A level - Social influence

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  • Created on: 25-02-18 15:34
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  • Social Influence
    • Conformity
      • Tendency to change behaviour or attitude in response to others, pressure to conform can be real or imagined
      • Asch (1951)
        • Believed conformity is rational, people work out how to behave from others actions
        • Wanted to see what would happen when an individual was confronted with a group who were clearly wrong, if they would change their view to agree with the (wrong) majority
        • Experiment to study responses to group pressure
          • 123 male students
            • Groups of 7-9
              • Each group carried out 18 trails
          • Asked them to take part in 'task of visual perception'
            • Showed 2 card, one displaying a standard line and the other showing three comparison lines, asked to call out in turn which of the three lines A, B, C, matched the standard line in length
              • Group was made up of confederates, briefed to answer 12/18 trails wrong
                • Real participant sat second from last or last, round the table, being exposed to wrong answer before giving their view
              • As trials progressed, some became increasingly anxious and self conscious regarding their answer
        • Overall conformity rate - 37%
          • 5% conformed every trail 'most conformist'
            • 25% never conformed
              • Most admited they knew the group was wrong, but they did not wish to stand out of the group, small number doubted their eyes
        • Evaluation
          • Used bias sample
            • Only used male uni students, same age, from same area
              • Different people may have responded in different ways such as, females, older people, from different culture
                • Cannot generalise results, lacks external validity (population validity)
            • Findings may not be relevant today (McCarthyism)
              • Behaviour may be influenced by social attitudes in 1950s
                • Lacks internal validity, as it may have been measuring political feeling and fears at the time
          • Criticised for being artificial
            • Being a lab experiment, meaning it lacks ecological validity
              • It's untrue to real life, participants may relies something is going on or follow the unwritten rules
                • However, it means you have more control over extraneous variables
          • Ethically questionable
            • As participants became anxious and self conscious, including stressed
              • However, it may be necessary, if he was to reveal true aim, participants would respond to demand characteristics
      • Factors affecting conformity
        • Size of majority
          • Confederate - conformity rate 1-3%.... 2-13% 3-33% conformity rate starts to decrease at 15 confederates
        • Unanimity
          • When another person goes against majority, rate drops from 37% to 5.5%
            • 'Partner' giving either correct or incorrect as effective, breaking the unanimity of the group is the vital factor
        • Task difficulty
          • Rate increased as task got harder (lines more closely similar)
      • Asch carried out variations, to see if different factors affect how likely people were to conform
      • Types of Conformity
        • Internationalist
          • True conformity, public n private, through adoption of majority group  belief system
        • Compliance
          • Public, going along with majority to gain approval, weak/ temporary, only in presence of group
        • Identification
          • Public n Private acceptance, in order to gain group acceptance, temporary, not maintained outside group
      • Explanations to conformity
        • Normative social influence
          • Humans have need for companionship n fear of rejection
            • To gain approval we conform to behaviour of others
              • Compliance
                • We conform to group publicly, not privately
        • Informational social influence
          • Humans have need to feel confident that their opinions, beliefs and perceptions are correct
            • When we are unsure how to behave we observer others people behaviour
              • Internalisation
                • Once we're convinced, someone else behaviour or opinion is correct, we conform privately and then publicly
        • Evaluation
          • Lucas found that students conformed when given harder mathematical tasks compared to easier ones, Also seen in Asch 'task difficulty' variation
          • McGhee n Teevan (1967) found students with a high need of affiliation were more likely to conform, those described as naffiliators more concerned about being liked
          • They can both work together
            • Conformity is reduced when there is one other non-conformist, reducing power of NSI (provides social support) or ISI (as there is another source of information)
              • Therefore not always sure which is at work, true in lab studies and irl
    • Zimbardo (1971)
      • Wanted to see if prison guard behaviour was due to their personality or identifying with their social role
      • Stanford USA,  24 most stable male volunteers screened psychologically and physically
        • Assigned randomly to either role of 'prisoner' or 'guard', for a 2 week study (being paid 15$ a day)
      • Prisoners were unexpectedly arrested at home, given a prisoner uniform and assigned an ID number, which they were referred by
