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A level Psychology: Social Influence
Terms in this set (80)
The change in opinions or behaviour due to real or imagined group pressure.
Reasons to conform
To be accepted
To be Liked
We don't like to be wrong
Types of Conformity
Compliance, Internalisation and Identification
-Going along with the group to avoid disapproval and adjusting their own actions to fit in
-Only changes views publicly, not privately
-Looses influence once group is gone
-A form of Normative Social influence
-An emotional change, not behavioural.
-The shallowest level of conformity
E.g. Laughing at your own joke
-Changing attitudes and behaviours because they want to fit in with a certain group.
-Has both elements of compliance and internalisation
- Accepts beliefs while with group,although short term
-When a person genuinely accepts a groups views and goes along with the group
-The accept the views both publicly and privately
-The deepest level of conformity
-A cognitive change rather than emotional
Explanations of conformity
-Informational Social Influence (ISI)
-Normative Social Influence (NSI)
Informational Social Influence
-That we agree with the opinions of the majority because be believe it is correct and we want to be correct aswell
-This is when we are unsure of our own answer to be correct, usually a new or ambiguous situation
-We regard others as experts and are likely to look towards them
-Linked with Internalisation; beliefs change even without the present of a group
ISI Evaluation Maths study
-Some studies have shown how exposure of other peoples beliefs has an important influence on social stereotypes.
Researchers gave students maths problems of varying difficulty. There was a larger conformity to difficult answers, especially of students who had a weaker maths ability.
So the study shows that people conform to situations where they feel they do not know the answer which is the explanation for ISI
ISI Evaluation Engineering study
ISI does not effect everyone's behaviour the same way.Such as Asch's study found students were less conformist than other participants. A study was conducted on engineering students and found little conformity
Normative Social Influence
-A short term form of conformity that says we agree with the opinions of others because we want to be liked and wants to be accepted.
-People do not like to appear foolish and do not like to be rejected, so we find it socially rewarding
-Likely to occur with friends we seek approval from as well as strangers we don't wish to be rejected from
-Associated with compliance and identification
-An emotional change rather than cognitive
NSI Evaluation Affiliators
-NSi may not effect everyone's behaviour in the same way, such as people being less concerned with being liked or seeking approval are less likely to be effected by NSI than those who do.
There people are called "affiliators" and need a greater sense of affiliation/ need of a relationship with others.
Researchers studies show that students with a higher sense of affiliation are more likely to conform.
NSI Evaluation spoken and written
Asch study found that many participants went along with the wrong answer just because other people did. When asked, it was said that they were self continuous to give the right answer. When the study was repeated but with the answer written down, conformity dropped more than when answers were said aloud.
Aschs line study
74% Conformed atleast once
26% Did not Conform
5% Conformed when Anonymous
1% Control (no confeds)
Aschs line task study
Aim: To examine the extent to which the social pressure to conform from unanimous majority affects conformity in ambiguous situations
Method: Participants thought they were apart of a vision test. Asch used line judgement tasks and placed one (naive) participant in a room with 6-8 confederates who have decided an answer in advance. The participant was lead to believe that the confederates were also participants.
Each person had to say aloud which line was to match to the given line.The answer was always obvious. The participant completed 18 trials and the confeds gave the wrong answer on 12, called "critical trials". Asch wanted to see if the real participant would conform to the majority,even when the answer was clearly incorrect.
Findings: Asch measured the number of times conformed. Participants conformed about 37% of the critical trials, 74% of the participants conformed on at least once critical trial and 26% never conformed.
A control group was used where only 1% conformed.
Conclusion: Asch asked after why they conformed, most said they knew the answer was wrong but conformed to fit in.
This conforms the NSI explanation.
Asch study Time Evaluation
A research was conducted in American in the 1950s.
THe same study done in 1980 used engineering students from the Uk in 396 trials, so they could be more confident in measuring line lengths and so conformed less.
