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Lecture 6

PSY320H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 6: Normative Social Influence, Social Proof

Course Code
Ashley Waggoner Denton

of 3
PSY320H1F: October 16th, 2012
Jack & Cameron:
Study 1:
Prediction: strategies relevant to the goal of undermining information influence would be
most prevalent
1. Individuals listed those beliefs and opinions that they felt most strongly about and
marked with asterisk the one belief they thought they would be least likely to change
2. Wrote an essay answering:
Ambiguous condition: when someone or something challenges your opinion, how to
do you respond?
Newscast condition: when you are watching a newscast on television and someone or
something challenges your opinion, how to do you respond?
- Attitude bolstering: consistent with prediction
- Counter arguing was NOT common due to stringent categorization & lack of persuasive
arguments actually presented
- Most prevalent type of affect expressed as irritation
- Newscast condition: generated significantly fewer thoughts overall & fewer relevant
Less resistant to persuasion in an impersonal context?
- No difference in the strategies used between the two conditions
- Participants who wrote about nonreligious issues generated more attitude bolstering
responses and more counter arguments
Study 2:
Prediction: attitude importance would be associated with a greater likelihood of using each
- Personally important attitudes are highly resistant to change and that high-importance
individuals generate more negative thoughts and experience more negative affect in
response to a counterattitudinal message compared to low-importance individuals
College sample + smaller non-college sample from a church
1. Reported demographic information
2. Asked to report their opinion about abortion (higher number = more favourable)
3. Rated the extent to which the attitude was personally important and self-defining
4. Indicated the likelihood that they would use each of the listed strategies to respond to
challenges to their attitudes
- Strategies combating informational influence were reported as most likely to be used
attitude bolstering
- Assertion of confidence also predicted to be very likely
- Counterarguing
- Social validation
- Non-college sample reported a greater likelihood of using source derogation than college
- College sample reported a greater likelihood of using social validation and assertion of
PSY320H1F: October 16th, 2012
confidence than non-college sample
- Personal importance predicted greater use of attitude bolstering, counterarguing,
negative affect, assertions of confidence, and social validation the more personally
important one’s attitude toward abortion, the greater the perceived likelihood of engaging
in these five responses
Did not predict source derogation and selective exposure
Study 3:
Prediction: perceived knowledge should predict the likelihood of using some strategies but
not others
- Should predict counterarguing because individuals with more knowledge of a given issue
should be more able and willing to engage in counterarguing
- Should predict the use of assertions of confidence because individuals with greater
knowledge on an issue should have a greater confidence in their opinion
1. Reported demographic information
2. Indicate their overall opinion of the death penalty
3. Responded to items assessing the personal importance of their attitude and their
perceived knowledge of the death penalty issue
4. Indicated the likelihood that they would use each of the listed strategies to respond to
challenges to their attitudes and how helpful they think they would be
Some made likelihood evaluations first
Some made helpfulness evaluations first
5. Completed Marlowe-Crowne Social Desirability scale, which measure the tendency to
present oneself in unrealistically positive light
- Attitude bolstering and counterarguing were reported most likely to be used
- Source derogation, negative affect, and selective exposure were reported least likely to be
- Assertions of confidence were rated as more likely than social validation when defending
attitudes toward abortion and social validation was rated as more likely when defending
attitudes toward the death penalty
- Perceived as helpful more likely to use
- Social desirability predicted the use more than helpfulness
- High on MCSD less likely to use source derogation, negative affect, and assertions of
- Personal importance only significantly predicted the greater perceived likelihood of using
social validation and attitude bolstering
- Perceived knowledge marginable predicted counterarguing and significantly predicted
assertions of confidence
- Greater knowledge predicted the higher use of selective exposure
- Favourable attitudes toward death penalty more likely to use social validation
Study 4
Prediction: individuals will be angry and irritated to the persuasive counterattitudinal
PSY320H1F: October 16th, 2012
1. Participants in favour of the death penalty, rated it as moderate personal importance
were selected and are not very knowledgeable about it were selected for study 4
2. Listened to a speech arguing against death penalty
3. Completed dependent measures booklet:
a) Provided demographic information
b) Check on source manipulation
c) Check the profession of the man giving the speech
d) Measure of final attitude OR measure of the participants’ cognitive and affective
responses to the message
e) Source evaluation
f) MCSD scale
- Social validity strategy not observed
- Few assertions of confidence
- Counterarguing and attitude bolstering were the most frequently used
- Although participants reported it as the strategy least likely to use, source derogation
was the third most popular strategy
- Participants were irritated and angry in response to a direct attack on their attitude
Especially those with greater perceived knowledge (also more likely to use source
- Reported their final attitude first more likely to use attitude bolstering
- Strongly in favour marginally more likely to derogate the source
- Greater personal importance more resistance
- Most effective counterarguing