2070Final Notes.doc

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Published on 22 Apr 2013
Department
Chapter 8
Order of the Solar Temple – mass suicide
Defining Conformity, Compliance & Obedience
Changes in behaviour caused by OTHER people
CONFORMITY – most general & refers to any chance in behaviour caused by another person or group
oLimited to changes in behaviour caused by other people; it does not refer to a change in behaviour that is requested by
another person or group
COMPLIANCE – refers to a change in behaviour that is requested by another person
oPOSSIBLE to refuse or decline
OBEDIENCE – change in behaviour that is ORDERED by another person
oEx. members of the Solar Temple followed orders to take their own lives
Conformity encompasses compliance & obedience b/c it refers to any behaviour that occurs as a result of others’ influence
Why do we conform?
o(1) INFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE – people are influenced by others b/c of a desire to be correct & to obtain valid
information
People often rely on others as a source of information – they trust others’ judgments to be useful in a particular
context
o(2) NORMATIVE INFLUENCE – people are influenced by others to gain rewards or to avoid punishment
Might simply want to be liked or to avoid conflict
oInformational & normative influence can occur simultaneously
Conformity: Doing as Others do
Sherif – investigated conformity in situations where the correct judgment was ambiguous
Asch – investigated conformity in situations where the correct judgment was obvious
Sherif’s Autokinetic Effect Studies
oConformity as addressing the development of social norms
oTypically, the reward for following a norm is social acceptance or approval, whereas the punishment for breaking a norm
is social rejection
oAUTOKINETIC EFFECT- in a darkened room, a stationary point of light will appear to move periodically (not really moving
it is an illusion)
Illusion occurs b/c no other visual frame of reference is available to locate the light & partly b/c of the occasional
rapid movements of your eye
1st study – asked men participating individually to report how far the light appeared to move (reported
movements ranged from 1-25cm)
2nd study – assembled people in groups of two or three; had to announce out loud the distance of perceived
motion of what was really a stationary point of light
(1) When they started alone, a wide range of perceived movement was observed
When the participants began making their judgments in groups of 2 or 3, judgments of perceived
movement began to converge
By the end of the 3 sessions together, judgments of the 2 & 3 people in a group were very similar
(2) the other group made their judgments in the group situation from the very beginning & these groups
converged very rapidly on their own group norms
*During the last session, the participants in these groups were broken up & made their judgments alone
the group norm carried on: the judgments now being made individually were nearly identical to the
standard that had been established for the group
STUDY: participants were assembled in groups of 2 but only one member of each pair was naïve about the
procedure
For the first 50 judgment trials, the two participants in each pair made their judgments together
For the second set of 50 trials, the naïve participant was tested alone.
RESULTS: the naïve participants individual responses in the second set of trial remained very close to
the standard established during the first 50 trials
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The arbitrary standard introduced by the confederate clearly established a group norm & that norm then
carried over to influence the naïve participants judgments when alone
oMultigenerational Norms
Group norms are spontaneously established & carry over into individual judgments
STUDY: transmission of a norm from generation to generation – possible to model in the lab
RESULT: after 11 generations, responses were beginning to drift from the initial group norm of 30 cm,
but not far – the original standard was still evident…norms can persist long after their original instigators
are gone
Asch’s Length Judgment Studies
oSTUDY: shown one standard line & three comparison lines…your task is to indicate which of the three comparison lines
matches the standard line in length
oNOT ambiguous very easy & students rarely make an error when the make the judgments alone
o7 members of each group were confederates of the experiment & only one participant was naïve about the experimental
situation
oRESULTS: if confederates unanimously selected the wrong comparison…only 23% of the critical participants always
gave the correct answer & went against the group on all 12 trials
oThe remaining 77% of the critical participants went along with the group on at least one of the 12 trials
oCRUTCHFIELD APPARATUS – a machine that consists of an electrical panel with several rows of lights; it allows the
efficient study of conformity by simulating the responses of numerous hypothetical participants
Procedure is very efficient b/c no confederates are needed & all 5 participants can be treated as critical
participants…also affords a high degree of experimental control
On any given judgment trial, each person can be instructed to respond in any of the possible serial positions
Also, by controlling the lights, the experimenter can create any pattern of responses among the ‘other
participants’
STUDY: reproduced the original Asch experiment unanimous majority of other respondents providing the
wrong answer
Additional studies participants showed some conformity to the judgments of others
ONLY EXCEPTION – selecting which of 2 drawing was preferred expressing personal preferences …little
effect of group pressure
oNature of the Task
AMOUNT of conformity…depends on features of the judgment task
(a) Ambiguity – conformity is more likely when tasks are ambiguous
oSTUDY: participants were required to solve a number serious that had no solution…the other
