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Social Influence: Questions
Terms in this set (45)
What was Asch's baseline procedure?
123 American male graduates were tested
Participants were put in a room with 5-7 confederates and were instructed to match up lines of the same length. The participant would answer second-last.
This group was compared with a control of people without confederates.
What were Asch's findings from the baseline procedure?
37% of the time, answers given conformed with the confederates. 25% of the participants never gave a wrong answer. People said they gave the deliberate incorrect answer either because they didn't want to be laughed at or they thought the rest of the group was right.
What other variables were investigated by Asch?
Group size, unanimity and task difficulty
What was the procedure and findings from Asch's group size variation?
Asch used a group of confederates ranging from 1-15. Asch found a curvilinear relationship: with 1 confederate there was 5% conformity, 3 to just over 30%, 4 to 35%, then above 4 made little difference, peaking at 7 confederates at 37%. This suggests people are very sensitive to other people's views.
What was the procedure and findings from Asch's unanimity variation?
Asch told one of the confederates to give a differing answer to the rest of the group (not always right). This made conformity drop to 9%. This suggests nonconformity is more likely when there are cracks in the majority's view.
What was the procedure and findings from Asch's task difficulty variation?
Asch made the line task harder, by making the differences between the lines smaller. Conformity increased in this variation. This suggests some participants acted under ISI.
Evaluate Asch's study
- Artificial situation and task, demand characteristics may have come into play especially with larger group sizes, Fiske said they may not have been very 'groupy' as they were strangers
- Limited application, only men, women may be more conformist and individualist cultures may be less likely to conform
+ Research support, Lucas at el. (2006) found people conformed to maths test answers of other people
- Ethical issues, participants were deceived
What are the types of conformity from most superficial to least?
Compliance, identification and internalisation
What are the characteristics of compliance?
Superficial, people's public behaviour changes but private beliefs do not.
What are the characteristics of identification?
People's public behaviour and private beliefs change, however this is only in the short-term, for a few years maybe.
What are characteristics of internalisation?
People's public behaviour and private beliefs change permanently (long-term), this is the deepest level of conformity.
What is NSI and is there research support?
Normative social influence is a reason why some people conform. This stems from the human desire to be liked and accepted by a social group. This is an emotional process.
+ Research support, Asch's 'late' variation of writing answers down conformity fell to 12.5%
- Individual differences, nAffiliators are more likely to conform than others
What is ISI and is there research support?
Informational social influence is a reason why some people conform. This stems from the human desire to be right. This is a cognitive process and can lead to internalisation.
+ Research support, Lucas et al. (2006) found people were more likely to agree with the group on more complex maths problems
- Could be either ISI/NSI, e.g. in the unanimity variation the other confederate could have broken the idea of being accepted by the group or introducing new information
What was Zimbardo's procedure?
21 male student volunteers who were classed as 'emotionally stable' were randomly allocated the role of prisoner or guard. They were then placed in a mock prison and encouraged to take on their social roles.
Prisoners were given a number instead of a name, wore a loose smock and tight cap to cover their hair.
The guards were given uniforms, reflective sunglasses, handcuffs and a wooden club to cause de-individuation.
Rather than leaving the study early, prisoners could ask for parole and guards were encouraged to use their power over the prisoners.
What were Zimbardo's findings?
Guards and prisoners quickly conformed to social roles and the prisoners rebelled after 2 days. The guards used tactics such as 'divide-and-rule' to make the prisoners resent each other. The prisoners became subdued and depressed. One was released due to psychological disturbance, asking for parole instead of leaving the study and two were released on the fourth day. One prisoner went on hunger strike and was put in 'the hole'. The guards became more aggressive so the study was ended after only 6 days.
What were Zimbardo's conclusions?
Social roles have a strong influence on individual's behaviour and were taken on easily.
Evaluate Zimbardo's study.