It could also be possible that the 1950's was an especially conformist time in America and over time society has changed to become less conformist. So asch's research is a child of it's time
Asch study Artificial Evacuation.
The task of identifying lines was relativity trivial and simple.Conformity would be expected to drop on much more important tasks.
For example, preforming a task that has real consequence. The fact that they had to answer out loud and in the group of strangers adds to the pressure.
The study has been criticised for its lack of ecological validity as it was done in lab conditions and so not how people act in real life. Other studies tested people in the same sports club and found that conformity might be even higher with people we know. Though its validity was reduced as it was done in strict social situations in lab conditions.
Asch line study Application evaluation
It is possible that these findings are particular to one culture as the participants were all white,american, college men. Research suggest that there are cultural differences that effect conformity and so conformity may be different in other cultures.
Other research suggests women might be more conformist than men, possibly because they are more concerned about social relationships.
One explanation for this might be the individualist culture that encourage independence and for people to make their own decisions. Whereas collectivist cultures prefers to bind a community together, meaning that conformity levels are sometimes higher than what Asch found in his american study.
Asch Line study behaviour evaluation
It is important to acknowledge that not everyone conformed in Asch research.
26% did not conform and 74% did.
Asch suggest that rather than showing people as overly conformist, his study showed a tenancy for people to stick to what they believe to be the correct judgement, showing independent behaviour.
Factors of conformity
-Unanimity of the majority
Conformity increase up until 3 individuals in the group,although any more made little difference and eventually plateaued.
Asch made the task more difficult by making the lines harder to tell apart. This increase the conformity as participants looked towards experts as the situation is more ambiguous.
Unanimity of the majority
The extent at which a group agrees. The study was unanimous when all the confederates picked the same line. This increased the likely hood that the participant would conform even if the privately disagreed.
When tested with another confederate that would give the wrong answer, conformity levels dropped.
The sate of losing your sense of individuality and becoming less aware of our own responsibility for our actions when part of a group.
Viewing humans as less than human And no longer having the same worth and dignity of others.
The part people play as members of a social group.
Aim: To see if prison guards behave brutally because they have sadistic personalities or if the situation that increase such behaviour.
Method: Zimbardo set up a mock prison in the basement of Standford Univeristy. Volunteers had to be deemed emotionally stable. The students were randomly assigned roles of prisoner or guard. To increase immersion they were arrested in their homes, stip-searched and given uniforms and numbers.
The Prisoners routines were heavily regulated. The guards had their own uniform,club and cuffs and were told they had complete power over the prisoners.
Findings: The guards took up their toll and their behaviour became a threat to the prisoners health and the study was stopped after 6 days.
The prisoners had rebelled, which after the guards employed the divide and rule tactic by playing prisoners against eachother. The guards highlighted different social roles. Afterwards the prisoners became subdued, depressed and anxious. One prisoners was released after the first day due to psychological disturbance and other two were released on the 4th day.
The guards became more brutal and aggressive, enjoying the power they had.
Conclusions: Power of the situation influences peopels behaviours as everyone all conformed to the role they were given.
Zimbardo study control evaluation
A strength is that ZImbardo had some control over other variables
Such as selection of emotionally stable individuals that were randomly assigned roles. This way individiual personality differences were tried to rule out as an explanation. Thus their behaviour must of been due to the pressure of the situation.
Having such control is a strength because it increases the internal validity of a study
Zimbardo study realism Evaluation
Research argues that participants were play-acting based on stereotypes of their roles.
Such as one guard based his role on a brutal character from a film.It would also explain why the prisoners rioted, as it's what they thought prisoners really did.
Though evidence was pointed out that it was real. Data showed that 90% of prisoners conversations where based on prison life. This it seems the situation was real to the participants, which gives it a higher degree of validity
Zimbardos study influence evaluation
Zimbardo was accused of exaggerating the power of the situation to influence behaviour. Thus mimicking the role of personality factors
Only a minority of guards behaved brutally, the other applied rules fairly or actively supported the prisoners.
