Social influence


Define the 2 explanations of conformity

informational social influence: ppl have the desire to be right, so when uncertain, will look towards others for info on what to do. most likely occurs in ambiguous situations where correct behaviour is unclear, often resulting in internalisation of other values into their own behaviour.
normative social influence: ppl have desire to be liked, so we alter behaviour to be accepted by the majority. most likely results in compliance, where we conform to the majority's values/behaviour during the time spent w/ them, but revert back to own beliefs/behaviour when we leave the situation, so compliance is only a short term change.

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Evaluate the explanations of conformity

-supporting: Sherif asked participants how far they judged a spot of light to move in dark room. individual answers had variation (5-30cm) but when put into groups of 3, conformed to group norm (1 answer). shows informative SI.
-supporting: Asch found in an easy line task that when 3 confederates gave wrong answers first, participants gave same answer (32% conformity across trials). shows normative SI.
-applications: to stop Jury's conforming to majority verdict, they're required to cast their vote privately, reducing pressures to conform, thus fairer verdict...useful applications for society.
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Define the 3 types of conformity

compliance = in order to achieve favourable reaction from group, they will exhibit behaviours to gain rewards & avoid disapproval, however, its likely they dont agree w/ groups values, so will stop conforming when group pressures are absent. usually results from normative SI.
identification = deeper than compliance, as they value membership of group, so maintains their behaviour even in their absence, however, still temporary as when they leave group, they're likely to revert back to old values.
internalisation = 'true conformity' (deepest lvl) where they accept influence of group as their ideas/actions are rewarding & consistent w/ his/her own belief system, resulting in permanent value/behaviour change. usually results from informational SI.

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Evaluate the 3 types of conformity

-supporting: after Asch's line task, participants reported their judgements to be distorted by majority of the group, & that they changed their answer temporarily to avoid group disapproval, showing compliance.
-supporting: Sherif further asked participants individually after group norm was established & they maintained group norm, showing internalisation.
-applications: shows us the importance of truly persuading minority away from existing values/behaviours, to result in internalisation rather than compliance. e.g. trying to persuade heavy smokers to have permanent behaviour/value changes requires strong enough message to result in permanent change/internalisation.

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Outline & evaluate Sherif's auto-kinetic light stu

PROCEDURE: -repeated measures using autokinetic effect (optical illusion) in dark room.
-C1: asked how far light moved individually
-C2: put into groups of 3 & asked for estimates aloud
-C3: asked for individual estimates again
CONCLUSION: C1 had variety (5-30cm), C2 conformed to group norm estimate & maintained this for C3, showing prevalence of informational SI & internalisation.
-high internal validity: controlled experimental conditions in lab setting & managed to accurately measure internalisation, which is hard to do w/ experimental manipulation.
-supporting: jellybean experiment used similar procedure & found convergence of answers in group norm, also maintained after (high reliability). however, these lab experiments may not reflect real-life compliance/internalisation (ecological validity).
-lack of mundane realism: using trivial tasks which arent important to the individual may not produce real-life reflection, so results may exaggerate the actual prevalence of compliance.

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Outline Asch's line experiment (measuring complian

PROCEDURE: - control group (no confederates) made only 3 mistakes over 720 trials.
-experimental group were put into groups of 7-9, consisting of only 1 participant, the rest confederates, who all gave their wrong answers first, on 12/18 of the trials.
FINDINGS: -32% basic conformity rate, 74% participants conformed at least once, 5% did so on every trial & 26% didnt conform at all. when asked, they said they wanted to please experimenter, as they though conforming was what they wanted. others' said they genuinely doubted their eyesight & didnt want to appear different.

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Evaluate Asch's line experiment (measuring complia

-useful application: informed trade unions/voting to not use show of hands when deciding on something e.g. strike action & private ballots for voting have become new norm to avoid compliance/normative SI.
-cultural bias: 100 studies using Asch type procedure found individualist cultures have less conformity (where Asch's study was carried out) due to values of independence/autonomy, compared to collectivist cultures, showing more conformity due to values of inter-dependence, thus we cant generalise his results to non-western cultures.
-lacks mundane realism: cant generalise to real life due to trivial nature of task, leading to overestimation of conformity. also, studying conformity outside of its social context uses artificial situations, where conforming behaviour may look odd/negative, when it's actually essential for social cohesion.

