Social Influence

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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


  • 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


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


  • Deception - pts. told it was a visual judgement task
  • Demand Characteristics
  • Low ecological validity - Lab experiment
  • Androcentric - all male pts.
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Milgram Experiement 196

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


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


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

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


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


  • 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


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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