This suggest that participants conforming to their social roles was an overstatement. The guards were able to distinguish wrong and right choices despite pressure to conform
Zimbardo study Ethical Evaluations
Ethically issues became a problem during the study.
When a student wanted to leave, zimbardo spoke in a manner as a prison superintendent and not a psychologist.More worried about running his prison than the students worries.
Zimardo was conforming to his prison role and not able to fulfil ethical responsibility.This put the participants at risk of psychological harm. E.g. one participant was allowed to leave but later than he should of been. Zimbardo should have detached from one of his roles.
A type of social influence where a person follows an order from another person who is usually an authority figure.
Milgram shock study
Aim: To see if ordinary people will obey legitimate authority even if considered inhumane.
Method: 40 male volunteers volunteered for a "how punishment effects learning" study and would be paid 4.50. The partisipants drew lots with the confederate and always was the teacher. He was told he must give shocks each time the learner got an answer wrong. The teacher themselves were shocked one to let them know it was "real"
Learner was silent until reaching 300 volts. Where he would object and then be silent for the next question.This repeated at 315 and would stay silent afterwards. If they asked to stop the teacher would be given prods to continue
Findings: 65% continued to the maximum voltage and only 5 stopped at 300v
Conclusion: That ordinary people can be incredibly obedient to authority,enough to behave in an inhumane manner.
Milgrams study Ethics Evaluation
Milgrams study broke several ethical guide lines.
Participants were deceived and believes there were taking part in a study on how punishment effect learning,rather than obedience and the roles were predetermined.
They were not protected from psychological harm, so felt stress and guilt.
These violations could have damaged the representation of psychology.
Milgrams study ecological Evaluation
Limited as Milgrams study lacked ecological validity.This is because it was a lab study and not representative of real life.
People usually obey much less harmless orders in daily life than giving electric shocks. So we cannot generalise the results to real life situations of obedience. Although the lab reflects a much wider authority relationships from real life, e.g Hofling and his nurses study.Thus his lab study can be justified for other situations and so his findings are valuable.
Milgrams study population Evaluation
It lacks population validity.
The sample is of 40 american males.
Thus the results cannot be generalised to other populations such as other cultures or females. And cannot be certain that they would respond in the same way than observed originally.
Milgrams study internal validity Evaluation
Criticised internal validity.
Other researches proposed that the participants went up to the high voltage because they didn't suspect the shockers were real. So Milgram may not have been testing what he intended to investigate
Though argued 70% of participants thought the shocks were real, though most vocalised doubt about the genuine nature of the shocks.
With milgram- refers to the closness of the teacher and the learner
Same room: 40%
Hand force: 30%
By Phone: 20.5%
Place an order is give. Has some sort of status associated with it.
Run down: 47%
People with authority often have uniform to symbolise this.
Ordinary member of the public: 20%
Evaluation of situational factors Uniform
Other studies have proven the influence of situation factors on obedience.
E.g. Bickamans study.
A field experiment with an ordinary person,milkman and security guard. Stood on the streets and told people to pick up trash. Twice more likely to listen to the security guard than the milkman.
Support milgrams conclusion that uniform conveys authority of it's wearer.
Evaluation of situation factors Member of public
Other research suggest that the participants figured out the study was a fake, even more so with the extra manipulation.
Such as an experiment was replaced with an "Ordinary member of the public". Even Milgram thought participants might figure out the truth with that variable.
A limitation as it is unclear if the results are genuine because of the operation of obedience or if participants saw through the deception.
Evaluation of situational factors Cultures
A strength of Milgrams research is that it has been replicated in other cultures and have generally been supportive.
Such as a study of over 90% among Spanish students. This suggest that milgrims conclusions are not limited to just american males but other cultures and females too
However its been suggested that theses study's have taken place in western developed societies, who are not so culturally different than america and so cannot yet apply results to everywhere.
Evaluation of Situational factors Variables
A strength is that he systematically altered one variable at a time to see it's effects on the level of obedience.