        • Allowed 3 meals and supervised toilet trips a day, 2 visits per week
      • Guard were given uniforms, clubs, whistles and reflective sunglasses
      • Took role of prison warden
      • Guards grew increasingly dominant and abusive over first few days, some offered to do extra hrs without being paid
        • Woke prisoners during the night and forced them to clean toilets with their bare hands, and other degrading activities
          • Participants appeared to forget they were in a psychological study
            • 5 released early as of extreme reactions (crying, rage, anxiety), study was terminated after 6 days, after a student reminded the researcher that this was a study that did not justify the abuse
              • Study showed both conformed to their social roles
      • Evaluation
        • Ethical issues
          • Fails to protect from harm, no consent given to being arrested at home
        • BBC further research trying to replicate the study found different results
          • Both groups attempted to establish a fair equal social system, but when this failed a small group of prisoners took power in the prison and the experiment was called off
            • Finding different results - unreliable studies
        • Demand characteristics
          • participants knew what the study was about, changing their behaviour
            • Most guards later claimed they were acting, therefore findings cannot be generalized to real life, such as prison settings
    • Obedience
      • Following an order from someone with power or authority
      • Milgram (1963)
        • Wanted to prove 'Germans are different' - have basic character and would obey instructions regardless of the action being asked
        • Participants paired up with confederate, both drew lots to find out who is teacher or learner, (lots are fixed), confederate is placed in a room with electrodes attached, while the teacher is in another room reading out pairs of words that the learner has to remember, the teacher shocks the learner if when give the wrong answer or nothing
        • Predicted participants would not do as their told however most of the participants carried on just because there was a man with a white coat in the room
          • Predicted only 2% would go to highest level, all went up to 300 volts, 65% went up to full 450 volts
        • Evaluation
          • Orme n Holland argue it lacks internal validity as participants could not have believed they were administering real electric shocks
            • However in post interview, 70% believed the shocks were real
          • Unethical
            • No ethical guidelines were broken as there were non in place at the time
              • Study introduced guidelines
          • Deceived from the true aim
            • Necessary to make study as internally and ecologically valid
          • Participants were not protected from harm
            • He argued he did not know how distressed they would become, in a questionnaire a year later, 84% glad to be in experiment, 74% felt they had learnt something
          • Carried out in laboratory, lacking ecological validity
            • Hofling found 21 / 22 nurses administered a patient with a lethal does of drug when ordered by a Dr
          • Not given chance to withdraw 'experiment requires that you continue'
            • He made it clear that they would still be paid even if they did not continue, would lack validity if they were constantly reminded of their right to withdraw
        • Studied Adolf Eichmann 1961, who was in charge of the Nazi death camps, 'obeying orders'
      • Explanation for obedience
        • Social psychological explanations
          • Legitimacy of authority
            • Most society's structured in hierarchys
              • The authority is legitimate as agreed by society
            • Most of us accept authority figures are allowed to exercise social power over others as this allows society to function
            • Some are given power to punish
            • Destructive personality
              • Problems arise when legitimate authority becomes destructive
                • Using their powers for destructive purposes
          • Agentic state
            • Person believes they are not taking responsibility, instead they are acting for someone else
              • An 'agent' feels high anxiety, when they relies what they're are doing is wrong, but feel powerless to disobey
            • Autonomous state
              • Means independent or free, able to behave according to their own principles, feeling responsibility for their own actions
                • The shift from autonomy to agency is 'agentic shift'
                  • Milgram said this occurs, when the person perceives someone else as figure of authority, they have greater power because of their position in social hierarchy
                    • Binding factors
                      • Allows person to ignore / minimize damaging effect of their behaviour, reducing the 'moral strain' they are feeling
                        • The individual does this by, shifting responsibility onto the victim or denying the damage they caused to the victims
          • Evaluation
            • Support for legitimacy of authority
              • Blass m Schmidt, showed Milgrams video to students and asked who was responsible
                • Voted experimenter, due to his legitimate authority (top of social hierarchy) and being an 'expert' - scientist
                  • They recognized legitimate authority as the cause of obedience, supporting explanation
            • Helps to explain cultural differences in obedience
