Study Guides (238,407)
Canada (115,131)
Psychology (1,609)

Chapter 8

9 Pages
Unlock Document

Western University
Psychology 2070A/B
James M Olson

Chapter 8- Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience Defining Conformity, Compliance, and Obedience Conformity- any change in behaviour caused by another person/group  Ex. Spectator at Edmonton Oilers game may boo referee b/c other fans are booing  Refers to changes in behaviour  Encompasses compliance and obedience b/c it refers to any behaviour that occurs as a result of others’ influence o Ex. New MP may follow the lead of a more experienced MP of when to stand, sit, or pound the table  When does it occur? o When one finds themselves in a new/unusual situation, it is natural/sensivle to look at others when deciding what to do o People often go along with the incorrect responses of others, even when reality is obvious Compliance- a change in behaviour that is requested by another person/group  Ex. During election campaign, supporter of NDP may agree to put sign on lawn supporting NDP  Some people are compliance experts—i.e. salespeople Obedience- a change is behaviour that is ordered by another person/group  Ex. A child might clean up their bedroom b/c they were ordered to do so by parents  Obedience commands start early in childhood  Research on obedience to authority has shown that people are remarkably susceptible to this form of social influence Why do we conform? Two principal reasons: Informational influence - influence from other people that is motivated by a desire to be correct and to obtain accurate information  People often rely on others as source of information  Perhaps the judgment is ambiguous and person is unsure about correct answer o Ex. Young drivers alter behaviour to conform to suggestions of driving instructor Normative influence- influence from other people that is motivated by a desire to gain rewards or avoid punishment  People may want to simply be liked or avoid conflict o Ex. Driving speed limit on highway because one doesn't want a speeding ticket  Normative and informational influence can appear simultaneously o Ex. Mechanic at Canadian Tire asking supervisor for advice b/c he is knowledgeable and also because he wants the supervisor to feel good that he respects his opinion Conformity: Doing as Others Do Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect Studies Social norm- a rule/guideline in a group/culture about what behaviours are proper and improper  Formal norms include Canadian law to drive on right-hand side of road, as opposed to the norm to drive on the left in other places  Informal norms are business attire, where some places are much more formal and others are more casual The autokinetic effect- in a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to move periodically  Study #1: Asked 19 men to individually report how far the light appeared to move (no one else was in the room except for the experimenter), each person settled on relatively stable distance, but these distances varied  Study #2: Assembled people in groups of 2-3 people o ½ the participants: first session made judgments alone and then joining other participants in the next three sessions. When alone, wide range of movement was observed, but  When making decisions with the group, the judgments began to converge— by the end, they were very similar. o Other ½: participants made judgments in group situation from the start—they converged very rapidly on the distance  Were then broken up individually, yet the group norm carried on: individual judgments were nearly identical to the group-established standard  Kubrick wanted to know if such “standards” could be arbitrarily established by experimental assistants—naïve participants individual responses in the second set of trials remained very close to the standard established during the first 50 trials—arbitrary standard introduced by confederate established a group norm Multigenerational Norms  Group norms are spontaneously established and carry over into individual judgments o Ex. The norm that servers in restaurants should be given tips has been common in society for many years  One study continuously replaced participants with new ones, continuing for 11 generations, and standards were drifting from initial group norm, but not far  Indicates norms can persist long after their original instiagtors are gone Asch’s Length Judgment Studies  Shows participants one “standard” line and then three “comparison” lines—you must indicate which of the comparison lines match the standard line in length  Unlike sheriff’s experiments, this judgment is not ambiguous at all  The task is so easy that participants barely ever make an error when making judgments alone  As experiment starts, each student announces their judgment, for the first two trials, everyone announces the obvious same answer  Third trial, everyone says the wrong answer—only 23% of the critical participants always gave the correct answer and went against the group on all 12 trials  Remaining 77% of the critical participants went along w/ group on at least one of the 12 trials The Crutchfield Apparatus- a machine that consists of an electrical panel with several rows of lights; it allows for the efficient study of conformity by simulating the responses of numerous hypothetical participants  Potential that Asch’s confederates varied in performance, this provides standardization  Participants told they’ll answer questions projected on wall facing cubicles, so everyone can see question at same time  Believes that they will learn about responses of others and that his/her own responses will be publicly known  Findings very similar to Asch’s findings with the only exception being on judgments on selecting which of two drawings was preferred Nature of the Task  The amount of conformity found in Asch-type experiments depends on features of the judgment task o 