Flashcards in social influence Deck (33)
Name and explain the three ways in which Herbert Kelman suggested people conform to the opinion of a majority.
Internalisation: when a person genuinely accepts group norms which is likely to be because attitudes have been internalised and this change is present in public and in private.
Identification: Publically changing our opinions to conform to the opinions and behaviour of a group which we value and identify with.
Compliance: A superficial change which consists of going along with others in public but privately not changing personal opinions or behaviour.
Explain the two-process theory of conformity.
Suggests that there are two main reasons people conform: the need to be liked and the need to be right.
Informational social influence: agreeing with the opinion of the majority because we believe it is right and we also want to be right. This may lead to internalisation.
Normative social influence: Agreeing to the opinion of the majority because we want to be accepted, gain social approval and be liked. This may lead to compliance.
Evaluate types and explanations of conformity.
There is research support for informative social influence. It was found that there was greaeter conformity to incorrect answers to difficult questions than to easier ones. This was most true for those who rater their mathematical ability to be poor. This supports informative social influence as it shows that we copy others thinking they are right in situations of uncertainty.
Individual differences may effect normative social influence. Some people are nAffiliators and have a greater need for affliction while others don't care as much. A study found that students with a greater need for affiliation were more likely to conform. This shows that individual differences affect how normative social influences affects someone.
The two process theory suggests that EITHER NSI or ISI are involved in behaviour but they are actually both involved and so it is hard to tell which one is at work in experiments.
A limitation is that informational social influence is affected by individual differences. For example, students have been found to be less conformist and there is little conformity in engineering students.
Explain the Aim, Procedure, and Findings of Asch's study.
Aim: to test conformity
Procedure: Showed participants 2 white cards at the same time. One had a standard line and the other had 3 lines on it. They had to match the standard one with one of the three. They used 123 male American undergraduates and each 'naive' person was tested with 6-8 Confederates.
Findings: The naive participant gave the wrong answer 36.8 percent of the time. Overall, 75 percent of participants conformed at least once. The extent to which participants conform when the answer is unambiguous is known as the Asch effect. Most participants said they conformed to avoid social rejection (normative social influence).
Explain Asch's variations.
- Asch found that conformity rose up to 31.8% with 3 confederates but after this little effect was created by adding confederates. This shows that while a small majority is not sufficient for conformity, there is no need for too many people.
- Asch introduced another confederate who sometimes gave the right answer and sometimes gave the wrong one. He found that the presence of a dissenting confederate reduced conformity by a quarter. The dissenting confederate enabled the naive participant to behave more independently.
- Asch found that conformity increased when he made the comparison lines more similar in length, thus making the task more difficult. This suggests that ISI plays a greater role when the task is more ambiguous.
Evaluate Asch's research.
At the time when Asch carried out his experiment, America was especially conformist and so it made sense to conform to established social norms. Society has changed since them and people are less conformist today. This is a limitation as it limits the external validity of the findings and suggests that the Asch effect is not consistent over all situations.
Another limitation is that demand characteristics may have influenced the findings. This is because the task was artificial and trivial, giving the participants no reason not to conform. This gives the findings low real-life application and generalisability.
Another limitation is that there are ethical issues involved. This is because the participants were deceived. However, the information was valuable and there was little damage or harm caused to participants and so it might be said that it was worth the deception.
It has limited application. Women may be more conformist as they are more concerned about social relationshiops and studies show conformity is higher in collectivist cultures. Cultural and gender differences were not taken into account.
Identify the aim, procedure, findings and conclusion of Zimbardo's Standford Prison Experiment.
Aim: To find out whether guards in prisons across America were so brutal because of having a sadistic personality or because of the situation.
Procedure: A mock prison was made in the basement of the psychology department at Stanford University. Zimbardo advertised for students to participate through newspapers and chose those who were emotionally stable to volunteer. They were randomly allocated to the roles of prisoner or guard. The prisoners were arrested at home to make it seem more real and were blindfolded, strip-searched and issued a uniform and number. The social roles were strictly divided; the prisoners were heavily monitored and had strict rules and were only referred to by their numbers while the guards were given their own uniform with mirror shades, handcuffs and keys and were told they could not physically hurt the prisoners but otherwise had full control over them.
