Social Influence

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  • Social Influence
    • The effect of a group or individual to change the attitudes or behaviours of another group or individual
    • Types of Conformity
      • Compliance - involved going along with others in public by changing our behaviours, but not changing private attitudes. The behaviour stops when social pressure ceases
      • Identification - when we identify with a group we value and want to become part with it so we publically change our behaviours and attitudes. However, this change is only temporary and doesn't last outside the group. e.g. conforming with work colleagues
      • Internalisation - when a person genuinely accepts group norms. It results in private as well as public change of opinions and behaviours. It is the deepest and most permanent type of conformity e.g. being activist
    • Explanations of Conformity
      • Normative Social Influence
        • When we conform because we want to be liked and avoid disapproval. It is most likely to happen in unfamiliar situations where we look to others of how to behaviour, with people we know because we want approval and stressful situations where there is a need for social support
        • Supporting Evidence - Asch found people purposely gave incorrect answers because they said they didn't want to be disproved by the group
        • Indiidual differences - women are more likely to conform to be approved because of societies pressures. nAfflitors - name given to people for greater need for social relationships. McGhee and Teevan found students who were nAfflitors where more likely to conform
      • Information Social Influences
        • When we conform because we want to be right. It is more likely to happen in ambiguous situations when we look to others for the correct answers
        • Supporting Evidence. Asch found people conformed to the majority because they began to doubt their own correct judgement so yielded to the group
        • A negative is that there's individual differences - Locus of Control, those with internal LOC tend to go on their own judgement rather than others
    • Zimbardo
      • Procedure - A mock prison was set up in the basement of the psychology department in Stanford University. Via a volunteer sample, 24 participants were psychologically tested to see if they were mentally stable and then randomly assigned to either prison or guards. The guards were given uniforms, wooden club, handcuffs and dark glasses. They were told they had complete control over prisoners (deindividuisation). Prisoners were *****-searched, wore a shawl, had a chain around their ankles and were given a number they were only called by (dehumanisation)
      • Findings - Guards quickly became hostile and continiously harrassed prisoners. Initially the prisoners rebelled against their treatment but then became withdrawn. 3 had to be removed early for showing siigns of psychological distress, one went on hunger strike and a guard tempted to force feed him by putting him in the 'hole'. The study ended after 6 days instead of the planned 14
      • Conclusion - the experiment revealed the power of the situation to influence behaviour. Guards, prisoners and researchers all conformed to their social role within the prison. The more the guard identified with their role, the more brutal they became
    • Asch
      • 123  Male America Students from a volunteer sample were told the study was about visual perception rather than conformity. The participants were shown a standard line and 3 test lines - they had to say which line was the same as the standard line The participants sat 5th out of 6 - the other five participants were confederates. There as 18 trials, but during 12 critical trials the confederates were tole to purposely give an incorrect answer
      • Participants gave the wrong answer 36.8% of the time. and 75% of participants conformed at least ones. This is described as the Asch effect - the extent to which people conform in ambiguous situations
      • Most Participants said they conformed becasue they knew their answer was right but didn't want to go against the rest of the group so yeilded (normative social influence) or they began to doubt their own correct judgement so went with the rest of the group (informational social influence). There is also evidence of internalisation - participants 'came to see' what the participants saw
      • Variables that effect conformity
        • Group size - with one confederate conformity rate was 3%, with 2 confederates it rose to 13% and with 3 confederates it rose again to 31.8% but did not raise much after this
        • Unanimity. When Asch introduced a confederate who gave a right answer conformity rate dropped to 5% - less social pressure o be right and enables participants to behave more independently
        • Task Difficulty - Asch made  the tasks harder by making the lines for similar. When difficulty increased, so did conformity suggesting Informative Social Influence because we are more likely to look for others for guidance and assume they are right
        • Culture - in variations of Asch's study collectivist cultures have had higher conformist rates (e.g. 58% in Fiji and 51%) and less in individualistic cultures (e.g. 14% in Belgium) because there is less emphasis on independent behaviour
      • Evaluation
        • Child of the Times' - 1950's after the war - children were socialised into values of obedience and working together. Lacks temporal validity
        • Artificial Tasks  - demand characteristics.. Confederates were strangers - not the same as real life where there is greater need for social approval
        • Ethical Issues - deception, believed study was about visual perception. However, necessary - if they knew  study was about conformity would have displayed demand characterises
        • Gender Bias - only conducted on males but universally generalised - Beta Bias
    • Milgram
      • Recruited 40 participants (males between 20 and 50) via a volunteer sample. He said the study was about the effect of punishment on learning
        • Participants were paired with a confederate, the study was fixed so the participant was always the teacher and the confederate was the learner
