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Psychology: PSYA2 > Social Influence > Flashcards

Flashcards in Social Influence Deck (27):

Conformity: What is Conformity?

Conformity occurs when an individual or small group of individuals change their views, attitudes or behaviour, to that of a majority.
-It is a response to real or implied social pressure and is a socially adaptive strategy.


Conformity: What experiments have been carried out to investigate conformity?

-Asch (1951)
-Crutchfield (1956)
-Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Study (1973)
-Perrin and Spencer (1980)/(1981)


Conformity: What are the two types of social influence?

-Informational Social Influence
-Normative Social Influence


Conformity: What is Informational Social Influence?

When someone conforms because others are thought to possess more knowledge
-It happens when people change their behaviour in order to be correct. In situations where we are unsure of the correct response, we often look to others who are better informed and more knowledgeable and use their lead as a guide for our own behaviours
-E.g. if the task in unambiguous, in the Jenness (1932) experiment.


Conformity: What is Normative Social Influence?

When someone conforms in order to gain liking or respect from others.
-It comes from trying to avoid rejection and not being the odd one out.
-E.g. Ash (1951)


Conformity: What are the three types of conformity?



Conformity: What is Compliance?

Conforming to the majority view in order to be liked, or to avoid ridicule or social exclusion.
-When people comply, they often appear to change their mind in the presence of the majority, but privately disagreeing.
(Seen in Asch (1951))


Conformity: What is Internalisation?

-Conformity behaviour where the individual has completely accepted the views of the majority, and also does so privately.
(Seen is Sherif (1935))


Conformity: What is Identification?

-Conforming to the demands of a given role because of a desire to be like a particular person.
-Conforming to meet the expectations of a social role.
(Seen in Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Study (1973))


Conformity: What are social norms?

Social Norms are unwritten rules about how to behave. They provide us with an expected idea of how to behave in a particular social group or culture.
-Behaviour which fulfils these norms is called conformity, and most of the time roles and norms are powerful ways of understanding and predicting what people will do.


Conformity: What are the factors that affect conformity rate?

-Social support; if another person also gives a different answer to the majority, conformity rate decreases.
-Group size; the smaller the group, conformity rate decreases. Any group size above seven, also decreases conformity rate because the task is less credible and become suspicious.
-Age, more likely to conform if people are older
-Status, more likely to conform if people are at a higher status or rank
-Power, more likely to conform if people have more power, or power over them.


What are the similarities between conformity and obedience?

They both involve changes in behaviour.


What are the differences between conformity and obedience?

-Conformity; Response to real or implied social pressure, often occurring around those of equal status.
-Obedience; Direct requirement to change behaviour, often occurring in a hierarchy.


Obedience: What is obedience?

Obedience is a form of social influence where an individual acts in response to a direct order from another individual, who is usually an authority figure. It is assumed that without such an order the person would not have acted in this way.


Obedience: What experiments have been carried out to investigate obedience?

-Milgram (1963)
-Hofling et al (1966)
-Bickman (1974)
-Meeus and Raaijmakers (1986)


Obedience: What is a legitimate authority?

.We obey authority figures because we respect their position and power, presuming that they know what they are doing. People obey when they recognise authority as being morally and/or legally based.
-Legitimate social power is held by authority figures whose role is socially defined & determined e.g. doctors, political leaders, police personnel, etc. This usually gives people the right to exert control over others & in turn results in others accepting this control.


Obedience: What are the factors affecting obedience rate?

-Social support
-Presence of a legitimate authority
-Superior knowledge of those obeying
-Context: location and situation has to carry authority as well.
-Shifting of responsibility, so person obeying doesn't feel like they are doing something wrong.
-Proximity: rate increased if damage done can't be seen


Obedience: What are the factors affecting obedience to authority?

-Proximity to victim; physical presence and contact leads to greater empathy for the people affected if demand is unreasonable.
-Proximity of authority
-Presence of allies; idea of social support and easier to disobey if others do it as well.


Obedience: What are the psychological processes explaining why people obey?

-A socially obedient environment
-Gradual Commitment
-Agency Theory
-The Role of Buffers
-Legitimate Authority


Obedience: How does a socially obedient environment explain why people obey?

Our experience with life so far has taught us that authorities are generally trustworthy and legitimate and so we should obey.


Obedience: How does gradual commitment explain why people obey?

Gradual commitment explains obedience in terms of the individual being asked to perform trivial, seemingly harmless tasks. Once the person has complied with such requests, they find it increasingly difficult to refuse to carry out more serious (& escalating) requests, and often don't notice when they began to act in an unreasonable way.


Obedience: How does agency theory explain why people obey?

Moving from the autonomous to the agentic level is called the ‘agentic shift’ & it is emphasised by the fact that people no longer see themselves as responsible for their actions – they obey orders from an authority figure (perhaps because of their legitimate authority) and therefore regard themselves as not being responsible. This is known as the ‘agentic state’.
-The person giving the orders is perceived as being qualified to direct other people's behaviour. The person being ordered about is able to believe that the authority will accept responsibility for what happens.


Obedience: What evidence is there for agency theory?

Milgram (1963) - Authority explicitly takes responsibility
Bickman (1974) - Authority is wearing a uniform
Hofling et al (1966) - Authority claims/appears to have a higher status


Obedience: How do buffers explain why people obey?

The term ‘buffer’ is used to refer ‘any aspect of a situation that protects people from having to confront the consequences of their actions’.


Obedience: How do legitimate authority explain why people obey?

We obey authority figures because we respect their position and power, presuming that they know what they are doing.


Obedience: Why do participants need to be deceived sometimes?

This is where participants are misled or wrongly informed about the aims of the research. This is sometimes necessary in order to avoid demand characteristics.


Obedience: How is deception dealt with?

Debriefing; This could include an interview explaining the nature of the experiment and also a psychological interview in the future to make sure no lasting psychological harm had been done.