Social Influence

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Conformity

Jellybeans Experiment

  • Asked pts. to guess how many jellybeans were in the jar.
  • Guessed on their own and in a group -> people changed their answers in the group

Evaluation:

  • Supports other research
  • Demonstated ISI

Asch's Experiment 1955

  • 123 male undergraduate students in groups of 7-9
  • Asked to match lines, only 1 participant, the rest confederates

Findings:

  • 75 % conformed to wrong answers - 25% did not conform
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Conformity

Asch's Variations

Group Size - more confederates = Slightly more conformity

Unanimity - Confederate who disagreed with others reduced the amount of conformity

Task Difficulty - lines more similar meant more conformity

Evaluation:

  • Deception - pts. told it was a visual judgement task
  • Demand Characteristics
  • Low ecological validity - Lab experiment
  • Androcentric - all male pts.
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Obedience

Milgram Experiement 196

  • Carried out at Yale University
  • 40 male pts.
  • Rigged draw - pts. always played the teacher

Findings:

  • All pts. went to atleast 300 Volts
  • 65% went to the highest voltage (450 Volts)
  • 3 pts. had full blown seizures

Evaluation:

  • Lack of protection from harm
  • Demand characteristics
  • Androcentric - all male pts.
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Obedience

Milgram's Variations

Proximity - pts. and confederates put in the same room = less obidient

Location - ran in a rundown building instead of university = less obidient

Uniform - no lab coat = less obidient

Explinations for obedience

Legitimacy of authority - More likely to obey people who have authority over us.

The Agentic State - No responsibility for behaviour because we are acting on authority 

Dispositional Explination - Any explination of behaviour that shows the individual's personality

Authoritarian Personality - Personality  to obeying authority

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Obedience

Authoritarian Personality

  • 2000 middle class White Americans
  • Developed the 'F Scale'

Findings:

  • People who scored high on the F scale = Authoritarian Personality
  • Strong correlation between authoritarianism and prejudice

Conclusions:

  • Authoritarian personality is people who have high respect for authority
  • They are especially obedient

Resistance to Social Influence

Social Support - People who resist pressures to conform = lead by example

Resistance - Withstand social pressure to confrom

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Obedience and Minority Influence

Locus of Control

  • Internal Locus - They can control what happens to themselves
  • External Locus - They have no control over what happens to themselves

Internal Locus =  more likely to resist conformity because they are responsible for their actions

Evaluation:

LOC may have been exaggerated as it can have little influence over behaviour and only come into play in particular situations.

Minority Influence

Commitment - Minorities are more powerful when they show dedication to their views

Consistency - MI is most effective if the minority keeps the same beliefs between all the people

Flexibility - Members of the minority prepared to adopt their POV and other arguments

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