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					Myers’ EXPLORING
    PSYCHOLOGY


                   Module 44
                     Social
                    Influence
               Social Psychology


• Scientific study of how we think about,
  influence, and relate to one another.
• Exploration of the influence of groups and our
  behavior in groups.
• “We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives
  are connected by a thousand invisible threads.”
                                Herman Melville
                 Social Influence
            Conformity and Obedience


• Behavior is contagious!
   – If one person yawns, others will likely follow.
   – Laughter, even canned laughter, makes us
     more likely to also laugh.
• Following Columbine, many schools received
  threats of copycat violence.
                Social Influence
           Conformity and Obedience
         Group Pressure and Conformity
• Conformity: Adjusting one’s behavior or thinking
  to coincide with a group standard.
                Social Influence
          Conformity and Obedience
       Group Pressure and Conformity
     Conditions that Strengthen Conformity


• One is made to feel incompetent or insecure.
• The group has at least three people.
• The group is unanimous.
• One admires the group’s status and
  attractiveness.
• Others in the group observe one’s behavior.
• The particular culture strongly encourages
  respect for social standards.
                Social Influence
           Conformity and Obedience
         Group Pressure and Conformity
            Reasons for Conforming

• Normative Social Influence: Influence resulting
  from a person’s desire to gain approval or avoid
  disapproval.
• Norm: An understood rule for accepted and
  expected behavior.
   – prescribes “proper” behavior
• Informational Social Influence: Influence
  resulting from one’s willingness to accept
  others’ opinions about reality.
                 Social Influence
            Conformity and Obedience
                   Obedience

• People often comply with social pressures to conform,
  such as seen in Asch’s study.
• How will people respond to outright commands?
• Milgram’s obedience experiments
Milgram’s Obedience
    Experiments
                Social Influence
           Conformity and Obedience
                  Obedience

• Experiment 1-Learner pounds on wall (mean
  shock = 27; Percent obedient = 65%)
• Experiment 2-Verbal complaints clearly heard by
  teacher (24.5; 62.5%)
• Experiment 3-Learner in the same room as
  teacher (20.8; 40%)
• Experiment 4-Teacher had to physically place the
  learners hand upon a shock plate to administer
  the punishment (17.9; 30%)
     Social Influence
Conformity and Obedience
       Obedience
                 Social Influence
            Conformity and Obedience
                   Obedience

• Various other experiments found that obedience
  was highest when:
  – The experimenter was close to the teacher.
  – The experimenter was seen as a legitimate
    authority figure.
  – The authority figure was supported by a prestigious
    university.
  – The victim was unseen.
  – Their were no role-models for defiance.
  – Moral development was low…..
                 Social Influence
            Conformity and Obedience
              Lessons from Studies

• Milgram and Asch devised experiments in which
  participants had to choose between what they
  believed and what others expected of them.

• Strong social influences can make people conform
  to falsehoods and commit acts of cruelty.

• “The most fundamental lesson of our study, is that
  ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and
  without any particular hostility on their part, can
  become agents in a terrible destructive process.”
                                         Milgram, 1974
                Social Influences
                Group Influence
  Individual Behavior in the Presence of Others
• Social Facilitation:
  Improved
  performance of tasks
  in the presence of
  others
   – Occurs with simple
     or well-learned
     tasks but not with
     tasks that are
     difficult or not yet
     mastered
                Social Influences
                Group Influence
  Individual Behavior in the Presence of Others

• Social Loafing
   – Tendency for people in a group to exert less
     effort when pooling their efforts toward
     attaining a common goal than when
     individually accountable.
• If group members share equally in the benefits
  of a group, regardless of contributions
  (Communism!), then group members will often
  “slack-off”.
                Social Influences
                Group Influence
  Individual Behavior in the Presence of Others

• Diffusion of Responsibility
  – Dilution or weakening of each group member’s
     obligation to act when responsibility is perceived to
     be shared with all group members.
• Bystander Intervention Problem: Kitty Genovese
  – Killed in NYC
  – 38 people witnessed the attack
  – Attack took ½ hour
  – Attacker left and returned twice
  – One person called the police, after she was dead!
                Social Influences
                Group Influence
  Individual Behavior in the Presence of Others


• Deindividuation
  – Loss of self-awareness and self-restraint
    occurring in group situations that foster
    arousal and anonymity.
  – Abandoning normal restraints to the power of
    a group.
  – Mob mentality!
                Social Influences
                 Group Influence
           Effects of Group Interaction

• Group Polarization
  – The enhancement
    of a group’s
    prevailing attitudes
    through discussion
    within the group.
                Social Influences
                 Group Influence
           Effects of Group Interaction
• Groupthink
  – Mode of thinking that occurs when the desire
    for harmony in a decision-making group
    overrides realistic appraisal of alternatives.

				
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