Chapter 6: Social Influence- Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience
Terms in this set (63)
a change in overt behavior caused by real or imagined pressure from others (includes conformity, compliance, and obedience)
behavior change designed to match the actions of others - discomfort is felt in a situation where we feel as if we strongly stand out/don't fit in-can still occur without overt social pressure
behavior change that occurs as a result of a direct request
compliance that occurs in response to a directive from an authority figure
Sherif (1936) Autokinetic Study
subjects were put in a dark room and told to watch a pinpoint of light and report how far it moved (the light was in fact not moving but appeared to be in a dark room due to an autokinetic effect) -however, people most often believe that the light was moving
1st people were put in the room by themselves and established their own judgment of how much the light moved.
2nd -people were put in the room with 2 or 3 others, and the judgment of how much light moved became a compromise between the group members
agreed-upon standards of behavior
Solomon Asch (1956) Research on Group Influence
interested in the submission of individuals to group forces
procedure: asked college students to choose the line that matched the length of the standard line
when there was no group pressure/influence -95% of people did the standard line test correctly
in the experimental group, 5 confederate students listed their opinion of what they thought was the matching line (which was obviously incorrect) -75% of the people dismissed their own opinions and conformed to the confederates, stating the incorrect answer KNOWING that it was incorrect.
Why did students in the Asch experiment choose to conform?
Whenever they resisted the consensus of the other participants, the are of their brains associated with negative emotion (the amygdala) became activated- reflecting what researchers call "the pain of independence"
defying one's peers produced a painful emotional state causing participants to avoid noncomformity
Baron et al. (1996) Study
participants were given an eyewitness task-were shown a picture of a perpetrator and then asked to pick him out of a lineup
task was made ambiguous by having perpetrator dressed different in lineup and flashing the picture of the lineup for only half of a second -Participants completed the task in groups with three confederates who gave the wrong answer on seven critical trials. Baron et al. found that participants were more influenced (in this case by informational social influence) by the confederate's answers when the task was more important—an important extension of Sherif's work.
-(importance of task was manipulated by telling different control groups different levels of importance for the test)
Theodore Newcomb Bennington College Study (1943)
the study examined the attitudes of college students attending the all-female Bennington College
attitudes were first assessed for the incoming freshman in 1935- and then again in 1939 when they were seniors - the study revealed that most attitudes went from very conservative to liberal by senior year
-suggests that late adolescence is a key time for change
Bennington College study highlights the influence of a group on individual attitudes and preferences. The salience of the liberal group norm at the college, in combination with students' willingness to break with existing beliefs and a desire to assume leadership positions within the group, facilitated the ease with which
the majority of women changed their attitudes from conservative to liberal.
A research approach in which the researcher infiltrates the setting to be studied and observes its workings from within
-participated in systematic natural observations (participation observation)-"internal spy"
-to study the compliance professions from the inside, he enrolled in the training programs of a broad range of these professions (sales, advertising, fundraising, etc)
-found six widely used and successful principles of influence
Why do we conform?
the dependence perspective (minority depends on the majority for cognitive info and social acceptance)
-compliance vs. acceptance: public compliance =overt behavioral change toward majority decision/position
private acceptance=covert attitude change (true hidden beliefs)
Reciprocation (principle of influence)
people are more willing to comply with requests (for favors, information, concessions) from those who have provided such things first-people feel an obligation to reciprocate
Commitment/Consistency (principle of influence)
people are more willing to be moved in a particular direction if they see it as a consistent with an existing commitment
people are more willing to follow the recommendations of someone they view as an authority-so automatic is the tendency to follow an authority
people are more willing to take a recommended step if they see evidence that many others, especially similar others, are taking it.
people find objects and opportunities more attractive to the degree that they are scarce, rare, or dwindling in availability
rare value: marketers have found that making an item seem scarce increases its perceived value
people prefer to say yes to those they know and like
Authorities as Experts
we can often use authorities as a decision-making heuristic because often times authorities are experts-there is also a strong influence on compliance because we are more motivated to choose correctly
Authorities as Agents of Influence
by claiming "experience, expertise, or scientific recognition" a professional will try to harness the power and title of authority and use it to influence others
the capacity to influence that flows from one's presumed wisdom or knowledge
an interpersonal way to locate and validate the correct choice
-because the desire to choose correctly is powerful, the tendency to follow the crowd is both strong and widespread.
Behaviors become more valid when...
many others are performing them.
What are the factors that spur people to use the actions of others in the process of trying to choose correctly?
going with the group decision-disregarding your own because they seem confident in their opinion
going with the rebel's opinion if it is in agreement with yours because it justifies your beliefs
when people follow the lead of others to make good choices for THEMSELVES, it is usually done because they want to follow the actions of individuals similar to themselves
when people don't trust their own judgments, they look to others for evidence of how to choose correctly- this can be because the situation is ambiguous
-can also develop from lack of familiarity with a situation:people are likely to follow the lead in these situations
-can happen when task someone faces is difficult to solve
-people conform so they CHOOSE ACCURATELY
-the motivation to be accurate pushes us toward conformity only when we are unsure of our own judgments
Being "correct" can mean...
