social influence


Conformity- a change in behaviour or opinion in order to fit in with a group involving social influence

Reasons for conformity-

  • Compliance- avoid punishment (Asch)
  • Normative- peer pressure/ fear of rejection (Asch)
  • Informational- looking for guidance (Sherif)
  • Ingratiational- gain acceptance/ impress

Experimental research- Asch (1951)

  • Aim- 
    • Investigate the conformity of participants to majority social influence by giving incorrect answers when the correct answers are blantantly obvious
  • Procedure- 
    • 7 male students looked at two cards with vertical lines and were asked to state which line was the same length as the test line
    • All participants except one were accomplices of Asch
    • Accomplices gave incorrect answers on 12/18 trials
  • Results- 
    • Participants conformed on 32% of critical trials
    • 74% of participants conformed at least once
    • 26% never conformed 
    • Some conforming participants claimed to have seen the "correct" answer as true
    • Others felt compelled to accept the mistake to avoid being rejected
    • Some experienced informational pressure and doubted their own judgement
  • Evaluation-
    • All participants were male and college students therefore can be said to be bias
    • Time and place may have affected findings as 1950s america was very conservative

Obedience- following instructions or co-operating

Reasons for conformity

  • Milgram proposed that when we act as the agent of an authority figure we can easily deny personal responsibility for our actions
  • It is deeply ingrained from early childhood that we should be obedient toward authority

Experimental research- Milgram (1992)

  • Aim-
    • Investigate whether American citizens would obey an unethical order from an authority figure that involves inflicting pain upon another person
  • Procedure-
    • 40 male volunteers, paid $4.50 and asked to participate in a study about learning that would involve giving someone an "electric shock"
    • The participant…


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