Social Influence Flashcards


AO1 Types of Conformity/Explanations for Conformit

Compliance - conforming to gain approval 

Internalisation - conforming because of an acceptance of their views 

Identification - accepting influence because of a desire to be associated with a group. Indentification has elements of compliance and internalisation 

Normative social influence - conformity based on the desire for approval, more likely to occur when an individual believes they are under surveillance by the group 

Informational social influence - based on an acceptance of information from others as evidence about reality, more likely if the situation is ambiguous or where others are experts 

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AO3 Types of Conformity/ Explanations for Conformi

Difficulties distinguishing between compliance and internalisation 

Research support for normative influence e.g smoking take-up (Linkenbach and Perkins)

Research support for informational influence e.g attitudes about African Americans (Wittenbrink and Henley)

Nolan et al - people underestimate the impact of normative influence on their behaviour 

Informational influence is moderated by type of task (Laughlin)

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AO1 Variables Affecting Conformity: Key Study (Asc

Participants views lines of different lengths and compared them to a standard line. 

Group contained confederates with participants answering second to last 

Confederates gave the same wrong answer on 12 out of 18 trials 

Conformity rate was approx 33% 

Without confederates, participants made mistakes 1% of the time 

Participants conformed to avoid disapproval 

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AO1 Variables Affecting Conformity

Group size - increased 30% with majority of 3 - Campbell and Fairey - group size has different effect depending on type of judgement and motivation 

Unanimity of the majority - with one dissenter giving the right answer, conformity 5.5% - dissenter giving the wrong answer, conformity 9%

Difficulty of the task - if the correct answer less obvious, conformity was higher - Lucas et al - influence of the task difficulty moderated by individuals self efficacy 

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AO3 Variables Affecting Conformity

Asch's research a 'child of its time' (Perrin and Spencer) 

We know very little about the effect of larger majority sizes on conformity levels 

Independent behaviour rather than conformity - participants maintained their independence on two-thirds of trails 

Unconvincing confederates - Mori and Arai overcame this problem. Similar results to Asch 

Cultural differences in conformity - Smith et al found that conformity rates are higher in collectivist cultures 

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AO1 Conformity of Social Roles: Stanford Prison Ex

Male volunteers assigned roles of either prisoners or guards 

Prisoners referred to by numbers only, guards given uniforms and power to make rules 

Guards became tyrannical and abusive with the prisoners 

Prisoners conformed to their role with some showing extreme reactions of crying and rage 

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AO1 Conformity of Social Roles: BBC Prison Study

Male volunteers, matched on social and clinical measures, assigned roles of prisoners or guards

Unlike SPE, neither guards nor prisoners conformed to their assigned roles 

Prisoners worked collectively to challenge authority of the guards, resulting in power shift 

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AO3 Conformity to Social Roles

Conformity to roles is not automatic - -Haslam and Reicher argue the guards chose how to behave, rather than blindly conforming to a social role 

Banuazizi and Movahedi argue that participants behaviour in SPE was a response to power demand characteristics 

Were the studies ethical? Zimbardo's study followed ethical guidelines but participants still suffered, greater steps to minimise potential harm to participants in the BBC study 

The SPE and its relevance to Abu Ghraib - similarities between SPE and the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib 

Zimbardo claims unthinking conformity can lead to a drift into tyranny - disputed by Reicher and Haslam

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Research on Obedience: Key Study (Milgrim 1963)

40 volunteer participants in each condition

Real participants acted as 'teacher', confederate as 'learner' 

Teacher administered shock levels up to 450v 

65% went up to maximum 

All participants went to 300v (enough to kill a person)

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Situational Factors in Obedience

Proximity - obedience levels decreased with increasing proximity 

Location - obedience levels dropped to 48% in lower-status setting 

The power of uniform - people more likely to obey someone in a uniform (Bushman) 

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AO3 Research on Obedience

Ethical issues due to deception and lack of informed consent 

Internal validity - Orne and Holland claim many participants saw through deception

Indiviual differences - 8/9 replications found no gender differences in obedience (Blass) 

External validity - the obedience alibi (Mandel) 

Historical validity - no relationship between year of study and obedience level (Blass)

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AO1 Explanations for Obedience: The Agentic State

Person acts as an agent to carry out another persons wishes 

Binding factors operate to maintain obedience  e.g social etiquette 

Demonstrated in actions at My Lai

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AO1 Explanations for Obedience: Legitimacy of Auth

Person must perceive an individual in a position of social control 

People accept definitions of a situation offered by legitimate authority figure 

Legitimate commands arise from institutions e.g the university or the military 

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AO3 Explanations for Obedience

The agentic state does not explain gradual transitions found in Nazi doctors 

Agentic state or cruelty? 

