Explanations of independent behaviour

  • Created by: ClaryFray
  • Created on: 13-04-15 21:50

Resisting pressures to conform

A variation of Asch's study shows the role of allies in giving social support. Allen and Levine investigated what happens if this support is not particularly true or valid.

3 conditions in a Asch type task

Poor vision supporter-Invalid social support 

Normal vision supporter-Valid social support

No supporter

Ally is helpful in resisiting conformity, more so percieved as offering valid social support

Evaluation: Hornsey et al. remarkably little movement towards the majority on attitudes that had moral significance for individual even when this involved public behaviours. People more willing to maintain their independence if they have to make moral rather than physical judgements

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Resisting pressures to obey

Milgram was keen to investigate the situational conditions under which people felt able to defy the orders of an authority figure. 

For example when the study was moved away from the setting of Yale University toa downtown office, more people felt able to resist authority. This tells us that the status is a key factor in obedience/resistance 

Evaluation: Kohlberg-Resistance greater in people who base decisions on moral principles e.g. MLK who said 'Laws are only valid insofar as they are grounded in justice and that a commitment to justice carries with it an obligation to disobey unjust laws. 

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Locus of control

Locus of control refers to a person's perception of how much personal control they have over their own behaviour

Internal: people who attribute the cause of events in their life to their own control. More likely to display independent behaviour

External: people who locate control outside themselves and so tend to feel they have less control over what happens to them

High internals:

  • Active seekers of information that is useful to them so less likely to rely on the opinions of others
  • More achievement orientated so more likely to become leaders and entrepreneurs
  • Better able to resist coercion from others

Evaluation: Twenge et al. externality is increasing which has negative implications as it is correlated with poor school achievement, decreased self-control and depression.

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Individual differences

Conformity: When seeking a partner, women conform more to others, men become more non-conformist (Griskevicius et al.)

Obedience: Milgram found lower obedience rates in educated people; Roman Catholics more likely to obey than Protestants 

Locus of control: gender differences in locus of control with women more internal than men. Locus of control made no difference to occupational success of men, but 'internal' women more successfl than 'external' women. (Linz and Semykina)

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