Social influence full revision notes

all studies needed included, also the description of what the AQA exam board want you to know 

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  • Created on: 23-05-13 19:23
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Social Influence
Conformity: is when the behaviour of an individual or small group is influenced by large or
dominant group.
Internalisation: is where a person goes along with the majority and takes on their view
privately and publicly.
Compliance: is where a person goes along with the majority, even though they don't
hold their view.
Identification: is where a person conforms to a role that society expects them to play.
Asch (1951): did a study to see whether people would conform to a majority's incorrect answer
in an unambiguous task (answer obvious)
He carried out a laboratory experiment with an independent group design.
Where in groups of 8 there were asked to judge line lengths out loud.
However in the group of 8 there was only 1 real participant and 7 confederates. The real
participant always went last so they could hear the confederate's answers before there's.
They did 18 trials where 12 of them were critical trials where the confederates all gave the
wrong answer.
There also was a controlled group where the participant judged the line length in isolation.
The result showed that the controlled group only gave wrong answers 0.7% of the time,
whereas in the critical trails the participants conformed to the majority 37% of the time and
75% conformed at least once.
Afterwards in an interview some participants said they didn't really believe their answer.
Therefore, in conclusion the controlled groups showed the task was easy to get right,
however 75% conformed at least once. Also they conformed to majority because normative
social influence.
This study was a lab experiment so there was good control over variables which minimised
the effect of extraneous variables and because the strict control over variables also means
the study could be easily repeated to see if get the same results.
However they study was in an artificial setting meaning it lacks ecological validity.

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Also ethical issue, the participants were deceived, they were told they were coming to do a
visual test. They could have felt embarrassed when they found out the true nature of the
Perrin & Spencer (1980) did an exact replication of Asch study
They used participants who were engineering, mathematics, chemistry British students
They found that only one out of the 396 trials did a participant conform with the incorrect
This showed that Asch experiment had poor reliability.…read more

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In the end the experiment was abandoned early because some prisoners became very
distresses. For example one prisoner had to be released after only 36 hours because they
had uncontrollable bursts of crying, screaming and anger
Therefore, in conclusion guards and prisoners did adopt their social roles quickly.
This study shows that our social roles can influence our behaviour because well balanced men
became unpleasant and aggressive in their roles.
This was a controlled observation so there was good control of variables.…read more

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The result showed that in the controlled group participants called the slide green 0.25% of
the time and in the consistent condition 8.4% of the time participants adopted the minority
position and called the slide green. Also 32% called the slide green at least once. In the
inconsistent condition the participant moved to the minority position of calling the slides
green 1.25% of the time.…read more

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In the end the teacher was reunited with the learner to show they were not hurt and given a
full differing.
The result showed that all 40 participants went up to 400v and 5 refused to go on after that.
Also 26 out of the 40 participants went all the way to 450v. Nearly all participant displayed
signs of extreme stress, sweating, trembling, biting their lip and appearing to cry.…read more

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However this study was a field study meaning it's hard to replicate. Also means that the
study only applies to that hospital and cannot be applied generally therefore lacks ecological
Rank & Jacobsed (1977) Criticised Hoflings study for 2 reasons:
Nurse were not familiar and had no knowledge of the drug
No opportunity to seek advice from anyone of equal or high status
Therefore they replicated the study but with a know drug of valiun and 3 times over the
recommended amount.…read more

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Independent Behaviour:
Locus of control
Rutter (1966): aspects of personality may influence independent behaviour
Developed a questionnaire to measure personality characteristics. It indicates how much
personal control people believe they have over events in their lives.
The questions involve choosing between parried statements such as, 1. Misfortune is usually
brought about by peoples own action or 2. Things that make us unhappy are largely due to
bad luck.
If you agree with the 1st statement, you have an internal locus of control.…read more


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