All other procedures and variables were kept the same as the study was replicated over and over with more than 1000 participants
A mental stare where we feel no personal responsibility for our actions or behaviour because we feel that we are acting for an authority figure
Legitimacy of authority
That we are more likely to obey people who we perceive to have authority over us
Agentic state explanation
Milgram proposed agentic state to explain why people go against their conscience to do as they are told. He said there are two modes of social consciousness. One us Autonomous sate, where we feel responsible for our actions, The second is Agentic state, where we no long are independent but act on according to instructions from someone else.It's this state people often say they were acting on orders
The shift from Autonomacy to agentic state when confronted with an authority figure is called agentic shift.
If we obey an order that goes against our moral strain then we do something we believe to be immoral in order to function as an agent of agentic shift.
Although people may want to stop if they feel unable to do so due to binding factors, aspects that allow a person to minimise the damaging effects of their behaviour .
Agentic state explanation Evaluation
Theory is supported by several studies, including milgrams own, that show majority of people will follow instructions against their conscience.
Other researchers found that people who saw milgrams study blamed the experiment, indicating that they believe the participants were agents of authority. The explanation is also supported by many historical events which demonstrate that as a results of social pressures, normal people can act in inhuman ways.
Although there are alternative ways as to why people obey authority such as personality rather than situational. Additionally agencey theory cannot explain why some people disobeyed, thus the explanation is limited and only accounts for some situations.
Legitimacy of Authority Description
Certain people in certain positions hold authority over the rest. Society accepts this in order to run smoothly
One consequence is people are given the power to punish wrongdoers. Independence is given up to hand control over to behaviour to tho those we trust to exerciser authority properly.
It becomes a problem when the authority becomes destructive.Such as the prods in Milgrams study
Legitimacy of authority Evaluation
Strength is that it accounts for cultural differences.
Milgrams study was replicated in Australia and only 16% went to 450v, while in German 85% went to 450v. This shows some cultures are more likely to accept authority as legitimate.
This reflects the way different societies are structured and how children are raised to pierces authority figures. This support increase the validity of the explication.
A type of personality that Adorno argued was especially susceptible to obeying people in authority and are thought to be submissive to those of a higher status
Origin of authoritarian personality
-Strict discipline from parents
-Expectation of Loyalty
-Impossibly high standards
-Severe criticisms of failings
Creates resentment and hostility that cannot be expressed towards the parents and so are displaced
A: Wanted to find out unconscious views towards racial groups
M:He developed a number of questionnaires, including the Fscale. This measures fascist tenancies as fascism is thought to be the core of authortatian personality.
E.g question: Obedience and respect for authority are the most important virtues a child should learn.
F: Individuals who scored higher on the Fscale and other questionnaires had self reported identifying with strong people and showed disrespect towards the weak. They were also status conscious and showed respect for those in a higher power. They also categorised people stereotypically, showing a strong correlation between authoritarian and prejudice
C:Where mode obedient to authority figures and showed extreme respect and submission.
They also were uncomfortable with uncertainty with everything, being seen as either right or wrong with no grey areas, demonstrating the inflexible attitudes. Therefore they believe society required strong leadership to enforce tradition.
Authoritarian personality Obedience Link Evaluation
It is believed by research that there is a link between obedience and authoritarian personality.
This was found by Milgram and Elm who interviewed a small sample of full obedient participants, who scored highly on the F scale.
Supporting there is a relationship. However the relationship is correlation meaning it is impossible to tell if authoritarian personality causes obedience. There may be a third factor such as both being associated with low education levels for example and are not directly linked with each other at all.
Authoritarian Personality Limited Evaluation
The authoritarian explanation is limited as it is hard to explain the majority of a country;s population.
In the pre-war Germany, millions of individuals all displayed disobedient,racist and anti-semetic before, despite differing personalities, as it is unlikely they all possessed an authoritarian personality.
Therefore an alternate explanation may be more realistic that social identity explains obedience. the majority of the German people identified with the Anti-semetic Nazis state and scapegoated the outgroup that were the Jews.
