Social Influence Revision Notes

Revision notes on social influence for AS psychology

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  • Created by: Beth F
  • Created on: 23-04-12 16:59
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Social Influence
Types of conformity
Compliance; conforming to a groups opinion to gain approval but the groups views are not
analysed. Externally.
Internalisation; accepting others views because you believe the group is right and you are
wrong. Internally and externally.
Identification; conforming to others in order to be liked by them. Behaviour only lasts as long as
the group is together. Elements of compliance and internalisation.
Explanations of conformity;
Normative social influence; the desire to be liked and accepted by the group. They may publically
change the views by privately disagree. (Compliance)
Informative social influence; the desire to be right, looking to others who they believe to be
right and behave similarly. (Internalisation)
Asch's Study
A ­ to investigate whether majority group pressure is strong enough to make individuals choose
clearly wrong answers
P ­ a lab experiment using 123 American students who were shown a series of lines
Confederates gave the same wrong answer
Ppts always answered 2nd to last or last
F ­ 36.8% of ppts were incorrect in critical trials
Only ¼ ppts never conformed
C ­ clearly majority did have an effect
C - - male american's were used ­ hard to generalise
Lab experiment ­ low ecological validity mundane realism of task
Individual differences and cultural bias
+ generated further research as the high control meant it could be easily replicated.
Why did people conform?
Distortion of perception; they came to see the lines in the same way as the majority
Distortion of judgement; they doubted their accuracy so went with the majority
Distortion of action; they continued their own private view but changed publically to give incorrect
Asch's study variations
Difficulty of task; when difficulty was increased, conformity increased
Lucas et al said high self-efficacy meant people are more independent
Situation and individual differences are important in determining conformity
Side of majority; when the majority is 1 or 2, there was very little conformity
When majority was 3, conformity rose to 30%
Further increase in size didn't significantly increase conformity
This shows that size is only important up to a point
Unanimity of majority; when ppts had a confederates giving correct answers conformity dropped to
When a `dissenter' gave a different answer to majority and correct
conformity dropped to 9%
This shows that breaking the group consensus was a major factor in reducing conformity
Evaluating research into conformity

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All ppts were mean and American in 50's
o People were scared to be different
Perrin and Spencer
Youths on probation were used as ppts and probation officers as confederates
Similar levels of conformity as Asch
Probation officers in charge of ppts freedom so likely to agree
o Wanted to do what was `right' to be liked
This shows that conformity levels are higher when the perceived consequences are bad
The Asch Effect
Lalancette and Standing
Modified the study making the stimuli more ambiguous
o…read more

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C- internalisation more likely because of in-groups and out-groups
Resisting pressures to conform
Desire for individualism; they may want to be like others sometimes and have the desire to maintain
a sense of own individuality
Can sometimes outweigh pressures to conform
Prior commitment; once people publically commit to an opinion, they're less likely to change it than if
it was private
Desire to maintain control; people want to hold onto the idea they can control events in their lives.…read more

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Asked ppts after if they found it distressing and interviewed them a year later
o 84% glad to have been a ppt and 74% felt they'd learned something of importance
Lifton said physicians in Nazi death camps orgininally `normal people'
o Personalities altered by activities they were asked to perform
Orne and Holland doubt about internal validity
o Ppts have learnt to distrust experimenters because they know the purpose of them may
be disguised
o Ppts may have realised the reaction of experimenter to…read more

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A justifiable cause by offering an ideology can increase obedience
Criticising Milgram's explanation
Monocausal emphasis; Mandel
Focusing solely on obedience for atrocities against humanity (Holocaust), Milgram ignored more
plausible explanations
Identified anti-Semitism as the primary motivation for actions during the Holocaust
Agentic shift; importantly applied to Holocaust
Milgram's ppts experienced no more than half hour in lab where they were subjected to constant
He believed same psychological process was at work in his experiment and the Holocaust
Consequences of an obedience alibi; originally…read more

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Global vs.…read more


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