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Chapter 7

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PSYC 241
Roderick C L Lindsay

Chapter 7- Conformity - Humans are vulnerable to a host of subtle, almost reflex like influences - Think about how people yawn after seeing someone else yawn - Social influences vary in the degree of pressure they bring to bear on an individual - Babies often mimic simple gestures, and human adults mimic behaviour too- also observed in animals - Chartrand and Bargh- “the chameleon effect”, matching partners behaviour - Nonconscious imitation may serve as a way to enable people to interact more smoothly with one another - People mimic others more when they are highly motivated to affiliate then when they are not - Research has shows that even when the „person‟ mimicking them is virtual they like them more if they copy their movements without them being aware - „mood contagion‟ when the mood of someone else impacts the way you feel - Conformity- the tendency to change our perceptions, opinions, or behaviour in ways that are consistent with group norms - Research found that people perceive others to be more conforming that themselves in all sorts of domains - Experiment by Muzafer Sherif showed group conformity in a group of students that were put in a room and asked to estimate how far a dot of light move; at first they all had different answers but in the following sessions their numbers became more and more alike - Same kind of study was done by Solomon Asch with a group of people that had to say which lines were the same length; only one person was being tested, the rest were confederates and they wanted to see if the one person would conform to what the group had to say - People conform for two very different reasons: one informational, and the other normative - Informational influence- influence that produces conformity when a person believes others are correct in their judgements - Normative influence- influence that produces conformity when a person fears the negative social consequences of appearing deviant - Some people become very distressed when they are rejected or excluded from a group - A persons need for other people is so primitive that rejection inflicts a social pain that feels just like physical pain - In group settings both informational and normative influences are typically at work - Private conformity- the change of beliefs that occurs when a person privately accepts the position taken by others - Public conformity- a superficial change in overt behaviour without a corresponding change of opinion that is produced by real or imagined group pressure - Conformity increases with group size but only to a certain point - Social norms give rise to conformity only when we know and focus on those norms - It is more difficult for people to stand alone with their opinions than to have at least a minority agree with them - Also people are more likely to not conform if someone else is not conforming to the group, even if their idea is also different - Sex differences depend on how comfortable people are with the experimental task - One‟s familiarity with the subject, not sex, is what affects conformity - When participants think they are being observed women conform more and men conform less than they do in a private situation - Although people who assert their beliefs against the majority are generally seen as competent and honest, they are also disliked and roundly rejected - Minority influence- the process by which dissenters produce change within a group - Nonconformists derive power from the style of their behaviour o Unwavering repetition draws attention from those in the mainstream o Consistency may cause others to have to compromise o Self-confidence and dedication to take an unpopular stand makes people think they may be right after all - Dissenters have more influence when people identify with them and perceive them to be similar in ways that are relevant and desirable - Perception of consistency increases minority influence - To influence a majority the individual should first conform to the group to earn their trust o Idiosyncrasy credits- interpersonal „credits‟ that a person earns by following group norms - First conform, then dissent strategy - Dual-process approach; majorities and minorities exert influence in very different ways and for different reasons - Majorities elicit public conformity while minorities (being committed to their views) produce a deeper and more lasting form of private conformity or conversion - Minorities can force other group members to think more carefully, more openly, and more creatively about a problem by their willingness to stay firmly independent - Social norms that influence human conduct can vary in significant ways from one part of the world to another - Some cultures value individualism (a cultural orientation in which independence, autonomy, and self-reliance take priority over group allegiances - Others value collectivism (a cultural orientation in which interdependence, cooperation, and social harmony takes priority over personal goals) - Three key factors that determine whether a c
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