Social influence flashbook

  • Created by: AnnabellP
  • Created on: 11-12-17 21:07

Conformity: types and explanations

  • Types: internalisation = accepting group norms, identification = wanting to be like the group, public change, compliance = public change only
  • Explanations: information social influence = information and a desire to be right, normative social influence = norms and a desire to be like others and not look foolish
  • Strengths: 1) support for ISI - hard maths problems, more conformity, Lucas et al 2) support for NSI - conformity fell to 12.5% when answers written, Asch
  • Limitations: 1) ISI individual differences - students less conformist (28% vs 37% Asch) 2) Two-process approach oversimplified - not necessarily ISI or NSI 3) NSI individual differences - nAffiliators more conformist, McGhee and Teevan
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Conformity: Asch's research

  • Asch baseline study: procedure - line length task, 123 american students, confederates gave wrong answers, findings - naive participants conformed 36.8% of the time, 75% at least once, conclusion - most participants conformed to avoid rejection (NSI)
  • Variables affecting conformity: group size - three confederates 31.8% conformity, more made little difference, unanimity - presence of dissenter reduced conformity, task difficulty - conformity increased with harder task, showing ISI
  • Limitations: 1) Asch study 'child of its time' - later study no conformity, Perrin and Spencer, 2) Aritificial situation and task - trivial and not a 'real' group so not generalisable, 3) Limited application of findings - more conformity in collectivist cultures, Bond and Smith 4) Only applies to some situations - more conformity in groups of friends, Williams and Sogon 5) Ethical issues - e.g. participants deceived, but weigh up against benefits
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Conformity to social roles: Zimbardo's research

  • Procedure - SPE, student volunteers in mock prison, randomly allocated to roles, guards had complete power, prisoners and guards de-individuated to lose personal identity
  • Findings and conclusions - Guards identified with role and became increasingly more aggressive, Prisoners rebelled but passive after guards responded, SPE ended early (after 5 days), everyone conformed to their social roles
  • Strengths: 1) control of variables - increased internal validity
  • Limitations: 1) lack of realism - participants play-acted stereotypes, Banuazizi and Mohaved 2) understated dispositional influences, Fromm 3) contradicted by subsequent research - BBC study supported social identity theory, Reicher and Haslam 4) Ethical issues - conflict between Zimbardo's two roles
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Obedience: Milgram's research

  • Procedure: Naive  male volunteers gave 'shocks' to a 'learner' (Mr Wallace), An experimenter ordered participants to continue giving shocks, shock machine started at 15 volts and went up in 15 V steps to 450 V
  • Findings and conclusions: all participants gave at least 300 V, 65% gave 450 V, showed stress, prior to the study, survey of 14 students predicted 3% would give 450 V, participants debriefed, 84% reported they felt glad to have participated
  • Strengths: 1) High external validity - processes in lab same outside, Hofling et al 2) Support from replications - e.g. French reality TV show, 80% went to 450 V
  • Limitations: 1) Lacks internal validity - participants guessed shocks fake, Orne and Holland 2) SIT is alternative theory - participants gave shocks because identified with the experimenter, Haslam and Reicher 3) Ethical issues - e.g. deception betrays trust in research, Baumrind
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Obedience: situational variables

  • Proximity: teacher and learner in same room - obedience fell from 65%-40%, touch proximity - teacher forced learner's hand on plate - 30% obedience, remote instruction proximity - orders from experimenter over phone - 20.5% obedience
  • Location: experiment conducted in run-down building, 47.5% obedience
  • Uniform: Member of public in everyday clothes gave orders, 20% obedience
  • Strengths: 1) research support - uniform conveys authority/increases obedience, Bickman 2) supported by replications - e.g. in other cultures, although mostly Western 3) high control of variables - Milgram altered one variable at a time
  • Limitations: 1) low internal validity - participants knew procedure fake, Orne and Holland 2) 'obedience alibi' - blaming situational factors ignores racism, etc., Mandel
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Obedience: social-psychological factors