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Define the 3 factors affecting conformity (in the

GROUP SIZE: (Asch) in larger groups of 15 confederates, there was less conformity, possibly due to suspicion.
UNANIMITY: (Asch) when 1 confederate gave correct answer right before participant, their conformity dropped, & when a confederate dissenter gave diff. answer from majority, it also dropped, showing participant seeks support.
DIFFICULTY OF TASK: conformity increases when task is more difficult, resulting from uncertainty.

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Evaluate the 3 factors affecting conformity (in th

-useful applications: research into group size shows optimum numbers to achieve conformity, which can be used on bad behaviour in schools e.g. one kid behaving badly put w/ 3 well behaved kids. observation of larger group sizes informs us they are no more/less influential than smaller ones. however, use of large group in lab setting resulted in suspicion, so should be careful when using lab experiments when explaining real-life behaviour.
-implications: shows when trying to influence new member, majority of group need to maintain same public opinion (even if not internalised) to be successful. also for jury situations, explains how one may fall to pressures of unanimous majority.
-applications: understanding that conformity increases w/ difficulty of the task (normative & informational SI combining) can be helpful for teachers when assigning tricky tasks e.g. easier for students to be in a group.

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Discuss Zimbardo's Stanford Uni Prison experiment

AIM: test dispositional V situational hypothesis - are prison guards violent due to their personality or their role?
-21 mentally stable males assigned random role of guard or prisoner in Uni basement which was converted to mock prison.
-'arrested' in homes, taken to 'prison' & stripped/dehumanised w/ prison outfit & given number referral instead of name.
-guards deindividuated by given uniform, sunglasses & same names as 'Mr.Correctional officer', & told to keep prisoners in line, prohibiting physical violence.
-after 1 day, prisoners rebelled & ripped off numbers.
-guards locked them in cells & took their blankets, & became increasingly sadistic.
-prisoners humiliated, depressed & submissive, signs of serious stress.
-1 prisoner released after 36hrs due to rage/crying fits
-experiment halted after 6 days due to unforeseen effects on prisoners.
-supports situational hypothesis, due to guards adopting violent roles which were randomly allocated, & no mental abnormalities were found before research, so dispositions unlikely.

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Evaluate Zimbardo's Stanford Uni Prison experiment

-incomplete explanation: doesnt fully support situational hypothesis as guards exhibited diff. lvls of aggression, some were reluctant to show authority & there was clear ringleader, thus theres individual differences/biological predispositions to consider when using this explanation.
-lacks reliability/temporal validity: similar replication of Z's study shown on BBC, whereby prisoners rapidly took charge of prison & guards reluctant to exercise authority, small group of prisoners took charge of prison, resulting in social breakdown of roles & study was called off. this shows methodological issues w/ Z's study, as well as low temporal validity, as ppl are now less likely to conform to roles which negatively affects others, showing social roles are no longer as rigid.
-ethical issues: didnt consider full effects of psychological harm of prisoners, partly due to Z occupying prisoner superintendent role, resulting in lack of professionalism to role/duty of psychologist & his involvement could have resulted in investigator effects & demand characteristics.

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Outline Milgram's study of obedience

AIM: relates to Nazi practices, how far will ppl obey an instruction if it harms others.
-volunteer male sample (40) aged 20-50
-introduced to 'learner' (confederate/'Mr.Wallace') who's taken to adjoining room w/ electric shock generator & asked to recall words from list.
-'teacher' (participant) asked to administer shock for every mistake, increasing volts every time. (no actual shocks given)
-learner purposefully gave many wrong answers, when teacher refused to give shocks, experimenter gave series of orders to make them continue.
-all participants obeyed up to 300V
-65% obeyed up to 450V
-many participants ('teachers') exhibited signs of nervousness e.g. trembling/stuttering & 3 experienced seizures. this shows normal ppl will follow orders of authority figure, even to extent of killing, showing how obedience is ingrained in us through socialisation.

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Define 2 psychological explanations of obedience

AGENTIC STATE = majority of the time we are in autonomous mode: acting according to law & moral conscience, understanding the responsibility of our actions. however, sometimes we pass responsibility on to the authority figure, as we are an 'agent' of the figure & no longer responsible/accountable for our actions, enabling us to act in ways which aren't possible in autonomous mode.
LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY = we obey to those w/ authority due to belief of that they know what they're doing. in society, they're given the right to exert control over others, accompanied by their status e.g. uniform, position in family. we believe they have the power to punish/may trust them, explaining our obedience.

