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					Social Influence
 The study of how thoughts, feelings
   and behaviour of individuals are
influenced by the actual, imagined or
      implied presence of others
Conformity & Minority
     Influence
Conformity (majority influence): A social influence
that results from exposure to the majority position.
   Tendency to adopt behaviour, attitudes and
 values of other members of the reference group.
               CONFORMITY
Which definition do you prefer?

• A change in behaviour or belief as a result of
  real or imagined group pressure

• A tendency for people to adopt the behaviour,
  attitudes or values of other members of a
  reference group

• Yielding to the norms of a group
How do we conform?
  What are our social norms?
          JENNESS 1932
• Beans in a jar study. Students were
  asked to estimate the number of beans in
  a jar.
• They then discussed it in groups
• They were asked to give a second
  estimate
• Findings – the 2nd estimate converged
  towards the group estimate
• This is called CONVERGENCE OF
  GROUP NORMS
             SHERIF 1935
• Autokinetic effect study. P’s were asked to
  judge how much a pinprick of light moved.
• Tested alone and then in groups of 3
• Their estimates tended to converge when
  in the group
• The influence of the group remained, even
  if they were tested on their own again later
  Please state which shape is the
    same size as the standard:
Standard        A       B     C




                A       B         C




                A       B         C
Conformity – Asch (1956)




 Standard Line   Comparison Lines
           Asch’s Findings
• 37% true participant responses were
  incorrect
• 25% participants never gave a wrong
  answer
• Conclusion: A majority can influence a
  minority even in unambiguous situations.
        (Ambiguous means doubtful)
     Why did people conform?
1. Distortion of perception – they really think
   they are wrong
2. Distortion of judgement – doubted
   accuracy of their judgement
3. Distortion of action – they didn’t want to
   be ridiculed
     EVALUATION OF ASCH
•   Asch’s study may be a child of its time. In
    1950’s USA conformity was high

•   P’s were placed in an embarrassing and
    humiliating situation (ethics)

•   Conformity was tested amongst
    strangers, not friends
   VARIATIONS OF THE ASCH
           STUDY
• Asch found that conformity increased if the
  majority was 2 rather than 3, but no
  increase occurred between 3-16
• If one confederate gave the correct
  answer, the genuine P also did
NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE
• This type if influence here means
  responding to group pressure in order to
  be accepted by the group

• TASK: with a partner, think of 4 examples
  of normative social influence amongst
  teenagers
       ETHICAL ISSUES
• Participants were DECEIVED and informed
  consent was impossible.

• DEBRIEFING – A solution to ethical issues, not
  an issue in itself

• Offered the RIGHT TO WITHHOLD DATA after
  experiment. Compensates for deception and
  offers informed consent afterwards.

• DISTRESS (Psychological harm) conforming or
  resisting experienced pressure. High blood
  pressure indicates arousal and stressed.
  INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE
    NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE

DEUTSCH AND GERARD defined these:

Informational Social Influence: people are
  influenced by the superior knowledge of
  others

Normative Social Influence: avoiding
 rejection from the group.
 REASONS FOR CONFORMING
KELMAN distinguished between:

