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SOCIAL PSYC all notes one place chapters 7 to 12.docx

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PSYC 2100
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SOCIAL PSYC all notes one place chapters 7-12
Chapter 7 – conformity
Cults, examples of extreme social influence:
Heavens gate
oan American UFO religion doomsday cult formed in the early seventies . In 1997,
police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had
committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space
craft.
The peoples temple
orun by Jim Jones. Where the phrase “drink the Kool-Aid” comes from. In 1978
the residents of Jonestown in Guyana (all 920 of them) died in an organized
mass suicide/killing.
Social psychological perspective:
Cult members exposed to very strong situational influences.
E.g., social power, looking to others around them for the norms
Minority influence
social pressure exerted by a lone individual or smaller faction of a group on
members of the majority faction
E.g., cults
E.g., 12 Angry Men jury example (the main character tries to sway the
majority into believing the accused is not guilty)
Majority influence (the power of many)
social pressure exerted by the larger portion of a group on individual members
and smaller factions within group
How are we influenced by others?
Conformity:
A change in behaviour due to the real or imagined presence of others
When do people conform and why? Informational Social Influence and Normative Social Influence
Informational Social Influence – the need to know what’s “right”
oConform because we see others as a source of information
More specifically,
oUncertain how to think or act because we don’t have enough information to make
a good or accurate choice.
oUse the behaviour of others to help us figure out what is going on
Sherif (1936)
Classic social psychology study to demonstrate conformity in uncertain situations
Made use of the optical illusion (the light not actually moving), the autokinetic effect (if
you stare at a bright light in a uniformly dark environment, the light will appear to waver)
Phase 1- participants assessed individually, seated in a dark room.
Ask to focus attention on dot of light 5 metres away
Then asked to estimate verbally in cm the movement of the light.
Over 100 trials, when individually assessed, the estimates of movement steadied
off and each person settled on a more stable mean.
There was different mean for each individual though
Phase 2- participants assessed in groups
Sherif ran the same experiment in groups of 2 and 3 people.
Estimate movement of light and indicate out loud the estimate (done over
multiple trials)
Results
over the course of the trials, the estimates for the group members converged
very quickly
Norm continued to be influential when the participants were retested on their own
They adopted the group mean even when the group wasn’t there anymore
They internalized the norm—conversion
Private acceptance:
Change in behaviour due to genuine belief in correctness of group norm
When will people conform to informational social influence?
1) An ambiguous situation – unsure of the correct response/what should be done in a certain
situation
2) A crisis – people get panicked and scared and are uncertain of what to do so look to others
to know what to do. The problem is that most of the time others are panicked and scared
too.
3) When other people are experts – if a person is an expert they clearly know what to do and
how to act, so you can trust them and know that what they are doing is right
Normative social influence
Conformity in order to be accepted and liked by others
Often results with public compliance rather than private acceptance
We conform so that we are accepted by the group to which we belong, even If
we don’t necessarily believe in it.
Social norms:
The implicit or explicit rules a group has for the acceptable behaviours,
values, and beliefs of its members.
If we don’t conform to these social norms then we risk being ridiculed, and
labelled as deviant.
Asch Line Judgment Studies
Asch (1951,1956) conducted a series of classic experiments on conformity
Study of “visual acuity” in group setting
Line judgment task
participants presented with two cards; one with a target line, the other
card with three lines of varying lengths
asked to match length of target line to one of the three lines on the
second card
Correct answer was obvious, few people made mistakes when doing so
alone
Asked to state answer out loud in group, starting from left of room
The group consisted of only one real participant the 6 others were
confederates made to appear like participants (real participant on far right
of room)
At first, everything went smoothly, the group was correctly answering
On the third trial, confederates select wrong answer (deliberately) to see if
participant would conform
12/18 trials were set up so that majority would say false answer
Would participants conform?
Results:
A surprising amount of conformity occurred for incorrect answers:
76% conformed at least once
On average, people conformed on about one-third of the trials where the
confederates give the wrong answer
After the experiment, participants were asked why they chose specific answers
Common answer: didn’t want to look foolish
Public Compliance- participants privately disagree with the group but publicly express an
opinion expressed by the majority of the group
change in behaviour without change in belief
Social impact theory:
oThe theory that conforming to social influence depends on
1) The strength of the group – how important is the group to you?
2) Its immediacy – how close is the group to you in space and time during the
influence attempt?, and
3) the number of other people in the group
the theory predicts that conformity will increase as strength and immediacy increase
ohowever, as the size of the group increases , each additional person has less of
an influencing affect. [i.e. if an extra person is added to a small group (going
from 3 people to 4) it makes more of a difference than if an extra person is added
to a large group (going from 53 people to 54)]
Fashion=Normative Social Influence in action
People can also follow fads and fashions when they want to “go with the crowd” or feel
part of a group  Following trends is one way in which people can gain the approval of
others who are important to them.
oE.g. decorating one’s house in a particular fashion might make it easier to be
accepted into a desirable social circle. Similarly, wearing particular clothes at
school might increase a student’s chances of being accepted by a desirable peer
group.
oAlso, conforming to normative social influence means that people can avoid
some of the negative consequences that might result from standing out from the
crowd.
