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Chapter 7 notes- Conformity

by OC4

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Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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Chapter 7
Conformity: Influencing Others
- Change in behaviour as result of the real or imagine influence of other
- Knowing why and when people are influenced by others will help us
understand whether a given act of conformity in their own life is wise or
- People probably conformed because they did not wish to be ridiculed
or punished for being different from everybody else; they chose to act
the way the group expected them to, so they wouldnt be rejected or
disapproved of by group members.
Informational social influence
- conforming because we believe that other’s interpretation of an
ambiguous situation is more correct than our and will help us choose
an appropriate course of action
- When we subsequently act like everyone else! we are conforming,
but not because we are wear individuals with no self reliance. Instead,
the influence of other people leads us to conform because we see
them as a course of information to guide our behaviour.
- When we are facing an important decision, we are even more likely to
rely on other people for information and guidance.
Private acceptance
- Conforming to other peoples behaviour out of a genuine belief that
what they are doing or saying is right.
Public Compliance
- Conforming to other peoples behaviour publicly, without necessarily
believing in what they are doing or saying.
Three situations in which you are most likely to produce conformity because of
informational social influence:
1) When the situation is Ambiguous- Ex. When theres a fire alarm in the
building, and you dont know what to do, you most likely turn to the people
around you to see if the situation was an emergency. When you are
unsure of the correct response, the appropriate behaviour, or the right
idea, you will be most open to influence from others. In such situation,
when ambiguity abounds, people are especially likely to be influenced by
the actions of those around them.
2) When the situation is a Crisis-when the situation is a crisis, we usually
dont have time to stop and think about exactly which course of action we
should take. We tend to feel scared and panicky and so it is only natural
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for us to see how other people are responding and to go about it likewise.
Example of the alien drama play on the radio. Many people didnt know if
it was real or not, so many became panicky and saw that if other people
were panicky, then they should be too.
3) When other people are Experts- Typically, the more expertise or
knowledge a person has, the more valuable he or she will be as a guide in
an ambiguous or crisis situation.
Mass psychogenic illness
- the occurrence of similar physical symptoms in a group of people for
which there is no known physical or medical cause.
- This is an extreme and misdirection informational social influence.
When informational conformity backfires.
- Example of the “toxic bus”
-relying on others to help us define what is happening can be an excellent idea,
or it can be a tragedy in the making. How do we know when other people are a
good source of information and when should we resist other peoples definition of
a situation?
-decisions about whether to conform to informational influence, then, will affect
not only peoples behaviour but also their interpretation of reality. Thus it is
important to consider carefully whether other peoples reactions to a situation are
any more legit than your own.
-We conform for the need of information, and also so we will be liked and
accepted by other people.
Normative social Influence
- the influence of other people that leads us to conform in order to be
liked and accepted by them; this type of conformity results in public
compliance with but not necessarily with private acceptance of the
groups beliefs and behaviours.
- We often conform to be accepted by the group to which we belong.
Groups have certain expectation about how the group members should
behave and member in good standing conform to these rules or social
norms (the implicit or explicit rules a group has for the acceptable
behaviours, values and beliefs of its members).
Solomon Asch
- the 3 line task
- had a line on one card, and three different length lines on another card,
and you had to figure out which line in the second card was the same
length as the line in the first card.
- Asch set the situation to see if people would coform even when the
right answer was clearly obvious. He has the first few participants who
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