PSYC 1010 Lecture Notes - Social Influence

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16 Oct 2011

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Social Behaviour
Two General Areas of Social Psychology
A. Social Cognition: The study of the way we perceive and evaluate others. Attempts to study first
impressions, stereotypes, love, causes of certain behaviour, etc…
B. Social Influence: The study of the ways in which people influence each other’s judgements,
actions and decisions.
Obedience: Agreeing to someone else’s direct request to behave in a certain way.
Conformity: Going along with others’ beliefs or behaviour because of real or imagined pressure.
Milgram’s Experiment
Early 1960’s
Baffled about how many people followed Hitler’s commands
Got 40 male volunteers, and made them think that the experiment was about punishment
Subjects were given the role of teacher, who had to administer shocks to learners when they
screwed up
Teachers met subject before the experiment, and were told that the shocks were painful but not
permanently harmful
Voltage was increased with every mistake that the learners made, and Milgram wanted to see if
the subjects would obey and increase the voltage
No Experimenter
2 Teachers
Voice Feed Back
Touch Proximity
No Contact Whatsoever
Factors that influence willingness to obey:
1. Social Norms: Rules that are socially enforced, and agreed upon by consensus.
2. Surveillance: The degree to which a person is being monitored
3. Buffers: The fewer the buffers (the more direct the experience) between the teacher and the
learner, the less likely the subject will obey.
4. Responsibility
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