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Flashcards in Social Influence Deck (67):
1

Conformity (Majority influence)
Definition

- Yielding to group pressure

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Classic study of conformity was done by...

- Asch (1951)

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Classic study of conformity
Aim

- To investigate to what extent people will conform to a majority opinion even when it appears obviously incorrect

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Classic study of conformity
Procedure x8

- 50 american male college students
- Each was seated around a table as one of a group of 7 young men
- The other 7 were confederates
- Shown a pair of cards, one had a target line on it. The other had 3 lines of different lengths
- Participants had to say which of the 3 lines matched the target line
- Confederates were all told which wrong answer to say.
- Participant said their answer 2nd to last.

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Classic study of conformity
Findings x3

- Average level of conformity was 32%
- 74% of confederates conformed at least once
- No participants conformed on every critical trial

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Classic study of conformity
Interviews showed x3

- Some ppts who conformed said their perception must have been inaccurate
- Most ppts who conformed said they did not want to be in the minority in case of exclusion
- A small number of ppts who conformed said they really thought that they were giving the correct answer

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Classic study of conformity
Conclusion

- Even when the correct answer is not at all ambiguous, the majority can have a huge influence on an individual.

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Compliance

is when we publicly change our behaviour and opinions to those of the group but privately we do not accept the group's behaviour and attitudes.

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Identification

Is when we change our behaviour and opinions to that of the group both publicly and privately but only while we are a member of that group

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Internalisation

Is a true change of private beliefs to match those of the group because we truly believe they are right. Our behaviour therefore adjusts according to these beliefs .

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Explanations for conformity
Normative Social Influence

- This is where we conform to majority behaviour in order to be accepted and approved of by others

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Explanations for conformity
Informational Social Influence

- This is where we conform to majority behaviour in order to behave in the correct way

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Research that demonstrates the power of informational social influence
This was done by

Jenness

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Research that demonstrates the power of informational social influence
Aim

- To investigate whether individual judgments of jelly beans in a jar was influenced by discussions in groups

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Research that demonstrates the power of informational social influence
Procedure

- Participants made individual private estimates first, then discussed with others and made an estimate as a group. Finally, they made a second individual private estimate

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Research that demonstrates the power of informational social influence
Findings

- Participants second private estimates tended to have moved towards their group estimates. This happened more for females than males

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Research that demonstrates the power of informational social influence
Conclusion

- The findings shown were due to informational social influence due to it being in private, so wasn't about fitting in.

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Variables affecting conformity as investigated by Asch
x3

- Group size
- Unanimity
- Task difficulty

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Group size

- Asch found 13% conformity with 2 confederates and 32% conformity with 3 confederates.
- After that adding more confederates it had no further effect

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Unanimity

- Asch found that if one confederate went against the others and gave the correct answer then the conformity rate dropped 5.5%

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Task difficulty

- Asch found that when the comparison lines were more similar to each other, participants were more likely to conform to the wrong answer.

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evaluation of Asch's research
Strengths

- Crutchfield eliminated face to face contact by placing ppts in booths and confirmed Asch's findings, with levels of conformity increasing as tasks became more difficult

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Evaluation of Asch's research
Limitations x4

- Lacks ecological validity because the task is unlike any in real life and its artificial
- lacks population validity
- Lacks temporal validity
-Ethical issues

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Mori and Arai

- All ppts wore sunglasses, one out of 4 wore a different pair which changed their perception of the line length. But they used male and female ppts who knew each other.

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Zimbardo Study
Procedure x5

- 21 male student volunteers were paid to take part
- ppts were randomly assigned roles
- The prisoners were arrested without warning and had to follow normal procedure to make this as real life as possible
- Guards wore full uniform and sunglasses to stop eye contact
- planned to last 2 weeks but had to be stopped after 6 days.

