Social Influence

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  • Social Influence
    • Conformity
      • Types  of conformity
        • Internalisation
          • This is the acceptance of a groups norms. WE now agree both in public and privately. This change is most likley permanent as the idea has been internalised
        • Identification
          • There is something in the group we value. Change behavior so we can further identify. Publicly changing beliefs/ behavior even though we may not completely agree.
        • Compliance
          • 'Going along with others'.
          • Publicly accepting but not privately. the behavior/ beliefs  stops when their is no group pressure.
      • Explanations for confromity
        • Informational Social Influence (ISI)
          • About who has better information. You or the group.
          • If we don't know an answer we are more likely to follow others as we desire to be correct
          • More likely to occur in unfamiliar situations e.g. a crisis. OR when somebody within a group is considered an expert.
          • Its a cognitive process as its to do with the way we think.
        • Normatoive Social Influence (NSI)
          • Is about a groups social norms.
          • Norms regulate the way groups and individuals behave.
          • People dont like to appear to be foolish and prefer to gain approval over rejection.
            • This makes NSI an emotional process.
          • Most likely to occur when the situation involves strangers where rejection is more of a concern.
            • Still prevalent in friend groups as we deeply care about social approval in these situations
            • Also very pronounced in stressful situations as that is when we feel we require social support.
      • Research
        • Asch's research
          • Procedure
            • Participants where shown two white cards with a 'standard line' and thee 'comparison lines'. Pps where then asked which of the three lines matched the standard line.
              • Pps where 123 American male undergrads. Each participant would be put in a group with between 6-8 confederates. The real participant was  always seated in either the last seat or one from it.
                • Each person would be asked to read out their answer one at a time. Confederates were asked to give the right answer for the first few trials. But then as a collective they would all begin to make errors but always as a group.
                  • Pps would take part in a total of 18 trials where 12 where critical trials in which the confederated gave the wring answer. Each trial was one identification question.
            • Variations
              • Group Size
                • Asch wanted to know if group size had a greater impact than group agreement.
                  • What Asch found was that at three confederates conformity rose to 31.8% but any further addition had no substantial effect. Asch concluded that beyond a majority of 3 a majority exerts no extra influence.
              • Unanimity
                • Asch wanted to see if the presence of another non conforming person would affect the naive participants conformity.
                  • He tested this by introducing a new confederate who would give a different answer than the group but was not always correct.
                    • What Asch was the presence of the dissenting confederate was that conformity reduced by a quarter when compared to the unanimous group.
                      • The presence of the dissenting confederate allowed the naive participant to act more independently. This suggests confromity relies on the unanimity of a group.
              • Task Difficulty
                • Asch increased the difficulty of the task. He noted that conformity increased under these cnditions
                  • This suggests INI becomes more prevalent when a task is difficult as it is more ambiguous.
                    • This is because we look for guidance in other people in unfamiliar situations.
          • findings
            • The pps answered wrong 36.8% of the time. 25% of pps never conformed, meaning 75% of pps confromed at some point.
              • This has led to the use of the term 'Asch effect' to describe how  pps conform even when the situation is unambiguous.
              • After the study was conducted pps were interviewed and attributed there conformity to wanting to avoid rejection..
          • Evaluation
            • Child of its time. Was repeated in 1980 by Perrin and Spencer and only 1 of 396 students confromed in a trial.
            • Artificial situation and task. The task was novel so there was no reason not to conformand prticipants were aware they were in a research study to may have gone along with the study due to demand characteristics
            • Limited application of findings. Asch tested only men, women have since been thought to be more conformist as they placve greater importance on social acceptance (Netto 1995). As Well as the identification of the US as an individualist culture, research Conformity is more likely in a collectivist culture such as China.
            • Ethics
              • Participants were decived
          • NSI
        • Zimbardo's Reseach
          • Procedure
            • Pps were students who where randomly assigned wither guard or prisoner. All pps were screened and deemed to be emotionally stable. 'Prisoners' were arrested, strip searched and delopused to heighten realism. 'Guards were told they had complete power over the prisoners.
              • Guards were given their own uniforms, wooden clubs, handcuffs, keys, and mirror shades. This was to underline their position as guards.
          • Findings
            • Start was slow but guards soon took their roles with enthusiasm. Their behavior got to a point were it was a threat to the prisoners psychological and physical well being. Thu study was stopped six days into the intended 14.
              • prisoners soon rebelled but were heavily punished by guards who began to pit the prisoners against each other, harass the prisoners at all times reminding them they are being monitored. Post rebellion prisoners were noted to be more withdrawn, depressed, and anxious.
                • One prisoner was released on the first day after demonstrating symptoms of disturbance. Two more were released on day 4, another prisoner went on hunger strike but was force fed by guards then out in the hole. Over time the guards behavior grew more brutal and aggressive and were seen to be enjoying the power they held.
          • Conclusions
            • The situation demonstrated how much a situation effects the way we cat . All prisoners and guards conformed to their roles. All involved participants
              • e.g. a 'prison chaplain' noted how even he acted ore like he was in a prison than a psychological study.
          • Evaluations
            • Control. Zimbardo maintained some control in this study as all pps had been screened for emotional stability and they had all been randomly assigned. This boosted its internal validity.
            • Lack of realism. A 1975 study suggested zimbardos study only ended in this way as pps were basing their action on stereotypes over what they believed was right.
              • Zimbardo later pointed out evidence suggesting that the situation appeared to be very real to the pps. prisoner 416 wrote about how he believed that he was in a real prison but it was run by psychologist over the government. amd 90% of the prisoners conversation revolved aground prison life.
            • Role of dispositional influences. Fromm (1973) pointed out how only 1/3 of guards acted in the brutal fashion. another 1/3 was focused on fairly upholding all rules while the final 1/3 showed sympathy fro the prisoners and would bring cigarettes and reinstate prisoners rights.
