Resistance to social influence


Strength -dissenting peers' role in resisting C

Allen and Levine found independence increased with one dissenter in an Asch-type study. 

This occurred even if the dissenter wore thick glasses and said he had problems with vision (he couldn't judge the line lengths). 

So resistance is not motivated by following what someone else says but it enables someone to be free of pressures from the group

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Strength - dissenting peers' role in resisting O

Gamson et al, found higher levels of rebellion (i.e. independent behaviour) than Milgram did. Gamson's participants were in groups (to produce evidence that an oil company would use to run a smear campaign). 

In Gamson's study 29 out of 33 groups of participants (88%) rebelled.

This shows that peer support is linked to greater resistance. 

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Strength - Link between LOC and resistance to O

Holland repeared the Milgram study and measured whether participants were internals or externals.

37% of internals did not continue to the highest shock level (they showed independence). Only 23% of externals did not continue.

So internals showed greater resistance. This support increases the validity of the locus of control explanation and our confidence that it can explain resistance. 

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Weakness - No link between LOC and resistance

Twenge et al. analysed data from American locus of control studies over 40 years (1970 to 2002), showing that people have become more independent but also more external. 

If resistance was linked to internal LOC we would expect people to have become more internal.

This challenges the link between internal LOC and resistance. However, the results may be due to a changing society where many things are incresingly outside personal control.

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Weakness - LOC's role may be exaggerated

Rotter found LOC is only important in new situations. It has little influence in familiar situations where previous experiences are always more important.

This is often overlooked. It means people who have conformed or obeyed in specific situations in the past are likely to do so again, even if they have a high internal LOC.

This is a limitation because it means that LOC is only helpful in explaining a narrow range of new situations. 

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