• COMPLIANCE: public agreement, private
  disagreement
• IDENTIFICATION: person identifies with a
  social role and conforms to what is
  expected in that role
• INTERNALISATION: person privately
  agrees with the norm and acts accordingly
         ZIMBARDO’S PRISON
            EXPERIMENT
• PROCEDURE: Male students volunteered for
  $15 per day
• 24 most stable mentally & physically selected
  and randomly assigned guard or prisoner
• Prisoners were unexpectedly arrested at home
• On entry deloused, searched, given no. &
  uniform, nylon stocking cap & ankle chain
• Guards referred to prisoners by number &
  allowed 3 supervised loo trips & two hrs letter
  writing
• Guards were given uniforms, clubs, whistles &
  reflective sunglasses
              FINDINGS
• Guards became increasingly tyrannical &
  some volunteered for extra unpaid hours
• Played roles even when not watched
• Some prisoners were released early due
  to extreme depression
• The planned 2 week experiment was
  stopped after 6 days
          CONCLUSIONS
• It appears that guards & prisoners
  conformed to social roles –
• NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE
• SITUATIONAL explanation of guards
  behaviour ie why did ordinary students
  become brutal guards?
• Participants COMPLIED to the roles
  assigned to them. Their personalities did
  not change
           CONCLUSIONS
• Zimbardo suggested 2 key processes
  – DE-INDIVIDUATION –
  uniforms removed individual identities
  – LEARNED HELPLESSNESS –
  – prisoners knew that their actions made no
    difference. Lack of rewards results in
    decreased effort. Reliance on guards
    increased sense of helplessness
                CRITICISMS
• Demand characteristics & artificiality
• Participants took on a role
• In real life prisons have complex rules (not just
  maintain reasonable degree of order)
• Guards admitted they were acting (Cool Hand
  Luke)
• Internal validity low as responding to demand
  characteristics rather than conformity
• Can’t generalise to real life prison as low
  ecological validity
            MINORITY
           INFLUENCE
 Minorities e.g. the suffragettes and other
revolutionary groups can also change the
           opinion of the majority
   Moscovici et al (1969)
• Study of the influence of a consistent
  minority on the responses of a majority in
  a colour perception task
    AIMS AND PROCEDURE
• To demonstrate that a minority can
  influence a majority view.
• Groups of six participants were presented
  with 36 blue slides that varied in intensity.
  Two confederates of the experimenter
  were in the group. They were instructed to
  say that all the slides were green or that
  2/3 were.
              FINDINGS
• When the confederates said green on
  every trial 8% of participants responses
  said green.
• When the confederates said green on 2/3
  of the trials only 1% of participants
  responses were green.
            CONCLUSIONS
• When members of a minority are consistent in
  their opinions they can on occasions influence
  the majority.
• Be cautious as most people were not influenced
  by the minority
• This has implications for leaders. They need to
  be consistent in order to persuade others
• When people are influenced by a minority, they
  undergo conversion, i.e. they convert to the new
  opinion
 EVALUATION OF MOSCOVICI’S
          STUDY
• EXPERIMENTAL REALISM – this means did the
  P’s believe the experimental set up? It may not
  have been, thus lacking internal validity

• MUNDANE REALISM – this means was the set-
  up too artificial to be mundane and everyday?
  Identifying the colour of a slide is not equivalent
  to minority influence in everyday situations. So
  results have low external validity because they
  cannot be generalised to real-life settings
IMPORTANCE OF MOSCOVICI’S
         STUDY
• One of the first studies to investigate
  minority influence
• Isolated consistency and therefore strong
  belief as a factor in influence
• Highlighted a main difference between
  majority and minority influence –
  compliance and conversion
• Nemeth further investigated minority
  influence. Include in an 18 marker p.235
Conditions for Conversion
                   Consistency
   The minority must be consistent in their opinion


                     Flexibility
  The minority must not appear to be rigid & dogmatic

                     Relevance
 The minority will be more successful if their views are
                in line with social trends

                   Commitment
 A committed minority will lead people to rethink their
                      position.
  Majority vs Minority Influence
• Majorities maintain the status quo,
  promoting uniformity and exerting
  pressure on those deviating
• Minority influence associated with change
  & innovation as the ideas cause a social
  conflict
• For minority influence to work there must
  be a conversion in those from the majority
 EXPLANATIONS OF MINORITY
        INFLUENCE
• Social impact theory
  – Latane & Wolf (1991) suggest all social
    influence dependent on 3 factors

                             Strength
      Describes no. present & consistency of message expressed


                Status & Knowledge
        Higher the status & expertise the greater the influence


                         Immediacy
  Closer the person is physically & emotionally, the greater the effect
     EVALUATION OF SOCIAL
        IMPACT THEORY
• It can account for many different types of
  social behaviour