‘simulated’ participants unanimously provided the same incorrect answer & 79% of the
participants were along with it
(b) Difficulty – difficult tasks might increase conformity b/c people are less certain of their own answer…
OR, difficult tasks might reduce conformity b/c it is okay to differ from others when a task is difficult
oSTUDY: more conformity was found when judgments were based on memory than when the
lines were in plain sight
On ambiguous & difficult tasks, other people’s responses exert both informational & normative
influence, whereas on clear & easy tasks, only normative influence occurs
oThe additional impact of informational influence increases the overall rate of conformity on
ambiguous & difficult tasks
oIndividual Differences
People who remain independent are somewhat higher in their motivation to achieve & in their leadership ability,
than people who conform
People who remain independent tend to be less concerned about obtained the approval of others, less
authoritarian & less conscientiousness
Individuals with high self-esteem are less likely to conform than individuals with low self-esteem …especially
when high self-esteem is based on intrinsic qualities like honesty or generosity
Strong sense of self is associated with remaining independent
More confident about their own judgments
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Conformity to same-age peers increases during elementary school, peaks around grade 9 & then declines up to
the university years
Grade 9 is about the time when adolescents are most concerned about being popular & not being ridiculed
Adults tendency for conformity to decrease as age increases less pressure to agree with others, although
some degree of conformity pressure remains throughout the life span
oEffects of Group Size
ORIGINALLY…Conformity did increase as the size of the group grew from one to three
Unanimous groups numbering more than 3, however did not produce further increases in conformity
LATER RESEARCH…conformity continued to increase when the size of the majority grew beyond 3
Conformity rose rapidly as the group size grew from 1-5, but additional increases in size had no impact
on conformity (downward turn for groups of 6)
*increases in the group beyond 4 or 5 members have relatively little effect on conformity
Very large grounds d, indeed more conformity pressure than small groups
oHow to Make Conformity Disappear
Shift to private, confidential judgments by the critical participants produce a dramatic reduction in conformity
When judgments are anonymous rather than face-to-face with the opposing majority
Individuals are more likely to conform to other people’s judgments when they must communicate their judgments
to those people
STUDY: when the unanimity of the group was broken up…
Presence of just one ‘partner’ (someone else who called it the same way as the critical participant)
virtually eliminated yielding to the majority
A little social support was all that participants needed to stand up against the majority in this context
Cultural Differences in Conformity
oIndividual vs. Collectivism
People from individualist cultures will conform LESS than people from collectivist cultures
STUDY: culture predicted participant’s conformity even more strongly than did other influential factors (ex. size
of group)
oIndividual Differences in Independent vs. Interdependent Self Concepts
People whose self concepts are independents (individualists) will conform less than people whose self-concepts
are interdependent
Self- Construal Scale - measure the extent to which individual’s self concepts are independent or interdependent
Gender Differences
oWomen conform slightly more than do men
oREASONS…
Most conformity researchers have been men, who may have been unconsciously biased toward finding greater
independence among men than women
Topics in conformity studies have typically been ‘masculine’ with the result that women were less confident in
their judgments than men & therefore more susceptible to social influence
Women are more concerned about harmony in social relationships than are men, which makes them less willing
to disagree with others
oGender difference in conformity appears only when participants responses are PUBLIC
oWhen responses are private, women do NOT conform more than men
Women may be somewhat more susceptible to normative influence than men
oWomen’s historically disadvantaged status has required them to be careful about deviating from others’ judgments – they
have to pick & choose when to disagree
Compliance- Doing as Others Way
Foot in the Door Technique – 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
oSTUDY: the initial contact & small request (foot in the door) – dramatically increased compliance
oProbably one of the most common compliance techniques in everyday life
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Document Summary

Might simply want to be liked or to avoid conflict. Sherif investigated conformity in situations where the correct judgment was ambiguous. Asch investigated conformity in situations where the correct judgment was obvious. Sherif"s autokinetic effect studies: order of the solar temple mass suicide. Defining conformity, compliance & obedience: changes in behaviour caused by other people, conformity most general & refers to any chance in behaviour caused by another person or group. Chapter 8: limited to changes in behaviour caused by other people; it does not refer to a change in behaviour that is requested by. Illusion occurs b/c no other visual frame of reference is available to locate the light & partly b/c of the occasional rapid movements of your eye. 1st study asked men participating individually to report how far the light appeared to move (reported movements ranged from 1-25cm) *during the last session, the participants in these groups were broken up & made their judgments alone.

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