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PSY220 LEC 5.docx

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Emily Impett

LECTURE 5 October 17, 2013 SOCIAL INFLUENCE PLAN FOR TODAY 2 types of social influence  Conformity: what, why, and what makes us more and less likely to conform, and why is it good or bad  Obedience: social influence with high amount of pressure  Compliance: attempts we use to get people to comply with our wishes  SOCIAL INFLUENCE = the ways people are affected by the real or imagined pressure of others o Varies from low to high pressures to obey (conformity  obedience) o In the middle of the continuum lies compliance  LOW PRESSURE-----------------------------------------------------------------------HIGH PRESSURE -CONFORMITY- -COMPLIANCE- -OBEDIENCE- Example… Conformity = You look around at the party and notice that all of your friends are drinking; you ask for a beer  Not directly asked but you can feel the social Obedience: Your professor tells you to have a drink with her during office hours as you review our exam  someone in power commands you to act in a certain way [high pressure] Compliance = You’re not really in the mood to go out drinking this weekend, but you say yes to your best friend’s request to go out this Friday.  WE change our behavior because someone asks us to do so CONFORMITY Conformity = the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, or behavior in ways that are consistent with group norms  Conformity is what happens when people get into an elevator -- they all see that everyone else is faced the opposite direction and they follow the others’ actions. *Copycats] (Video in first class) Escalator video… Everyone turns around in the escalator to face the opposite direction - Tendency to conform—happens automatically [Ex. Bill Clinton adjusting their ties] - Automatic mimicry  Research has confirmed this intuition - Miming or copying other people can serve an important social function and provides smooth social interactions - We tend to like people who mimic us more so, than people who don’t TWO REASONS WE CONFORM 1. Informational social influence 2. Normative social influence 1. INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE  INFORMATIONAL SOCIAL INFLUENCE = the need to know what’s “right”  UNCERTAINTY = Conformity is particularly pronounced when we are uncertain of ourselves - In trying to understand our complex world, we want to understand things, and the opinions of other people are a source of info we use - Use it when we’re relatively uncertain of ourselves EXAMPLE- MUZAFER SHERIF (1936)  PHASE 1: brought participants into his lab ALONE and left them in a small dark room with a bright light o They were asked, “How far does the light move?” 1 LECTURE 5 October 17, 2013  Illusion: when people are in complete darkness, in the absence of any other frame of reference the light appears as if it’s moving o “Estimate how far you they think the light is moving”  answers varied from 5-15 cm  PHASE 2: Participants are in a group  Asked to give estimates out loud over trials oEstimates tended to converge over time when in the presence of other people and when estimates were told out loud o(In text book) oIndividual judgments fused into a group norm  Why people were changing their actual opinions: oPeople are most likely to conform when they’re uncertain of their answer oUnless ppl happen to know what the auto kinetic illusion is, the answer is unknown (light doesn’t move at all) - In this study there’s no objective benchmark to compare the light moved - Under these conditions people tend to be really influenced by the expressed judgment of other people - In future studies he followed participants over time  Judgments still tended to conform a year later 2. NORMATIVE SOCIAL INFLUENCE  Normative social influence: The need to fit in and be accepted to avoid disapproval EXAMPLE: SOLOMON ASCH (1956)  Of course we rely on the opinions of others when we feel uncertain  Asch interested in situations in which one’s own judgment conflicts with that of the group  Predicted LESS conformity in this situation - Felt results weren’t surprising or interesting of the former study - Look at the rates of conformity when there is a clear conflict btw personal opinions and the ones of the group RESULTS  ¾s of participants conformed to the erroneous majority at least once.  Overall, participants conformed on 1/3 of the trials  TAKE HOME POINT: even in situations where people feel convinced going into it they still tend to conform to the opinions of other people - Brought 8 people into the lab, and participate in a perceptual task 2 LECTURE 5 October 17, 2013 - Which is the same length as the target line on the right (x) - Each of the 8 individuals called out their judgment publicly [The first 2 trials were quite easy] rd - 3 trial: other 7 participants were confederates of the experimenter - 7 confederates thought line A/C were correct which were obviously wrong for several more trials - How often would the participant give up privately held opinion? o Rate for conformity was less than Sheriffs o Conformity to the will of the group was still pretty high: overall people conformed to the majority for 1/3 of the trials Really how often are we in these situations? EXAMPLE: HAND WASHING STUDY  Hand washing is a desirable behavior  Yet, people do not wash their hands all the time  Do people wash their hands more in the presence of others than when they are alone?  Do social norms about hand washing influence people’s behavior?  39 women using public restroom oCondition 1: Experimenter sitting in the bathroom oCondition 2: Participants alone in bathroom  Does the presence of another person alter hand-washing behavior? - Almost all participants washed their hands when the confederate was present - But only 15 % only washed their hands when the confederate wasn’t present The power of normative influence in issues that matter a lot in our lives EXAMPLE: Miss America & GI Joe o Cultural norms for ideal body shape has changed over the years o Ex. GI JOE dolls and measured their waist chest and biceps o Demonstrates the power of normative influence: young men are going to dangerous measures to make themselves muscular as well as young women relying on anorexia and bulimia WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE  Informational: Actually accepting and internalizing other people’s perceptions, even in private. o Accept and internalize what other people think with our privately held ideas  Normative: Agreeing with a position in public, even if we continue to believe something else in private o Perhaps as a way to fit in, and continue to do this as we continue to believe in what we believe in. Say something in public but often believe something else in private WHAT PROMOTES CONFORMITY  Larger groups: feel like an opinion held by many people must be correct. But once large group has 20 people, conformity levels off  Group unanimity: Having an ally for your position tends to weaken informative and normative influences Gives us license to express our own and maybe not so crazy for thinking differently 3 LECTURE 5 October 17, 2013  Expertise and status: Hard to detangle between expertise and status. People who have more expertise tend to exert more informational influence and people who have more status tend to exert more normative influence  Being from an interdependent culture: People from interdependent cultures on average tend to conform to a a larger group more than those from independent cultures TO CONFORM OR NOT TO CONFORM? Good vs. bad thing - People will go to great lengths to make themselves seem as not conformist - FLIP SIDE: acting consistently is also essential—an exercise of social cooperation o Necessary y to ensure that people in our society act beneficially to others, and want people to conform to these social norms (washing hands, childhood vaccinations) o In 1994 polio was totally eradicated in north America and south America o Conformity to group norms can have tremendous life or death implications (driving on the right side of the road) o Conforming to these norms provide structure - Conforming to norms protecting health and well being can be good but when threatens our health bad - Even in the absence of laws, people can still conform to a certain extent - Laws can induce people to conform CONFORMITY RECAP  Conformity = changing perceptions, opinions or behavior to go along with GROUP NORMS o Informational Change what we think and do in order to be right o Normative  Change what we think and do to fit in  It’s necessary, but how much is too much? o And some conformity is essential, but too much can endanger and potent
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