  • Agentic state: become 'agent' of authority, losing personal responsibility, switch from autonomous to agentic state is called agentic shift, binding factors reduce moral strain and ignore damaging effects of obedience
  • Strengths of agentic state: 1) research support - students saw participants as agents of experimenter, Blass and Schmidt
  • Limitations of agentic state: 1) Limited explanation - e.g. nurses in Hofling et al. didnt show anxiety 2) Limited explanation - cant explain disobedience in Battalion 101, Mandel
  • Legitimacy of authority: accept some people's authority, agreed by society, hand over control to trusted authority, learned to do so in childhood, history shows leaders often use legitimate authority destructively
  • Strengths of legitimacy of authority: 1) cultural differences in obedience - reflect differences in legitimacy, e.g. Germans 85% obedient, Mantell 2) explains real-life obedience - e.g. US Army hierarchy in My Lai massacre
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Obedience: dispositional explanations

  • Authoritarian personality: Adorno et al - unquestioning obedience is pathological, extreme respect to authority, contempt for 'inferiors', conventional attitudes, originates in childhood through strict parenting and conditional love, child's hostility to parents displaced onto weaker others - called scapegoating
  • Key study - Adorno et al: procedure - F-Scale measured authoritarianism of 2000 Americans, findings - high scorers showed deference to people of higher status
  • Strengths: 1) research support - links obedience and authoritarianism, Elms and Milgram
  • Limitations: 1) limited explanation - many Germans anti-semitic but not same personality 2) political bias - F-Scale can't explain left-wing authoritarianism, Christie and Jahoda 3) methodology - F-Scale flawed so theory lacks validity, Greenstein 4) correlational research - measures many variables but no cause and effect
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Resistance to social influence

  • Social support: conformity reduces if a peer dissents (Asch) because they act as a model, effect is temporary - naive participant conforms again if dissenter conforms, obedience reduces if one dissenter (Milgram study 65% down to 10%)
  • Strengths for social support: 1) research support - conformity reduced when one dissented, Allen and Levine 2) reseach support - participants less obedient with support, Gamson et al
  • Locus of control: internals place control within themselves, externals place control outside of themselves, there is a continuum from high internal -> low internal -> low external -> high external, internals can resist social influence, more confident, less need for approval
  • Strengths of locus of control: 1) research support - more externals continued to highest shock, Holland
  • Limitations of locus of control: 1) contradictory research - people now more independent but also more external, Twenge et al 2) locus of control exaggerated - only influential in new situations, so limited, Rotter
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Minority influence

  • Internalisation - with minority influence private as well as public view is changed, consistency - synchronic and diachronic - makes others rethink their own views, commitment - helps gain attentions e.g. through extreme activities (augmentation), flexibility - avoid rigidity - accept reasonable counter-arguments, snowball effect - minority over time becomes majority through conversion
  • Key study - Moscovici et al: procedure - 36 blue-green slides identified as green consistently or inconsistently, findings - consistent minority led to same wrong answer on 8.42% of trials, inconsistent minority led to 1.25%
  • Strengths: 1) research support - consistent minorities are influential, Wood et al - meta-analysis 2) research support - minority's messages processed more deeply, Martin et al 3) support for internalisation - minority more influential when answers written
  • Limitations: 1) artificial tasks - unlike real life so studies lack external validity 2) limited application - in real life minority/majority situations more complicated, e.g. majorities have status not just more numbers
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Social influence and social change

  • Lessons from minority influence: civil rights minority with consistent message draws attention to social issue, consistent minority forces majority to think more deeply about issue, minority becomes majority (snowball effect), source of change forgotten (socil cryptomnesia)
  • Limitations of lessons from minority influence: 1) minority influence indirect - also delayed, so narrow role, Nemeth 2) Deeper processing - majorities think as deeply as minorities so challenged Moscovici, Mackie 3) Identification - identifying with minority overlooked in research, Bashir et al
  • Lessons from conformity: dissenter breaks power of majority, and also appeal to NSI
  • Strengths of lesons from conformity: 1) support for NSI - reduced people's energy use, Nolan et al
  • Lessons from obedience: disobedient model promotes social change, gradual commitment helps
  • Limitations of lessons from obedience: 1) methodological issues - theories based on flawed studies, Milgram, Asch, etc.
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