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PSYC 1010 Quiz: S PSYC notes 2

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York University
PSYC 1010
Rebecca Jubis

CONFORMITY & OBEDIENCE (6) What Is Conformity? Conformity—changing one’s behavior or belief as a result of group pressure—comes in two forms. Compliance is outwardly going along with the group while inwardly disagreeing; a subset of compliance is obedience, compliance with a direct command. Acceptance is believing as well as acting in accord with social pressure. What Are The Classic Conformity And Obedience Studies? ->Three classic sets of experiments illustrate how re- searchers have studied conformity. • Muzafer Sherif observed that others’ judgments influenced people’s estimates of the movement of a point of light that actually did not move. Norms for “proper” answers emerged and survived both over long periods of time and through succeeding generations of research participants. • Solomon Asch had people listen to others’ judg- ments of which of three comparison lines was equal to a standard line and then make the same judg- ment themselves. When the others unanimously gave a wrong answer, the participants conformed 37 percent of the time. • Stanley Milgram’s obedience experiments elicited an extreme form of compliance. Under optimum conditions—a legitimate, close-at-hand commander, a remote victim, and no one else to exemplify disobedience—65 percent of his adult male par- ticipants fully obeyed instructions to deliver what were supposedly traumatizing electric shocks to a screaming, innocent victim in an adjacent room. • These classic experiments expose the potency of several phenomena. Behavior and attitudes are mutually reinforcing, enabling a small act of evil to foster the attitude that leads to a bigger evil act. The power of the situation is seen when good people, faced with dire circumstances, commit reprehen- sible acts (although dire situations may produce heroism in others). What Predicts Conformity? • Using conformity testing procedures, experiment- ers have explored the circumstances that produce conformity. Certain situations appear to be espe- cially powerful. For example, conformity is affected by the characteristics of the group: People conform most when three or more people, or groups, model the behavior or belief. • Conformity is reduced if the modeled behavior or belief is not unanimous. • Conformity is enhanced by group cohesion. • The higher the status of those modeling the behav- ior or belief, the greater likelihood of conformity. • People also conform most when their responses are public (in the presence of the group). • A prior commitment to a certain behavior or belief increases the likelihood that a person will stick with that commitment rather than conform. Why Conform? -Experiments reveal two reasons people conform. Normative influence results from a person’s desire for acceptance: We want to be liked. The tendency to conform more when responding publicly reflects normative influence. • Informational influence results from others’ provid- ing evidence about reality. The tendency to conform more on difficult decision-making tasks reflects informational influence: We want to be right. Who Conforms? • The question “Who conforms?” has produced few definitive answers. Personality scores are poor pre- dictors of specific acts of conformity but better predic- tors of average conformity. Trait effects are strongest in “weak” situations where social forces do not over- whelm individual differences. • Although conformity and obedience are universal, different cultures socialize people to be more or less socially responsive. • Social roles involve a certain degree of conformity, and conforming to expectations is an important task when stepping into a new social role. Do We Ever Want To Be Different? • Social psychology’s emphasis on the power of social pressure must be joined by a complementary empha- sis on the power of the person. We are not puppets. When social coercion becomes blatant, people often experience reactance—a motivation to defy the coer- cion in order to maintain their sense of freedom. • We are not comfortable being too different from a group, but neither do we want to appear the same as everyone else. Thus, we act in ways that pre- serve our sense of uniqueness and individuality. In a group, we are most conscious of how we differ from the others. PERSUASION (7) What Paths Lead To Persuasion? • Sometimes persuasion occurs as people focus on arguments and respond with favorable thoughts. Such systematic, or “central route,” persuasion occurs when people are naturally analytical or involved in the issue. • When issues don’t engage systematic thinking, persuasion may occur through a faster, “peripheral • route,” as people use heuristics or incidental cues to make snap judgments. -Central route persuasion, being more thought- ful and less superficial, is more durable and more likely to influence behavior. What Are The Elements Of Persuasion? • What makes persuasion effective? Researchers have explored four factors: the communicator (who says it), the message (what is said), the channel (how it is said), and the audience (to whom it is said). • Credible communicators have the best success in per- suading. People who speak unhesitatingly, who talk fast, and who look listeners straight in the eye seem more credible. So are people who argue against their own self-interest. An attractive communicator also is effective on matters of taste and personal values. • The message itself persuades; associating it with good feelings makes it more convincing. People often make quicker, less reflective judgments while in good moods. Fear-arousing messages can also be effective, especially if the recipients feel vulner- able but can take protective action. • How discrepant a message should be from an audi- ence’s existing opinions depends on the communi- cator’s credibility. And whether a one- or two-sided message is more persuasive depends on whether the audience already agrees with the message, is unaware of opposing arguments, and is unlikely later to consider the opposition. • When two sides of an issue are included, the pri- macy effect often makes the first message more persuasive. If a time gap separates the presenta- tions, the more likely result will be a recency effect in which the second message prevails. • Another important consideration is how the mes- sage is communicated. Usually, face-to- face appeals work best. Print media can be effective for complex messages. And the mass media can be effective when the issue is minor or unfamiliar, and when the media reach opinion leaders. • Finally, it matters who receives the message. The age of the audience makes a difference; young people’s attitudes are more subject to change. What does the audience think while receiving a mes- sage? Do they think favorable tho
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