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Flashcards in Social Influence Deck (12)
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Types of conformity and definitions


Compliance- going along with others, publicly agreeing and behaving the same as others but privately disagreeing
Identification- accepting the attitudes/ behaviours of a group (social role) to belong to a group
Internalisation- when the mind is changed permanently. This behaviour will occur even after leaving the group


Describe and evaluate normative and informational social influence (explanations of conformity)


• Informational social influence- assessing who has better information and conforming as they are more likely to be right
• Typically happens in new situations
• Internalisation
• + Young students were asked whether they thought they were good at maths. Those who said they were bad were more likely to look at the answers of others before answering themselves
• Normative social influence- assessing what is seen as ‘normal’ behaviour and conform and act the same to get social approval
• Typically happens when you are with strangers
• Compliance
• + University students were told that most people don’t smoke, and less of them smoked
• - Certain people have more of a need for affiliation so are more likely to conform, McGhee and Teevan


Describe and evaluate Asch’s research into conformity


• 50 US male students in their 20s
• Told it was a visual perception test and shown a line, and pick the line A B or C that is the same length
• Put in groups with confederates who were told to pick the wrong answer 12/18 times

• 36.8% of answers conformed
• 25% never conformed
• Other people’s opinions affect our own, creating compliance
• - Sample was only of men, so cannot necessarily be applied to women
• - Smith and Bond (1993) meta-analysis into different cultures. Conformity is higher in collectivist cultures such as Fiji at 58%, and conformity is lower in individualistic cultures such as Belgium at 14%
• - Deception
• - Low temporal validity- conformity was high in the 1950s
• + Laboratory study, variables controlled so high internal validity


Variables affecting conformity


 Group size- groups of 3 had most effect on conformity at 31.8%, in larger groups conformity didn’t significantly increase
 Rebel confederate- Decreases conformity to 25% due to unaminity
 Task difficulty- Increased conformity levels as task got harder


Discuss research into conformity of social roles


AO1- Zimbardo
• Sample of 24 male US psychology students
• Participants were interviewed to ensure they were mentally stable enough to take part in the experiment
• Participants were assigned roles and given corresponding uniforms; prisoners were instructed to listen to the prison guards and prison guards were instructed not to be violent
• ‘Prisoners’ were arrested from their homes and were called by numbers rather than their names

• 1/3 of guards behaved in a brutal manner, 1/3 wanted to keep rules, 1/3 actively helped and supported prisoners
• Prisoners rebelled, guards restricted prisoners’ sleep, food, and became violent at slight misdemeanours
• Experiment stopped after 6 days
• - No protection from harm
• - BBC study repeated Zimbardo’s study but participants didn’t conform automatically
• + Laboratory- variables controlled so high internal validity
• - Banuazizi and Mohavedi found that one ‘prison guard’ based their role of a film character, so didn’t actually believe the situation but acted to a stereotype
• - Fromm, 2/3 of prison guards still behaved against social norms so the situation wasn’t fully effective


Describe and evaluate Milgram’s research into obedience


• 40 male participants
• Told that the student was taking a memory test, and were asked to administer electric shocks which increased in voltage
• If the participant didn’t want to shock the student, they were given a prod, one of which was “please continue”

• No one stopped before 300v, 12.5% stopped 300v
• 65% continued to 450v which was a potentially lethal shock
• Participants showed extreme tension, sweating and stuttering, and 3 people had seizures
• + Game of Death repeated Milgram’s study on TV, and 80% shocked to 450v
• - Participants were not protected from harm
• - Volunteer bias, only certain types of people will respond
• + Hofling’s experiment, 22 out of 21 nurses obeyed when a doctor asked them to give a patient a lethal dose of medicine, good external validity
• - An assistant had sorted participants into doubters and believers, doubters were more likely to disobey as they didn’t believe the situation, so the situation wasn’t entirely effective


Discuss two of more situational variables that affect obedience


AO1- Milgram’s initial results had 65% obeying
• Proximity- 30% obeyed when they had to hold the learner’s hand on a plate to shock them rather than being in different rooms
• Uniform- 20% obeyed when experimenter wore everyday clothes rather than a lab coat
• Location- 48% obeyed when the experiment happened in a run-down building rather than at Yale university
• + Bickman (1974) had confederates in milkman’s clothing, suit and tie, and security guard’s uniform ask passers-by to perform tasks like putting litter in a bin, and people were twice as likely to obey the ‘security guard’ than those dressed in the jacket and tie
• + Milgram controlled the variables by only changing one at a time
• - Milgram’s results provide an excuse for criminals, which is dangerous to conclude that people are unable to control their own actions using obedience alibi


Discuss how social-psychological factors can explain why people behave obediently


