist social influence?

Internal - they take personal responsibility for things that happen to them so are more likely to base decisions off of personal beliefs and thus resist pressure from others.
Internals = more self confident, more achievement-orientated and have higher intelligence so less need for social approval.


State 2 positives of social support as a reason for resisting social influence.

- Research support for resisting conformity - Allen and Levine found that conformity decreased when there was a dissenting peer in an Asch-type study. Even when the dissenter was wearing thick glasses and stated that their vision was poor and were clearly in no position to judge accurately the length of the lines.
- Research support for resisting obedience - in Gamson et al. study participants were in groups - found that 29 out of 33 participants rebelled which proves that peer support links with greater resistance.


State a positive of LOC as a reason for resisting social influence.

Research support - Holland repeated Milgram's baseline study and identified participants as either internal or external. He found that 37% of internals did not continue to the highest shock, whereas only 23% of externals didn't.


State a criticism of LOC as a reason for resisting social influence.

Contradictory evidence - Twenge et al. analysed data from American LOC studies across a 40 year period and the data showed that during this period, people have become more resistant to obedience but also more external.


Define minority influence.

A form of social influence in which a minority of people persuade others to adopt their beliefs, attitudes or behaviours.
It leads to internalisation or conversion, in which private attitudes are changed as well as public behaviours.


What are the 3 main processes of minority influence?



What are the 2 types of consistency in minority influence?

Synchronic - they're all saying the same thing.
Diachronic - they've been saying the same thing for some time.


Explain consistency as a process of minority influence.

Minority influence is most effective if the minority keeps the same beliefs, both over time and between all the individuals that form the minority.
It is effective as it draws attention to the minority view.


Explain commitment as a process of minority influence.

Minority influence is more powerful if the minority demonstrates dedication to their position.
This is effective as it shows the minority is not acting out of self interest.
Known as the augmentation principle.


Explain flexibility as a process of minority influence.

Relentless consistency can be viewed negatively as rigid, dogmatic and unreasonable which can be counter-productive.
Members of the minority need to be prepared to adapt their point of view and accept reasonable and valid counter-arguments.


What is the snowball effect?

When gradually the minority view becomes the majority view and change has occurred.


State a positive that support minority influence.

- Research support for consistency: Moscovi et al.'s study showed that consistency of the minority was key and Wood et al. carried out a meta analysis on 100 similar trials and found that when confederates were consistent, minority influence was most influential.


Describe Moscow's study.

- 6 people were asked to view a set of 36 blue-coloured slides that varied in intensity and then state whether the slides were blue or green.
- In each group there were 2 confederates who consistently said the slides were green in 2/3's of the trials.
- 32% gave the same answer as the minority on at least one trial.
- 2nd trial confederates were inconsistent and agreement fell to 1.25%.
- 3rd trial there were no confederates and participants got the slide colour wrong on just 0.25% of the trials.


State a negative of research into minority influence.

Artificial tasks - research is therefore far removed from how minorities attempt to change the behaviour of majorities in real life, e.g. jury decision making.
Therefore findings from Muscovi's study lack external validity.


How does the minority influence social change through 6 processes?

1. Drawing attention
2. Consistency
3. Deeper processing
4. The augmentation principle
5. Snowball effect
6. Social Cryptomnesia


Give a real-life example of social change.

Women's right to vote.


What is social cryptomnesia?

When the majority remembers the minority idea, but not the minority groups - the two become dissociated. This makes it easier for the majority to accept the idea.


How do people resist pressures to conform and obey?

Giving answers in private.
Non conforming role models.
Size of group.


What is independent behaviour?

Resistance to social influence.