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Evaluate 2 psychological explanations of obedience

-supporting: (agentic state) film evidence from M's study shows reluctance to perform harmful acts , but experimenters assurance that they're responsible, not the participant, caused them to carry on. e.g. Adolph Eichman performing 'final solution' which was mass murder of Jews said 'i was just following orders'.
-useful applications: Eichman's defence of following orders wasnt accepted, also helps us to educate ppl the negative implications of blind obedience/malevolent authority.
-supporting: found 92% of pedestrians obeyed order of giving money for parking meter to stranger in security guard outfit, compared to 49% who gave it to person in normal clothes, showing role of legitimate authority.

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Define the 3 situational factors of obedience

PROXIMITY = when 'Mr.Wallace' was further away, participant more able to avoid consequences of their action, so they were more likely to obey. closer to experimenter means more obeying due to pressure, lessened when they're out of room.
LOCATION = obedience increases in prestigious locations (Yale Uni, Milgram) as authority figure is associated w/ the location.
UNIFORM = higher obedience w/ uniform.

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Evaluate the 3 situational factors of obedience

-supporting: Milgram found when learner & teacher put in same room, obedience dropped to 40% & when experimenter gave orders via phone, dropped to 20.5%
-supporting: uniform (92% pedestrians giving money to security guard, 49% to ordinary clothed person) location (Milgram found only 48% obedience when moved study from Uni to ran-down office).
-other factors: study replicated in AUS & only 16% obedience, also replicated in GERM & found 85%, showing cultural differences in socialisation & values, so although situational factors are important, there are other significant factors.

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Describe the dispositional/biological explanation

THE AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY = Milgram suggested having this characteristic makes you more likely to be obedient & results from strict upbringing w/ emotionally distant parents, which leads to high respect of authority, ingraining this value in adult personality. they're very obedient to those who they perceive above them in the hierarchy, but may attempt to control those they believe to be below them, possibly explaining different obedience rates in M's study.

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Evaluate the dispositional/biological explanation

-supporting: Zilmer used F-scale & found 16 Nazi criminals scoring high, Milgram found those highly obedient scored higher than less obedient. However, Zilmer said only 3 dimensions on F-scale (measure of authoritarianism) were relevant, so may be only specific traits of the authoritarian personality are related to obedience.
-correlational research: lacks internal validity, as we cant say those w/ A.P in M's study caused higher obedience as other variables may have been unaccounted for. Retrospective research cant establish the direction of the effect, Nazi's may have developed A.P from being part of the regime, so we cant draw firm conclusions.
-researcher bias: they all assume A.P is exclusive to right-wing, however, study using F-scale on left-wing found a parallel to Adorno's results, therefore showing they're just as susceptible to A.P, but researchers expectations may fabricate idea that higher obedience is associated w/ certain personality type/view so its a limited explanation.
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Define the 2 explanations of resistance to social

SOCIAL SUPPORT = having an ally/dissenter, even if they dont have same views, gives person social support for non-comformity/non-obedience. this is because they remove the fear of being ridiculed, allowing them to avoid normative social influence, & also may help them resist obedience, as its easier to stand up to authoritative figure w/ someone else who'll receive same consequences.
LOCUS OF CONTROL = the extent of belief of control over your own life. ppl w/ high external L.O.C believe that fate, powerful others or chances will determine what happens, compared to those w/ high internal L.O.C, who're more likely to attempt to influence others', as they assume their efforts will be successful, thus, need less social approval therefore less likely to adapt behaviour & they'll be resistant to SI.

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Evaluate the 2 explanations of resistance to socia

-support: M found when 2 disobedient confederates were present, participant obedience dropped to 10%, but w/ 2 obedient confederates, obedience rose to 92.5%, showing role of social support, & also what happens when there's a lack of it.
-support: M researched backgrounds of disobedient participants & found they scored higher on scale measuring sense of social responsibility. research into non-jewish ppl (lived through holocaust) who rescued Jews found they had high scores of internal L.O.C & social responsibility compared to control (non-jews who didnt rescue anyone).
-lacks internal validity: cant establish internal L.O.C causing resistance to social influence, as there may be another factor causing independence, e.g. parenting styles may have developed internal L.O.C & independence (confounding variable).