+ Control, random allocation to role controlled for individual differences so increase internal validity
- Lack of realism, based on stereotypes and participants may have been play-acting
+ Maybe more realistic, 90% of prisoner's conversations were about prison life
- Exaggerates the power of social roles, one third of guards were actually aggressive, one third were neutral and others were sympathetic to the prisoners
What was Milgram's baseline procedure?
40 American men from various occupations responded to an advert in the paper at a study at Yale university about punishment and learning. The participant was put in a room with the experimenter and asked to shock the 'learner' when they got incorrect answers. The teacher could not see the learner but could hear him.
What was Milgram's baseline findings?
All participants gave shocks up to 300V to the learner. Then 65% of participants went up to the maximum of 450V. Qualitative data was also collected including observations were participants were anxious and sweating, 3 even having seizures.
What did Milgram find when students were asked about the expected outcome of this study?
14 psychology students estimated that no more than 3% of people would shock to 450V.
What were Milgram's baseline conclusions?
The participants were willing to follow orders even when they may harm another person. Further studies were conducted to test different variables effecting obedience.
Evaluate Milgram's baseline study.
+ Research support, french documentary where participants were paid to give (fake) electric shocks to 'learners' 80% went to 460V
- Low internal validity, Milgram reported 75% of pps thought the shocks were real but later reviews suggest the pps were play-acting
+ Puppy study, 54% of men and 100% of women gave what they thought was a lethal shock to the puppy
- Ethical issues, lack of protection from harm as 3 participants had seizures and all were clearly very stressed
What situational variables did Milgram investigate and how did they change the outcome?
Proximity variation: Teacher and learner in same room, drop to 40%, less psychological distance
Location variation: Run-down office block, drop to 47.5%, less prestigious and legitimate
Uniform: Plain clothed instructor, drop to 20%, uniforms are symbols of authority
Touch variation: Teacher forces learners hand onto plate, drops to 30%
Phone variation: Instructions given over the phone, drop to 20%
Evaluate Milgram's variation studies.
+ Research support, Bickman's field experiment with different uniforms in NYC
+ Cross-cultural variations, Dutch study showed strong results
- Maybe not culturally accurate, only 2 variations were found to have been done in non-Western countries
- Low internal validity, demand characteristics as situations seemed too manipulated
- Danger of justifying evil behaviour due to situational factors
What is the agentic state, the autonomous state and the agentic shift?
Agentic state: Where you believe your actions are not your responsibility and you are under the command of an authority figure in a hierarchy
Autonomous state: Where you believe your actions are your responsibility and can act independently and free
Agentic shift: Shift from autonomous state to magnetic state
What are binding factors?
Factors of the situation that allow people to minimise responsibility and guilt from their actions, less moral strain.
How does legitimacy of authority explain obedience?
Societies are structured to be hierarchical so some people will have legitimate authority over us. These figures are expected to exercise their authority to keep society running smoothly. However, some people may abuse their power and this is when destructive authority happens, seen in figures such as Hitler and Stalin.
Evaluate situational explanations of obedience.
+ Agentic state research support, Milgram's pps when told 'the experimenter will take responsibility' went on until the end
- Agentic state limited explanation, nurse study found that 16/18 nurses disobeyed a doctor to administer a drug overdose
- Police Battalion 101, shot innocents without orders
+ Legitimate authority explains cultural differences, only 16% of Australian women in Milgram-style study went to 450V, whereas 85% in Germany
- Legitimacy of authority, cannot explain all disobedience e.g. nurses and Milgram's participants
What are characteristics of authoritarian personality and how can it explain obedience?
Extreme respect and submissiveness to authority, viewing society as weaker than it once was and therefore believing in the importance of strong leaders and love for the country. Also AP people show content to those of inferior social status, due to their black-and-white thinking. These 'other' people often become targets of political regimes.
What was Adorno's procedure and findings into AP?
Studies more than 2000 middle class, white Americans and their attitudes to other racial groups. They developed the potential-for-fascism (F-scale) to use on participants.
Adorno found that people with high F-scale scores identified with 'strong' people and generally showed contempt to the weak. These people also had a specific cognitive style of thinking and had distinct stereotypes about other groups.