- guards took up their roles with enthusiasm
- guards behaviour became a threat to psychological and physical health of prisoners and study was ended after 6 days instead of 14
- prisoners rebelled after 2 days by ripping their uniforms, swearing at guards etc
- Guards responded by playing prisoners up against each other
- guards constantly harrassed prisoners and reminded them that they were in charge ie frequent headcounts at night
- prisoners became subdued and depressed after rebellion and 3 were released earlier.
Conclusion: Study revealed the power of the situation to influence people's behavior as everyone ( guards, prisoners, and researchers) conformed to their roles. Even one time volunteers acted as though they were in a real prison.
Evaluate Zimbardo's prison experiment.
+ good control over variables ie emotionally stable participants were chosen to rule out paricipant variables. Good internal validity.
- lack of realism because participants may have been acting rather than conforming ie may have been performing based on stereotypes. One guard said he based his character on a fictional brutal character. HOWEVER Zimbardo found that it felt real to participants as 90 percent of prisoner conversations were about prison life. High internal validity.
- Zimbardo may be exaggerating the effect of the situation on conformity. Only a third of guards behaved brutally, another third wanted to apply the rules fairly and another third wanted to help the prisoners. Zimbardo's conclusion may be overstated and ignore dispositional influences such as personality.
- ethical issues because of Zimbardo's dual role (researcher and superintendent). When a prisoner asked to leave, Z responded from the viewpoint of a superintendent rather than that of a psychologist with a duty of care towards his participants. This violates the right to withdraw by making in confusing.
Outline the aim, procedure and findings of Milgram's original obedience study.
Aim: To investigate why so many Germans had obeyed Hitler and killed minority groups and whether they were more obedient.
- 40 male participants through newspaper adverts and flyers
- advertised study about memory
- ranged from 20-50 years and different skill levels
- paid $4.50 (very reasonable at the time)
- rigged draw where Mr. Wallace, a confederate, was always the learner and the participant was always the teacher. There was also an experimenter in a lab coat.
- the learner was in an electric chair and the teacher gave them a progressively worse electric shock every time they answered a question wrong.
- the shocks were labeled from slight shock up to severe shock. Mr. Wallace pounded on the wall at 300 V and then didn't answer the next question. He pounded on the wall again at 315 V and then there was no further response.
- the experimenter used four standard prompts if the participant wanted to stop.
- 0 participants stopped before 300 V
- 12.5 % (5 participants) stopped at 300 V
- 65 % continued to maximum
- Qualitative data showed that participants showed signs of extreme tension such as sweating and stuttering
All participants were debriefed and reassured that their behaviour was normal. 84 percent report being happy to have participated.
Name three of Milgram's situational variables.
Explain Milgram's variations of proximity.
In the baseline study, the participant could not see Mr. Wallace. In this variation, they were in the same room and obedience dropped from 65 percent to 40 percent. In a more extreme variation, the participant had to force the learner's hand onto an electric shock plate when he refused to answer a question. This is called the touch proximity condition, obedience dropped to 30 percent. In the remote instruction condition, the experimenter gave orders by the phone. This resulted in obedience dropping to 20.5 percent and participants often lied by giving a weaker shock.
Explain Milgram's location variation.
Milgram ran the study in a worn down study rather than a prestigious university. The experimenter thus had less authority and obedience fell to 47.5 percent.
Explain Milgram's uniform variation.
In the baseline study, the experimenter wore a grey lab coat as a symbol of his authority. In this variation, the experimenter left at the start of the procedure for an important phone call and a confederate who appeared to be an ordinary member of the public in everyday clothes took over. Obedience dropped to 20 percent.
Evaluate Milgram's variations.
+ it has research support. A field experiment in New York found that people were twice as likely to pick up litter or give a confederate a coin if they were wearing a security guard's uniform than if they were wearing a jacket and tie. This supports Milgram's conclusion that a uniform conveys authority and is likely to produce obedience.
