Lecture 10: Social Influence/Psychology
• The ABC’s of Influence
o Central and peripheral routes
o Informational conformity
o Normative conformity
o Commitment and consistency
Foot in the door
• Obedience to authority
Social psychology is the psychology of “everyday life”. Where sociology studies groups,
psychology studies individuals. Social psychology is a blend of the two; focusing on the
individual, but on the “social” impact (the person relative to other people).
• Social psychology contains the “misc.” of psychology. There is no coherent
theme. As a discipline, it is fractured.
The social dyad (P x P); when we form relationships with each other, we have an
impact on each others feelings, the things that we do, and the way we think; the closer the
relationship, the greater the influence.
When we explore interactions between people, social psychologists look at the
behavioural and cognitive components.
• Persuasion: interacting with another person and persuading their behaviour.
o i.e.: advertising
• Conformity: the interaction is with a group of people, rather than just one
other person; it is a group phenomenon. A person will conform to the norms
of the group.
o i.e.: peer pressure, etc.
• Compliance: a variation on conformity; one on one process rather than a
group. One person gets the other to do what they want them to do. It is more
face to face than conformity.
• Obedience: a variation of conformity, but the person influencing has power.
They can force you to comply with what they want.
i.e.: the beer brewery example.
Ultimate goal is to change your behaviour to ensure that you will buy this
beer rather than another type.
o Central route: seemingly obvious about what you are going to do.
(Going after belief sets/attitudes). Provide arguments that will make you amend your schemas in relation to beer in order to make Warrior
Beer your beer of choice. Need to distinguish from the others.
The same concept of advertising as shown in comparison
commercials (Tide vs. competition; CLR vs. competition; etc.).
Use of positive advertisement for your product and negative
advertisement for the competition. This makes the brand seem
Can be a very good route to persuasion, with only one big
obstacle. People have to think.
• More often than not, we don’t want to think when faced
with persuasive events. If we are interested, then we
are more likely to pay attention.
o Peripheral route: not a “front door” technique. This approach comes
after our emotions, rather than our thoughts (Pavlovian conditioning).
Advertisements can be shown very often in the initial stages of
the campaign (saturation), and then less often because the
viewers will be conditioned after the first stage.
Emotions can be elicited through many ways.
• i.e.: Music (Kelsey’s paired with the theme song from
Cheers; campaign advertisement example).
o Patriotism: Molson Canadian song.
o The Mercedes Benz example (MB in a car magazine with central route
ad vs. MB in a glamour magazine with peripheral route ad).
Even non-conformists conform. It is a very pervasive technique.
o Lucifer Sherif (1937); people conform in order to be right.
Before you realize the norms of situations, you will look
around and conform to what others are doing in order to feel
like you are correct in your behaviour (i.e.: the first year
university student asking questions, bringing text books
around, etc). “Following the Leader”.
Study to support theory: The Auto-Kinetic Effect. In the face
of ambiguity, people start to converge on estimates until a
norm is established for what is right. “Informational
o Solomon Asch (1951); believed that in addition to conforming to be
right, we also conform to be liked (accepted, to fit in, etc.)
Study to support theory: The Line Judgement Test. The
classroom seating experiment. Stimulus cards used. All but
one of the students are pre-informed and in on the experiment.
The student who is left out and uninformed is always sat at the
end. The experiment is used to see if the single student will conform to what the others are saying, or stick to their own
opinion. “To get along, you go along.”
No ambiguity in the answer as one result is clearly right, so the
student is experiencing “Normative Conformity”.
The only way to give the person a way to not conform is to
create a lack o