• It explains both majority and minority
  influence
 EXPLANATIONS OF MINORITY
        INFLUENCE



• Dissociation Model
  – Developed by Mugny (1991) & Perez (1995)
  – Minority ideas taken up but often dissociated
    from the people who originate them (disliked)
  – Dissociation avoids identification with group
 EXPLANATIONS OF MINORITY
        INFLUENCE
• Dual Process Theory
 – Moscovici (1980) suggested majority &
   minority influence work in different ways
 – Majority influence arises from compliance
   with an emphasis on social factors eg
   belonging
 – Minority influence through conversion
   i.e. an internalising of the new belief
      CULTURAL FACTORS
• Asch’s experiment may be a result of
  cultural/historical factors. Society is less
  conformist today
• There have been over 20 Asch type
  studies conducted in other countries.
• Highest conformity found in Fidgi – 58%
• Lowest conformity found in Belgium-14%
     HISTORICAL FACTORS
• Perrin & Spencer (1980) – repeated study
  in England. 1 student conformed in 396
  trials. But they used engineering students
• Perrin & Spencer (1980) – used youths on
  probation and probation officers as
  confederates. Same results as Asch.
• Lalancette & standing (1990) – found no
  conformity and concluded Asch’s findings
  were an unpredictable phenomenon.
          INDIVIDUALISM AND
            COLLECTIVISM


• Individualistic societies, e.g. UK, USA
  emphasise personal responsibility and
  independence, therefore less conformist

• Collectivist societies, e.g. India, China
  emphasise the group/family over the
  individual, therefore more conformist
         DE-INDIVIDUATION
• This means a loss of personal identity. It can
  occur when we are in a crowd or wearing a
  mask.
• Evidence that this occurs comes from the fact
  that P’s asked to give electric shocks to a person
  gave double the intensity if wearing a lab coat
  and hood
• But if asked to wear a nurse’s uniform, gave less
  intense shocks
• Either way, de-individuation leads to greater
  conformity to a social role
  INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES
• Asch (1956) – those low in self-esteem likely to
  conform
• Burger & Cooper (1979)
  – Participants rated whether cartoons were funny or not
    in presence of a confederate.
  – Those rated with a high desire for personal control
    less likely to agree with confederate.
• Eagley & Carly (1981) found women more likely
  to conform
  – Women are more concerned with social relationships
  – Women therefore appear to be more conformist
  PARTICIPANT REACTIVITY
• Demand Characteristics
  – Orne (1962)observed people behave
    differently in psychology experiments
  – People want to please the investigator
  – People become over co-operative
  – Demand characteristics can become a
    confounding variable
• Social Desirability Bias
  – Participants answers in questionnaires do not
    reflect true opinions
   INVESTIGATOR EFFECTS
• Anything investigator does that influences
  participant
• Investigator Bias
  – Rosenthal & Fode (1962) showed rats
    affected by experimenter
  – 2 groups of rats, students told one were maze
    bright.
  – No difference but findings showed maze
    bright rats did better
  – Due to student expectations
   INVESTIGATOR EFFECTS
• Interviewer Bias
  – Interviewee’s behaviour affected by leading
    questions
• Greenspoon Effect (1955) –
  – Greenspoon found he could alter participants
    behaviour by saying ‘mm-hmm’ (OPERANT
    CONDITIONING)
      CONTROLLING FOR
   INVESTIGATOR EFFECTS
• Single & double blind studies
  – Single participants don’t know true aims
  – Double participants & investigators don’t know
• Standardised instructions
  – Stops investigator communicating
    expectations inadvertently
• Using Placebo conditions
  – Participants think they are receiving the
    experimental treatment but they are not
  EXPERIMENTAL CONTROL
• Random allocation into independent
  groups avoids bias
• Counterbalancing
  – In repeated measures studies you may get a
    practice effect
  – Counter balancing splits a group to remove
    order & practice effects
• Standardised procedures
  – Make sure all tested at same time of day & in
    same environment

				
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