              • This suggests Zimbardo's conclusion was massively overstated, but instead showed that people could act in a right or wrong way despite the situational pressure to conform.
            • Ethics
              • Zimbartod held duel roles in the study as both the researcher and prison superintendent.
              • Issues surrounding allowing participants to leave at any time.
          • Conformity to social roles
        • Lucas' Research
          • Very similar to  Asch's research nut instead asked students maths problems.
            • He noted that as problems got more difficult conformity increased at a rapid rate.
          • INI
    • Obedience
      • Social psychological factors
        • Agnetic State
          • Milgram  proposed that obedience to destructive authority occurs because does not take responsibility. Instead they are acting on behalf of somebody else. This is called 'Diffusion of responsibility'
            • He proposed somebody going through this becomes an agent. and 'Agent' is not  unfeeling but instead experiences extremely high anxiety  (moral strain) but feel powerless to disobey.
          • Autonomous  state
            • This is the opposite of agentic state. A perosn experiencing this is free to behave however they want according to their own princples and therefore feel responsible for their actions.
              • The shit from autonomy to agency is called the agentic shift. Milgram suggested this occurs when one person perceives the other to be in a position of authority.
                • In a group most people perceive one person to be in a position of  authority so shift from autonomy to agency.
          • Binding factors
            • Milgram  asked why people  remain in the agentic state. He noted that many of his participants talked like they wanted to quit but seemed unable to do so.
              • The answer milgram came to was that aspects of the situation allowed the pps to ignore or minimize the perceived damage of their behavior and reduces the moral strain. Milgram suggested this could be demonstrated through shifting the blame to the victim or denying the damaage.
          • Evaluation
            • Research support. Blass and Schmitt (2001) backed up milgrams idea by getting students to identify who was responsible. They near unanimously identified the researcher as they saw him as the root of legitimate authority in the experiment.
              • So they recognised legitiamte authority as the cause of obedience backing up Milgram's theory.
            • A limited explanation. Does not explain why not every participant was obedient. Doesn't explain the findings of  Hoffling et al, in which nurses displayed no moral strain while following the potentially destructive orders of doctors
        • Legitimacy of Authority
          • This refers to the hierachical nature of our society and how this grants certain people a degree of authority over others. As a consequence some hold the power to punish others.
            • e.g. the police and courts. so we have surrendered some of our independence to allow society to function smoothly and allow them to properly exercise authority. We learn throughout our whole lives but begins as soon as we are born.
          • Destructive Authority
            • Issues arise when legitimate authority becomes destructive by its nature.
              • History has shown that powerful and charismatic leaders such as Hitler and Pol Pot can use their legitimacy for destructive purposes causing the ordinary person to commit callous, cruel, stupid, and dangerous actions.
                • this was demonstrated in Milgrams study in which he prods pps participants to perform actions that go again the general conscience.
            • Evaluation
              • Cultural differences. It is a strength of this theory in that it explains cultural variation in obedience levels. Different countries demonstrate different tendencies when it come to obedience. Australia very low obedience levels but very high obedience levels in Germany.
      • Dispositional explanations
        • The authoritarian personalitly
          • The Authoritarian personality is measured using the f scale, hwih was developed by Adorno in 1950 for his study. He used a set of questions which were answered using a Likert scale.
          • One of Adorno's findings were that those who score highly on the f -scale, also identified with 'strong' people and were contemptuous of the 'weak'.
            • He also noted that highly scoring people were more conscious of their social status as well as those of people around them.  And showed excessive respect, deference, and servility to those they perceived to be a higher status.
              • He no as well that there seemed to be a correlation between between authoritarianism and prejudice.  As he believed highly scoring people had no fuzziness between categories of people and a strong belief in stereotypes.
          • Authoritarian charecteristics
            • A tendency to be especially obedient to authority.
            • Contempt for those deemed a lower social status, and a highly convectional attitude towards sex, race, and gender.
            • A pessimistic view of society as a whole. so feel the need for strong and powerful leaders to enforce traditional values
              • e.g. love of country, religion and family.
            • inflexible in their  outlook. No grey areas.
              • everything is right or wrong and are made uneasy by uncertainty.
          • origin of the authoritarian personality
            • Adorno concluded that it was formed in childhood as a result of harsh parenting.
              • He considered harsh parenting to include extremely strict discipline, an expectation of absolute loyalty, impossibly high standards, and severe punishments for perceived failure.
            • Also could be seen as a result of conditional parenting. that being that affection is entirely dependent on the on the child's behaviour.
            • conclusion
              • Adorno thought these experiences create resentment and hostility  in the child but the child cannot express this to the parents due to the well founded fear of reprisals.
                • This means the fears are displaced onto others who are perceived as weaker. this is scapegoating.
                  • This is an explanation of the contempt displayed towards those perceived as weaker/ socially inferior.
          • psychodynamic explanation
        • Evaluation
          • Research support. Milgram interviews a small sample of fully obedient pps and found that they scored very highly on the F-scale though this is just a correlation so no direct conclusion can be formed. And there is a potential third factor such as low levels of education.
          • Limited explanation.  can not explain how, effectively the whole nation of Germany showed obedience to the Nazi's despite a variety of personality types.
          • Political bias. it was later pointed out that the f scale favors far right supporters but ignores those that are far left. Even though far left ideology such as Chinese Maoism or Russian Bolshevism all of which require the complete acceptance of authoritarian power.
    • Resistance to social influence
      • Social Support
        • Conformity
          • Social support can help people resistance conformity.
        • Obedience
          • Social support also helpsle resist obedience
            • In one variation of Milgrams study obedience dropped form 65% to 10% when an non obedient confederate was placed with a participant

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