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Social Influence - Conformity
Conformity: A type of social influence in which individuals change their
attitudes, beliefs or behaviour in order to adhere to existing social norms
(Baron et al)


Aim: To see how the results given by majority effect individual results
Method: Used a jar full…

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Sherif (1936) conducted numerous other experiments using the
autogenetic effect. Where Pps had no previous experience of the auto
kinetic effect, he found that conformity to a majority view happened very
quickly. In any situation, the less a person has experience with a
situation, the higher the level of conformity…

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Asch used students in his experiment who did know each other. The
social pressure is much greater among a group of friends.

Asch interviewed each Pps after they had taken part in his study. The
Pps who had changed their results because of the majority made excuses
as to why…

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This is a conformity to the majority as a result of information (things you
did not know) presented to by others in the group. The group is believed
to be correct in what they're saying and so the individual privately
accepts their view. This view may be repeated to others…

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Aim: Investigate conformity, but where Pps sat alone in separate booth.
Aim was to determine levels of conformity when other people are not
Method: Pps sat in separate booths, side by side. In each booth there
was a set of switches and lights and each pp was told that…

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The task was for the "learner" (confederate) to answer some questions
asked by the "teacher". If the learner got a question wrong, they would
be given an electric shock. For every wrong answer given by the learner,
the voltage of the shock would be increased from the previous time.


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Explanations of obedience:

Kelman and Hamilton (1989) suggested the following factors as
explanation for obedience (also destructive obedience):
Legitimacy of the system

The extent to which a government, army, religious group is a legitimate
source of authority. Where one or more of these is seen by the individual
to be…

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Milgram looked at various factors affecting obedience in the
teacher-learner experiment. These include the explanation of obedience
above and the proximity of the learner, proximity of the experimenter,
conflicting orders and gender differences.

Proximity of the learner:

This was varied by placing the learner and the teacher in the same…

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Adorno developed the "F" scale (fascist scale) which measures different
aspects of personality - such as conventionalism (conforming to socially
accepted customs of behaviour), preoccupation with power, puritanical
sexual attitudes and superstition were all thought to be different
components of the authoritarian personality.

This offers an explanation of obedience to…

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This can also be said for normative social influence - when the legitimacy
of the experimenter and setting is high, normative pressures to obey
authority will be high. Normative pressures are low where legitimacy is
questioned, resulting in low levels of obedience to authority.

Issues in studying social influence -…


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