- it lacks internal validity. In the baseline study, many participants worked out that the procedure was fake. This was more likely to happen in the variations as there is extra manipulation. Even Milgram recognised that using a member of the public was easy to work out as not being real. This is a limitation as it is unclear whether the results were due to obedience or the participants looking through the deception and acting accordingly.
+ Milgram's variations and original study have cross-cultural replications which have found the same findings. A study found an obedience rate of over 90 percent in Spanish students which shows that Milgram's conclusions are not limited to American males. However, another study found that most replications have taken place in Western countries which are not very different to the USA so it cannot be concluded that the variations can be generalised everywhere.
+ Milgram systematically altered one variable at a time to see the effect it would have on obedience. All other procedures and variables were kept the same and the study was replicated several times. This means that the findings have good validity as it is easier to establish that the IV is what is affecting the DV rather than an extraneous variable doing so.
Name 2 explanations for obedience.
Legitimacy of authority
Explain what is meant by an agentic state as an explanation for obeience.
agentic state- mental state where we feel no personal responsibility for our behaviour because we believe ourselves to be acting as the 'agent' of an authority figure. They understand what they are doing is wrong, which causes high anxiety, but feel powerless to disobey.
The opposite of being in an agentic state is being in an autonomous state. This is where a person is free to behave according to their own principles and so feels a sense of responsibility for their actions.
Shifting from autonomy to agency is known as an agentic shift. Milgram suggest that this happens when someoneo perceives someone else as being a fiugre of authority. They have more power because of their position in a social hieracy. In groups when one perosn is in chargem other people shift from autonomy to agency.
Binding factors are aspects of the situation which allow a person to ignore or minimse the damage they are cuasing which reduces the moral strain they are feeling. For exapmle, blaming the victim.
Explain what is meant by legitimacy of authority as an explanation for obeience.
Legitimacy of authority suggestst that we are more likely to obey people who we think have authority over us. This authority is justified by the individuals position of power in the social heirachy.
We allow legitimate authority figures to have some control over us as we trust them to use their authority apporpriately and to allow society to function smoothly.
Destructive authority is whne legitimate authority becomes destructive. ie Hitler used his legitimate power for destruction.
Evaluate explanations for obedience.
+ a study showed students a film of Milgram's study. They were asked to identify who they thought was responsible for the harm caused to Mr Wallace. They said the experimenter, not the partiicpant. They said he was an expert as he was a scientist. This research support is a strength as the students recognised legitimate authority.
- The agentic shift doesn't explain some research findings. For example, it doesn't explain why some poeple didn't obey a legitimate authority figure in Milgram's experiment. Not applicable to all situations.
+ useful when understanding cross-cultural differences. Studies found different levels of obedience in different countries and that authority was more likely to be acceted as legitimate in the more obedient countries. This shows how societies are structured differently as children are raised ot perceive authority figures differently. This increases the validity.
+ it can be used to understand real life situations such as the My Lai massacre. This is a strength as it means it helps us to increase our insight into the real world.
Outline the aim, procdure and findings for Adorno's study.
Aim: To understand the anti-semitism of the holocaust thorugh measuring authoritarian personality.
- 2000 middle class americans
- measured their unconscious attitutes towards other racial groups using different scales including a Fascism scale
- people with high autoritirian findings (high scores on the scales) identified with strong people and looked down on the 'weak'. They were accutely aware of their own social status as well as that of others and showed excessive respect to those with a higher social status than them.
- people with authoritarian findings also had a cognitive style and saw people in black and white as either being one stereotype or another. A postive correlation was found between authoritarian personality and prejudice.
Outline authoritarian characteristics.
- tendency to be especially obedient to authority
- respect + submissiveness to authority
- look down on those with a lower social status
- highly conventional opinions to sex, race and gender
- belive we need strong and powerful forces/ figures to lead society
- inflexible, no grey areas
- uncomfortable with uncertainty
Outline the origins of authoritarian personality.
