Social Psych part 2

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Rutgers University
Professor Stephen Killianski

Ch. 8 Conformity Social influence: the phenomena of conformity and compliance Conformity: Changing one’s behavior due to the real or imagined influence of others. We change our behavior to match that of what other people around us are doing. Can occur without conscious behavior • Reasons why: o They chose to act the way the group expected so that they wouldn’t be rejected or thought less of by group members o Did not know what to do in a confusing or unusual situation o Behavior of the surrounding people served as a cue as to how to respond o They did not wish to be ridiculed or punished for being different from everybody else o Can be due to normative and informational influence • Increases when: o Subject is solitary dissenter o Group size increases o Behavior is public o There is ambiguity o People are of lower status o Motivation to be accurate is high • Mindless compliance: the role of automaticity in compliance Informational Social Influence: we conform because we believe that others’interpretation of an ambiguous set of circumstances is more accurate than ours and will help us choose an appropriate course of action. It is the desire to be correct/accurate. We feel uncertain about what to think or how to act, so we use the behavior of other people as a source of information to guide our behavior • You don’t know the answer to a question on a test so you look around. You see others put B so you put B so you can be correct on the test • Emergence and perseverance of group norms: o Auto-kinetic effect = stimulus ambiguity o Spontaneous convergence of estimates (norm emergence) o How estimates endured (norm perseverance) • The Light Test: in a dark room, people were asked to determine how far the single light moved, when in fact it never did. When they then had to do the same task with 2 others, they all conformed to each other and even stayed with those same judgments years later. o They believed the group information was the correct one over theirs (ambiguous situation) • PrivateAcceptance: when people conform to the behavior of others because they genuinely believe that these other people are right • Public Compliance: conforming publicly without necessarily believing in what the group is saying or doing o People in hotels re-used their towels because a sign in their bathrooms said others did so. • WHEN: o When the situation is ambiguous: the more important the decision or choice is, the less the person has to make, the more the person conforms for informational reasons o When the situation is a crisis: troops in My Lai were unsure if members of a village were enemy soldiers and were unsure if the gun fire they heard was their own or of enemies so they just started shooting at men, women, and children o When other people are experts • Informational influence: o Judgments of movement of completely subjective- “reality is ambiguous”  No one is sure how much the light moves o Minimal “pressure” to conform (related to size of group, bigger the group bigger pressure to conform) o Norms preserved through numerous trials, even when 5 gave estimated alone o People who hold minority opinions influence the majority group The Importance of being accurate • Perpetrator Test: People asked to pick out perpetrator from a line-up. Half were told it was VERY important and would measure eyewitness accuracy for future ramifications for the legal community, the other-half were just told to pick it out. So one group were picking thinking their answer was very important while the others did not have a care. (Ambiguous situation, the picture of the perpetrator was only flashed quickly) • The high-importance condition mirrors the concerns of many situations in everyday life—your judgments and decisions have consequences and you’re motivated to “get things right” o Makes you more susceptible to informational social influence • It is a major risk to use other people around you for information, in case they are wrong and there is a high importance in accuracy Conformity Backfire: • War of the Worlds: director and actors acted out the play war of the worlds on the radio in 1938, frightening nearly 1 million people into believing that earth was being invaded by aliens o People believed it because they either didn’t catch the beginning where they explained it was going to be a play, or social influence convinced them, they saw the reaction of others and it confirmed their beliefs • Contagion: emotions and behavior can spread rapidly through a crowd o In a truly ambiguous situation, people become more likely to rely on the interpretation of others o If other people are misinformed, we will adopt their mistakes and misinterpretations • Mass Psychogenic Illness: the occurrence in a group of people of similar physical symptoms with no known physical cause o One teacher was convinced she smelled gas and had symptoms of illness, then others felt they had the same affect and eventually the entire school had to evacuate and shut down, yet there was no problem at all The Normative Social Influence: when the influence of other people leads us to conform to be liked and accepted by them. The desire to be accepted/approved by other people. We agree with others even though we may think it is not the morally right or efficient/affective thing to do • Social Norms: we conform to the group’s social norms—implicit rules for acceptable behaviors, values, and beliefs o Groups have certain expectations about how the group members should behave o Teenagers in Rio de Janeiro were train surfing (not because they didn’t know if it was a good idea of not) • Through