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Social Influence

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Queen's University
PSYC 100
Ingrid Johnsrude

Social Influence on Behaviour 6/5/2012 7:05:00 AM Social Influence  Examines the ways in which people exert influence on the behaviours and attitudes of others. o Persuasion  Conformity  Obedience  Compliance Conformity  We adjust our beavhiours or thinking to coincide with a group norm o Helps to function safely and effectively  Language  Traffic laws  Waiting in line  Can have negative consequences o Tormenting other kids because everyone else is doing it  The Autokinetic Effect o Norms develop in small groups o Experiment using light in a dark room, participant would say whether they thought the light had moved. The light never moved but the optical illusion was autokinetic effect o Developed their own personal standard and consistently reporting the same amount of movement o After, new participants were added with the old participants and both were making estimates, gradually people within groups made a common estimate  Group norm developed  Line Judgments o Test how peoples beliefs effect the beliefs of others o Wanted to see if conformity existed in situations where there was an objective truth  Participants had to compare 1 line with 3 others to which was the same length  Only one real participant, the others were planned  Each participant had to wait for each person to provide their response before they could give theirs  76% conformed to the wrong answer to the people in front of them at least once  Reasons for Conformity o Informational influence  People conform because they believe others are correct in their judgments  In the tests, it was natural to assume that several people are more knowledgeable than one o Normative influence  People conform because they fear the consequences of appearing deviant  Types of Conformity o Private conformity  When a person experiences changes in both overt (open and intentional) behaviours and beliefs  Informational influence o Public conformity  When a person demonstrates superficial change in open behaviour only  Normative influence Autokinetic Effect-> Informational Influence->Private Conformity (not obvious answer, relying on others for knowledgeable information) Line Judgments-> Normative Influence-> Public Conformity (obvious answer, avoiding unpleasant situation and standing out) Obedience  Defined as a change in behaviour produced by the commands of authority o We are socialized to believe that it is wrong to disrespect authority figures Milgram Studies  Based on Nazi war crimes and “following orders” o Provided electric shocks to people if they made a mistake on a learning task o Switches were labeled and increased with danger o People weren’t really shocked, but if they were told to do it they would go as far as they were told  Factors that influence obedience  Proximity of authority figure  The closer the authority figure, the greater the obedience (face to face vs. different rooms)  Distance from victim  The greater the distance, the easier the obedience  Legitimacy of authority figure  Obedience was highest when the authority figure had a high status  Dissenting Allies  If others refused, then obedience fell  Incremental requests  Easier to be obedient in small increments  Authority’s acceptance of responsibility  Obedience dropped when participants were responsible for the victim  Studies brought ethical concerns Compliance  A change in behaviour elicited by a direct response from another individual who is not an authority figure o Eg. Agreeing to help out a friend, helping students with an assignment o Donating to charity  People take advantage of agreeable nature and use techniques to increase the likelihood of complying o Influences  Consistency and Commitment  We have a strong desire for our attitudes to be consistent with our behaviour Feel inclined to follow through with commitments  Reciprocity  We feel inclined to treat others how they treat us  Social Proof  We are inclined to follow the lead of other people  Liking  The more we like someone, the more we are inclined to comply with them  Authority  Authority has more influence over people  Scarcity  People are sensitive to losses, if items seems less available we value it more Compliance Techniques  Foot In The Door Technique o 2 step compliance  influencer eases the real request by trying to get a person to comply with a much smaller request  Technique is effect because of consistency o When people agree to a small request, they feel the need to be consistent with that image and agree to a larger request  Low Balling Technique o influencer secures agreement with a request but then increases the size of the request by revealing hidden costs  Eg. Negotiating on a car price but salesperson says they cant do it, but you already imagine yourself with the new car so you will mostly likely pay the extra couple hundred o Works because of Commitment  Once people commit to a decision, they justify their right choice by reflecting on positive aspects  When hidden cost is revealed, people have additional reasons as to why they agreed in the first place  Door in the Face Technique o Occurs when the influencer starts with a request so large that it is likely to be rejected and makes the real request not so bad  Works because of Reciprocity  When the influencer gives a smaller request, it appears that they are giving something up for the new request, so we feel must comply  Perceptual Contrast  The new request seems smaller so more people are willing to agree with it  That’s not all Technique o Influencer makes an initial request and before they can respond, increases the attractiveness of the request by offering an additional benefit or making it appear less large  Eg, retailers with “free gift with purchase” o Works because of Reciprocity and Perceptual Contrast  Feel they have to give back because of free item and because the new addition seems better than the first Pro – Social Behaviour  Behaviour that is intended toward helping another person By stander Apathy - the effect whereby the presence of others inhibits helping  Participants were filling out surveys and smoked filled the room  Some were alone in a room, some were with people who did not react to the smoke, and some were with 2 other fellow participants o Most likely to report smoke if they were alone and least likely to report with 2 people who did not react Why it occurs  When other people are around, we are less likely to notice the event o Presence of others can be distracting  When other people are around, we are less likely to interpret the event as emergency o Going along with other peoples behaviour  Pluralistic ignorance  When other people are ar
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