        • The participant then went with an 'experimenter' (confederates within a lab coat) and was placed  in-front of a shock board - ranging from between 15 up to 450 volts. The participant was told to give an electric shocks to the learner when they got an answer wrong
          • However, these shocks weren't real and the participants heard pre recorded responses from the 'learner' starting from yelling and shouting, to saying they need and help and want to stop and finally no response
            • When the participants said they didn't want to continue they were given verbal prods such as 'the experiment required you to continue' and 'you have no other choice you must go on'
      • All participants delivered 300 volts and 65% of participants gave the full 450 volts . Despite this, participants showed signs of extreme stress - including sweating, trembling 3 even had seizures
        • Prior to the study Milgram asked 14 psychologists how many participants would give the full voltage - they said less than 3%
      • Milgram concluded that reasonable people will carry out unreasonable orders if ordered to by someone they perceive to have authority
      • Evaluation
        • Lacks Internal Validity. Orne and Holland suggested participants worked out the shocks were faked
        • External Validity. Hoffling et al found 21/22 nurses delivered twice the amount of the top dosage of drug when instructed to by someone they thought was a doctor. Generalise to real life settings
        • Lacks Temporal validity - child of the times, values of obedience after the war
        • Replications have supported. French documentaty 80% of participants gave 450 volts of fake electric shocks to apparently unconscious man eventhough they showed signs of anxiety. High reliability
        • Alternative explanations. Social Identify Theory - when obedience levels were high the particicpants had strong indentification with experimenter but when it fell high indentification was with learner
        • Ethical Issues - lack of protection from harm. However not anticiapted or intentinal - offered councelling and 84% said they were happy they had taken part in a followup
    • Obedience - Situational Variables
      • Proximity
        • In Milgram's orginal experiment where learner could not be seen but heard obedience rates was 65%, this dropped to 40% in the Proximity variation when the teacher and the learner where in the same room and it dropped again to 30% in the touch proximity variation when the teacher forced the learners hand on an electric plate
        • In the 'remote-instruction- proximity conditon obedience rates dropped to 21% and the participants often gave lower shocks than ordered
      • Location
        • At Yale University obedience rates was 65%
        • Run down office building obedience rates dropped to 48%, suggesting that the experimenter had less authority
      • Uniform
        • When the experimenter didn't wear a lab coat obedience rate fell to 20% implying the experimenter authority was not perceived
      • Dissenters
        • when fellow teachers (confederates disobeyed) obedience rates fell to 10%
      • Evaluation
        • Supporting Evidence. Bickman found participants were twice more likely to follow the same orders when given by a confederate dressed as a security guard rather than someone in jacket and tie
        • High Internal Validity - had great control of all variable and could see cause and effect on IV
        • Ignores the role of dispositional factors - Authoritarian personality, people are more likely to obey
        • socially sensitive - obedience ally - justifies obedience and offensive to Holocaust victims suggesting Nazi's obeyed audience because they were victims of situational factors
        • High Internal Validity - had control of all variables and was able to see the effect on DV
    • Obedience - Social-Psychological factors
      • Agentic State
        • When individuals follow orders because they feel like they are acting on behalf of an authority figure so don't feel individually responsible
        • Opposite to autonomous state where we feel personal responsibly and control of our actions
        • Agentic Shift - the move from autonomous to agentic state when we percieve someone as an authority figure and believe they have power over us
        • Binding Factors - aspects of the situation the individual ignores to reduce the moral strain they feel e.g. shifting responsibility to the victim
      • Legitimacy of Authority
        • Most societies are structured hierarchically and certain people have power over us e.g. police and we obey them as they are at the top of society
          • These authority figures have authority due to societies agreement that they should exercise social power over others because this allows society function smoothly
            • We hand over control of our behaviour to authority figures due to trust through upbringing e.g. parents and teachers
        • Historic leaders have proved how they've ussed their legitimate authority for destructive purposes e.g. Hitler and Stalin
      • Evaluation
        • Research Support. Blass and Schmidt - showed students a film and asked them who was responsible, blamed experimenter rather than learner - recognises how we perceive people have authority over us
        • Deterministic - ignores the free will we have
        • Can't account for all types of obedience. Mandel described German Reserve Police Battalion 101 that men shot innocent civilians in a town in Poland without being ordered to. Not always powerless to disobey and act on own accord
        • Gender Bias. Ignores differeneces between males and females - femles are more likely to be obedient becasue they are socialised into obeying men. Beta Bias
        • Legitimacy of Authority can explain real life obedience. My Lai Massacre carried out my US Army - the US army is given legitimate authority by the government therefore orders given to soldiers were assumed to be legal - even orders to **** and kill civilians

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