Social Influence Revision Pack

Revision pack for social influences, containing A01 and A02. And past paper questions.

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  • Created on: 22-03-13 10:21
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Describe & evaluate normative social influence as an
explanation for compliance (12 marks)
Description (6 marks) Evaluation (6 marks)
Compliance (Type of conformity) : ) Asch found support for normative influence leading to
This is when an individual will change their external behaviour in compliance through the `line length experiment'. This was a clear
response to real or imagined pressure from others, but their example of compliance as when the participants were interviewed,
internal views remain unchanged. It is the shallowest form of they said that they knew they were giving the incorrect answers
conformity. E.g. laughing at a joke that you do not understand or and did so simply to `fit in' with everyone else.
nodding along when people gossip about a friend of yours when : ( Yet, Asch's experiment was carried out at a very conformist
privately you disagree with what they are saying. time in America (1950's). When it was repeated in 1970's by
It happens as a result of normative pressure from others. Perrin & Spencer, the conformity levels dropped. This shows that
normative influence will only necessarily lead to compliance given
Normative Influence ­ explanation for compliance (conformity) the appropriate political circumstances at the time.
This is when individuals conform because they want to be liked and : ) Asch's experiment & the whole concept of normative
part of a group (by following the social norms). They conform to influence/compliance is useful research as there are implications
the majority opinion in their behaviour without really accepting for teaching people to resist compliance when it would not
the action as right within themselves. This leads to a type of necessarily be helpful, e.g. in social control situations.
conformity labelled compliance E.g. Asch's (line) experiment. : ( Ash's experiment was lacking in mundane realism (ecological
validity) as the type of task was not realistic or important. The
Research evidence - Asch `line experiment' problem with this is that in real life if people were faced with
Procedure ­Asch set up a situation in which 7 people all sat looking normative pressures to comply in a serious situation (e.g. peer
at a display. In turn they had to say out loud which one of the 3 pressure to take drugs) they may not necessarily comply as easily
lines ­ A, B or C was the same length as line `x'. All but one of the as when choosing line length which is completely unimportant and
participants were confederates of the experimenter. The genuine fake.
participant was the last (or last but one) to offer their opinion. : ( The idea that normative pressure will lead to compliance does
On certain trials, confederates were instructed to all give the not take into account individual differences in conformity, e.g.
same incorrect answer. those with an internal locus of control will be less likely to comply
Findings: Where confederates gave the wrong answer the genuine than those with an external LOC.
participants gave the wrong answer on approx 37% of the trials. : ( There are cultural variations in Asch's results. E.g. Belgian
Conclusion: Normative pressure to conform led to compliance. students (individualist) were less likely to conform than Indian
teachers (collectivist). This means that normative pressure may
lead to compliance more in some cultures than others.
Short answer questions on normative influence and
compliance

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Page 2

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It is Ani's first day in a new job and he spends a lot of time
watching to see what his colleagues are doing, so that he will fit in
with them and be liked. Explain Ani's behaviour in terms of
compliance.
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(2 marks)
(2) The following statements are all related to conformity.
A Doing what the group does in order to be liked by them.…read more

Page 3

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Both girls conformed, but for different
reasons. Explain which type of conformity each girl was showing.
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It happens as a result of informative/informational pressure from deciding whether to become a vegetarian or not) they may not
others. necessarily internalise a new belief as easily as when estimating
beans in a jar which is completely unimportant and fake.…read more

Page 5

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D The individual goes along with the group but does not
agree with them.
E The individual changes his/her beliefs, but it is a
temporary change.
(2 marks)
(2) Outline and evaluate ONE explanation of
conformity.
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Page 6

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Describe and evaluate research into obedience to
authority (12 marks)
Description Evaluation
Milgram (1963) : ) Milgram's shocking findings show that ordinary people are
likely to obey authority given the optimal circumstances, even to
Aim: Milgram was interested in researching how far people would go in obeying an extreme degree ­ this is useful information as it can be used to
an instruction if it involved harming another person.…read more

Page 7

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Obey parents,
teachers, anyone in authority etc.
Short answer questions on research into obedience to
authority
(1) (a) Milgram's work can be criticised for being unethical.
Describe one way in which his work is unethical.
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(2 marks)
1 (b) Apart from ethical issues, give one strength and one
limitation of Milgram's methodology.
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Page 8

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Describe and evaluate explanations for why people obey (12
marks)
Description (6 marks) Evaluation (6 marks)
Reasons for why people obey are split into situational and dispositional SUPPORT FROM MILGRAM'S VARIATIONS
factors. Buffers ­ these are supported by research evidence as in
Situational Factors the variation where the "learner's" physical immediacy
Buffers ­ factors which stop people from seeing the consequences of was closest, where participants had to physically hold the
their actions.…read more

Page 9

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In this way people are less those conditions, obedience dropped to 47.5 percent,
likely to feel responsible for their actions and more likely to obey. though the difference was not statistically significant.
Gradual Commitment ­ obedience usually takes a `foot in the door' There is some suggestion here that decreasing the
approach. This means that people will obey a small command first then legitimacy of the authority will lead to a decrease in
they will be more willing to obey bigger instructions.…read more

Page 10

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Milgram's work into obedience provided us with
valuable insights into why people obey, even though it
was carried out in a laboratory.
1 (a) Outline two explanations of why people obey.
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(2 marks + 2 marks)
(2) In a hospital, you are very likely to obey a nurse.
However, if you meet her outside the hospital, for
example in a shop, you are much less likely to obey.…read more

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