interactions with others, we receive emotional support, affection, and love, companionship and we partake of enjoyable experiences • Public compliance: with group’s beliefs and behaviors, but not necessarily in private acceptance. Profound genetically based for being a part of and accepted by others for survival • Asch Line Test: one person sitting with 6 (unknowingly) confederates. Had to determine which line of 3 one card matched a single line on another. When all the confederates gave the wrong answer, and the correct one was so obvious, 77% conformed and gave the obviously incorrect response on 1/3 trials o The situation is not ambiguous; “reality” is ambiguous, so normative pressures came into play. The participants felt fear of being the lone dissenter o Public Compliance without PrivateAcceptance: people go along with the group even if they do not believe in what they are doing or think its wrong • Variation of Asch Line Test: same experiment, except, instead of saying the answer out loud, they wrote it down. Conformity only happened 1.5/12 times now. • It is biologically unpleasant and uncomfortable to resist normative social influence o Baron Test: same as the perp. line-up test, but instead, they made it EXTREMELY easy by showing a picture of the perp. for 5 seconds instead of .5 and showing the slide of the line-up twice instead of once. Being told the importance of their answers split them in half. In the high-importance condition, 16% STILL conformed • Most closely reflects the negative stereotype of conformity where there is belief that those who conform are spineless/weak • In everyday life: Fashion, fads, body image for both men and women Majorities rely on normative social influence while minorities rely on informational social influence Social Impact Theory: conformity will increase as strength and immediately increase • The likelihood that you will respond to social influence depends on 3 variables regarding the group: strength, immediacy, number • As the size of the group increases, each additional person has less of an influencing effect (3-4 more than 53-54) • When the group grows larger: conformity increases as the number of people in the group increases o Once it reaches 4-5 people, conformity increases less • When the group is important: strength of the group is defined as how important the group is to us o Normative pressures are much stronger when they come from people who matter to us o Consequence: people care too much about pleasing each other in theses situations that they avoid the most logical decision to avoid conflict o Idiosyncrasy Credits: conforming to a group over time, you earn the right to deviate occasionally without serious consequences • When one has no allies in the group: resisting unanimous social influence is difficult or even impossible unless you have an ally o Asch: 6 confederates gave the wrong answer and only 1 gave the right answer so the subject was able to feel less alone when giving the correct answer. People conformed on average ONLY 6% compared to the 32% when ALL confederates gave the wrong answer • When the group’s culture is collectivistic Conformity increases when: • Subject is solitary dissenter (pressure when everyone has a different answer then you; unless someone agrees with you then conformity goes down) • The behavior is public (when person wrote answers on paper rather than saying it aloud conformity goes down) • People are unsure of the situation or it’s a crisis (when unsure of something conformity goes up because others said an answer and you aren’t sure of the correct one) • People are of lower status (more pressure for you to conform when group membership is important to you) Consequences of Normative Social Influence • Consequences are one way to observe pressure power • Schachter group test: the group had to determine the fate of a trial, and had one mole in the group that was supposed to disagree with everyone on everything. o The results: they ignored him, gave him boring tasks, voted him out of the group, and was picked on the most in comments and questions Does the need to be accurate increase information influence? It depends on level of ambiguity? • Low importance  ambiguity doesn’t matter • High importance  high ambiguity is much greater in have % agreeing with incorrect majority Minority Influence: the individual, the minority of the group, influence the behavior or beliefs of the majority • Key: consistency. People with minority views must express the same view over time. If they waver between ideas, the group will dismiss them • People in the minority can rarely influence through the means of normative influence, instead they must exert informational social influence o They can introduce new and unexpected information to the group and cause the group to examine the issues more carefully Obedience: compliance with authority • Milgram: subject (assigned the role of “teacher”) shock a learner (his confederate) with increasingly stronger shocks for errors. The confederate complains, then screams, then ceases responding. Subject ordered to continue the shocks o Obedience decreased as the intensity increased o Cognitive dissonance/self justification o External attribution for Ss behavior o Power of the situation o Role of normative social influence: when the subject and 2 confederates were inflicting the pain and they both refused to continue; it was easier for the subjects to disobey when others did. 10% went through all the way as opposed to 62% when they were alone o Role of informational social influence: when the participants were unsure of what to do when they realized the “learner” was in pain and the agreed to participate and the authority figure was so demanding.  