Fishbein et al.(1993)
oGay men who lived in communities that were highly involved in AIDS-awareness
activities )where strength, immediacy, and number would all be high, reported
feeling more social pressure to avoid risky sexual behaviour and stronger

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Description
SOCIAL PSYC all notes one place chapters 712Chapter 7conformityCults examples of extreme social influenceHeavens gateoan American UFO religion doomsday cult formed in the early seventiesIn 1997 police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the group who had committed mass suicide in order to reach what they believed was an alien space craftThe peoples temple orun by Jim Jones Where the phrase drink the KoolAid comes from In 1978 the residents of Jonestown in Guyana all 920 of them died in an organized mass suicidekillingSocial psychological perspectiveCult members exposed to very strong situational influencesEg social power looking to others around them for the normsMinority influencesocial pressure exerted by a lone individual or smaller faction of a group on members of the majority factionEg cultsEg 12 Angry Men jury example the main character tries to sway the majority into believing the accused is not guiltyMajority influence the power of manysocial pressure exerted by the larger portion of a group on individual members and smaller factions within groupHow are we influenced by othersConformityA change in behaviour due to the real or imagined presence of othersWhen do people conform and why Informational Social Influence and Normative Social Influence Informational Social Influencethe need to know whats rightoConform because we see others as a source of informationMore specificallyoUncertain how to think or act because we dont have enough information to make a good or accurate choice oUse the behaviour of others to help us figure out what is going onSherif 1936Classic social psychology study to demonstrate conformity in uncertain situationsMade use of the optical illusion the light not actually moving the autokinetic effect if you stare at a bright light in a uniformly dark environment the light will appear to waverPhase1 participants assessed individually seated in a dark roomAsk to focus attention on dot of light 5 metres awayThen asked to estimate verbally in cm the movement of the light Over 100 trials when individually assessed the estimates of movement steadied off and each person settled on a more stable mean There was different mean for each individual thoughPhase 2 participants assessed in groupsSherif ran the same experiment in groups of 2 and 3 peopleEstimate movement of light and indicate out loud the estimate done over multiple trialsResultsover the course of the trials the estimates for the group members converged very quicklyNorm continued to be influential when the participants were retested on their ownThey adopted the group mean even when the group wasnt there anymoreThey internalized the normconversionPrivate acceptance Change in behaviour due to genuine belief in correctness of group normWhen will people conform to informational social influence1 An ambiguous situationunsure of the correct responsewhat should be done in a certain situation2 A crisispeople get panicked and scared and are uncertain of what to do so look to others to know what to do The problem is that most of the time others are panicked and scared too3 When other people are expertsif a person is an expert they clearly know what to do and how to act so you can trust them and know that what they are doing is rightNormative social influenceConformity in order to be accepted and liked by othersOften results with public compliance rather than private acceptanceWe conform so that we are accepted by the group to which we belong even If we dont necessarily believe in itSocial normsThe implicit or explicit rules a group has for the acceptable behaviours values and beliefs of its membersIf we dont conform to these social norms then we risk being ridiculed and labelled as deviantAsch Line Judgment StudiesAsch 19511956 conducted a series of classic experiments on conformityStudy of visual acuity in group setting Line judgment taskparticipants presented with two cards one with a target line the other card with three lines of varying lengthsasked to match length of target line to one of the three lines on the second cardCorrect answer was obvious few people made mistakes when doing so aloneAsked to state answer out loud in group starting from left of roomThe group consisted of only one real participant the 6 others were confederates made to appear like participants real participant on far right of roomAt first everything went smoothly the group was correctly answeringOn the third trial confederates select wrong answer deliberately to see if participant would conform1218 trials were set up so that majority would say false answerWould participants conformResultsA surprising amount of conformity occurred for incorrect answers76 conformed at least onceOn average people conformed on about onethird of the trials where the confederates give the wrong answer After the experiment participants were asked why they chose specific answersCommon answer didnt want to look foolishPublic Compliance participants privately disagree with the group but publicly express an opinion expressed by the majority of the groupchange in behaviour without change in beliefSocial impact theoryoThe theory that conforming to social influence depends on 1The strength of the grouphow important is the group to you2Its immediacyhow close is the group to you in space and time during the influence attempt and3the number of other people in the groupthe theory predicts that conformity will increase as strength and immediacy increaseohowever as the size of the group increaseseach additional person has less of an influencing affectie if an extra person is added to a small group going from 3 people to 4 it makes more of a difference than if an extra person is added to a large group going from 53 people to 54FashionNormative Social Influence in actionPeople can also follow fads and fashions when they want to go with the crowd or feel part of a groupFollowing trends is one way in which people can gain the approval of others who are important to them oEg decorating ones house in a particular fashion might make it easier to be accepted into a desirable social circle Similarly wearing particular clothes at school might increase a students chances of being accepted by a desirable peer groupoAlso conforming to normative social influence means that people can avoid some of the negative consequences that might result from standing out from the crowd Fishbein et al1993oGay men who lived in communities that were highly involved in AIDSawareness activities where strength immediacy and number would all be high reported feeling more social pressure to avoid risky sexual behaviour and stronger
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