Legitimacy can serve as the basis for justifying harm to others 

Agentic shift is a common response when a person loses self control (Fennis and Aarts) 

Tarrow provides support for power of legitimate authority in aircraft cockpits 

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AO1 The Authoritarian Personality

People scoring high on F scale raised within authoritarian family background (Adorno et al) 

RWA - conventionalism, authoritarian submission, authoritarian aggression (Altemeyer) 

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The Authoritarian Personality: Key Study (Elms and

20 'obedient' participants and 20 'defiant' participants 

Completed MMPI and F scale, asked open ended questions 

Little difference between obedience and defiant participants on MMPI 

Higher levels of authoritarianism in obedient participants 

Obedient participants reported being less close to fathers 

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AO3 The Authoritarian Personality

Correlation between RWA scores and maximum voltage shock (Dambrun and Vatine) 

Explanations based on authoritarianism lack flexibility 

Many fully obedient participants had good relationships with their parents 

Education mya determine authoritarianism and obedience (Middendorp and Meloen)

Left-wing views associated with lower levels of obedience (Begue et al)

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AO1 Resistance to Social Influence: Social Support

Presence of social support enables individual to resist conformity (Asch) 

Social support breaks unanimity and provides an independent assessment of reality 

Disobedient peers act as role models 

Obedience rates dropped to 10% when two confederates defied experimenter (Milgram)

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AO1 Resistance to Social Influence: Locus of Contr

Internal LOC = greater independence and less reliance on the opinions of others 

External LOC = more passive attitude and greater acceptance of the influence of others 

High internals less vulnerable to influence and better able to resist coercion (Hutchins and Etsey) 

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AO3 Resistance to Social Influence

Social support in conformity studies more effective when it was from first responder in group 

Support may not have to be valid to be effective (Allen and Levine) 

Locus of control related to normative but not informational influence (Spector) 

Substantial increase in externality since 1960 (Twenge et al) 

The Rosenstrasse protest showed power of social support 

People high in externality more easily persuaded and more likely to conform (Avtgis)

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AO1 Minority Influence

Minority influence effective with a consistent committed and flexible style 

Wood et al - minorities who were especially consistent were more influential 

Commitment important as it suggests certainty and confidence 

Flexibility more effective at changing opinion than rigid arguments 

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Minority Influence: Key Study (Moscovi et al)

Groups of 4 naive participants and two confederates 

Shown blue slides varying in intensity but confederates called them green 

Group 1 confederates answered consistently, group 2 confederates answered inconsistently 

Consistent minority influenced naive participants to say green on 8% of trails 

Inconsistent minority exerted very little influence 

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AO3 Minority Influence

Research support for flexibilty (Nemeth and Brilmayer) 

Real value of minority is that it 'opens the mind' (Nemeth) 

Mackie argues that it is the majority that processes information more 

Xie et al - percentage of committed opinion holders necessary to 'tip' the majority was 10% 

But difficult to convince people of the value of dissent 

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AO1 Social Influence Processes In Social Change: M

Drawing attention to an issue 

Minority creates a conflict between majority position and minority position 

Minorities more influential when they express their views consistently 

Augmentation principle - minorities more influential if they suffer for their views 

Snowball effect - an initial small effect spreads more widely until it reaches a tipping point 

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AO1 Social Influence Processes In Social Change: M

If people perceive something as the norm, they alter their behaviour to fit that norm 

Correcting misperceptions about 'actual' norms using social norms interventions 

E.g most of us don't drink and drive campaign 

Resulted in a drop of drink driving by 13% 

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AO3 Social Influence Processes in Social Change

Influence of majority more likely to be latent rather than direct 

Being perceived as 'deviant' limits influence of minorities 

Social norms interventions have their limitations - not all have led to social change e.g De long et al 

Social norms interventions and the boomerang effect e.g Schultz et al with electricity usage 

The Community Manifesto - overcame issues that typically limit the influence of minorities 

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