Evaluate dispositional explanations of obedience.
+ Research support, 20 obedience people from Milgram's study scored significantly higher on the F-scales from non-obedient ones
- However, Milgram's pps had unusual characteristics for authoritarians such as not glorifying their fathers or having a strict childhood, suggesting a complex link between authoritarianism and obedience
- Limited explanation, cannot explain behaviour in the majority of a country's population, unlikely all had AP
- Political bias, there can be left-wing authoritarianism
How do people resist social influence with social support?
When people show resistance to the majority, e.g. in Asch's unanimity variation one dissenter caused a huge drop in conformity as they dissent leads the way for the pps dissent. In Milgram's obedience dropped to 10% when they had a disobedient experimenter with them as the legitimacy of the authority figure is challenged.
How do people resist social influence through their locus of control?
Rotter (1966) proposed that people with internal LOC believe that they have the power to change their future and are responsible for their own actions, whereas those with external LOC believe that everything is predetermined and down to luck.
LOC is a scale, not just one or the other. Internal LOCs have good resistance to pressure and make decisions based on their own beliefs instead of other's.
Another explanation may also be those with internal LOCs have more confidence.
Evaluate the resistance to social influence theory.
+ Social support, real-world research support, study showed that those who were given a 'buddy' to help stop smoking, smoked less than those who didn't
+ Social support, support for dissenting peers, 88% of groups in one study rebelled against the authority
+ LOC research support, a Milgram-recreation found those with internal LOCs were more likely to stop than those with external LOCs
- LOC Contradicting research, one US study showed over 40 years people became more resistant to obedience but would shift more towards an external LOC
What are the three aspects of successful minority influence?
Consistency, commitment and flexibility
What level of conformity is minority influence most likely to lead to?
How does consistency help the minority influence?
Synchronic: All hold the same beliefs
Diachronic: Same beliefs over time
This helps people rethink and challenge the majority's view
How does commitment help the minority influence?
Extreme activities show that the minority are willing to take risk for their cause. This can also involve giving up time, money and energy for their cause. The augmentation principle says that those who go against the majority view and constraints must have a more powerful cause than the majority.
How does flexibility help the minority influence?
Being too consistent can show the minority to be too rigid and unbending. Members need to be prepared to adapt their view.
How does minority influence explain the process of change?
The three contributing factors all help convert people from the majority to minority view. As more people convert, the faster the minority view is accepted by people, this is known as the snowball effect.
Evaluate the theory of minority influence.
+ Consistency research support, Moscovici et al.'s green/blue tile study showed than when the minority was consistent in their tile colours the more likely people were to agree with them
+ Deeper processing support, a study found that people were more likely to listen to a minority group's view
- Real-world minority influence situations are much more complex
- Artificial tasks, low ecological validity as many minority influence causes are political and/or carry much more importance
What lessons can be taken away from minority influence real-life examples?
Civil rights movement
1. Drawing attention to the problem of segregation through social proof
2. Consistency through millions attended marches
3. Deeper processing as people questioned the status quo
4. The augmentation principle as people risked their lives many times
5. Snowball effect as the government started to listen
6. Social cryptomnesia, people have changed their attitudes and as a result, don't remember their past ones
What lessons can be taken away from conformity research?
Dissent has the power to bring around social change
Campaigns may now appeal to NSI to convert people
Social change is encouraged by drawing attention to what the majority are actually doing.
What lessons can be taken away from obedience research?
Obedience can bring about social change through the process of gradual commitment, if one small instruction is obeyed it becomes easier to resist a bigger one as people 'drift' into a new kind of behaviour
Evaluate evidence for social influence and social change.
+ Research support for NSI, Nolan found when messages saying many people do this, people were more likely to follow
- Not all studies support the effectiveness of NSI
+ Explain minority influence, when people consider minority arguments they engage in divergent thinking which is broader
- Deeper processing, if you do not share the majority's views you consider their views more as the majority is more likely to be correct and you want to be liked and accepted
Some people resist social change as they don't want to be labelled as anything
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