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Zimbardo Study
Findings x2

- Guards became authorative figures, gave punishments, had no sympathy and became sadistic
- Prisoners rebelled to the guards, only cared about themselves and not other prisoners

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Zimbardo Study
Conclusion

- individuals conform readily to the social roles demanded of a situation even when such social roles override an individual's moral beliefs about their personal behaviour

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Zimbardo Study
Evaluation x4

- Protection of Participants
- Lack of informed consent
- Demand characteristics
- Lacks ecological validity

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Obedience study
Aim

Milgram
- To see how obedient people would be in a situation where obeying orders would mean breaking their moral code and hurting an innocent person

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Obedience study
Procedure

Milgram
- 40 American men aged 20-50 were told they were taking part in a memory experiment about the effects of punishment on learning. Confederate was always the learner. Whenever the wrong answer was given the teacher must give them a shock increasing in 15 volts every time up to 450 volts. If ppts no longer wanted to continue they were given verbal prods such as 'please continue'

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Obedience study
Findings x3

Milgram
- Every ppt gave at least 300 Volts
- 62.5% of ppts continued to give shocks up to the maximum
- Most ppts were highly distressed and pacing around the room

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Obedience study
Conclusion

Milgram
- People have a strong tendency to obey orders even when these go against their morals. the effect are so powerful that most people will injure or kill a stranger when ordered to by an authorative figure

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Obedience study
Evaluation
Limitations x7

Milgram
- The right to withdraw
- Protection of ppts
- deception
- Informed consent
- Too artificial however studies in real life settings such as Hofling have supported Milgrams findings.
- Population validity (All males)
- Cultural bias (Germany high obedience and Australia low obedience)

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Obedience study
Evaluation
Strengths x2

Milgram
- Great practical value in helping us to understand events
- easy to replicate and replications have generally got the same results

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Explanations for obedience
Agentic state- Milgram
Proposal

- Proposes people can operate in two social states as autonomous individuals, able to choose their actions and aware of the consequences or in an Agentic state, seeing themselves as the agents of others and not responsible for their actions

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Explanations for obedience
Agentic state- Milgram
Process

- People change from one state to another so they make an 'agentic shift'.
- Shifting to the agentic state allows individuals to mindlessly accept the authority of the person giving orders and shifts the responsibility to them.
- Milgram suggested that people do this to deal with moral strain or anxiety

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Explanations for obedience
Agentic state- Milgram
Evaluation

Mandel argued that it is inappropriate to draw a comparison between Milgram's study and the holocaust. As Milgram's ppts were only involved for half an hour

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Explanations for obedience
Legitimacy of authority

- Links to the idea that we are socialised to recognise the value of obedience to authority figures. Things that may increase authority figure's legitimacy - Uniform, Title, age and gender

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Explanations for obedience
Legitimacy of authority - Milgram

- some of the ppts seemed to ignore the learner's distress and were focussed on carrying out the procedure, showing that they recognised the legitimate authority of the researcher

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
proximity

- Relates to how aware individuals are of the consequences of their actions in obeying authorative figures. For example it would be harder to obey an order to shoot a single person stood next to you than pressing a button to launch a missile to kill thousands in a distant country

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
proximity
Evaluation

Milgram
- Teacher and learner were sat 46 cam apart = 40% obedience
- Teacher held the learners hands onto the electric plate = 30% obedience

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
Location

- the location or environment people are in can influence the level of obedience since some locations will increase or decrease the perceived legitimacy of the authorative figure.

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
Location
Evaluation

Milgram
- relocated to a less prestigious surrounding

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
Uniforms

- An authorative figure is more likely to be perceived to have more legitimate authority when they are wearing uniform

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
Uniforms
Evaluation

Milgram
- Authorative figure wore a lab coat

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
Uniforms
Evaluation further research

Bickman
- Research assistant gave orders to passers-by on a street to pick up rubbish, lend a coin to a stranger or move away from the bus stop
Wearing civilian clothes = 19% obedience
Dressed as a milkman = 14% obedience
Wearing a security guard's uniform = 38% obedience

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Explanations for obedience
Situational Variables
Evaluation

- Don't explain individual differences in people's obedience. They tell us little about people who didn't obey. research suggests there are personality factors which influence whether individuals tend to obey or not.

