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  • Created on: 12-06-17 10:09

Social Influence


Conformity is a change in attitude, behaviour or belief based on the influence of the majority.

3 Types of Conformity (Kelman)

1. COMPLIANCE - chnage in behaviour but not attitude 

2. IDENTIFICATION - conforming to group ideas when with them to feel membership

3. INTERNALISATION - change in behaviour and attitude and belief 

People conform to feel comfortable when the majority have different attitudes and beliefs, conforming to feel comfortable. 

Deutsch and Gerad - Two process theory 

  • Need to be liked (Normative Social Influence) usually compliance
  • Need to be correct (Information Social Infulence) usually internalisation 
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Social Influence

ASCH (1951-55)

Aim : increase the understanding of why people conform and the circumstances people use it in. 

Procedure : grouped 6-8 participants with a naive participant, each are shown two white cards one having a standard line and the other had three comparison lines. All were asked to match the line against the standard. The first set of trials the participants gave the correct answer. Then all were told to choose an incorrect line except the naive participant who was oblivious to this being a set up. Taking 18 trials, 12 the participants gave an incorrect answer. 

Findings : The naive participant gave the incorrect answer 36.8% of the time. Overall 25% did not conform at all, 75% conformed at least once. 

The participants said they conformed to avoid rejection (NSI) 

Factors effecting conformity 

Group size, Unanimity and Task difficulty 

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Social Influence


: people in unfamiliar situations with conform to social roles 

Procedure : emotionally stable students randomly allocated a role of prisoner or guard, having their roles strictly divided. The prisoners had their routines regulated heavily - 16 rules enforced by the guards and were called by numbers instead of their names. The guards had their own uniform, a wooden club, keys and handcuffs and were told they have complete power. 

Findings : the guards took up their roles emthusiastically, their behaviour became a threat to the prisoners psychological and physical health so much that the study was stopped after 6 days instead of 14. In two days the prisoners retalliated to their harsh treatment, the guards created "divide and rule" tactics turning the prisoners against one another and punishing the slightest misbehaviour. 

The prisoners became anxious, subdude and depressed. One was let go after one day after showing signs of psychological disturbance - two more were released on the fourth day. One went on hungerstrike and was put in 'the hole' after refusing to be force fed and was shunned by his fellow prisoners. 

The guards followed their roles closely, becoming abusive and some showed enjoyment at the power. 

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Social Influence


Conclusion : revealed the power of a situation can influence peoples behaviour. The guards, prisoners and researchers all conformed to their roles. 

Evaluation : 

  • Controlled - by selecting emotionally stable participants rules out or tired to rule out individual personality differences. This is a strength as it increases interanl validity. 
  • Lack of realism - performances were based on stereotyping of how they are supposed to behave. Zimbardo showed evidence that it was real for the participants - quantitative data gathered showed 90% of the conversations between the prisoners were about real life, 
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Social Influence


an individual follows a direct order usually from a figure of higher authority to them 

Procedure : through newspaper adds found men between 20 - 50 with ranging jobs told them they were doing an experiment on memory. They were offered $4.50 to take part. "Mr Wallace" always ended up being the learner whilst the participants were always "the teacher". They were told they can leave at anytime. The learner was strapped to a chair in another room with a wire, the teacher had to give the learner an 'increasingly severe shock' each time he made a mistake. 

The shock level started at 15V (slight shock) and rose through 30 levels to 450V. When the teacher got to 300V Mr Wallace would pound on the walls and gave no response. At 315V Wallace would pound again, the teacher would turn to the experimenter who was just an actor dressed in a lap coat, would give an instruction like "an absense response should be treated as a wrong answer". If the teacher was still unsure the experimentor would give one of four prods:  1. Please continue   2. The experiment requires you to continue  3. It is absolutely essential you continue  4. You have no choice, you must go on          

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Social Influence


Findings : no participants stopped below 300V, 12.5% stopped at 300 (five participants). 65% continued to the highest level of 450V. Qualitive data collected observed that the participants showed signs of extreme tension, many were seen trembling, sweating and lip biting. Three had uncontrollable seizures. 

Prior to the experiment, Milgram asked 14 psychology students to predict the participants behaviour. They estimated that no more than 3% of the participants would continues to 450V. This shows that the findings were not expected.

Conclusion : ordinary people will obey an authority figure and even hurt a stranger if put into a particular situation. 

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Social Influence


Orne and Holland argued that the participants behaved that way because they didnt really believe it was real, therefore the study lacks internal validity - Gina Perry confirmed some participants from the tape believed that shocks were not real. 

Hofling like Milgram studied relationships between authority and the experimentor, Holfling studied nurses and found the obedience levels to the doctor were extremely high (21 out of 22 nurses obeying) meaning Milgrams study can be generalised as a real life situation in showing obedience - having good extrenal validity.

