Social Influence - Condensed

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  • Created by: niakm96
  • Created on: 15-05-14 22:39

Conformity (majority influence)

Asch (1955) 3 lines.

  • Aims & procedure: Shown standard line plus three stimulus lines. 123male participants, groups with 608 confederates. 18 trials, 12 were 'critical trials'.
  • Findings & conclusions: Wrong answers 36.8% of timetime (about 1/3), shows high conformity. Called the Asch effect. Some never conformed (25%), shows significant independence. Control trial found 1% mistakes.
  • Evaluation: Limitation- findings may be a 'child of the times'. Limitation- study may be low in ecological validity.

Asch (1955) Variations

  • Aims & procedure: Group size varied between one and 15 confederates. One dissenting confederate (either giving correct or a different, incorrect answer). A partner who changes his mind or leaves.
  • Findings & Conclusions: There was no effect with one confederate and the full effect with three confederates. Presence of a dissenting confederate reduce conformity (i.eled to greater independence). As soon as confederate changed from dissenting to conforming or the confederatelet, independent behaviour was reduced.
  • Evaluation: Limitation- Asch's research is that it only applies to certain groups of people. Limitation- findings only apply to certain situations. 

Why people conform

Explanation 1: Informational social influence

  • Description: Informational social influence (ISI) is about information, a desire to be right (cognitive process). ISI occurs in situations that are new or ambiguous, or where someone is more expert. ISI may lead to internalisation.
  • Evaluation: Strength- research support (Lucas et al.2006). Limitation- there are individual differences.

Explanation 2: Normative social influence

  • Description: Normative social influence (NSI) is about norms,a desire to behave like others and not look foolish (emotional process). NSI occurs in unfamiliar situations and also with people you know and want to be liked by. NSI may only lead to compliance. 
  • Evaluation: Strength- research support for NSI (Asch (1951). Limitation- individual differences. Limitation of ISI and NSI is that the 'two-process' approach maybe an oversimplification.

Explanation 3: Types of conformity.

  • Description: 1. Compliance, public not private, a superficial change. Stops when group pressure absent. Associated with NSI and may be associate with power. 2. Internalisation, public and private. More likely to be a lasting change. Associated with ISI and may be associated with identification and respect.
  • Evaluation: Strength- there is research support for the distinction between compliance and internalisation (Kelman 1958). Strength - there are real-world applications.


Milgram (1963) Obedience to unjust authority 

  • Aims & procedure: 40 male volunteers, aged 20-50 years,many different occupations. The participant was the 'teacher' and the confederate was the 'learner'. Electric shocks of increasing intensity were given for each mistake. The 'learner' was silent after 315 volts. If the participant wished to stop for the 'experimenter' had 4 standard 'prods'.
  • Findings & conclusions:12.5% stopped at 300 volts, 65% continued to 450 volts. The participants showed visible signs of stress. Prior to the study, students estimated that 3% might continue to 450 volts. Afterwards 84% said they were glad to have participated. 
  • Evaluation: Limitation- lacked ecological validity. Limitation - Lacked internal valitidy. Limitation- ethical issues.

Milgram (1974) Variations.

  • Aims & procedure: Proximity of 'learner' was closer and more intimate. Social…


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