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Influence of Others.docx

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Joe Kim

Influence of Others Module #1  As a social being, your thoughts and behaviours are influenced by those of the people around you. You look to others for cues to determine how you should feel and act in a given situation.  The influence of others has broad implication a topics ranging from cultural norms to advertising. Research in social psychology is particularly interesting because what may initially seem obvious, is not necessarily so. Presence of Others:  Each year, cyclist compete in the grueling Tour de France through a course that winds through valleys, hills and flats, leading to a final push in the last several kilometers where each rider give everything he has left. o Norman Triplett observed that cyclists raced faster when competing against each other in a group, compared to when racing against the clock on an individual time trail. o Triplett looked at children and how they react to something completive with no reward. He asked a child to perform a simple task of winding a string as fast as he could either alone or in groups. He noticed that children wind the fishing rod faster when others are present.  Triplett hypothesized that the mere presence of other was an important variable in the performance of the actor. o These group members can be divided into co-actors and the audience. o Co-actors are individuals performing the same task along with you. o Audience are a group of people watching an individual perform a task o Social facilitation is the increased performance that occurs in the presence of co-actors an audience.  In some cases having the presence of an audience can hinder performance on tasks such as learning nonsense syllable, completing a difficult maze or solving complex problems.  Robert Zajonc suggested that the important factor to consider is that presence of others increases your arousal o How people heightened arousal depends on the specific task to be performed.  Simple tasks that you are an expert at, your performance will enhance  Complex tasks that you are not good at; your performance will be hindered. Social Learning Theory:  Social learning theory can help you to understand how a complex cognitive skill such as language is acquired in children through explicit reinforcement  Albert Bandura’s theory suggests that you learn appropriate behaviours by modeling and imitating the behaviours of others. o Social learning theory can be differentiated from basic conditioning because the behaviours you learn from other do not always require explicit reinforcement to develop  Bobo Doll Experiment: a bobo doll is an inflatable doll with a weight in the bottom that picks the doll up once it tips over  In Bandura’s study, individual children the ages of 3 and 6 offered a variety of toys to play with in a room with an adult. o The adult would model either aggressive or passive play with the toys in the room o For example, the adult would engage in aggressive model on the doll by yelling, punching and hitting it. o After viewing the adult the child went into the room and his behaviour was particularly interesting that his aggressive behaviour was spontaneous, with no explicit reinforcements or encouragement. o This finding ran counter to the pure behaviourist ideas which were very influential at the time which would suggest that learning of a behaviour would only occur with explicit reinforcement. o In a follow-up to Bandura’s famous study, children still attacked a real person with kicks, punches and toy hammers that were in the room. Conformity:  When it is the end of an okay performance and people start to applaud the performer. Then one by one the crowd starts to stand. You think this is ridiculous because the performance was okay. But nonetheless there you are standing with everyone else. It’s difficult to be the only one sitting down o This is called conformity  In the 1930s, Muzafer Sherif conducted a series of very clever experiments on conformity using a perceptual illusion called autokinetic illusion. o You are in a black room looking at a small dot of light at the front of the room and its your job to see how much it moves  On the first day you go through several tests and report the light moves a mean of 5 cm. actually the light is not moving at all and this is due to the optical illusion effect.  On the second day 2 individuals are in the room with you and you compared on how much you thought the dot moved. They thought the dot moved between 10 to 20 cm  Over several days of testing your responses will gradually converge despite the different starting points. This is an example of norm formation.  Norm formation is a powerful effect that can be further manipulated by the experimenter  Solomon Asch had subjects seated in a room with a group of other individuals completing an experiment where they would see a simple line and three comparison lines and they would have to identify which line matches the standard o Once the subjects settles into the flow of the experiment, one by one, the confederates start agreeing on clearly incorrect answers. o On average 37% of all responses conformed to a clearly incorrect answer o 75% of subjects conformed to an incorrect answer on at least one trial  Normative function: the role of others in setting norms or standards. o The normative function of the group sets these standards because you fear rejection or ostracism by others for not conforming. The normative function guides you to dress similarities to the rest of society and behave in certain ways because not doing so will lead to negative social consequence.  Comparative function: the role of others in providing information about an ambiguous situation.  Deutsch and Asch’s lad setting each subject was seated in a separate cubicle where they could neither see nor hear the other subjects. o Consider that the normative function would paly no role and is no reason for the subject to go along with the wrong answer solely to avoid ridicule and rejection. o Subjects went along with the wrong answer o Subjects conformed primarily on trials where the correct answer was less clear.  Conformity is maintained through the normative function because of social pressure and the fear of rejection and through the comparative function by providing group information in an uncertain situation. Group Dynamics:  James Stoner began a study to examine the “real shift” effect. Stoner tested he idea that groups were more cautious then individuals by asking them the read a set of hypothetical situations and make risk assessments. o Helen is a writer with considerable creative talent and is making comfortable living writing cheap westerns. She came up with a idea for a potentially different novel. She is worried that the novel might be a flop if she can’t get her ideas out and that she would wasted a lot of time without pay.  You make a personal judgment call then join the others. The group decisions were on average riskier than the mean decision of individuals before the group discussion. o Roger is thinking about selling his life insurance policy in a stock that he hears will triple in value.  They were more reluctant on him selling it  Group polarization: suggest that decision making in a group tends to lead to more extreme views by strengthening the original inclinations of the individual group members. o Helen’s case, the individual; group members likely started with a risky position and when they got together, their consensus was an even more risky position.  Group polarization is supported by a number of experiments which demonstrate that group decisions making seems to enhance national pride, negative racial and financial attitudes and financial attitudes and decision making in juries.  The titanic got several warnings that they are going toward icebergs and 4 of them reached the captain. They still moved on and the titanic crashed.  Groupthink: a group decision making environment that occurs when group cohesiveness becomes so strong it overrides realistic appraisals of reality and alternative opinions. o Individuals in these groups often censor dissenting opinions and those who disagree are rejected from the group. o Groups falling into groupthink tend to overestimate their might and right The Bystander Effect:  In 1960 there was a widely publicized murder. Kitty Genovese was killed outside her apartment after being stabbed and lying there for 30 minutes. o The major reason that it made the headlines is because there were 38 people witnessing the crime from the apartment windows and didn’t do anything. o One of the fears that the bystanders didn’t help her was because of getting injured. o The reason the police didn’t show up was because they thought that someone else called them and they didn’t think it was necessary to call.  There are 2 key decisions that must take place before an individual acts… o First, an individual must decide whether the situation is truly an emergency o Secondly, whether this situation requires them to personally respond.  If yes for both equals respond  If no for either 1 then no response.  Lateen and Darley (for the first question) did an experiment and had people do a questionnaire either alone or with a group. Smoke will appear and recorded the reaction time on people to tell someone about it. o The people that were alone were most likely to report the smoke and did so very quickly o As people in the group increased the likelihood that any one subject would report the smoke decreased o Collective Ignorance: when each individual in a group sees nobody responding in a given situation, they conclude that the situation is not an emergency  Lateen and Darley (for the second question) did an experiment with a subject that was asked to participate in a group discussion. They would be in differen
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