In another version of the experiment: same experiment, but the authority figure gave vague instructions, and there was another confederate that acted as teacher with the participant saying that they should shock the “learner”... only 20% continued with shocking as opposed to the 62%  In other version: two experimenters were present and they argued about whether they should let the participants continue... in this case, 100% stopped • Mindless compliance: the role of automaticity in compliance o If someone asks us to do something that is simple and easy, we will generally go along with them • 2 techniques: o Foot in the Door: want someone to comply with your request give them a gift or do a favor for them. If someone does something for you, you are pressured to do something for them  Technique where inducing compliance by first presenting a small request, and then a larger request o Door in the face: you make a concession, when someone denies your original request, they feel bad and do something else  When a solicitor goes to your door asking for donations for a foundation • Individual differences: o Gender o Personal factors  Agreeableness: being able to go along/get along with others  Conscientiousness: going above and beyond to do their best  Would we resist such influence or are deluded?  we compare ourselves to other people to see how they would react in similar situations o Cultural factors: individualist vs. collectivist  greater tendency to conform and comply to authority figures; collectivist societies don’t tend to be westernized and it is frowned upon people that do not conform • Other reasons why: o Conforming to the wrong norm: the subject was caught in a web of conflicting norms. They were distracted and didn’t have time to think about changing the norm that they were following o Self-justification: once the participants agreed, they created internal pressure to continue to obey. As they went through with it, they had to continue to justify it in their minds o The loss of personal responsibility: they are the “puppet” and the experimenters are “pulling the strings” and there is a loss of personal responsibility for ones actions Social Norms: • Injunctive norms: what we think other people approve or disapprove of o Motivate behavior by promising rewards for normative behavior o An injunctive norm in our culture is that littering is wrong and that donating blood is a good thing o What most people in a culture approve or disapprove of • Descriptive norms: concern our perceptions of the way people actually behave in a given situation, regardless of whether the behavior is approved or disapproved of by others o Motive behavior by informing people about what is effective or adaptive behavior o While we all know that littering is wrong (injunctive), we also all know that there are times and situations when people are likely to do it (descriptive)—dropping peanut shells on the ground at a baseball game or leaving your trash behind at your seat in a movie theater o Also tell us that relatively few people donate blood and that only a small percentage of registered voters actually vote o Relates to what people actually do • Litter Test: confederate passes subject in two different environments, one littered and the other perfectly clean. In the control group, the confederate just passes by, in the descriptive group the confederate drops trash on the ground, and In the injunctive group, the confederate picks trash off the ground. When the subject gets to their car, there is a handbill in the window, do they toss it on the ground or in the trash? o Control group told us the social norm average of littering: Slightly more than 1/3 of the participants threw it on the ground regardless of the environment o Descriptive group, the littering confederate in the littered environments reminded participants that littering happens often, but in the clean environment, it reminded the participant that most people don’t litter in this area o Injunctive group the confederate that cleaned up, no matter the environment, invokes the norm that littering is wrong o Injunctive norms are more powerful in producing desirable behavior, they tap into normative conformity— we conform. While norms are always present, they are not always salient o To promote socially beneficial behavior, something in a situation needs to draw our attention to the relevant norm Chapter 9 Group Processes: Influence in Social Groups Group: three or more people who interact interdependently (their needs and goals cause them to influence each other. You influence them and they influence you) • Benefits: o Facilitate goal achievement o Provide information—social comparison & ambiguity resolution o Identity o Establishing social norms and roles • Composition: members tend to be similar because people are attracted to similar to others and because groups operate in ways that encourage similarity among members o We choose to join certain groups; we are not forced so we join ones that have people like us. o Groups tend to be homogeneous. People are not very different form one another in groups • Influential aspects: o Social Norms: apply to ALL members of the group (loyalty to the group, protect each other and don’t bad mouth) o Social Roles: specify certain rules to individuals in the group, not the entire group (elected as president, they have behaviors and characteristics that are desired for a president and not everyone falls under that category) o Group cohesiveness: you want the members of the group to have an “all for one and one for all” attitude. Sense of one-ness and unity in a group Social Influence: • Social facilitation:
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