Authoritarian Personality Yes Evaluation
That it is based off of methodological issues
The Scale has had sever criticism as every item is worded in the "same direction" meaning it is possible to get a high score for authoritarian personality just by ticking the same line of boxes.
So people who have agreed may not be authoritarian by instead acquiescence and that the scale is just measuring people tenancy to agree
Authoritarian Personality (not done)
Although Milgram accepted there might be a dispositional bias to obedience and disobedience, he did not believe the evidence for this was particularly strong.
Milgram showed that variations to social context of the study (e.g. proximity,location) were the primary causes of differences in participants levels of obedience not variations in personality
Resistance to Social Influence
Peoples ability to withstand social pressure and conformity to the majority or obeying authority.
The presence of people that resist pressure to conform can help people do the same.
Locus of Control
Refers to the sense we each have about what directs events in our lives.
Externals: They are mostly responsible
Internals: it's mainly luck or outside forces.
Resistance to conformity Dissenting conformity Evaluation
There is research evidence that supports the role of dissenting peers in resisting conformity
Researcher found that conformity decreased with one dissenting in an Asch type study. This was even when they wore thick glasses and had bad vision
This supports that resistance is not just motivated bv following what someone else says but enables others to be free of groups pressure.
Resistance to conformity Dissenting obedience evaluation
There is research evidence that supports the role of dissenting peers in resisting obedience.
Research found higher levels of resistance in their study then Milgram. This was probably because the participants in Gramsons study were in groups (Produce evidence to help an oil company smear champagne)
In the Gramson study 29/33 groups of participants, 88% rebelled. this shows that peer support is linked to greater resistance.
External locus of control
Perceive their behaviour as being caused more by external forces or luck
Internal locus of control
Perceive themselves as having a great deal of control over their behaviour and are more likely to take responsibility for it.
Locus of control Support evaluation
Evidence supports the link between LOC and resistance to obedience.
Researchers repeated Milgrams base study and measured if participants were internals or externals. He found 37% of internals did not continue to the highest shock level where as only 23% of externals did not continue. Internals showed greater resistance to authority.
Research support of this nature increases the validity of the LOC explanation and our confidence that it can explain resistance.
Locus of control lack support Evaluation
Not all research supports the link between LOC and resistance
Data was analysed from American obedience studies over a 40 year period. The data showed that over the time, people have become more external but also more resistance to obedience. If resistance was linked to LOC,we would have expected more internals.
This challenges the links between internals LOC and increase resistance behaviour.
It could be results are due to changing society where many things are out of control.
Refers to situations where one person/small group influence the beliefs and behaviour of other people.
It increase the amount of interest from other people.
Synchronic: They are all saying the same thing
Diachronic: Where they have been saying the same thing for some time.
This agreement and consistency can make people start to rethink their lives, as people might have a point if they keep saying it.
Extreme activities draw attention to their views and the risk to the minority demonstrates commitment to the cause.
Majority members may even pay more attention. E.g. They must really believe what they are doing, perhaps i should consider it
This is the argumentation principle.
Repeating the same argument and behaviour over and over can be seen as rigid and dogmatic. This is off putting and unlikely to result in conversations to the minority positions.
Instead they must be willing to accept adaptations and valid counter arguments
A: To investigate the process of innovation. The view that social influence occurs not just through conformity but through a change to the previously help opinions of a group.
M: All participants were female,there were 32 groups of 6 women.2 in each group was confederate. the group was shown 36 blue coloured slides on a projector, filters were used to show varying shades of blue. They were told that the experiment was about colour perception and they would be asked to name the colour aloud.
First experiment, the two confeds consistently said the shades were green. In the second experiment followed the same procedures and were asked to write down their answers.
Thirdly the confeds answered green 24 times and blue 12 times. (not consistent)
F:Overall the participants agreed with the minority 8.4% of the trials. 32% gave the same answer as the minority at least once.
