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PSYCH 253 (142)
Lecture

Conformity and Obedience

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYCH 253
Professor
Hilary B Bergsieker
Semester
Winter

Description
Conformity and Obedience Conformity to Others - Definitions o Behaviour change due to  Real or imagined influence of others: conformity  Direct requests from another person: compliance  Commands of an authority figure: obedience - Why do we conform? - Informational influence o Conformity that occurs when we believe others’ interpretation of situation is more correct than ours o Others provide info for how to act o Motive: understanding - Normative influence o Conformity that occurs when we believe doing so will get others to like and accept us o Others convey implicit or explicit social norms o Motive: belonging - Autokinetic Effect Study (Sherif) o Participants in dark room shown a single point of light o Task: estimate distance that light moves o Difficult, ambiguous task o Static light appears to move (autokinetic effect) o Do task with other participants in same room - Line-Judgment Study (Asch) o Unambiguous, easy task:  Which of the 3 lines is same length as X?  Control participants for answer right 100% of time o Participants run with confederates  Practice trials: everyone agrees  3 trial: confederates choose obviously wrong line o What do participants do?  76% gave 1+ wrong answers  Only 24% never conformed o A larger group, to some extent, produces more conformity o People who conform find a challenge to their competence, wisdom, and sanity - Likelihood of Conformity - Informational influence o Most likely when  Situation is ambiguous  Situation is a crisis  Other people are experts - Normative influence o Most likely when  Group is important to you (strength)  Group is close to you in space and time (immediacy)  Group is large (number) - Depth of Conformity - Private Acceptance o Conforming to others’ behaviour, with genuine belief in what we say/do - Public Compliance o Conforming to others’ behaviour publicly, without necessarily believing what we say/do Experiment Social Influence Acceptance Autokinetic Effect Informational Private Line Judgment Normative Public Conformity in Context - Reactance Theory o We dislike having our freedom constrained (“reverse psychology”) o We react against limits by asserting our freedom o Reactance increases for threats:  To important behaviour  To many behaviours  That are powerful - Reactance: Resisting (Implied) Appeals o Participants recruited for impressions study
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