• Agentic shift between who is responsible
• Agentic state is when you feel that you are only carrying out orders for others
• Autonomous state is when you feel responsible for your own actions
• + Lifton believed people don’t continuously shift between states, but gradually move towards the agentic state, and this change may be irreversible. He found this occurred with German doctors in Auschwitz
• - Social scientists believe Milgram’s experiment gave ‘cruel’ people a chance to be cruel
• Legitimacy of authority is an explanation for obedience suggesting you are more likely to obey people you perceive to have authority over you
• This is legitimate by the individual’s position of power within a social hierarchy
• E.g. after Hitler climbed the social hierarchy he was authoritative
• + Blass and Schmidt (2001) showed students a film of Milgram’s study and asked who was responsible. The students blamed the experimenter as they had legitimate authority and were supposedly ‘experts’
• + Tarnow found that in plane accidents, the crew will listen to the officer even when they believe they are making risky manoeuvres, assuming they know what they’re doing


Discuss dispositional explanations as an explanation for obedience


AO1- Adorno et al
• Over 2000 middle class white Americans
• Measured unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups
• Several scales were developed, including the fascism scale (F-scale)

• There was a positive correlation between participants’ fascism score and authoritarian personality
• Conventionalism- conform to social norms
• Authoritarian aggression- feel aggressive towards those who do not conform
• Authoritarian submission- believe you must be submissive to authority
• - Correlation- doesn’t show which is the cause and which is the effect
• - F-scale is politically biased to measure tendencies towards extreme right wing ideologies, os doesn’t explain obedience to left-wing authoritarianism
• - Sample was only American middle class, can’t be generalised
• - Situational variables is a better explanation
• - Low education causes authoritarian personality, not strict parenting


Outline and evaluate how social support and locus of control can explain resistance to social influence


• Locus of control
• Internal- you believe everything happens to you because of what you do
• External- you believe everything happens to you because of fate, luck or destiny
• + Avtgis (1998)- meta-analysis of studies between locus of control and different forms of social influence. High scores for external LOC tend to be more easily persuaded, influenced and conform more that internal
• + Holland- repeated Milgram’s study and measured LOC, 37% of internals didn’t continue to the highest shock level, 23% of externals did continue
• - Rotter- Locus of control only influences you when you’re in a new situation

• Social support (rebel confederate)
• Conformity- pressure can be reduced if another person doesn’t conform e.g. Asch’s rebel confederate
• Obedience- pressure can be reduced if another person doesn’t obey e.g. Milgram’s disobedient peer condition decreased obedience to 10%
• + Allen and Levine (1971)- conformity, replicated Asch’s study using visually impaired rebel confederates and found that the type of social support doesn’t matter
• + Gamson (1982)- obedience, groups of people had to debate evidence corruptly as part of an oil company’s campaign. Higher levels of rebellion shown (29/33), found that peer support increases resistance


Describe and evaluate research into minority influence


• Moscovici et al (1969) the blue-green slides
• Showed groups of 6 people sets of 36 blue coloured slides and asked whether they were blue or green
• 2 confederates in each group either said all slides were green, some were green, or there were no confederates in the control

• 8.42% gave wrong answer when confederates were consistent, 1.25% when confederates were inconsistent, and 0.25% in control group
• Flexibility- relentless consistency can be seen as unreasonable and unbending, minority influence is more effective is they show flexibility by being open to other ideas and accepting compromise
• Commitment- showing dedication to a cause/position by making personal sacrifices as it shows they aren’t acting out of self-interest
• Consistency- the minority keeps the same beliefs over time, as it draws attention to the minority view
• - Nemeth and Brilmayer (1987) found the timing of flexibility makes a difference. No or early compromise led to little change, later compromise led to great change
• - Participants were deceived
• + Wood et al (1994) did a meta-analysis of almost 100 studies and found a consistent minority can be very influential
• + Xie et al- 10% is the tipping point of the majority accepting the minority’s view
• + Lab study- high internal validity due to easily controlled variables


Discuss the role of social influence process in social change


AO1 -Alexa Chung must PASS
• Attention- bringing the problem into the public eye
• Consistency- same message
• Processing (deeper)- beginning to think about the problem
• Augmentation principle- commitment to the cause
• Snowball effect- one person agreeing turns to many people agreeing
• Social crypto amnesia- forget you were ever against it
• + Nolan et al (2008) hung messages saying most residents were trying to reduce energy usage and control messages just asking to reduce energy usage, and saw significant decreases in energy usage when saying others were also reducing energy usage, which shows conformity can lead to social change through normative social influence
• + Xie et al (2011) found that 10% was the tipping point of the majority accepting the minority’s point of view
• - Bashir (2013) Why people often resist social change even though they agree it’s necessary (compliance) is due to stereotyping of the minorities which are trying to cause the social change