being socially appropriate or approved
-wanting to belong
Stanley Schachter (1951)
in newly formed discussion teams, he planted a male confederate who asserted an opinion different from the other members-the groups typical reaction followed a 3 step sequence:
1. the others directed a large number of comments to the deviate, arguing heatedly with him
2. when he failed to come into line with the group mind, the other members began to ignore him and treat him with disdain
3. finally, when he held firm through the shift from attack to cold shoulder, he was outright rejected with a vote to expel him from the group
-he found that in a group study where the confederate begins with disagreement but then CONFORMS to the rest of the group by the end-they end up accepting them as an equal
-the point here: the problem is not being different but STAYING different against the consensus and as a result, many individuals will shift towards the group consensus to be acccepted and avoid rejection
How people know which behaviors will lead to social acceptance. Descriptive and injunctive norms connect to the second goal of social influence-social approval
a norm that defines what behaviors are typically performed
a norm that defines what behaviors are typically approved or disapproved
Norm of Reciprocity
an injunctive norm that requires we repay others with the form of behavior they have given us (every human society abides by this norm)
"you buy me lunch today and I'll buy you lunch when I get my paycheck next week"
What happens when the norm of reciprocity is violated?
social disapproval and threat to the given relationship will occur
what people make to one another in negotiations-after receiving this from another, most people will feel an obligation to make one in return.
a technique that increases compliance by beginning with a large favor likely to be rejected and then retreating to a more moderate favor
a technique that increases compliance with a large request by first getting compliance with a smaller, related request
a technique that increases compliance by "sweetening" an offer with additional benefits
Desire for approval
shows the nice personality factor of "agreeableness" -which includes warmth, trust, and helpfulness
agreeable people are described as accomodating and compliant
resisting social influence factors
a tactic that operates to increase compliance by disrupting one's initial, resistance-laden view of a request and quickly reframing the request in more favorable terms (reducing the power of the omega forces)
Brehm's theory that we react against threats to our freedoms by reasserting those freedoms, often by doing the opposite of what we are being pressured to do.
-means of resisting social influence
-when social pressure threatens to take away of our freedom of actions-we act in the opposite way
-"I'm being told what to do and now I will do the opposite"
a situational factor which affects the impact of social approval-we are more attracted/influenced by those who are good-looking and those with whom we share connections and similarities
a situational factor affecting social approval
-conformity is less prevalent in private
Alan Stacy (1992) (and coworkers)
research study done investigating several possible factors that might reduce high school students' vulnerability to peer norms for cigarette smoking
only 1 proved effective: the students' belief that they possessed the ability to resist their peers' influence (a student who held this belief was significantly more likely to withstand even strong group norms)
"Just Say No"
students repeatedly practice how to deflect the negative influences of classmates
even though the students coming to see themselves as more able to resist peer influence, the students in the programs often become MORE likely to engage in the unhealthy habits!!
Why did the reverse effect of the "just say no" programs occur?
after participating in multiple "just say no" skits and exercises intended to bolster their resistance to peer pressure to drink, students ended up coming to believe that drinking was more common among their peers than they had previously thought
-an unintended message was conveyed: "a lot of your peers do this and want you to do this" -students now perceived that this was the norm for people their age
How do students perceive the messages conveyed in these health education programs?
rather than viewing it as
-"look at all the people like you who are doing this really unhealthy thing"
students saw it as
-"look at all the people like you who ARE doing it"
(as we learned earlier, we are influenced by those we are similar to)
What can health educators do to avoid these boomerang effects?
educators must structure their programs so participants see the unwanted behavior as the exception rather than the rule/norm
-show participants that healthy behavior IS the norm
What is another factor that interacts with norms to affect their impact on group members' behavior?
the degree to which the member identifies with the group-
-even strong group norms won't guide the behavior of members of the group who don't identify themselves psychologically as group members (reference pg. 207)
A Personal Commitment
Anything that connects an individual's identity more closely to a position or course of action
-most individuals prefer to be consistent and have a strong desire to see themselves as the kind of person who lives up to promises and commitments (ref. page 208)
How does personal commitment increase the change they will actually perform said behavior?
Because (in the Gordon's Restaurant Chicago no-show rate study), the receptionist specifically asks for and waits for the customer's affirmative response-it forces customers to make a personal commitment
foot-in-the-door technique, low-ball technique, bait-and-switch technique, labeling technique
gaining a commitment to an arrangement and then raising the cost of carrying out the arrangement
gaining a commitment to an arrangement, then making the arrangement unavailable or unappealing and offering a more costly arrangement
assigning a label to an individual and then requesting a favor that is consistent with the label
ex: elementary school kids who were told by an adult "you look to me like the kind of kid who understands how important it is to write correctly" became more likely to choose to work on a penmanship task three to nine days later in private
-because of a desire in most people to live up to their commitment, it is possible to increase a target person's performance of an action by using any of several commitment-initiating techniques
we think our actions tell us more about ourselves than do our non-actions
-one way people come to perceive and define themselves is through an examination of their actions
this commitment increases the change that people will maintain given actions into the future
Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard (1955) Study
performed a classic experiment that examined how both types of commitments operate-the researches had subjects estimate the lengths of lines in an Asch-type procedure
1 group of subjects left these length judgments in their minds not committing to them either actively or publicly
2nd group wrote down their estimates privately (thereby making the commitment active) and then immediately erased them
3rd group wrote down their judgments, turned them over to experimenter, making an active AND public commitment to their decisions
-they were then told that their judgments were wrong/other subjects in study estimated the lines MUCH differently from them
-D and G wanted to find out which of the 3 groups would be most likely to stay with their initial choices
-results: those whose judgments had never left their heads, having been neither written down nor made public, abandoned original opinions.
those who made their judgments public were the least likely to shift position on judgment
Gender and Public Conformity
men may be especially reluctant to conform under public conditions - men prefer to see themselves as independent, unique, and self-sufficient
"a man who expresses nonconformity communicates a picture of himself as self-reliant, as a leader rather than a follower"
pages to reference