1. The ambiguity of the task—conformity more likely when tasks are ambiguous  Ex. Participants required to solve number series that had so solution— simulated participants unanimously selected wrong answer, and 79% of naïve participants chose this answer o 2. The difficulty of the task—might either increase conformity b/c people are less certain of their own answer, or they might reduce conformity b/c it is okay to differ fro others when a task is different  Ex. More conformity was found when judgments were based on memory than when the lines were in plain sight  On ambiguous/aiddicult tasks, people’s responses exert both informational and normative influence, whereas on clear/easy tasks, only normative influence occurs Individual Differences  People who remain independent are somewhat higher in their motivation to achieve and in their leadership ability than people who conform  People who remain independent are less concerned about obtaining the approval of others, less authoritarian, and less conscientious  Individuals with high self-esteem are less likely to conform—based on intrinsic qualities like honesty/generosity as opposed to extrinsic thins like achievements  Age: conformity to same-age peers increases during elementary school, peaks around grade 9, and then declines up to the university years  General tendency for conformity to decrease as age increases Effects of Group Size  Does conformity increase as the size of unanimous group grows?  Conformity did increase as size grew from 2 to 3, but groups more than 3 didn't increase conformity  Increases in group beyond 4 or 5 members have relatively less effect on conformity  Very large groups (over 100) do exert more conformity pressure How to Make Conformity Disappear  Anonymity- Private, confidential judgments created a dramatic reduction in conformity o Found that participants in original conformity experiments did not privately accept the incorrect judgments of the majority, but instead conformed publicly because of normative pressure  Presence of one ‘partner’- one person there to dispute agreements virtually eliminates conformity o Little social support is all that is needed to stand up to the majority Cultural Differences in Conformity Individualism vs. Collectivism  Conformity was higher in collectivist cultures  Culture predicted participants’ conformity even more strongly than did other influential factors, such as size of group Individual Differences in Independent vs. Interdependent Self-Concepts  People whose self-concepts are independent will conform less than people whose self- concepts are interdependent Gender Differences in Conformity  Women conform slightly more than men, but the effect is not large  Conformity appears only when participants’ responses are public  When responses are private, women do not conform more than men, showing that they may be more susceptible to normative influence than men  May be b/c women are physically smaller than men and often fill less powerful social roles Compliance: Doing as Others Want  Requesters typically imply that we can refuse if we want to, though they would appreciate our compliance  There are six compliance techniques  Foot-in-the-door technique- a strategy to increase compliance, based on the fact that agreement with a small request increases the likelihood of agreement with a subsequent larger request  If you can get someone to agree to a small request, then he/she is more likely to also agree to a much larger, related request o Ex. Researchers went door-to-door to homeowners and asked if the residents would be willing to have a large “drive carefully” sign installed in front yard (large request), when large request made without prior contact, onl 16% agreed, but when contacted asking for a smaller sign in windows to be put up and then two weeks later asked for the bigger request, 55% agreed to it  Why does this happen? Self-Perception Processes  Daryl Bem: people hypothesize internal states, such as attitudes and emotions from their behaviour and the situation in which the behaviour occurred  When people agree to an initial, small request, they may label themselves as “helpful,” because they willingly complied w/ the request  Therefore, when second request made, they are likely to agree b/c they are helpful people  Initial request simulated a self-perception of helpfulness, which subsequently increased compliance with the second request Consistency processes  A desire for consistency—works with dissonance theory  Motivation to appear consistent and be consistent contribute—after agreeing to an initial request, people may feel that refusing a second related request would be (or would appear) inconsistent Individual Differences in Preference for Consistency (PFC)  If the foot-in-the-door technique is caused, by a desire for consistency, then people who score high in PFC may be more susceptible to the technique than people who score low in PFC  The Door-in-the-Face Technique- a strategy to increase compliance, based on the fact that refusal of a large request increases the likelihood of agreement with a subsequent smaller request  Ex. Students approached asking if they’d be wiling to accompany juvenile delinquents on 2- hour trip to zoo (most people declined), but some were asked whether they’d serve as counselor for juvenile delinquents for 2 years (no one accepted)—although if large question was asked first, people more likely to agree to do the second favour  Norm of reciprocity- the principle that we should give back in return any favours that are done for us o When someone presents a second, smaller request following refusal of larger request, this may be seen as a concession on his/her part—a compromise to the initial refusal, this notion of a concession is rather illogi
More Less

Related notes for Psychology 2070A/B

Log In


Don't have an account?

Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.