The second experiment was in greater private agreement with the confederates than the public. Third agreement with the confeds was reduced to 1.25%. A control group was used and they got the answer wrong 0.25% of the trials.
C: Show that minorities can influence majority opinion, just not very much.
The third experiment showed constancy was the key and minority influence was stronger on private opinions rather than public.
Minority influence Consistency Evaluation
There is research evidence that demonstrates the importance of consistency
Research showed that a great minority opinion had a greater effect on opinions influence than a non-consistent opinion. Another carried out meta analysis of 100 similar studies and found minorities seen being influential where more consistent.
This suggest consistency plays a major role.
Minority influence Position Evaluation
Also evidence that showed that change to minority position does involve a deeper process of ideas.
A researcher gave participants a message supporting a particular view point and measured their support. One heard it from a majority group and the other from a minority group. They were all then exposed to conflicting veiws and attitudes then measured again. People were less willing to change if they heard it from a minority group compared to majority.
This suggest the method had been more deeply processed and had a more enduring effect, supporting the "minority influence" central arguments
Minority Influence Limitation Evaluation
A limitation is that the tasks involved such as identifying the colour of a slide, are as artificial as Asch line task.
Research Is therefore removed from how minorities attempt to change the behaviour of minorities in real life. In case with jury decisions and political champagnes, the outcomes are vastly more important.
This means finding of minority influence studies such as Moscovici's are lacking in external validity and are limited in what they can tell us about minority influences in real life situations.
Minority Influence Private Evaluation
In a variation of Moscovici's blue-green study, participants were allowed to write their answers down, so their responses were private.
Private agreements with the minority postions was greater in these circumstances. the majority were being convinced and changing their views but not admitting it publicly.
Moscovici thought that this was probably because they did not want to be publicly associated with the minorities for fear of being awkward, radical or even weird.
-Consistency: a constant message
-Deeper Processing: The more people think about the issues, the more they will be able to challenge existing social norms.
Draw attention: The majority must be made aware of the need for change
The Augmentation Principle: When the majority pays attention to selfless and risky actions being taken by the minority group.
Snowball effect: Once minority viewpoints has attention of some majority, more and more people begin paying attention.
Social Cryptoamnesia: Majority know social change has taken place, but the source of how it came to be has been disassociated and they do not know how it happened
Normative Social Influence: Social change can be encouraged by reporting behaviour of the majority to urge others to follow suit for normative reasons.
Gradual commitment: Adopting new behaviour gradually over time.
Social change Energy Evaluation
If the social influence process lead to reduction of energy consumption in a community.
They hung messages on residents houses doors in San Diego California every week for a month. Saying that other residents were trying to save on their energy. As a control, some residents had them just asking to save energy.
It was found significant decreases ine enrgy usage in the first group strength, show conformity can lead to social change using NSI.
Social Change Slow Evaluation
Social change happens slowly
It has taken decades for attitudes against drink-driving and smoking to shift. Researches suggest minorities influences is indirectly effective and delayed. This is because majority influences is only on the matter at hand and not the central issues itself. Delay is only on the matter at hand and not the central issues itself. Delay because the effect might not be so immediately.
Could be a limitation as it's shows minority influences in social change is fragile and it's role very limited.
Social Change Cognitive Evaluation
Conversion explanation of minority influences argues that minority and majority influences involved different cognitive processes
Minority influences causes people to think more deeply than majority. Other researches disagree and say that it creates deeper processing if you do not share them views. Since we like to believe that other people share our views and think the same way as us. When minorities think something differences we are forced to think long and hard as to why.
This means that central elements of the process of minority influences has been challenged and may be incorrect casting doubt on the validity of the conversion explanation.
Social Change Resistance evaluation
Why people often resist social change even if they agree that it is necessary
E.g. They found that participants were less likely to behave in environmentally friendly way because they did not want to be associated with stereotypical minority environmentalists.
The researches advice to minorities was to avoid behaving in ways that reinforce stereotypes because this will always be off putting to the majority they want to influence.
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