Formed in childhood from harsh parenting; high standards, severe critisism, impossibly high standards.
Scapegoating: the child feels resentment and hostility and cannot express this against their parents so displace this onto others who perceive as being weak.
Evaluate the authoritarian personality as an explanataion for obedience.
+ good research support as Milgram found a link between fully obedient participants and higher F scale scores. However this may be just a corration and there could be a third factor such as education involved, creating the change.
- Limited explanation because it doesn't explain obedient behaviour of an entire country. ie in the holocaust it is unlikely that they all had authoritaran personalities. This is a limitation because it shows that social identifty is a better explanation.
- methodological problems: the F scale is not accrate as ticking just one side ( acquiscence bias) would give someone a hgih score. There was also researcher bias as Adorno know the participant test scores and which of them had authoritarian personalities before he interviewed htem.
- Adorno only ever found correlations, not causes. He cannot conclude that a harsh parenting style CAUSED authoritarian personality as there may be a third factor.
Name to causes of resistance to influence.
Locus of control
Outline social support as a resistance to influence.
Social support is the presesnce of other people who resist pressure to conform or obey. They act as role models. As shown in Asch's eperiment, the other person resisting pressure does not need to be giving the right answer. The effect does not last long as when the confederate stopped giving a different answer, the participant started to conform again.
Social support also encourages resistance to obedience. Milgram found in a variation that when joind by a disobedient confederate, obedience dropped from 65 percent to 10. The participant did not necessarily follow the behaviour of the disobedient confederate but felt freed to act of their own conscience.
Evaluate social support as a resistance to influence.
+ research support for conformity: A study found that in an Asch-type experiment, the presence of a dissenting confederate, even if he had bad eyesight and so was likely to have been wrong, reduced conformity. This supports that it is the presence of a non-conformer rather than their specific view or answer.
+ research support for obedience: A study found higher levels of resistance than Milgram when participants were asked to work in a group to brainstorm ideas to help an oil company run a smear campaign. This shows that peer support is linked to greater resistance.
Outline locus of control as an explanation for resistance to social influence.
Locus of control is concerned with internal versus external control. Some people are 'internals' and believe that they are, to a large extent, in control of what happens to them. ie they pass a test because they studied hard. Other people are 'externals' and believe that what happens to them is out of their own control. ie they pass a test because the teacher is good.
There is a continuum with high external LOC and internal LOC control on either end and low LOC of both lying in the middle.
note: a continuum is a sequence in which the end elements are quite different to each other but the middle ones are similar
People with an internal LOC are more likely to resist social influence and pressure to conform or obey because they take responsibility for their actions. They alaso tend to be more confidnet and intelligent which might eplain why they are able to resist more than externals.
Evaluate locus of control as an explanation for resistance to social influence.
+ research support: a psychologist repeated Milgram's baseline study and found that there was higher levels of obedience in externals (23 percent did not want to continue) than in internals (37 percent did not want to continue). This gives the explanation good validity.
- there is contradictory research: a study found that over the span of 40 years resistance has become more common but at the same time so has having an external LOC. This challenges the link between LOC and obedience levels.
What is a minority influence?
A form of social influence in which a minority of people persuade others to adopt their beliefs, attitudes or behaviours. This leads to internalisation where both private as well as public behaviours are changed.
Explain the three main processes in minority influence.
1) consistency. There are two types of consistency, synchronic (agreement within the group) and diachronic (when the group sticks to their view for a long time). Consistency increases the amount of interest in the group from other people and encourage them to consider the message from the minority group.
2) Commitment. This is when a minority engages in extreme activities which are a risk to them in order to gain attention for their views. The augmentation principle comes into play when people start to consider the view of the minority principle because they are making personal sacrifices or taking risks and so must be very committed to their cause.
3) Flexibility. Being too consistent and repeating the same arguments again and again can be seen as rigid and inflexible which is off-putting to the majority. The minority needs to be prepared to adapt their view to accept reasonable counterarguments and compromises. There should be a balance between consistency and flexibility.
Deeper processing is important in converting to the minority view.