              • Kilham n Mann (1974) replicated Milgrams study in Australia - 16%
                • Due to differing cultural views on what makes a 'legitimate authority' reflects how different society's are structured or children are raised
                  • These findings increase validity of the explanation
              • Mantell (1971) - Germany - 80%
            • Evidence to show behaviour of Nazis cannot always be explained in this way
              • Mandel (1998) describes situation where German police obeyed orders to shoot civilians in a  small polish town
                • Despite they did not have direct orders to do so, therefore their behaiur changes the agentic state explanation
                  • Suggests agentic state cannot be accounted for all situations of obedience
        • Dispositional explanations
          • Authoritarian personality
            • Adorno (1950) investigated causes of authoritarian personality, 2000 middle-class white Americans, and their unconscious attitudes towards other racial groups, developing several scales, including the fascism scale, to measure authoritarian personality
              • F-scale e.g. 'Obedience and respect to authority are the most important virtues children to learn'
              • People with authoritarian leaning on the scales, identified with 'strong' people and looked down on the 'weak', conscious of everyone's status
                • Also found that authoritarian people, had a 'cognitive style' have fixed stereotypes about other groups
                  • Strong positive correlation between authoritarianism and prejudice
            • People with an authoritarian personality have a tendency to obey authority, show contempt to people with higher status
            • Forms in childhood, as result of harsh parenting - strict discipline, high standards, the fears are displaced onto weaker  people - 'scapegoating' psychodynamic explanation
            • Evaluation
              • Elms and Milgram show link between authoritarian personality and obedience, however results are correctional, therefore difficult to draw meaningful conclusion about exact cause of obedience
                • There are many other situational factors that contribute to obedience: proximity, uniform and location
                  • Meaning that although it is likely that authoritarian personality contributes to obedience, situational variables can affect the level of this contribution
              • Middendorp and Meleon (1990) found that less educated people are more likely to display authoritarian characteristics
                • If true, means it is not due to authoritarian personality characteristics that lead to obedience, but levels of education
              • Elms and Milgram used Adorno's F scale to determine levels of authoritarian personality
                • It is possible that the F scale suffers from 'response bias' or 'social desirability', where participants provide answers that are socially acceptable
                  • They may appear more authoritarian, as they believe their answers are socially 'correct', meaning they are consequently classified authoritarian when they are not
      • Situational variables
        • Proximity
          • Both same room 40%
          • Force learners hand onto plate to receive shock 30%
          • Experimenter instructed teacher by phone from another room 20.5%
        • Location
          • Carried out in run-down office in nearby town 47.5%
        • Uniform
          • Experimenter is an ordinary member of the public in normal clothing 20%
        • Original 65%
    • Resisting social influence
      • Social support
        • Can help resist conformity, pressure to conform is reduced if there are other people who are not conforming
          • Asch's study showed that  the non-conformist does not need to give the 'right' answer acting as a model, however as soon as they start conforming so does the participant
            • Allen and Levine (1971) Conformity reduced when there was one non-conformer, even if they said they had difficulty seeing, supports concept that it breaks unanimity
        • Help resist obedience, pressure to obey is reduced if there are other people seen to disobey
          • In one of Milgram's variations, obedience rate dropped from 65% to 10% when the participant was joined by a disobedient confederate, acting as a model, freeing him to act from his own conscience
            • Evidence for the role of disobedient peers in resisting obedience
              • Gamson (1982) found higher levels of resistance in his study (probably because they were in groups) had to help an oil company run a smear campaign, were 29 out of 33 (88%) participants disobeyed
                • Peer support linked to greater resistance
      • Locus of control
        • Factor that may have an effect on independent behaviour is whether we have Internal or External locus of control
          • Internals believe things that happen to them are largely controlled by themselves
            • More likely to resist pressure to conform or obey, as they take responsibility for their own actions and experiences, basing their decisions on their own beliefs thus resist pressure from others
              • Support evidence for link between LoC and resistance to obedience
                • Holland (1967) repeated Milgram's original study and measured whether participants were internals or externals
                  • Found 37% of internals did not continue to the highest shock level, compared to 23% externals, internals showed greater resistance to authority