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Define minority influence & the 3 factors which ma

MINORITY INFLUENCE = when individual/small group changes views/behaviour of the majority. its most likely to result in internalisation as its likely to result from informative social influence which reflects true conversion of views. they're more likely successful when acting from principle, not self-interest e.g. similar to majority in terms of gender, class etc, & advocating views consistent w/ social trends
1)consistency = sticks w/ views over long period of time
2)flexibility = being able to adapt/not rigidly stick to views/behaviour in light of contradictory info.
3)commitment = notion they're committed to view/behaviour, possibly willing to make sacrifices for the cause.

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Evaluate minority influence

-support: 4 participants + 2 confederates, both of which claiming blue slide was green across all trials, which led to participants calling slides green 8.4% of time. when confederates only called blue slides green in some trials, this reduced to 1.25%, showing evidence, but also lack of consistency questions true role of minority influence.
-challenging: simulated jury where 1 confederate member showed consistency by not altering view had no affect on other members, however, when a confederate compromised, shifting slightly towards majority, it successfully exerted influence, showing consistency isnt effective w/out compromise.
-challenging: its still difficult to convince ppl to dissent, although ppl seem to accept the idea of being democratic/tolerant, irritation is evident when there's a dissenting view threatening the groups harmony, as result, we will attempt to belittle dissenting view/try to contain it. we're socialised to 'fit in' & the repercussions of being marginalised from associating w/ a 'deviant view' means majority view tends to persist.

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Outline Moscovici's study (supporting consistency)

PROCEDURE: 4 participants w/ 2 confederates who incorrectly identified blue slides as green for (all) 36 trials (C1). in 2nd part (C2), they answered green for 24 trials & blue for 12.
RESULTS: 8.4% participants answered green in C1, dropped to 1.25% for C2. 1/3 participants answered green at least once.

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Evaluate Moscovici's study of consistency (M.I)

-experimental conditions: highly controlled, successfully isolated variable of consistency to show its effects so we can apply to real life e.g. those who want social change know importance of consistency.
-external validity: sample was small & female, so cant generalise to men & trivial + artificial nature of the situation means we cant generalise to real life.
-challenging: simulated jury study...consistency only worked when accompanied w/ flexibility.

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Discuss the 6 stages of social influence in social

1) Drawing attention to issue = drawing majority's attention to issue, if they dont agree w/ ideas, this causes conflict which needs to be reduced e.g. suffragettes using political/militant tactics such as organised protests.
2) Cognitive conflict = (one's behaviours & actions not aligning) if minority views conflict w/ majority's existing values, this may cause shift to minority's viewpoint in order to reduce conflict, although it might not result in permanent shift, the majority may think more deeply about values being challenged. e.g. existing laws of only men allowed to vote & the suffragettes advocating for the women vote led to some moving towards their viewpoint, whilst others' simply dismissed it.
3) Consistency of position = e.g. suffragettes consistent in protesting for years before law change.
4) Augmentation principle = minority willingly suffering for views, seen as committed & taken more seriously.
5) Snowball effect = as more & more ppl consider minority viewpoint until reaches 'tipping point', reaching wide-scale change. it initially wins over some members of majority who resolve cognitive conflict & internalise minoritys idea, then later, using normative SI & compliance, gains momentum so remaining ppl conform to avoid social disapproval.
6) Social cryptoamnesia = majority take on ideas of minority & forget where they came from/deliberately disassociate themselves, this is because they dont want to associate w/ minorities negative images, even though they were previously persuaded by minority influence.

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Evaluate the 6 stages of social influence in socia

-supporting research: social cryptoamnesia is shown by previous majority views of not behaving in environmentally friendly ways due to minority being regarded as 'tree-huggers'/'man-haters', however, recent shift to environmentally friendly behaviours becoming the norm shows how society must've forgotten where message had come from in order for social change to take place.
-challenging: majority influence can also cause social in San Diego found ppl who were under the impression of the majority conforming to norm (reducing energy) would also conform, compared to those who weren't under this impression, & where simply asked to carry out the task of reducing energy, who didnt conform.
-applications: its now understood that minoritys should avoid stereotypes associated w/ views they hold if they hope to impose social change. communism shows how an influential minority overcame 'deviant' views by stating in their manifesto that they had no interests apart from majority & emphasised w/ WC & demonised RC.

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