A field experiment in New York by Bickman in 1974 had three people dress up, one as a secruity guard, one as a milkman and one in just a suit and tie. They stood in the street and asked people to do tasks, like pick up litter. Bickman found people are twice as likely to obey the security guard than the one in the jacket and tie, no one obeyed the milkman. UNIFORM CONVEYS AUTHORITY.

Smith and Bond made a point that most replications of Milgrams study are in the West, in developed societies whihc are culturally not different to America, so hard to conclue Milgrams findings. 

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Social Influence


Adorno believed obedience can be explained by a persons disposition. People are more likely to be obedient if they have an authroitarian personality this can be shown using the F.Scale.

Authoritarian Personality Characteristics :

  • Submissive 
  • Look down on the 'lower'
  • Believe we need authority to enforce traditional views 
  • Believe in social hierarchy

Authoritarian personality is formed in childhood due to strict parenting, typically as extreme discipline, loyalty, high standards or the serverity of failure. Or even only loving the child when they behave, Adorno believes these experiences create hatred in the child but cannot express it towards the parents because of fear, so this hatred is placed onto weaker people - scapegoating. Explaning the central trait of obedience being hating or disliking people considered socially inferior and belong to other social groups. This is a psychodynamic explanation. 

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Social Influence


based on the research by Asch the factors which will increase indepence are:

  • Having someone else who agrees with you or also resists 
  • Task being more obvious 
  • Smaller group sizes will reduce conforming 

Social Support : people who resist oressures to conform or obey can help others, conformity can be reduced by their presence. Obedience decreases in the presence of disobedient peers who act as a model to follow

Locus of Control : Rotter thinks these are how people see the control centre for their lives, sense of what directs events in our lives. 

Internal Locus of Control - belive they control or have influence over their lives and actions 

External Locus of Control - feel their efforts or behaviour has little effect on the course of their livesPeople with high Internal LoC are more able to resist social influence as they take personal responsibility for their actions 

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Social Influence


: a form of social influence in which the minority persuade the attitides, beliefs or behaviours of the majority, leading to internalisation. 

Moscovici says social change occurs when minorities are able to change the views of the majority ie, social change occurs through minority influence. Three things which are vital in minority influence 

1. Consistency : keeping the same beliefs over time and the majority view may become more questionable 

2. Commitment : if minority demonstrate dedication eg. making personal sacrifices, the majority see it is not out of self interest 

3. Flexibility : if the minority show flexibility by accepting possibility of compromise, the majority will accept the change more. 

Resulting in the minority becoming the majority THE SNOWBALL EFFECT

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Three characteristics that are used to define the memory stores 

1. CAPACITY - the amount of information that can be held 

2. DURATION - the length of time information can be held 

3. CODING - the format in which information is stored in the memory stores (visual, acoustic or semantic)

Information is detected by the sense organs and enters the sensory ... (

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  • Capacity : 7 +/- 2 items or information 
  • Duration : 18 to 30 seconds 
  • Coding : Mainly acoustic 


  • Capacity : Limitless 
  • Duration : Limitless 
  • Coding : Mainly semantic 


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The MSM proposes that memory is made up of three different memory stores that have different characteristics, this idea is supported by Baddely as he showed that we can mix up words which have similar meaning. Clear that the coding in STM is acoustic and LTM is semantic. Showing they are independant. 

The MSM proposes that STM and LTM are separate, research to support this idea includes the case of HM. HM went under surgery to relieve his epilepsy in his hippocampus, which is a fundamental part of the brain for memory was removed. His LTM was tested but never improved but did with immediate memory tests showing his STM was still there. This suggests that STM and LTM are in different parts of the brain. 

The MSM also suggests that STM and LTM are unitary (single units with no internal parts), this is challenged by the case study of KF. KF and many others suffering from amnesia shows that their short term memory are poor. KF's recall was better if he read the digits tested on him himself rather than them being read to him, studying KF, Shallice and Warrington found that there could be another store in STM for nonverbal sound. This is a limitation for MSM as there could be different stores for visual and auditory information. 

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19 Types of Memory | goodpsychology                                                                 Episodic retrieved consciously with effort - Semantic recalled deliberately - Procedural uncioncious recall

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Working Memory Model Mr wilson\x26#39;s a level psychology blog: \x3cb ... (

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WWM is an explanation from Baddeley and Hitch that STM is organised and has different functions. The model has four main components, the central execuative is the process that monitors incoming data allocating the data to the specified systems - Having a very long limited storage caacity. The phonological loop deals with auditory information meaning the coding is acoustic. Spilt into two different stores, the articulatory process 

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