AQA Psychology B, Unit 2, Social Influence

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[Type the company name]
Social Influence
Unit 2 Psychology
[Pick the date]
Social Influence
"Efforts made by one or more individuals to change the
attitudes, beliefs, perceptions of one or more others"
- Baron et al
- Social influence can be in the mind, and also can result in practical
action or behaviour being carried out
- Sometimes we are aware of being influenced and sometimes we're
not aware
- This comes in three types: conformity, obedience and social
2 Assumptions:

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Behaviour is influenced by the situation, by other
individuals, and by other groups
2. Behaviour is influenced by culture and society
Social Impact Theory
(Purple = influencer, green = target)
The strength of influence or impact will increase when:
1. The strength of the influencer increases
2. The number of influencers increases
3. The immediacy of the influencer increases
"Yielding to group pressure" ­ Crutchfield
"this can be real or imagined" - Aronson
People conform because either:
1.…read more

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NORMATIVE (explanation) involves:
- Need for acceptance/approval of others
- Power of others to reward to punish
- Conflict between one and others opinion
- Aka private disagreement & public acceptance of other's opinion
Sheriff (1935)
- A: To investigate whether people would be influenced into
believing an answer was correct in a situation where they didn't
know the answer
- M: Repeated measures design was used, an individual was put
into a dark room and shown a point of…read more

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ïve participant second to last. 6 neutral trials in which the
stooges gave the correct answer, 12 where the stooges gave the
wrong answer, and a control where 37 participants made their
judgements in private
- R: in the control condition, 0.7% errors were made, in the
experimental condition, 37%errors were made. There were large
individual differences, 25% made no mistakes, 28% gave 8 or
more out of 12 answers incorrectly
- C: the task was easy as only 0.…read more

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Baron et al
Showed drawings to participants and asked them to match it with a
pair. Two conditions: one where the picture was shown for 5 seconds
and one for ½ a second. Before they were asked of their judgement,
they heard two wrong judgements from the assistants.…read more

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Gave his participants personality and IQ tests. Found that those
less intelligent were more likely to be open to the input of others
and happy to conform
- These individual differences may explain the different levels in
conformity that Asch and Crutchfield found
Zimbardo's Prison Study
Aimed to find out if prisoners and prison guards behaved aggressively
due to their personalities, or because they are conforming to the social
expectations attached to their roles.…read more

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Obedience is undesirable because:
- it lacks originality in people & their personalities
- it can put you to blame, the Holocaust, Hitler's right hand men were
prisoned for "following the rules"
Milgram's Study (electric shock, zap)
Aimed to investigate how far people will go in obeying an authority
Found his participants (40 males between ages 20 & 50) through a
newspaper advertisement, they were lied to, saying that they were
trying to investigate the effects of punishment on learning.…read more

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might have felt exploited after taking part. But Milgram argued the lies
were necessary for the study to work
- participants hadn't given proper consent, had consented for a different
aimed study
- participants not notified of a right to withdraw
+ were extensively debriefed
Hofling et al
obedience in a hospital. Unknown Dr Smith rang up nurse when alone on
ward, told her to give a specific patient 20mg of a certain drug, when on
the packet it said maximum dose 10mg.…read more

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Validity = "the extent to which a research study measures what it was
designed to measure"
Internal Validity = "the extent to which the research study was properly
conducted, so that it produced a truthful result"
- controls (did anything else effect participants?)
- The measurements (accurate & meaningful?)
- Demand characteristics occurred?
External Validity = the extent to which the study's results can be
generalised beyond the research situation" (ecological validity)
- realistic setting?
- The sample (was it representative of the wider population?)…read more

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Agency Theory ­ Milgram
States that people either act autonomously ­ direct own behaviour,
taking responsibility for the consequences, cued by authority figure, or
the situation. Or agentically ­ allowing someone else to take
responsibility for their actions, learnt through schooling, and parents.…read more


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