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Dispositional explanation for obedience
Authoritarian personality

- Personality type characterised by the tendency to see the world in 'black and white' and the belief in absolute obedience, submission to authority and adherence to social roles.
- Adorno suggested that the personality type was shaped in early childhood by hierarchical, authoritarian parenting.

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Dispositional explanation for obedience
Authoritarian personality
Evaluation
Strength

- Elms and Milgram found the more obedient ppts in Milgram's study, were significantly more authoritarian on the F-scale than disobedient ppts.

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Dispositional explanation for obedience
Authoritarian personality
Evaluation
Weaknesses x2

- Link between AP and obedience is correlational. It has been found that less-educated people are more authoritarian than well-educated people.
-F-scale suffers from response bias. If individuals agree with all items they are rated as authoritarian

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Social support

- This is the perception that an individual has assistance and solidarity available from other people.

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Social support and resistance to conformity

Asch
- When another confederate gave a different incorrect answer, conformity dropped from 32% to 5.5%

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Social support and resistance to obedience

Milgram
- In Milgram's study where the participant was paired with two confederates who disobeyed and left the study early on the percentage of ppts who gave the maximum shock of 450 volts dropped 10%.

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Social support
Evaluation

- Asch has shown that it does make a difference whether the social support is provided from the start or only later. When a confederate only started to give the correct answer further into the study, conformity only dropped by 8.5%

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Locus of Control x3

- Refers to a person's perception of how much control they have over their own life and behaviour.
- high internal LoC people tend to see themselves as in control of events in their life.
- High external LoC people tend to see themselves as at the mercy of external factors.

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Locus of Control
Research support

- Shute found that undergraduates with an internal LoC conformed less to expressing pro-drug attitudes

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Explanations of resistance to social influence
Locus of Control
Evaluation
Limitation

- Doesn't prove cause and effect
- Doesn't explain when conformity is due to informational social influence
-

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Minority influence
What makes a minority have chance to influence a majority x5

- Consistent
- Commitment
- Show a degree of flexibility
- Acting from principle and not self-interest
- Similar to people they are trying to influence

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Minority influence
Consistency x2

Intra-individual consistency - Individual members of the minority maintain a consistent position over time
Inter-individual consistency - There is agreement among the different members of the minority

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Minority influence
Consistency
research support

Clark
- ppts had to role-play the part of jurors., They read a summary of the court case presented in the film. They had to decided whether the defendant was guilty or not. But Clark gave different groups different versions of the jury's discussions. He found ppts were most persuaded when they heard consistent persuasive arguments from the minority

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Minority influence
Commitment

- Commitment is important because it suggests, certainty, confidence, and courage in the face of a hostile majority.
- When the minority show commitment and start to take sacrifices it starts to show the majority that they are serious and wonder if there is some truth in what they are saying.

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Minority influence
Flexibility

- Mugny argues that a rigid minority that refuses to compromise risks being seen as too narrow minded.
- Some flexibility is needed according to Mugny, in order to have an effective minority influence

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Minority influence
Flexibility
Research support

- Nemeth
- ppts in groups of 4, were asked to decided on an amount of compensation to be paid. One ppt was actually a confederate who suggested a very low amount. When the confederate was flexible and changed his suggestion slightly, the ppts were far more likely to be influenced and decrease their suggestions

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Minority influence
The snowball effect

- members of the majority slowly move towards the minority, and as the minority grows in size it gradually picks up more momentum so the more and more majority members convert to the minority group.

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Minority influence
Social Cryptoamnesia

- For many the identity and actions of the minority group members will be a blockage to them taking the message seriously. But this is the slow gradual process whereby society gradually 'forgets' the source of the message and so accepts the views of the minority without too much disruption of social order.

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Minority influence
Evaluation

- Minorities tend to be in a disadvantaged position, therefore they are unlikely to have a power to influence people on a wide scale. Also they are seen as threatening the social order.

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The role of conformity and obedience in causing social change

Some people still disagree with the social change as they haven't been convinced by informational social influence. therefore, feel out of place so normative social influence takes place so they comply to the once minority who are now the majority