Social influence

  • Created by: Kayleigh
  • Created on: 28-10-18 16:58

Social influence is made up of two components: conformity and obedience. 
Conformity is yielding (altering your behaviour and beliefs) due to group pressure both imagined and real. It is also referred to as majority influence.

There are three types of conformity

  • Compliance:
    When a individual is influenced by a majority and conforms to the belief or behaviour publicly, but in private they resume their previous or a different behaviour or belief. It is a temporary change in behaviour. This usually happens when a person feels desire for approval or in order to fit in. An example of this is Asch's 1951 study.
  • Identification:
    When an individual changes their behaviour due to influence, usually occurs in social roles. When a person is given a social role for example, a police officer they have to change their behaviour but it is not a private change in behaviour. Their behaviour returns upon exiting the influence, it is not a permanent change. A research example of this is Zimbardo's Stanford Prison Experiment.
  • Internalisation:
    This is the strongest form of conformity. This occurs when an individual changes their behaviour both publicly and privately and they fully adopt the behaviour or belief as their own. This is a permanent change in their behaviour. An example of this in psychological research is Jenness's Jellybean Jar Experiment.

The explanations for conformity are: 

  • Informational: This is when a person has the desire to be right. This happens when a person looks to someone else for guidance, usually when they lack the knowledge or unsure of the situation and therefore seek guidance from someone who is more knowledgable. An example of this is Lucas' 2006 study where he found when students were asked to answer mathematical problems a lot of people conformed to the wrong


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