Social Influence, Resisting Conformity and Obedience Revision Cards

All you need to know about Social Influence, Resisting Conformity and Obedience for Psyca2!

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  • Created by: Charlie
  • Created on: 27-05-12 17:43

Obedience to Authority - Milgram (1963) 1

Method: Took place at Yale University and 40 men took part. Each pp was introduced to a confederate and they drew lots to see who the learner would be and who the teacher would be (though this was always fixed so the participant was the teacher) The participant taught the learner word-pairs over an intercom. When the learner answered incorrectly, the participant had to be let out. After the 330V shock, the confederate made no further noise. If pps hesistated, the experimenter told them to continue.

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Obedience to Authority - Milgram (1963) 2

Results: 65% administered 450 V and none stopped before 300 V (when the learner started protesting). Most showed obvious signs of stress during the experiment, like sweating, groaning and trembling.

Conclusion: Ordinary people will obey orders to hurt someone else, even if it means acting against their consciences.

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Situational Factors in Disobedience

After Milgrams procedure he made some changes:

  • Setting - Yale University vs. Shabby Office (legitimate authority)
  • Ally/Teacher Confederate
  • Proximity - Closer the teacher is to the learner, the less likely they are to obey
  • Researcher out of sight (legitimate authority)
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Research into Non-Conformity - Gamson et al (1982)

Aim: To set up a situation in which pps were encouraged to rebel against unjust authority.

Procedure: Groups of 9 met by consultant from MHRC (a fictional HR company). A young man explained that MHRC was conducting research for oil company taking legal action against a petrol station manager. The manager was sacked because of an offensive lifestyle to local community. The manager argued he'd been sacked for speaking on local TV. Pps were asked to take part in a group discussion, their views were irrelevant. HR company wanted them to argue in favour of the sacking. At points, the cameraman switched off the camera and asked them to argue in favour of the oil company. Finally, the pps were asked to sign allowing filming in court.

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Research into Non-Conformity - Gamson et al (1982)

Findings: Out of 33 grous, 32 rebelled in some way. 25 out of 33 majority refused to sign. 9 even threatened legal action against MHRC. They had to break two well-established social norms (obedience/commitment)

Conclusion: When in a group, people are more likely to rebel/disobey/challenge

One of the pps in Gamson's study became aware that they were experiencing 'graduated commitment' and refused to continue as he was educated about the Milgram study and the damaging effects of blind obedience.

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Smith and Mackie (2000) Suggested 3 Reasons for Ga

  • The Importance of a Group: A group of peop.e who share a similar view can be used against an authority figure to present an alternative consensus of the correct way to behave.
  • Reactance: This is the response of individuals to attepts to limit their freedom of choice. Many people will react against unjust attempts to make them do something by doing the opposite. In Gamson's study,  pps rebelled against attempts to control their behaviour. Further research: Pennebaker and Sanders (1976) put one of two signs on college bathroom walls. The first one read "Do not write on these walls under any circumstances" and the seconds one read "Please don't write on these walls" - Two weeks later the walls with the first notice had far more graffiti on them.
  • Systematic Processing: Rebellion is more likely when people are able to take time to think carefully about what they are being asked to do. In Gamson's study, pps had sufficient time to consider their actions.
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Social Change

  • Social Influence: When an individual's thoughts or actions are affected by other people. Social influence takes may forms and can be seen in conformity, socialization, peer pressure, obedience, leadership, persuasion, sales and marketing.
  • Social Control: When social mechanisms regulate individual and group behaviour, leading to conformity and compliances to the rules of a given society or social group.
  • Social Change: Refers to the change in nature in social institutions, social behaviour or social relationships in a society or community. It is the term given to the range of strategies used by groups (usually minority) to improve their social status. The change is usually gradual (e.g. women's rights) but can be dramatic (e.g. armed revolution).
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Ashifur Khan


Nice! Helped a lot, thanks

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