                    • However, Twenge (2004) analysed data from American obedience studies over a 40 year period (1960-2002) found that people have become more resistant to obedience but also more external
            • More self-confident, higher intelligence and less need for social approval, these traits lead to greater resistance
          • Externals believe things happen without their own control
    • Minority influence
      • Consistency
        • Commitment
          • Flexibility
            • As they are powerless, they must negotiate their position rather than enforce it, however if they are too flexible they can be seen as inconsistent
          • Shows certainty, confidence and courage in the face of a hostile majority, causing majority members to take the minority more seriously
        • Persist in their viewpoint despite majority opposition, causing the majority to consider the issue more carefully
      • Moscovivi (1969)
        • Investigate effect of consistent minority on majority
          • Placing 2 confederates with 4 participants (first given eye tests to ensure they were not colour blind)
            • Shown 36 slides which were clearly different shades of blue
              • In the first part of the experiment, confederates answered 'green' for all 36 slides
                • Effect on the majority of 8.42%
                • In second part, they answered 24 green and 12 blue
                  • 1.25%
                  • 32% of all participants judged the slide to be green at least once
        • Evaluation
          • Tasks use artificial settings
            • Does not shown how minorities attempt to change behaviour of majorities in real life
              • In real life situations such as a jury, the outcome is more important
                • Findings lack external validity, and are limited to what they can tell us about how minority influence works in real life situations
          • Nemeth and Brilmayer (1987) studied role of flexibility in a simulated jury, where the group discussed the amount of compensation to be paid to someone in a ski-lift accident
            • When a confederate put forward an alternative view, refusing to change their view, had no effect
              • However, when a confederate who compromised, did exert an influence on the group
                • Only evident in those who shifted late in negotiations, minorities seen as showing flexibility
          • Evidence support Miscovici's findings on role of consistency
            • Wood (1994) Carried out meta-analysis of almost 100 similar studies, found that consistent minorities were most influential
              • Suggests consistency is a major factor of minority influence, as there is research supporting it
      • Where one person or a small group influences the beliefs and behaviour of others
        • Often leads to internalisation, majority gradually change their views internalising with the minority
      • Process of change
        • The 3 factors make people: 'Pay attention' and 'Think about' the issue
          • 'Deeper processing' is important in the conversion from majority to minority viewpoint
            • Over time, more people 'Convert', the more this happens the faster the rate of conversion becomes, known as 'Snowball effect' gradually the minority becomes the majority 'change has occurred'
    • Role of social influence processes in social change
      • Drawing attention to the issue
        • Consistency of position
          • Deeper processing
            • Augmentation principle
              • Snowball effect
                • Social cryptoamnesia occurs
                  • People have memory change has occurred, but have no memory of the events leading to that change
                • Change from majority too minority view
              • Minorities take risks to further the cause
          • Display commitment and intent
      • Evaluation
        • Nolan (2008) investigated whether social influence led to a reduction in energy consumption, hanging a sign on doors every week for a month (San Diego)
          • Control, residents had basic message to save energy, with no reference to other peoples behaviour
            • NSI, want to fit in, conform change their energy usage
      • When whole societies adopt new attitudes and beliefs
      • Used to reduce drinking and driving in 21-34 year olds (Montana)
        • Survey reported 20.4% having driven under influence, while 92% believed the majority did so
          • By correcting the misconception '4 out of 5 don't drive and drink' reduced to 13.7%
    • Differences
      • Direct request to change behaciour
        • Request to change behaviour, usually from 1 person
          • Of greater status (authority)
            • Does not act is the same way
              • Seen as positive, dont mind admitting to
      • Social pressure to change behaviour
        • Influence of a group you want to be part of
          • Some we identify with
            • Usually copy the way the other person acts
              • Built from social pressure, wont admit to it
  • Social change happens slowly, do minorities have much of an influence
    • Nemeth (1986) Argues minority influence is mostly indirect (influenced only on the matter at hand, not central issue itself) and delayed (effects not seen for some time)
  • Minorities ability is limited, as they are seen as 'deviant' in the eyes of the majority
    • Majority avoid changing, as they do not want to be seen 'deviant' themselves, therefore have little effect
      • Minorities have to face avoid looking deviant, and making people directly adopt their position

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