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PSYC 2120
Doug Mc Cann

Chapter 8 conformity: any change in behaviour caused by another person or group – limited to changes in behaviour caused by other people – behaving in ways that are similar to how others are behaving, without any request compliance: a change in behaviour that is requested by another person or group; the individual acted in a way because others asked him or her to do so obedience: a change in behaviour that is ordered by another person or group Why do we conform? Informational influence: influence from others that is motivated by a desire to be correct and obtain accurate information Normative influence: influence from other people that is motivated by the desire to gain rewards or avoid punishment; may simply want to be liked or want to avoid conflict Ex: obeying laws Sherif'sAuto kinetic Effect Studies social norm: a rule or guideline in a group or culture about what behaviours are proper or inproper autokinetic effect: in a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to move periodically – participants are asked how far they think the light moved – people who are alone have different judgements, when they are put with other people their perceptions converge – people who are together have similar perceptions, when they are put alone the norm of when they were in a group converges into their personal perception; the norm carries on even after participants are split up Multi-generational norms: group norms are spontaneously established and carry over into individual judgements -Sherif: in study, after brief rest one of the confederates were replaced by new participant, this process was repeated, the study continued for 11 generations, after 11 generation the responses began to drift, but not far from the initial response Asch's Length Judgment Studies – group is told that it is experiment about lengths of lines – standard line, 3 comparison lines – one correct answer – told everyone will announce their judgement aloud – first 2 comparison trial, confederates give correct answer, then on 3 trial all students announce wrong answer, most participants conform to group norm Crutchfield Apparatus – a machine that consists if an electric panel with several rows of lights; it allows the efficient study of conformity by stimulating responses of several hypothetical participants – participants seated in cubicles, only one participant; experimenter manipulates the lights – told that his or responses will be known – participants conform Conformity depends on features of judgement task – ambiguity of task: conformity is more likely when task is ambiguous – difficulty of task: more difficult tasks produce more conformity Individual differences – high self esteem; less likely to conform – conformity to same-age peers increases during elementary school, peaks around grade 9 then decreases up to university years Effects of group size – conformity increases as number of people increases, but only to certain extent – Asch, no increase after 3 people How to make conformity disappear – Asch: instead of having participants answer out loud, they silently recorded their judgments in writing, while the confederates announced their answers out loud – caused reduction in conformity – in another variation one confederate gave the correct answer, no conformity; shows a little support decreases conformity Cultural Differences – individualist cultures conform less than collectivist cultures – people from individualist cultures tend to have independent self concepts, collectivist cultures have interdependent self concepts Gender Differences – women conform slightly more than men – may be because women are more concerned about harmony in social relationships than men – may be biased because most conformity researchers are men Compliance Foot-in-the-door technique: agreement with a small request increases the likelihood of agreement with a subsequent larger request Self perception Processes – people sometimes infer their internal states from their behaviour and the situation in which the behaviour occurred – relation to foot-in-the-door technique: when people agree to an initial, small request, they may engage in a self perception process whereby they label themselves as “helpful” because they willingly complied with the request. When second request is made they agree because they are “Helpful” individuals Consistency Processes: – Festinger proposed that people want their attitudes and behaviours to be consistent with one another and are distressed by inconsistencies – people want to appear consistent Door-in-the-face technique: a larger request, that is likely to be turned down, increases the likliehood of agreement with a subsequent smaller request norm of reciprocity: the principle that
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